Friday, June 6, 2014

Southern Public Utilities Company (updated)

       I came across this group of images of the "Southern Public Utilities Company." No captions or dates but I'm guessing photos were taken in the 1930s. Did Duke Energy originate from this company? I'd love to know more.

Update #1:  David  Scanzoni of Duke Energy supplied this brief history: 
'Catawba Manufacturing and Electric Power Company is a predecessor company of Southern Power Company. Southern Power Company merged into what was then called Duke Power Company in 1927. A separate company with a similar name – Southern Public Utilities Company – merged into Duke Power Company in 1935.'  

(there's another Update below)

'Two biggest things in town. This elephant and low prices on Kelvinators. 
Southern Public Utility Co.'

Look at the electric bolts on their uniforms!

A generator?


Clayton and Selwyn Hotels in background.
(Makes me want to sing 'Wichita Lineman' by Glen Campbell.)

Possibly my favorite photo of all time. Second Prize for Baking is a vacuum. 
First Prize is an electric range!


Update #2: Twitter follower @downhillskater sent this photo of a 'Cozy Glow' heater he owns from that era. Now the ad above makes sense --- you can see three of them in the window display!
'Father likes the cozy glow because they stand the test. 
Mother likes the cozy glow because they are the best.' (I think) 

Appliance showroom!

Sign says something about 'An electric range for all mothers' but I can't make out the rest. 
I love the barefoot children.


Susan Bulloch said...

Duke was indeed called Southern Public - there used to be power poles around town that had the SP stamp burned into them. Duke has its own archivist and tons of pictures like these. Not sure who the archivist is now, but he/she shouldn't be too hard to track down

Maria David said...

Many tx, Susan! Duke's Communication man has promised to provide some details tomorrow. I'll post what I learn.

Herb Gillis said...

I do know that Duke Power originated as Catawba Electric. That was a company started by the Wylie brothers by building a hydroelectric dam on the Catawba river. ( hence, Lake Wylie )
James Duke was a patient of Dr. Gil Wylie, a prominent physician in New York city, and one of the brothers. He got Mr. Duke to invest in their fledgling company, and it later took the Duke name.
I actually live in the home in Chester where the Wylie brothers were born and raised.
Herb Gillis - Chester, SC

Maria David said...

Herb - I think I saw 'Catawba Electric' among these photos, tx! I'll take a look. Appreciate your msg. - M

Anonymous said...

Southern Public Utilities was a subsidiary of Duke Power. They sold appliances and marketed electricity around the region early on. They also ran the streetcars in Charlotte.