19th and Hamilton Streets

An I-T-E circuit breaker made by Cutter as seen in a 1902 catalog.

Photo from the 1920's of the Baldwin plant that would become a homeless shelter in 1931, then a warehouse, then the I-T-E factory.

I believe the corner in the foreground is the northwest corner of the plant, making this view southeasterly looking at 19th and Hamilton Streets.

In 1891, coincidentally the same year as the birth of Acme Markets, one Henry Cutter began making circuit breakers in a private residence at 27 South 11th Street. Older glass-enclosed fuses contain a strip of metal that melts and breaks the circuit, protecting against electrical fires when the current is too high for that circuit. Cutter made mechanical circuit breakers to supersede the fuse. A current surge would mechanically pop a knife switch which opened the circuit. His company was eventually named I-T-E, derived from the term "inverse time element," which describes the mechanism of action in that the higher the current surge, the shorter the time interval to break the circuit. These types of mechanical circuit breakers, with smaller components, are in use today. For a witty I-T-E marketing booklet from 1915, see here.

He moved westward to 1112 Sansom Street, then to the northeast corner of 19th and Hamilton Streets as noted a few images ago. By 1951, a portion of the building at the future Tivoli site was being used by the I-T-E Circuit Breaker Company. 

I-T-E owned a good amount of real estate in the neighborhood by 1971, and was one of the five partners in the Franklin Town Development Corporation, as discussed here. I-T-E is now part of Asea Brown Boveri.

Matthias Baldwin Park 

423 N 19th St 

Philadelphia, PA 19130

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