The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


    The gas plant installed here by E. A. Reames is in operation. The first test was made with the street lamps Sunday night, and the light produced was a pronounced success.
"Jacksonville News," Medford Mail, August 29, 1902, page 3

    Jacksonville enjoys the distinction of being the only town in the United States which is lighted by gas generated from gasoline. The plant was installed several months ago by A. E. Reames and others, and now light is furnished to nearly all the business houses in town and quite a number of residences beside. The line is being extended to cover the whole residence portion of the town. Beside this, the street lights of the city are supplied from this plant.
    The machine is a very simple one, consisting merely of a number of tanks containing gasoline (the number of tanks depending upon the amount of gas to be furnished) connected with a gasometer by pipes. The gas is generated by the action of a pump forcing air from the bottom of the gasoline tanks upward through the liquid and thence back to the pumps. The air on reaching the pumps on its return journey is heavily charged with gasoline, too much so, in fact, for the purpose for which it is intended. There more air is mixed to reduce the proportion of gasoline and the gas then goes into the gasometer and thence through pipes to the consumer.
    The machine is so arranged that when the supply of gas in the gasometer gets below a certain point a valve is opened, turning water upon a water wheel, which runs the pump before mentioned, and immediately the gas commences to flow into the receptacle prepared for it. When sufficient gas has been generated to run an hour and a half the water power is automatically cut off and the generation of gas stops.
    The time required for generating sufficient gas to run one and one-half hours is about three minutes. The only attention the machine needs is to see that the gasoline tanks are kept full, and to oil up the machinery once a month. There are four tanks attached to the Jacksonville machine, each with a capacity of 200 gallons, and besides there is a large supply tank holding 700 gallons, which brings the total amount of gasoline which can be kept to 1500 gallons. There is absolutely no danger of fire from this system of lighting, as there is no heat used in generating the gas and no necessity of fire or light around the plant.
    The company of which Mr. Reames is a member is figuring on a proposition to furnish light to Grants Pass, Ashland and Medford, establishing a separate plant in each town.
    The gas can be used for cooking and heating purposes also, at a cost considerably less than the same work can be done with wood at the present prices of the latter article, Some of the Jacksonville people are already using gas as fuel and more expect to do so later on.
Medford Mail, April 17, 1903, page 3

    A complete system of pipe lines which will afford residences and business offices with gas for heating and cooking has been promised Medford by the new Southern Oregon Gas Company, and prospects of such a system are already materializing. Over $30,000 has already been expended in a comparatively recent period for development at the gas plant near Voorhies Crossing near this city.
    Medford gas is made from fuel oil, purified by what is known as oxide purification. which removes all traces of sulfur. It is then compressed to a high pressure and distributed to the consumer through over 53 miles of mains. Few of the consumers ever think of the men who toil night and day every day of the year in these plants working in extremely high temperatures. Their one thought and purpose is to keep the gas from going out. In fact the slogan, "The gas must not go out" keeps them on the job in all weather and at all hours.
    Few people, in walking through Medford streets, realize the extent of the system of hidden pipes beneath their feet, which carry the valuable gas from the plant to the consumer, giving them constant, efficient fuel for cooking and heating.
    Complete new management of the old Oregon Gas and Electric Company in the persons of Thomas D. Petch, vice president and general manager, and N. E. Bohall, general superintendent and engineer has made the newly organized Southern Oregon Gas Company one of the most progressive of Medford business firms. Both Petch and Bohall are well known in this city, having lived here several years. They are sparing no resources or energy in putting over this gas campaign in real style. Already many local firms are installing gas for heat, in addition to many residences. These firms include the Vanity Shop, the Bootery, Heath's Drug Store, Crowson's, the Community Hospital, Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Co., the Fair Grounds Pavilion, the Big Pines Lumber Co., and Palmer's Piano House.
    Those in charge of the Southern Oregon Gas Company are encouraged over the hearty response accorded the efforts to supply gas on a large scale in Medford.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 11, 1922, page 7

Last revised July 19, 2021