A Field Guide to New York City Manhole Covers

Brooklyn Edison Company

cover image

1919 to 1944

The Brooklyn Edison Co was formed in 1919 by a merger of the Edison Electric Illuminating Co. of Brooklyn and the Kings County Electric and Power Co. Although it was largely owned by the Consolidated Gas Company of New York, it maintained an independent identity until it was finally joined with most of the other electric companies in the city to for Consolidated Edison in 1944. While the EEI of Brooklyn covers were generally square or rectangular, the new Brooklyn Edison company started to use round covers with this distinctive design after the 1919 merger.


The distinctive design of spokes, with three raised rings forming 24 coffered sections in the outer ring, has its origins with the original Edison Electrical Illumination Co of New York (see below.) But the addition of the raised circles many with vents may have started with Brooklyn Edison, although there are some identical "Edison" covers seen in Manhattan. We can only speculate if the paired circles in the second ring were meant to evoke the typical DC sockets of the period. The design itself is still being used (not by Con Edison!) and is described in catalogs as "Con Edison Style"


Electric distribution, mostly over distribution sites used for the conversion of high-tension AC to consumer accessible voltages. The many vents help to cool the transformers.


This cover is located on Plymouth St. between Bridge and Gold in Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn but this design (and close varients) can be found throughout the borough.

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Don Burmeister -- Photographs