Walter A. Graf, Staff Engineer
with the assistance of
Sidney H. Vought and Clarence E. Robson
The Budd Company,
Dedicated to the memory of
NOTES from ADAM LEVINE
Historical Consultant, Philadelphia Water Department
THE TEXT: This comprehensive compilation. of the
water works pumping engines used in
THE IMAGES: In reproducing the many “figures” in the volume, I have attached identical images from the PWD collection or from other online sources in the public domain. I reproduced Graf’s annotations on several diagrams, and reproduced his numbered map of station locations using a different map as the background. Unfortunately, I was unable to find replacements for some of the illustrations, and because of HSP’s strict rights and reproduction policy, those have been left out of this online version. The chart of pumping engines that serves as both an appendix and a summary of the volume was scanned from a blueprint copy in the Graff Collection at the Franklin Institute (which once had a duplicate of the entire volume, but no longer does). I have also transcribed the chart into a spreadsheet, in which the information is easier to read if not as graphically interesting.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page numbers, referring to page in text version, are irrelevant in this online version.
Fairmount Steam Works (1815)
Fairmount Water Powered Water Works (1822)
Fairmount Water Turbine Wheels (1851)
Water Powered Works Expansion
Twenty-fourth Ward (1855)
The Chestnut Hill Works (1859)
Roxborough Works (1869)
Frankford Pumping Station (1877)
Lardner's Point Pumping Station (1902)
Queen Lane Water Works (1894)
Torresdale Water Works (1907)
High Pressure Fire Service Stations (1902)
Facsimile of Latrobe Report of December 29, 1798
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Page numbers refer to pagination of original volume. See links for images.
Map showing works and station locations [PDF]
(The numbers on the map correspond to chapter numbers in Table of Contents)
Benjamin Franklin. His will contemplated a water works for
Benjamin Henry Latrobe, First Chief Engineer, 1799-1803.
Chiefs of the Water Bureau, 1803-1930
The Water Works at
Plan and Profile of
Nicholas J. Roosevelt, Builder of the First Pumping Engines.
Section Through the Engine House and Pumping Engine of the
The Wooden Steam Boiler Used at the
The Cast Iron Boiler Used at the
The Cast Iron Boiler Used at the
View of the Fairmount Water Wheels Works, 1812.
Oliver Evans High Pressure Steam Engine and Boiler.
Plan and Section of Water Wheel and Pump.
Elevation and Plan of Fairmount Water Works of 1851.
Pictorial Section of Jonval Turbine Wheel and Flume.
Line Section Through Jonval Turbine.
Plan of Fairmount Water Works Showing Arrangement of Turbine Installation, 1874.
Fairmount Water Works from Below the Dam, 1871.
Plan and Section of New Dam Built at Fairmount, 1872.
Engines Nos. 1 and 2 of the
Engine No. 4 of the
Cornish Engine for
Double Cylinder Engine with Bucket and Plunger Pumps, Works, 1870.
Compound Engine for
Raising the Standpipe for the
Engine No. 1,
Engine No. 2,
Plan of Fairhill Reservoirs.
First Pumping Station for
Plan of the Chestnut Hill Pumping Station.
Tower of the Chestnut Hill Water Works.
Interior View of
Drawing showing the General Arrangement of the Snow Pumps.
Interior of the Shawmont Pumping Station, July 1919.
Interior of the Roxborough High Service Station, July 1919.
Interior of the Shawmont Pumping Station, October, 1927.
View of the First
George's Hill Pumping Station, 1900.
George's Hill Pumping Station,
Holly Horizontal Duplex Engines,
DeLaval 20 million Gallon Turbo-Centrifugal Pumps, Belmont Station 1915.
Fairbanks -Morse 60 million Gallon Electro-Centrifugal Pumps, Westinghouse Motors, 1930.
Southwark Vertical Compound Engine, 1897.
Interior of the Wentz Farm Pumping Station, Showing the Kerr-D'Olier Turbo-Centrifugal Units Installed in 1916 and the Holly Engine Installed in 1900.
Interior Lardner’s Point Station.
Holly Vertical Triple Expansion Engine, Lardner's Point, 1905
Exterior of the
Queen Lane Pumping Engines, 1896.
Torresdale Pumping Station, Interior, 1907.
The Electrified Torresdale Station, 1930.
NOTE on LIQUID VOLUMES
During the early years of the 19th century the ale gallon of 282 cubic inches was generally used, and it was used in a number of the original sources from which the gallon figures in this work were derived. To avoid confusion, conversion to the
The colony William Penn planned and named Philadelphia was established in America in a locality where, according to a letter which Penn addressed from Philadelphia to the Free Society of Traders in London on the 16th day of August, 1683: “The waters are generally good, for the Rivers and Brooks have mostly gravel and stoney bottoms and in number hardly credible.” Over a century went by, however, before any of these once fine sources of excellent water were utilized to supply the needs of the growing city. The first concrete plan of which we find any record was proposed by Benjamin Franklin.
During the later years of the 18th
“And having considered that the covering of the ground plot of the city with buildings and pavements, which carry off most of the rain, and prevent its soaking into the earth, and renewing and purifying the springs, hence the water of the wells must gradually grow worse and in time be unfit for use as I find has happened in all old cities. I recommend that at the end of the first 100 years, if not done before, the corporation of the city employ a part of the £100,000 in bringing by pipes, the water of the Wissahickon Creek into the town, so as to supply the inhabitants, which I apprehend may be done without difficulty, the level of that creek being much above that of the city and may be made higher by a dam.”
At the time
The second American water works system
for public supply was constructed at
Between 1761 and 1800, 14 water works
for public water supply were built in various parts of the
1798 or 1799
In 1797, seven years after
The committee employed Benjamin Henry Latrobe, a
French architect and engineer, who came to
Latrobe examined the Schuylkill and
Franklin's proposal to conduct the
waters of the Wissahickon Creek to the city did not meet favor in Mr. Latrobe's
views as he regarded the stream as insufficient, yielding but little water and
being frozen at times almost to the bottom. It is strange that so talented a
man should have overlooked
As recited above there were at this time (1798) public water supply systems in several other cities of the country, and some of them used water wheels for power. Possibly Latrobe was prejudiced, for he had seen fires raging in London and Versailles, when the water wheels were stopped by the slack tides or other lack of water flow. It is probable also that the steam engine, which was in its infancy at this time, absorbed Latrobe's attention.
The Schuylkill project involved a steam engine to be erected at the Schuylkill end of Chestnut Street, for pumping water from river level into an underground tunnel six feet in diameter through which it would run by gravity to Centre Square, and a second steam pumping engine at the Square for raising the water from the tunnel into a reservoir elevated 40 feet above the ground. The estimated cost was $75,000.
This plan was adopted by Councils in
1799. Councils were probably influenced more by the novelty of it than by its
In 1822 it was decided steam power was
too expensive, and water power was substituted. Breast wheels were used.
Although water power was cheaper, there were times during occasional droughts
when the flow in the
When Frederick Graff, Sr. died in
April 1847, his son, Frederick
Graff, Jr., succeeded him. He continued until 1856. During his regime
To meet the situation the
Simultaneously with the development of the steam engine and its application to pumping water, there was improvement in the efficiency of water power turbines. The Jonval water turbine was an outstanding such improvement. In 1852 one was installed at Fairmount. More were added as they were improved, and ultimately the breast wheels were entirely supplanted by Jonval turbines. For many years the Fairmount station was an efficient and economical water supply plant. In 1876 the water works at Fairmount powered by its battery of Jonval turbines was an attraction of the Centennial Exposition, which visitors came miles to see.
From 1856 to 1858 Samuel Ogdin was Chief of the Water Bureau. He was followed by H. P. M. Birkinbine who served from 1858 to 1862, and again from 1864 until 1867. During the intervening period of 1862 to 1864, Isaac Cassin was in charge. In 1867 we find Frederick Graff, Jr., returned to office for a second term, and he served until 1873. In 1859, during Birkinbine's term, the Chestnut Hill works was established. During the term of Frederick Graff, Jr., which followed, the Roxborough or Shawmont Station and the Belmont Station were built. These two stations played a prominent part in the development of water supply efficiency for the city.
Dr. William H. McFadden took
office in 1873 and served until 1883. Under his direction the Frankford-Wentz
Farm Station was constructed. This source in later years became the Lardner's
Point pumping station and Lardner's Point, allied with the extensive filtration
plant at Torresdale, at the present time (1930) is a very important unit in the
system supplying wholesome water to the greater portion of the city of
Following Dr. McFadden came William Ludlow (1883 to 1886),
then John L. Ogden (1886 to
Both the author and The Budd Company are deeply indebted to the Philadelphia Water Works staff of 1930 and many other of the city's public officials, and to numerous of Philadelphia's institutions and industries and the members of their personnel—for the aid and information which enabled the author to effect this compilation. No originality is claimed for this work except for the method of presentation. There follows under the heading of Acknowledgments a list of all sources of aid and information of which the author has a record, and he trusts that this list is complete. Our sincere thanks are extended to each one named and as well to any whose name may possibly have been omitted.
Special thanks are due Mr. C. Thomas Hayes, Chief of the Water Bureau, during the period information was being gathered and to his staff. It was their interest and splendid cooperation which made possible the compilation of facts and figures relating to the history of the Bureau as recorded on the graphic chart of Appendix C, which so vividly portrays the story of the growth of the Philadelphia Water Works. Much of the substance of the text was taken from the annual reports of the Bureau of Water, which are on file in the offices of the Bureau and in the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Commencing with the first of the
city's water works, the Centre Square Works which was engineered by Latrobe in
1801, a chapter is devoted to each one of
WALTER A. GRAF
- 1931 -
For authorities, aid, information and illustrations:
Alexander Murdoch, Director of Public Works
The Bureau of Water,
especially the following of its officials and personnel:
C. Thomas Hayes, Chief of the Bureau
S. M. Van Loan, Deputy Chief of the Bureau
Samuel H. Thompson, General Superintendent of Pumping Station
Albert Tolsom, General Superintendent of Filter Plants
John M. Broginni, Chief Mechanical Engineer
George H. Schaut, Chief Chemist of the Bureau
E. G. Thuring, Chief Draftsman of the Bureau
George Seddon, Superintendent of the High Pressure Fire Service
Chief Engineers of Pumping Stations
Edward P. Harman, Lardner's Point
Charles B. Drexler, Torresdale
George G. Bradell, Belmont
Walter Diamond, Shawmont
Superintendents of Filter Plants
Josephs. V. Siddons, Torresdale
Henry Welsfords, Belmont
William Thwaite, Roxborough
The Free Library of
The Historical Society
The Franklin Institute
R. C. Ballinger
Southwark Foundry and Machine Company
For permission to photograph several exhibits of the Germantown Historical Society relating to the first Germantown Water Works System:
For drawings and data on the Jonval turbine:
Lewis B. Moody, Professor of Hydraulic Engineering Princeton University and Consulting Engineer Cramp-Morris Industrials Co., Philadelphia, Pa.
For print of drawing
of the DeLaval Machine No. 68427,
installed in the Shawmont Pumping Station:
Mr. L. Frick,
- 1950 -
For editing, typing, proof reading, and photographic copying, respectively:
John P. Tarbox, Doris F. Obschleger, Marion C. Burr, Henry W. Gift
The Budd Company,
For photo mountings and binding:
William Fell Company
With the approval of Councils and
encouraged by the enthusiasm of the citizenry of
Actual work on the water works was begun in 1799 according to plans designed by Latrobe and described by Frederick Graff in one of his annual reports to the Watering Committee:
“A Basin was formed on the Schuylkill River at the foot of Chestnut Street extending from low water mark, 200 feet eastwardly, and 84 feet wide, provided with a set of tide lock gates. The bottom of this basin was three feet below low water mark; from this the water flowed through a sluice to a second basin or rather an open canal, 40 feet wide, and 160 feet long; the sides of both these basins were inclined, paved and coped with marble; at the head of the canal was a sluice gate set in marble, which admitted the water into a subterraneous tunnel of oval form, six feet in its greater diameter, and 300 feet long, cut nearly its whole distance through solid rock, with its bottom placed level with low water, and emptying into a well in which was placed the pump of the lower or Schuylkill engine. This shaft or well was 39 feet deep and 10 feet in diameter, in it was placed the pump, the bottom chamber being on a level with low water, by which the water was raised into a brick tunnel six feet in diameter and 3,144 feet in length, which passed up Chestnut Street to Broad and then north on Broad Street to the Centre Square Station House.” (FIGURE 5)
The site selected for the Centre
Square Station or Upper Pump House was at the intersection of Broad and Market
Streets, on the ground now occupied by the City Hall (1931). Keeping in mind
that Latrobe was a successful architect as well as an eminent engineer, it is
easy to understand why the building was beautifully designed, in harmony with
the best architecture of the time. White marble was used for the exterior, and
in its setting in the center of the public square or park surrounded by
attractive shrubbery and trees, it had the appearance of a memorial edifice.
The engine and pump house at the Schuylkill end of Chestnut Street became known as the Schuylkill Engine House, and was built according to a most substantial and solid design. This structure was 66 feet long and 54 feet wide, large enough to house two sets of engines and pumps, but only one set was ever installed.
The real problem was to find a
contractor who could build a satisfactory steam engine that would fulfill the
requirements. At this time (1799) there were only three known steam engines of
any considerable size in the
The steam engine in
Previous to 1799 no municipality in
The steam engine at the Schuyler
Copper Mines in
Difficulty was encountered in raising money by loans for the erection of the works, and several times the committee in charge was obliged to discount its joint individual notes in order to raise funds to carry on the work. The subscribers to the water loan were given a supply of water without tax for a period of three years from January 1801.
The pump was a double acting force type and had to be lined with sheet copper before it could be made air tight. Until 1810 it was operated without an air chamber. Then one was added but found to be useless until lined with sheet lead.
This engine pumped the water into two
wooden tanks in the domed top of the building, 50 feet above the bottom of the
brick tunnel which led from the
The water from the wooden tanks was
conducted into a cast iron distributing chest, which diverted it into two bored
log water mains, one of six inch inside diameter and the other of 4½ inch. The six
inch main was laid in High Street (now known as
The steam cylinder of the engine in the Schuylkill Engine House was 40 inches in diameter with a 72-inch stroke; the pump attached to it was 17½ inches in diameter, also built with a stroke of 72 inches. This engine ran 16 revolutions per minute, and in a test pumped 1,798,963 gallons of water in 24 hours, with a fuel consumption of 70 bushels of bituminous coal.
The first steam engines of the piston
type did not make continuous use of the “pushing power” of steam. The top of
the piston was always open to the atmosphere (hence the name “atmospheric
engine”) while the bottom of the piston was alternately subjected to steam at
about atmospheric pressure, thereby elevating the piston, and to a partial
vacuum formed by the introduction of cool water directly into the to “lift off”
the back pressure, thereby causing the piston to be depressed by atmospheric
pressure. This engine might have been called a vacuum engine. About 1781 the
double acting engine made its appearance. In this engine the steam under
pressure was applied alternately at each end of the cylinder and exerted energy
on each side of the piston. The
FIGURE 7 is a drawing of
The condenser (F) was an air-tight vessel of cylindrical shape immersed in cold water in a wooden cold water well (G). Steam discharged from the cylinder (A) into the condenser was liquefied by the action of the cold water. The water from the condenser (and any steam in the well which remained uncondensed) was drawn from the condenser by the air pump (H) which was arranged alongside and then discharged into the hot well (J) of the condenser, where the water was allowed to cool and afterward enter the cold well. The air pump received its motion by a rod connection to the beam (D). The air pump piston upon its upward stroke opened valve (8) and closed valves (6) and (7) forcing surplus water, air and a small portion of uncondensed steam through valve (5). Valves (5) and (8) were closed on the downward stroke of the piston, while valve (6) was opened and surplus from the condenser was discharged through valve (7).
Rocked about its pivot (L) by the rise and fall of the piston (B) and piston rod (C) connected to its one end, beam (D) operated the water pump and balance wheel (O) from its opposite end, connecting with piston rod (Q) and piston (S) by link (M) and with balance wheel (O) by link (N). When the pump was on its down stroke as illustrated by the positions of its valves in FIGURE 7, valves (1) and (4) were closed while valves (2) and (3) were open. The pump therefore took in water above its piston (S) and delivered the water below to the pipe (v). On the up stroke valves (2) and (3) were closed and valves (1) and (4) opened, and the pump then took in water below the piston and delivered to pipe (V) the water taken in above the Piston on the previous stroke. Air chamber (R) communicating with pipe (V) provided a cushion for the pulsations set up in the water by the pump's reciprocation.
The boilers in both the
The fire box was placed inside the boiler and was made of wrought iron plates with vertical flues and horizontal connectors of cast iron. The fire box was 150 inches long, six feet wide and 22 inches deep. The vertical [PAGE 23] flues were eight in number, six of 15 inches diameter and two of 12 inches diameter. Through these flues the water circulated while the fire acted around them and passed up an oval flue located above the fire box and from the back of the boiler to near the front and then returned again to the back when it entered the chimney.
At this time no wrought iron could be obtained in sheets larger than 15 × 36 inches, when it was squared, and squaring had to be done by the purchaser. All of the imperfect castings were patched by gun borings, cement and hard solder. The wrought iron fire box and the cast-iron flues were not satisfactory on account of the leakage caused by the unequal contraction and expansion of the two different metals, so eventually wrought iron flues were put in.
The low heat conducting power of the wooden
construction of these boilers was supposed to be of great advantage, but great
difficulty was experienced in keeping them steam tight. Consequently a new
cast-iron boiler was constructed and installed in the
The new boiler in the
According to the legend on the drawings prepared by Frederick Graff, Jr. (FIGURE 7) the Water Works commenced operation January 21, 1801. According to the 1860 report of the Water Bureau by Mr. Henry P. M. Birkinbine (Page 13 of the report) January 27, 1801 was the starting date.
The fuel consumption and its cost was very high. So great were the amounts of wood and bituminous coal used that fears were entertained a shortage of supply and an increase of price would result. Wood cost $4.50 a cord and coal $0.33 a bushel.
of the major engine troubles are of interesting note. In 1805 the wooden lever
beam of the
After wrestling with these difficulties
for a period the City Councils had made a fresh survey of water sources, hoping
to evolve a more adequate and efficient water works system. The subject was submitted
to John Davis and Frederick Graff (who succeeded
Notwithstanding the many shortcomings
It does not appear that any of the City's
engineers of this early period (Latrobe, Davis or Graff) realized the full potentialities
of Franklin's plan of damming up the Wissahickon and supplying the City by gravity
through pipes, as did the Water Commission of Experts in 1875 (See Preface). Had
such a plan been adopted, there would have been no such troubles as beset the operation
of Latrobe's steam pump system, the water supply would have been adequate to
meet the demands of the growing city for many years, and possibly much money
could have been saved in the long run. However
Fairmount Steam Works
The inefficiency and small capacity of
the engines and pumps rendered the
A substantial stone building was erected
at the foot of Fairmount Hill. The building housed a Boulton and Watt steam engine,
of 44-inch cylinder and 72-inch stroke, operating a vertical double acting pump
of 20 inches diameter and 72 inch stroke, raising water through a 16-inch iron
main, 239 feet long into a reservoir, 102 feet above low water in the
This Boulton and Watt engine, a low
pressure condensing engine, was somewhat similar in type and design to the
engines of the
This engine was equipped with a boiler having a cast-iron case and vertical flues or heaters of wrought iron. Upon trial this station pumped approximately 2,116,000 gallons in 24 hours on 2½ to four pounds steam pressure with a fuel consumption of seven cords of wood.
The reservoir, completed in 1815, was
located upon Fairmount hill on the east side of the engine house within a few
hundred feet of the pumps, and had a capacity of approximately 4.8 million gallons.
The water was conducted from it to the distributing chest at Centre Square by
six lines of hollow wooden logs, five of six inches inside diameter and one of 4½
inches inside diameter. These lines were laid along the bed of the old
Previous to the erection of the water works pumping station at Fairmount, a contract had been made by the Watering Committee with Oliver Evans for a high pressure steam engine. Evans had been studying the possibilities of using high pressure for a long time. During 1799 or 1800, he began constructing a steam carriage and finding his steam engine differed in form, as well as in principle, from those in use at that time, he secured patents and applied it to the operation of mills. This was probably the first steam engine ever constructed on the high pressure principle, and the merit of the invention seems to belong to Evans.
The steam cylinder of the engine built by Mr. Evans for the Philadelphia Water Works was 20 inches in diameter with a 60-inch stroke. It had rotating steam valves, worked by bevel gear wheels, driven from the main shaft; the beam was made of wood and was suspended at one end upon vibrating standards; the piston rod was attached to the other end of the beam. The engine is depicted in FIGURE 12. The boilers were probably of wrought iron construction, 24 feet long, 30 inches in diameter and four in number, in which steam was at time raised to 220 pounds to the square inch. Such high pressure caused two explosions.
On May 15, 1817 this engine was submitted to a test. In a run of 24 hours at 22 revolutions per minute, under a steam pressure of 194 pounds to the square inch, 13 cords of oak wood were consumed, and 3,750,000 gallons of water pumped into the reservoir. On December 15, 1817 this engine started regular operation.
In the year 1818 the length of all the
wooden pipes in use was approximately 32 miles. Their continued bursting gave
the Water Department much concern and they seriously considered using cast-iron
pipe. An experiment with iron pipe in
It was estimated in 1815 that up to
the date of completion of the Fairmount Station,
The population of the city was
constantly growing and there was a constant increase in the difficulty and
expense of supplying a sufficient quantity of water with the machinery then in
use. This state of affairs kept the City Councils constantly on the alert for a
cheaper and more copious supply of water. The estimated cost of running the
Oliver Evans engine, pumping an average of 2.3 million gallons per day, totaled
$30,858.75 per year or $36.60 per million gallons pumped into the reservoir.
This high cost encouraged the thought of deriving water power from the
As early as 1807 deriving water power
Water Powered Water Works
The city's rapid growth and the limited efficiency of the water works machinery then (1819) in use, combined with the high cost of using steam power to pump the city's water supply, led Councils after a thorough study and examination of the subject to turn to water wheels for power. In 1823 the Fairmount steam engines were displaced by breast wheels, and it was then thought that steam would never be used again for this purpose.
(The Water Bureau records give January 14, 1822 as the date of termination of the service of the steam engines at Fairmount Works, but others of the Bureau's records indicate an error in the entry of the year, that the year must have been 1823 and not 1822. As recited in this chapter the dam itself was completed July 25, 1821, the first water wheel was started operating July 1, 1822, almost a year later, it began regular pumping service October 25, 1822, and the second and third wheels went into service soon after that date. All of this points to January 14, 1823 as the date of termination of the service at this station for there was no other station serving the city at that time.)
To assume January 14, 1822 to be the correct date of termination of the service of the steam engines would require that the July 1, 1822 and the October 25, 1822 dates of starting and placing in service of the first water wheel be taken as 1821 dates, and thus present two errors for correction in lieu of one. However the fact that the dam was not completed until July 25, 1821 would seem to preclude any such assumption, for it is extremely unlikely that a wheel would be started (July 1, 1821) before the dam was complete.
use of water power had received some attention as early as 1807 as shown by the
In 1815 the state granted the
Schuylkill Navigation Company a charter which carried the right to improve the
navigation of the
Several other plans and estimates were
submitted but that of Mr. Cooley was accepted and on April 8, 1819 a contract
was entered into with him for the construction of the dam, locks, head race, etc.,
for the sum of $150,000. Mr. Cooley carried out his contract with the utmost integrity.
Work was commenced
Soon after this date and a little before the work was entirely finished, Mr. Cooley's health failed by reason of the close application and exposure attending his labors, and he found it necessary to return to his home where disease soon resulted in his death. The following tribute to his memory is recorded in the report of the Watering Committee of 1823 referring to the Fairmount Water Powered Works:
“This work is a monument to his
memory, and he had nearly completed it when he was taken off by disease,
supposed to have been contracted by his exposure to the sun and night air, at
the closing part of his work. His talents, his integrity, and his general
worth, will long be held in grateful remembrance by the citizens of
At the point where the Fairmount dam was constructed, the river bed was about 900 feet in width, one-quarter of which, on the eastern side, was supposed to be rock covered with approximately 11 feet of mud, and the remainder shoal rock. The greatest depth at high water was 30 feet and it gradually shoaled to the western shore where the rock was bared at low water. The river, whose average rise and fall at that time was six feet, was subject to sudden and violent freshets.
Mr. Cooley, in forming his foundations on the exposed bed rock, sank cribs 50 feet long by 17 or 18 feet wide formed of logs. These cribs were weighted down with stone and securely fastened to each other above low water. The upstream side was planked from the bottom to the top and the space immediately above was filled with earth, small stones, and other materials, to prevent leakage.
Where mud was found covering the
Connecting the mound dam and the over-fall, a stone pier was built in 28 feet of water. This supported the end of the mound and protected it from injury by ice or water. The contraction of the river's width by the mound dam, gave Mr. Cooley the idea of forming the dam in a diagonal line running up stream, and when nearly across, to run the rest of the distance at a right angle to the western shore, so as to join the head pier of the guard-lock, on the western side, and by this means create a large over-fall and abate the rise above the dam, in cases of freshets. The whole length of the over-fall was 1,204 feet. The mound dam was 270 feet and the head arches leading into the forebay 104 feet, making the whole over all length of the dam, including the western pier, about 1,600 feet. The water was backed up the river for a distance of about six miles.
On the west side of the river a head pier was erected with guard locks from which a canal extended down stream 569 feet to two chamber locks. On the east side of the river the entire bank was solid rock. It was necessary to excavate the rock to a width of 140 feet, in order to form a race and site for the mill houses which ran parallel with the river.
The length of the mill race excavation was 419 feet. At the upper part of the mill race the three head arches were erected and extended from the east end of the mound dam to the rock of the bank thus practically forming a continuation of the dam. The mill houses were erected on the west or river side of the excavation thereby forming the west side of the race, while on the land, or east side, there was solid rock rising perpendicularly to a height of 70 to 80 feet. The south end of wall of the race was also solid rock and the mill houses being built on rock gave the entire works a secure and most substantial setting.
The mill race was about 90 feet in width, the water entered through the head arches, which allowed a passage of water 68 feet in breadth and six feet in depth. The race was suitably excavated below the over-fall of the dam, thereby allowing for a continual passage of 408 square feet of water. The head arches were at the north end of the race, with the mill buildings on the west. The water passed therefore from the race to the wheels, westwardly and was discharged into the river below the dam. At the south end of the mill buildings a waste gate was installed eight feet wide by which, when the upper gates were closed, the water could drawn from the race.
The mill buildings were built with stone in harmony with the surroundings. They were 238 feet long and 56 feet wide. The lower section was divided into 12 compartments, four of which were intended to house eight double-acting pumps. In the other eight compartments the forebays were to be located leading to the water wheels. The pump and forebay chambers were arched with brick.
Concerning these works we find much favorable comment and the records of the Water Department show the following:
“In the erection of the mill buildings, Mr. John Moore was employed as the mason; and the city is much indebted to his care and skill, not. only for the excellence of the work in appearance, but for its substantial properties it being ascertained that in the whole extent of the foundation along the race, and under a six feet head of water, there was not a single leak.
“Mr. Frederick Erdman, the carpenter, also deserves particular notice for his part in the work, which was most faithfully done, and to the committee's entire satisfaction.
“For the calculation of the water power of the wheels, and a variety of valuable information on other matters connected with the work, the committee was indebted to Mr. Thomas Oaks, a gentleman of science and practical knowledge, who was at that time employed as engineer of the Schuylkill Navigation Company.
“The water wheels being sunk below the usual line of high water, it might be supposed that they would be obliged to stop operations at that time; but this seldom happened except in the spring tides, at the full and change of the moon, which stopped them on an average, about 64 hours in a month, thereby curtailing the effective usefulness of this type of power nearly 10 percent, by this one cause alone.
“It was found that the efficiency of the wheels were very little affected until the back water was about 16 inches on the same, but when the back water depth reached 24 inches above the lower edges of the wheels their use was prevented entirely.”
“The excellence of the work on the wheels and gates, with the whole arrangement of the mill works does the highest credit to Mr. Drury Bromley, whose attention had been most assiduous, and whose skill was of the highest caliber.”
This early installation of breast wheels appears in a drawing of 1851, FIGURE 14, when some of them were still in use. The pumps were built by Rush and Muhlenberg according to the designs of Frederick Graff. As appears in FIGURE 13 they were worked by a crank on the water wheel attached to a pitman connected with the piston at the ends of the slides. They were fed under a natural head of water, from the forebay of the water wheel and were double acting forcing pumps connected to an iron main, 16 inches in diameter, which was carried along the bottom of the race to the rock at the foot of Fairmount, and then up the bank into the reservoir. At the end of the pipe there was a stop valve which was closed whenever necessary.
The wheels as originally constructed were of the type known as the breast pattern. The breast wheel obtains its power by the action of the weight of the water on the paddles and is a modification of the undershot wheel. With the breast wheel the water is admitted to the paddles at a considerable height and retained during the descent by a casing or breast. The efficiency of this type wheel commonly varies from 50 to 80 percent depending upon its size and construction, but it has a higher efficiency than the undershot wheel. Originally three wheels were constructed of wood and they constituted the first water power units installed immediately after completion of the mill buildings.
The first wheel, which started operating July 1, 1822, was 15 feet in diameter, 15 feet wide and operated at 14 revolutions per minute, driving a double acting force pump, 16 inches in diameter with a 54-inch stroke. This pump raised 1,836,168 gallons in 24 hours, without any allowance for shutdowns due to tidal conditions or repairs or adjustments.
The second and third wheels were started in operation soon after the first one and were 16 feet in diameter by 15 feet in width, and operated at 13 revolutions per minute, each driving a double acting force pump, 16 inches in diameter with a 60-inch stroke. Each of these pumps could raise 1,894,464 gallons in 24 hours of continuous operation. These pumps gave very efficient service and were in constant use for 24 years before being replaced by new units in July 1846.
On November 10, 1827 the fourth wheel was put into service. This wheel was constructed of cast iron with wooden buckets and weighed 22 tons. It was 18 feet in diameter, 15 feet wide, operating at 11 revolutions per minute and driving a double acting force pump 16 inches in diameter with a 72-inch stroke. This pump raised 1,922,976 gallons in 24 hours continuous operation.
By April 5, 1832 the fifth wheel similar to the fourth wheel had been installed and began operation, thereby increasing the capacity of the pumping system by an additional 1,922,976 gallons of water per day.
November 5, 1834 the sixth wheel was put into service. It was 16 feet in diameter, 15 feet wide, and operated at 13 revolutions per minute, driving a double acting force pump, 16 inches diameter, with a 60-inch stroke, raising 1,894,464 gallons per day, excluding shut downs for tidal and other conditions. This wheel was the same size and had the same pumping capacity as the second and third wheels but was built with cast-iron frames and wooden buckets similar to the fourth and fifth wheels.
On August 24, 1843 two more breast wheels, the seventh and eighth, were added to the station. These wheels were 18 feet diameter, 15 feet wide, and operated at 11 revolutions per minute, each driving double acting force pumps 16 inches in diameter with a 72-inch stroke and raising 1,922,976 gallons in 24 hours.
The fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and
eighth wheels all had cast-iron shafts and worked under one foot head and 7½ foot
fall when the dam was full and the tide low. The pumps driven by the seventh
and eighth wheels were built by the Levi Morris Company of
By this time the water powered water works had proven very successful from the standpoint of adequate supply and economy, and the fame of its mechanical efficiency spread throughout the land. Thomas Ewbank, in his Descriptive and Historical Account of Hydraulic and other Machines for Raising Water Ancient and Modern, says:
“We took the opportunity while at
The total capacity of the Fairmount
works with all of the eight wheels and pumps working was 633,811 gallons per
hour. For more than 20 years the Fairmount dam continued in constant service and
remained as originally constructed, except for minor repairs and replacements,
thereby proving of greater durability than had been anticipated at the time of
its construction. In 1842 the Watering Committee of the City of
Water Turbine Wheels
In 1802 there was born at St. Etienne
The water turbine, ('turbine' from the Latin word turbo, meaning a whipping top, spindle or reel) as invented by Fourneyron comprised a wheel (nowadays called a runner) revolving on a vertical shaft and having a peripheral series curved blades or vanes against all of which the water acts simultaneously as it rushes from all sides. The casing through which the water is delivered to the wheel is provided with guide blades, to give the water the direction best suited to attain efficiency. Water turbines are more efficient than breast wheels because they develop greater power from the same power flow. They are efficient at both the highest and the lowest falls of water.
Some years after Fourneyron achieved
his invention another Frenchman, Jonval, developed, enlarged and improved
designs of the Fourneyron turbine wheel, which he patented. Jonval, with
Messrs. Koechlins and Company, had a young student in their employ named Emile
Geyelin, whom they sent to the
The addition of this first water turbine to the Fairmount Water Works was an accomplishment of Frederick Graff, Jr., who succeeded his father as head of the Water Bureau in 1847, and continued until 1856. Under his father's direction Frederick Jr. had become a highly capable engineer, fully able to carry the responsibilities of the Water Bureau.
The runner of the Jonval turbine was none feet in outside diameter and provided with blades one-quarter inch thick, 13 inches wide and 10 inches deep, and its vertical shaft was nine inches in diameter. The guide casing was over 10 feet in outside diameter. Its guides were one-half-inch thick. Motion was communicated to the crankshaft of the pump through a pair of bevel and a pair of spur gears. The pump was of 16 inches diameter and 72 inches stroke and of the same construction as the pumps driven by the breast wheels. Its rated speed was about 12 double strokes per minute, and its capacity at that speed 87,408 gallons per hour or 2,097,792 gallons per day.
The space available in the Fairmount steam pumping station building was rather cramped and the new turbine was large. As a result the completion of its installation was considerably retarded because of the difficult and tedious methods that had to be employed in order to get the large castings into their proper positions. However, installation was finally completed and when tested both wheel and pump gave evidence of giving complete satisfaction.
The success of this wheel was considered very important, inasmuch as it indicated that further turbine wheel installations would probably so considerably increase the efficiency of the Fairmount water powered works as to render it unnecessary to resort to steam power for increased capacity. Steam power had been found to be more expensive than water power. It was computed that if turbine wheels were substituted for all the breast wheels to drive the existing pumps enough additional power could be had to raise an additional 4,166,281 gallons per day to the reservoir; and if the pumps then in use were replaced by larger ones, the additional gallonage would amount to 6 million gallons per day. The water from the pump reached the reservoir through the old main (433 feet long) which had been provided for the original driven pumps.
This first water turbine worked under a head and fall of six feet six inches at high tide, and 10 feet at low tide. An outstanding advantage over the breast wheel was that it could run constantly for 24 hours a day as the rise and fall of the tide has no effect on it.
Some idea of the details of construction of the Jonval Turbine may be had by reference to FIGURE 16, which presents a vertical section of the Geyelin design. The portion marked A is the so-called wheel or runner, B is the so-called fixed wheel or guide casing, and C the casing at large in which they are located. The 50 so-called blades or vanes D of the runner were equally spaced around its periphery and were bound around their outer edges by a wrought iron band.
The runner was keyed to the shaft F, and was turned off true on its upper face and outer edge and fitted to run freely under the guide casing and within the cylindrical lower part of main casing C. The guides or vanes E formed 17 chutes equally spaced around the periphery of the guide casing which latter in turn fitted closely against the conical sides of the upper part of main casing C. The wheel shaft F passed inwardly through the top plate of the fixed wheel and out through a bearing at the top of casing C.
The conical part of the main casing C in which the fixed wheel or guide casing rested, and the cylindrical part in which the movable wheel or runner turned, were finished by boring, and the under edge of the guide casing B, where it meets the rim of the runner, was faced off so that the runner could revolve nearly in contact with it.
Water from the flume entered the chamber G above the fixed wheel B, and passed into the chutes formed by the guides E and acted upon the blades D of the movable wheel. Guides E and blades D were curved to correct shapes and were oppositely inclined at such angles as to afford the most effective impact and pressure of the falling water on the runner B.
After the water had performed its work in the wheel, it escaped downwards through a draft tube which was a continuation of the casing C. This draft tube H was enlarged immediately below the wheel to give the escaping water an unobstructed flow, and its end was submerged in the tail water to make a draft column of the escaping water and so increase the power.
The runner of the Jonval turbine, in common with all such wheels where the draft tube is used, occupied a position intermediate the head water and the tail water. When the water is shut off at the head the wheel is freed of water and is in a convenient position for examination and repair. The guide casing B was not permanently fastened in the main casing C and so could be raised for removing obstructions or for repair. This feature in turn also permitted the runner A to be raised, whenever the step bearing or any of its parts needed repairing, thereby obviating the necessity of taking apart the main casing C. The main casing, gate, base plate, and wheel centers were made of cast iron. The shaft was of wrought iron.
Water Powered Works Expansion
1859 to 1861
The eight breast wheels and one water
turbine wheel in the Fairmount Water Works operated very successfully. However except
for about 10 days in each year a large amount of surplus water flowed over the
dam thus wasting water and water power while the city was constantly growing
and additional water supply became increasingly necessary as the years passed. During
1859 the water pumped by all the city's stations then in operation, namely Fairmount,
After considerable study it was
decided that the power of the Fairmount Works should be increased to take
advantage of the mean capacity of the
In addition to this there was the danger and difficulty that would attend the blasting of the rock upon which the old portion of the mill houses were built in order to procure a sufficient depth to utilize the entire volume of river water at low tide. The head arches through which the water from behind the dam entered the forebays would not allow free passage of a sufficient amount of water to furnish the proposed increase of power. These arches could not be enlarged without stopping the entire Fairmount Works. Therefore it was decided to erect an additional mill house on a portion of the site of the mound dam in which three additional water turbine wheels of the Jonval type could be installed. The first Jonval Turbine erected in 1851 had given continuous and excellent service. This additional capacity was expected to more than double the capacity of the old works and to save at least $20,000 a year in the operation of the Water Supply System by permitting some or all of the steam plants then used to remain idle during the season when the consumption of water was at its lowest, for during that same season the Schuylkill water available for power was most plentiful. This arrangement did not include stopping the Twenty-fourth Ward Works which was the only source of supply existing for the district west of the river.
Work on the additional unit was started in the summer of 1859. The unit was completed and set in operation in 1862. The unit is shown in plan in FIGURE 17, top left.
The new mill house was of substantial construction. Little wood was used. An elliptical wrought iron flume having a sectional area of 70 square feet conducted the water from the inlet at the head arches to each wheel. The wheels were much larger than the wheel of Fairmount's first Jonval wheel and embodied improvements which had been developed since the installation of the first one. They were rated at 125 horsepower each. Each wheel drove two pumps 18 inches in diameter with a 72 inch stroke. Power was transmitted from the turbine wheels to the pumps through bevel gears between the vertical shaft of the turbine and a horizontal countershaft, and through a pair of spur wheels between the countershaft and the crank shaft of the pumps. The pinions of both pairs of gears were of iron with the teeth accurately dressed while the mortice wheels were provided with hickory teeth. The crank pins of each pair of pumps were set at 90 degrees to each other. The mean rated capacity of all six pumps was 16 million gallons a day, with a maximum of 18 million gallons. The maximum was exceeded on August 21, 1866 when 21,380,300 gallons were pumped by the three new wheels and their six pumps.
The water from these new pumps was conveyed to a new standpipe 60 inches in diameter and 64 feet in height. It was built of wrought iron and enclosed in stone work. The old stand-pipe was connected with the new one by a 36-inch diameter pipe extended from the new stand-pipe seven feet below its top, and this connecting pipe was enclosed with stone work in the form of an arch.
The large capacity and successful operation of the four water turbines installed at this station (the initial one in the old Fairmount steam works engine house and the three new ones) encouraged the water works management to recommend the substitution of water turbine wheels for all the breast wheels. This substitution called for rebuilding and enlarging the old wheel house. This plan was carried to completion beginning in 1868 and concluding in 1871.
The first of these replacement
turbines started operating on February 17, 1869. [Annual Report of the Chief
Engineer of the Water Department of the City of
During the summer of 1869 a drought of such unusual duration and severity occurred that the station capacity was temporarily supplemented by two steam pumps obtained from a wrecking steamer. These pumps were erected north of the forebay (see FIGURE 17 for the location) and used until the freshet of October 4, 1869, when water eleven feet nine inches deep flowed over the dam.
The installations of the second and third turbines in the old wheel house were completed and they were respectively started in operation on June 20, 1870, and December 14, 1871, thereby completing the replacement of six of the old breast wheels. This left but two of the old wheels, one in each end of the house. One of these two was still useable but the other was not. Its replacement by a turbine was recommended. but the recommendation was not followed. Both of the two remaining breast wheels were eventually discarded, but new equipment was not put in their place.
Thus in the Fairmount Works for many years 13 pumps were operated by seven water turbines. Six turbines (Nos. 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9) each ran two pumps; one turbine (No. 1 in basement of the old Fairmount steam engine house) ran one pump. Their nominal capacity was 33.29 million gallons a day figured on pump piston displacement.
The turbine started December 14, 1871 was the last installation of improved equipment in this station. During the several years immediately following 1879 the runners of all the turbines were replaced by a new type, a runner known as the duplex wheel, which was credited with increasing their efficiency approximately 40 percent. These improvements were made under a contract with Emile Geyelin, the engineer who designed the first and installed all the later turbine wheels at Fairmount. In time, however, the city outgrew even this capacity increase.
In 1885, the Water Bureau admitted
that the Fairmount Water Works could not be depended upon during the times of greatest
need. This water powered station gradually lost prestige and steam powered
stations attained ascendancy in
The publishing of the pumpage diagrams of 1875 in comparison with similar diagrams for 1895, disclosed some interesting facts. In 1875 the main dependence of the city was upon the turbine wheels at Fairmount, and the steam driven pumps at the Spring Garden and other stations (east of the Schuylkill) were used but as auxiliaries during the summer months, when the reduction of the river flow and the increase consumption rendered it difficult for the turbines to keep pace with the demand. In 1895 conditions were entirely reversed. The Spring Garden Steam Powered Station in 1895 pumped more water than all the other stations combined. Further the records showed that the city's total nominal steam-powered pumpage capacity in 1895 amounted to 347 million gallons daily, while the nominal water-powered pumpage capacity was 33 million gallons or only 9.5 percent of the steam-powered capacity. The availability of the great pool of water back of the Fairmount dam, which was drawn upon by the steam powered stations to supply the city, came to be of more importance than the availability of water power for driving the Fairmount pumps. The importance of this pool was stressed by the statement that it was of such immediate and vital consequence that failure of the Fairmount dam would involve the draining of the Fairmount pool, and leave eighty-four percent of the city pumpage system at this date (1895) without water and would put the pumping stations at Fairmount, Spring Garden, Belmont and the new Queen Lane station all out of commission.
During 1897, while extensive repairs and rebuilding were in progress on the Fairmount reservoirs, wheels No. 1 and No. 3 were out of commission. They pumped into the Fairmount reservoirs only whereas the other five wheels pumped into either the Fairmount reservoir or the Corinthian reservoir.
By 1902, only 6½ percent of the total
pumpage of the stations was by water power, and that large part of the total
In these declining years of the Fairmount
pumping station, there were some notable instances of renewed activity. For
example, in 1905 this station supplied over seven billion gallons, or an
increase of more than 66 million gallons over the previous year. From this time
on however the activities of this station rapidly diminished, and by 1909 the
works were about shut down. It was officially announced on February 18, 1909, that
the water supply formerly obtained from this source would now be obtained from
the new Lardner's Point pumping station on the
The Fairmount station was turned over
to the Department of the Mayor by an ordinance of Councils approved March 16, 1911.
The machinery was removed, the buildings were renovated, and
In 1916, the replacement of the dam
with a more permanent and substantial structure was recommended. Attention was called
to the fact that because it was of rock filled timber crib type of construction
it would be an almost constant source of expense for repairs, not to mention
the menace of its possible failure. These recommendations were unheeded and in
1918 the apron of the dam was destroyed in the spring breakup of the ice. Repairing
the old structure cost the city over $45,000 and efforts for the building of a new
dam of masonry or some other more substantial and permanent type were renewed. In
1918, the Belmont and
The storage facilities of the Fairmount water power works consisted of four reservoirs which were constructed at different periods as the population grew and as the consumption of water increased. The first was finished in 1815 at a cost of $ 32,508.52. It was 317 feet long, by 167 feet wide, with a depth of 12¼ feet, and had a capacity of 4,779,544 gallons. The second, finished in 1821, cost $9,579.57. This was 316 feet long by 140 feet wide, with a depth of 12¼ feet, and it held 4,021,649 gallons. The third, costing $24,521.75, was completed in 1827. It was 317 feet long by 160 feet wide, with a depth of 12¼ feet and a capacity of 3,302,900 gallons. The fourth reservoir was in three sections; a first section, built in 1835, 350 feet long by 136 feet wide and 12¼ feet deep holding 4,462,780 gallons; and second and third sections completed respectively in 1835 and 1836, which combined were 392 feet long and 358 feet wide with and a depth of 12¼ feet, the second section having a capacity of 5,345,212 gallons, and the third section having a capacity of 4,966,925 gallons. The total cost, of the first, second and third sections of reservoir number four, was $67,214.68. The total cost of all the Fairmount reservoirs together was $133,824.42. Their combined capacity was 26,879,010 gallons. The water level in the reservoirs was 94.14 feet above the city datum, 51 feet above the highest, and 91 feet above the lowest regulated curb height in the old city proper.
From the reservoirs at Fairmount there
were three distributing mains, one of 30 inches diameter, one of 22 inches
diameter, and one 20 inches diameter and from the standpipe a 30 inch diameter
main ran to the
The districts north of
As the population grew and the number
of buildings upon the higher ground north of the old section of the city
increased, it became apparent there was needed a supply of water having a
higher head than that of the Fairmount reservoirs. Armed with this
consideration, and the exorbitant price being charged them by the city, the
districts sought State legislation to enable them to construct their own water
works. This effort was resisted by the city authorities, but the State finally
granted the request to the districts of
At this time the city was collecting a revenue of $54,790.78 for water rents from the three districts. In the Northern Liberties there were 77,784 feet of pipe and 155 fire plugs; in Spring Garden 91,298 feet of pipe and 160 fire plugs; and in Kensington 30,221 feet of pipe and 56 fire plugs.
The board began by examining sites
suitable for the erection of works and reservoir. Numerous surveys resulted in
the selection of a plot of ground at the foot of
It is to be regretted that so little value was placed upon the advice of engineers. There were a number of them of experience and ability in the country at that time. None was consulted about this project. Notwithstanding the careful and economical management of the board, great advantages would have been gained (that otherwise were lost) had they engaged a competent engineer. The saving which could have been effected in the cost of construction would have been many times the salary of such an engineer.
Work on the project progressed slowly until October 18, 1843, when Mr. William E. Morris was elected engineer by the Board. Mr. Morris at that time had limited experience in the construction and erection of water works, but he was a man of ability in industry and business. On December 16, 1843, he furnished a detailed estimate to the board which totaled $173,000 for a plant which would provide a daily average supply of 2.5 million gallons.
The cornerstone of the engine house was laid July 1, 1844, about one year after the organization of the board. Up to this time, although numerous plans and estimates for the engines and pumps had been submitted, none had been chosen. Finally a contract was made in the latter half of 1844 with Merrick and Towne of Philadelphia to build two beam engines to be known as engines No. 1 and No. 2.
The engines were to be of the low pressure type, having vertical steam cylinders with a beam overhead supported on columns, with a connecting rod, and a flywheel 18 feet in diameter, attached to the end of the beam opposite to that of the cylinder. Steam was cut off at the half stroke, by an independent cut-off worked mechanically by a cam. The pumps were to be double acting and placed vertically, immediately under the steam cylinder, and the piston rod continued through the cylinder bottom, and was connected directly to the pump piston. The valves of the pumps were of brass, hinged and operated on cast iron faces. The diameter of the pumps was 18 inches, the stroke 72 inches, and the capacity 1.25 million gallons per day. Elevation and plan of these engines are reproduced in FIGURE 21.
There is no record of the factors
which caused the commissioners to decide on steam as a prime mover for the new
water works. For over 20 years the water powered works at Fairmount had been a
huge success, but of course there was always the danger of drought which would
reduce the supply of water in the
When these engines were completed, the commissioners were not entirely satisfied with them, and refused to take them off the hands of the manufacturers. They were, however, the best engines of their kind in the Department at that time, and for the period in which they were built they were superior specimens of workmanship and efficiency.
Leading from the pumps to the reservoir
were three mains, two of 18 inches diameter and one of 20 inches diameter, each
being 3,250 feet long. The reservoir was built especially to store the water
pumped by the
During the time the Schuylkill works
were being built, the authorities of the older sections of the city were quite
concerned over the loss of revenue for supporting the Fairmount works and made
several attempts to dissuade the
The actual operation of the works
began on December 31, 1844, but it was not until July 15, 1845 that the works
were formally delivered to the joint Watering Committee by the commissioners of
The total cost of the entire installation including buildings and equipment, reservoir and water mains was $231,721.49. At the end of the first year a most unusual report was made for a venture of this kind. The report showed a clear profit of $16,700.38 above all expenses including interest.
A serious accident occurred during the first year of the operation of these works. The reservoir was formed by embankments puddled with clay and faced with brick. A center wall divided the reservoir into two basins, which facilitated cleaning and repairing. The inlet into the reservoir filled one basin and then overflowed the division wall into the second basin. At a time when the whole reservoir was full of water the southern embankment gave way and flooded the entire district south of the reservoir, causing considerable property damage.
There ensued a steadily increasing demand for water. This was met by the installation of a third engine, the Sutton engine, which was put in operation on May 10, 1849. This engine gave the Watering Committee great satisfaction when first started but it subsequently became the least efficient pumping engine in the entire Department, requiring more repairs and attention than any of the others. It was a double acting condensing engine with a vertical steam cylinder connected by means of a suitable connecting rod and bell crank to a horizontally arranged pomp. The valves were of gun metal, hinged in the same manner as were those of Nos. 1 and 2 engines. The diameter of its steam cylinder was 36 inches and its stroke 72 inches. The pump was a double acting force pump having a cylinder 21 inches in diameter and a stroke of 48 inches.
At this time a large distributing box was interposed in the mains between the engine house and the reservoir. The three mains from the three engines led into the box and two mains led out of the box the reservoirs. It was expected the introduction of the box would obviate the necessity of an additional main. The experiment was not a success, for instead the box somewhat obstructed the flow of water to the reservoir.
Need for more ample storage facilities
to improve the quality of the water by sedimentation for as long a period as possible
before distributing to consumers was realized in 1850. The city at this time
purchased over 13 acres of ground on which to build storage reservoirs. The
Corinthian Reservoir, previously described, was built on a part of this ground.
It was first supplied with water from the Fairmount and the
The next engine (No. 4) erected in the
Schuylkill works to take care of the rapidly growing demands of these districts
was known as the Cornish pumping engine. It was designed and built by I. P. Morris
In operation of this engine, with the piston starting at the top of the cylinder a vacuum is formed under it by opening of the exhaust valve controlling communication between the bottom of the cylinder and a condenser. Steam is admitted through the steam valve into the top of the cylinder at the same time and the piston forced downwards, thus raising the pump plunger at the opposite end of the beam and drawing in water. As the piston descends the steam valve is closed and when it is near the end of the stroke the exhaust valve is also closed by means of tappets on the plug rod (which rod is suspended from the beam and moves with it) coming in contact with handles that operate the valves. The exhaust valve in closing releases a weight which in falling opens a so-called equilibrium valve and allows the steam to pass from the top to the bottom of the cylinder, equalizing the pressure on both sides of the piston. This permits the pump plunger to descend by its own weight, forcing water through the pump's discharge valve into the main and on into the reservoir. As the pump plunger descends it raises the piston in the steam cylinder to near the top. A tappet on the plug rod then closes the equilibrium valve and prevents the further escape of steam from above the piston and the engine completes its stroke. An ingenious contrivance called a cataract gives motion to a small rod which continues to move after the engine has completed its cycle, and in moving disengages weights which fall and open first the exhaust valve allowing the steam under the piston to pass into the condenser, and then the steam valve which admits steam above the piston, whereupon the engine is ready to start on its next cycle. The diameter of the steam cylinder of this engine was 60 inches and its piston stroke 120 inches. The pump cylinder diameter was 30 inches and the pump stroke 120 inches.
In comparison with other water works steam engines built up to this time, engine No. 4 proved to be the most economical in fuel consumption, but the working parts were designed of such light construction that its operation required the greatest of care. After this engine had been placed in operation it was discovered that the existing mains leading from the pumps to the reservoir were not of sufficient capacity to stand up under the volume of water which the four engines working together could pump. The result was that the new engine could not be continued in operation when the other three engines were running. Several times the mains burst when the full pumping capacity was tried.
It was at this stage of the development that a standpipe was introduced to cushion against the varying pressures. The standpipe was 137 feet high and tapered from six feet diameter at the bottom to 3½ diameter at the top. This taper proved to be troublesome in freezing weather for the top was often closed by an ice stopped wedged fast in the pipe. Whenever this was too heavy to be broken out, the Cornish engine was shut down until warmer weather came.
In 1860 there were 10 boilers
Of the six boilers in the North Boiler House four were cylindrical boilers, each 54 inches in diameter and 30 feet long. Each of these boilers had under it two cylindrical heaters 26 inches in diameter and 26 feet long and the whole assembly was encased in brick work. The total amount of absorbing surface in the four boilers was about 2,000 square feet and their grate surface about 100 square feet. The other two boilers were of the tubular type, 17 feet 9 inches long and 60 inches in diameter. Each one contained 83 tubes. The tubes were three inches inside diameter and 12 feet long. The heater attached under them was 30 inches in diameter and 12 feet long. The heat of combustion passed through the tubes to the back, then forward under the boiler to the front end where it was turned down and passed under the heater to the chimney. The total amount of absorbing surface in these two boilers was about 1,000 square feet, and the grate surface 50 square feet. All of the boilers were so connected that they could be used to drive any or all of the engines.
In 1868 the Water Department officials
decided to discard the No. 1 beam engine in the
This full side lever type of Cornish
engine was the first of its kind to be installed in the
The engine is delineated in FIGURE 23. Its unique feature consisted of a pair of side levers or beams below the level of the vertical cylinder top (head) which beams were firmly fixed to the opposite ends of the rocking shaft on which they were centered. The piston rod carried a cross-head, shaped somewhat like the letter T, from the ends of which hung a pair of side rods connecting it to the ends of the pair of side levers. The opposite ends of the side levers were connected to the pump resulting in a vertical motion when in operation. The cylinder and valve box were of the same type as the ordinary Cornish engine previously described.
The new engine proved to be an extravagant consumer of steam and the fuel bill of the station increased out of proportion to the added pumping capacity. About 14 years later the side lever Cornish engine was removed in spite of the fact that it was still in good working condition.
In 1872, H. G. Morris of the Southwark
Foundry built for the
This Simpson compound pumping engine is pictured in FIGURE 24. It was of 10 million gallons normal capacity. Its high pressure cylinder had a bore of 36 inches and a stroke of 61 inches while its low pressure cylinder (located alongside) had a bore of 57 inches and a stroke of 96 inches. It was equipped with a single action air pump of a 30-inch bore and 48-inch stroke. The engine ran two bucket and plunger type pumps, one of 28½ inch bore and 96 inch stroke and another of 28½ inch bore with a stroke of 86 inches, under a total water lift of 126.6 feet. The first of these pumps was located immediately under the low pressure cylinder while the second was located under the opposite end of the beam, just inside of but below the crank connecting rod. There were two coextensive lever beams 30 feet long between end centers connected together, and together weighing 39,885 pounds. These were supported upon a large Doric column six feet in diameter at the base, whose hollow interior constituted an air chamber of about 744 cubic feet into which both pumps discharged their water. Steam was admitted to the high pressure cylinder and cut off at the half stroke and acted by expansion through the other half of the stroke of the high pressure cylinder, and also by expansion through the whole stroke in the low pressure cylinder, from which latter it was exhausted into the condenser. In 1874, extensive alterations of the piston rod valve controlling the steam cylinders were required. The original mechanism was reported an utter failure. After alterations the engine would pump 10 million gallons occasionally, but 9 million gallons was nearer its actual capacity.
In 1872 a contract was given to Wm.
Cramp & Sons, a ship and engine building company of
After installation, this pumping
engine was given a thorough test and checkup, observations being made each hour
for a period covering 48 hours. From this test, it was determined that the
capacity was 20,299,725 gallons per 24 hours. The height to which the water was
raised was 121.96 feet or 8.04 feet less than stipulated. This lower head used
in the test (130 feet had been specified) arose from the fact that while it was
intended that the engine pump into the East Park reservoir, this reservoir,
started in 1871, was not completed in time. In fact it was not completed until
1889. For the test and for three years after therefore the engine pumped into
No. 7 engine remained the largest in the works for a number of years. During the first seven years its service was required so constantly as to prevent proper overhauling and reconditioning. Although designed as a 20 million gallon engine and proven by its test to be capable of that work, it was not used for pumping over 17.5 million gallons and was rated by the Water Department as a 15 million gallon engine. It ran with but occasional shut downs for very necessary repairs until late in the summer of 1883 when serious cracks in the housings, which were from defects in adjustment and had existed for years, began to look dangerous and a fortnight's time was taken to stay and brace them. New housings were made and installed late in 1883 after which the engine could pump 22 million gallons against a 200 foot head without any difficulty.
On September 20, 1880 a contract was
given to the Worthington Company to construct a duplex concentric cylinder
pumping engine of 10 million gallons a day capacity for the
A new building was being erected at this time, an addition on the southern side of the old engine house. Inasmuch as it was not completed when engine No. 8 was put into service, it was necessary to erect a temporary wooden shed to protect this engine from the elements.
In 1881, a contract was awarded for
the erection of a standpipe on an elevated location several hundred feet in a
northerly direction from the pumping station. The ornamental iron work, stairway
and masonry from the old Twenty-fourth Ward standpipe were utilized in its
construction. It was finished October 14, 1882. During the same year it was recommended
that the old Twenty-fourth Ward standpipe be removed since it was showing signs
of serious deterioration, as was also the temporary one that was erected at the
By 1883 the Schuylkill water works (as
In 1880 it had become imperative that
the station be enlarged once again to meet the constantly increasing demands
for water. An appropriation of $100,000 was given the Water Department for the
extension of these works with the promise of additional appropriations later. On
July 1, 1880 bids were opened for the building of a new station at the
There were 10 steel return tubular
boilers installed in the station during 1884. These boilers were all built by
the Edge Moor Iron Company of
In July and August of the year 1884,
two compound duplex engines which were purchased from the H. R. Worthington
Company were put into service at the new
These duplex pumping engines comprised two high pressure cylinders of 38 inch bore and 48 inch stroke, and two low pressure cylinders of 66 inch bore and 48 inch stroke. No. 9 engine was equipped with four single acting air pumps, two being of 29½ inch bore and 24 inch stroke, and two being of 27 inch bore and 24 inch stroke. No. 10 also had four single acting air pumps, identical with those of No. 9 except that two of them were 29¾ inch bore, in lieu of 29½. Each engine drove two double acting plunger pumps of 37 inch bore and 48 inch stroke operating under a total lift varied from 121 to 216.4 feet.
Auxiliary to these main pumping engines,
there were two
There was also installed an electric light unit of 100 light capacity furnished by the Edison Electric Light Company. It was placed in a separate room built at the southeast corner of the boiler room.
In l884, this station regularly
supplied the highly elevated district service distribution in the 28th, 29th,
and adjacent wards by pumping the water direct from the engines into the supply
mains, in the same manner as is done by the present day booster stations. The new
engines Nos. 9 and 10 were designed to pump into the
The old No. 4 Cornish engine installed in 1855 and the old No. 5 Cornish side lever engine installed in 1869 were both dismantled and sold during 1884, and the original standpipe for these works was also removed during this year.
Additional burden was added to the Schuylkill
works at this time on account of the necessity of supplying the Fairhill or
In 1885, it was recommended that a new 20 million gallon per day engine and pump be installed on the site vacated by the removal of the old No. 4 engine to keep up with the demands. In 1886 this recommendation was acted upon, a Gaskill compound engine of 20 million gallons capacity being purchased for $69,000 under contract with the Holly Manufacturing Company of Lockport, New York. On September 14, 1887 it was ready for steam and it was placed in service September 28, although the official tests were not made until November 29 and 30. This was engine No. 11. Two high pressure cylinders of 33 inch bore and a 48 inch stroke and two low pressure cylinders of 66 inch bore and a 48 inch stroke supplied the power. Two single acting air pumps with 24 inch bore and 27 inch stroke took care of the exhaust steam. Two force pumps of the plunger type each with a bore of 36 inches and a stroke of 48 inches and a total lift of 188.9 feet supplied the water. Five furnace flue tubular boilers which were built by I. P. Morris and Company under a contract of 1886 supplied the steam. They were ready for operation April 13, 1887, several months ahead of the engines. The installation of this Gaskill engine brought the combined capacity of these works, then operating six engines, to 90 million gallons per day.
In 1888, the attention of Councils was
called to the fact that in spite of the latest additions to the works, the
demand had once again grown ahead and that yet greater pumping facilities would
soon be needed. Acting upon these warnings, preparations were started in 1889
to move a
In further response to the 1888
recommendations of the Water Bureau to Councils, an appropriation was made in
1890 for another 20 million gallon per day pumping engine. This was to be built
by the Southwark Foundry and Machine Company of
On May 26 of this same year (1892) a 20 million gallon per day pumping engine was purchased from H. R. Worthington and Company at a price of $67,800. It began operating June 5, 1893 and was designated No. 4.
On June 30, 1893, two vertical triple expansion engines of 30 million gallon per day capacity were contracted for with the Holly Manufacturing Company. The contract price was $162,570. One was placed in operation on December 1, 1894, and the other on February 11, 1895. They were denominated Nos. 2 and 3. A new boiler house with 12 new boilers, a new stack, and an addition to the engine house were provided for these new pumps. With the installation of these two 30 million gallon engines in 1894 and 1895, this station reached the peak of its activities and importance. The combined capacity of its 10 pumping engines was 190 million gallons per day.
Engine No. 12, the 6 million gallon per day capacity Worthington engine which was brought from the abandoned Delaware pumping station in 1890, was removed from the Schuylkill works and put in service in the Roxborough high service pumping station in 1894.
In 1895 the new No. 4 engine was
removed from this station and set up in the
Two new 48 inch diameter pumping mains were laid from the two 30 million gallon per day engines last installed to the East Park Reservoir, but by 1897, on account of inefficient boiler facilities, it was impossible to run both engines at the same time, as only six of the 44 boilers in this station were capable of generating steam at the 150 pounds pressure which these engines required and these six boilers could not generate a sufficient quantity for both engines.
During 1900, a testing station was
built at these works for the purpose of studying the effects of slow sand
filtration on the
The year 1905 marked the turning point
of this station's activities. In 1905 the pumpage of the station showed an
unusual occurrence, i.e., a pumpage 3.4 percent less than the previous year.
Though small, this decrease prophesied the decline of this station. The
decrease marked the introduction into the East Park Reservoir distribution system
of a great quantity of water from the
On December 12, 1906, a contract was
awarded to the Holly Manufacturing Company to equip No. 11 engine of
With the increasing quantity of
filtered water that had been coming from the new Torresdale and Lardner's Point
plants, the rate of the station's decline increased. The pumpage during 1908
was 23 percent less than in 1907. It was but slightly more than half of the
then available capacity of the station. On February 18, 1909, all the pumps in
The Mt. Airy Works - 1882
In 1851, Messrs. Birkinbine, Marton
and Trotter, hydraulic engineers, whose place of business was at
Several plans were formulated and
discussed. The first was to install a hydraulic ram to supply
In anticipation of obtaining a charter
from the legislature, John C. Fallen was elected President, and Christopher
Fallen and a number of others became stock holders in the company. A charter
was obtained from the legislature of
The eight-inch hydraulic ram idea was
in time rejected, in favor of steam driven pumps. In February 1851 actual work
toward water supply was commenced by digging a well at the southwestern
The depth of the pool at
Drains were laid to convey the water from the natural springs to the well. These drains were walled on both sides and covered with flat stone, then filled with nine inches of broken stone and nine inches of coarse sand, in order to filter any water passing from the dam into the drains.
These works produced an adequate
supply of pure and limpid water for
A two story pumping station was built at
the southwestern terminus of
A 10-inch supply main was laid from
the pumps at Tulpehocken, northeast to
A meter was placed in the 10-inch supply main in the pumping station for the purpose of recording the number of gallons pumped into the standpipe each day. The arrangement proved unsatisfactory because 135 pounds of steam pressure were required to pump through the propelling blades of the meter whereas no more than 70 pounds of steam were required to do the pumping without the meter in place.
The 120 foot height of the standpipe
was also the level of a reservoir which was proposed to be built in
On November 15, 1870 two 20 inch mains
were completed to convey water from the Roxborough reservoir to the
On September 30, 1872, the old
On February 17, 1875 one of the mains of the Wissahickon aqueduct burst due to severe frost and a 20-inch siphon main was then laid on the bed of the Wissahickon Creek to take its place. This siphon pipe answered the purpose and worked satisfactorily.
By 1880, the population of these
districts had increased to a considerable extent, especially in some of the
higher portions where a very poor supply of water was obtained, and in some
sections where it was impossible under existing conditions to obtain water
service. To supply the citizens of these sections with city water, it was
suggested that additional pumping engines be employed, and that an old school
house which stood on the reservoir tract be remodeled to house them. In 1881, recommendations
were also made to provide a larger reservoir, since the capacity of the
existing reservoirs was but a little over 4 million gallons, too little to
supply 32,000 people. At the then per capita rate of consumption, this
permitted a subsidence period of only 2½ days, which at some seasons of the
year was entirely too short, with the result that the quality of the water became
very undesirable. An additional reason for wanting larger storage facilities
was the rather precarious supply main which conveyed the water from Roxborough.
This main was 3½ miles long and the inverted siphon by which it crossed the
Wissahickon Creek and Valley was ever and anon under a maximum hydrostatic
pressure of 115 pounds. There was constant fear that a serious accident would
occur to this main and thereby create a water famine in the
On January 5, 1882, Councils passed
the necessary ordinance and a $25,000 appropriation to permit changing the school
house into an auxiliary pumping station. This became known as the
The two engines, on being tested in actual service, were found to require mechanical alterations to improve their operation before they were accepted by the Water Bureau. These engines pumped directly into the distributing mains and when conditions arose which suddenly drew large volumes of water from the mains, such as the opening up of a number of fire hydrants, the engines became unmanageable.
In 1883, special piping arrangements
were made, whereby these works could perform the duty of the Chestnut Hill
pumping station in case of serious accident to the latter. In 1891, a Knowles
pump of 1 million gallons per day capacity was moved from the Roxborough high
service or auxiliary pumping station and set up in the
So equipped this station continued in
active service until the completion of a second auxiliary station at the
When the board of commissioners appointed by the districts of Spring Garden, Northern Liberties and Kensington, met July 31, 1843, for the purpose of organizing an independent water works system for the supply of these districts, the representatives of the District of Kensington at the meeting refused to participate in the construction of the works known as the Spring Garden or Schuylkill works and withdrew from the board. However they subsequently entered into a contract for a supply of water from these works at the same price charged the consumers of the other two districts. During 1845, Kensington paid to these districts for water rents the amount of $4,261.61 and in 1846, $6,008,50.
With the rapid increase in the
population and a large number of new manufacturing plants erected in the
Kensington district, the
On December 20, 1847, a resolution was adopted by the commissioners of the Kensington district to construct a water works of its own, and a start was made by the appointing of a committee consisting of one representative from each ward of the district to plan for such work and propose sites and equipment. However no positive action was taken, except to examine possible sites for the works, until the latter part of 1848, when the President of the board was authorized to advertise for plans and specifications for a water works.
Following this, the committee adopted a plan prepared by someone with no previous experience in the construction of water works or pumping machinery. This was a startling situation in view of the successful experiences of other districts, and bears testimony to the intense rivalry which existed between the various districts of old Philadelphia. The result was that the works and machinery failed to perform. It became necessary to considerably alter and reconstruct the machinery before it could be made useable. During the progress of the work, political changes occurred and the entire board was changed, and contracts for the alterations and reconstruction were entered into with yet other parties who like the first were entirely unacquainted with the kind of work involved. These proceedings naturally led to litigation. After expending an enormous sum of money and wasting much valuable time, early in 1851 the works were finally made useable and the district commenced to supply itself with water.
The first pumping engine worked so unsatisfactorily, even after it had been rebuilt to a great extent, that steps were immediately taken to procure another engine, pump and boilers. As a result full success was not attained until the middle of the summer of 1851. On account of the frequent changes in the administration, and the various alterations and repairs, it is probably impossible to ascertain accurately the cost of the entire works, but it was estimated that $200,000 would not be far from the cost of these works up to 1859.
The engine and boiler house were substantial brick buildings. The machinery is described as follows. Engine No. 1 (shown in side elevation and plan in FIGURE 32) was a double acting high pressure engine whose cylinder was 30 inches in diameter, and whose stroke was 72 inches. It gave motion to a double acting horizontal pump 18 inches in diameter having a 72 inch stroke. The pump piston was operated by means of a vertical lever beam 18 feet long to the upper and lower ends of which the piston rods of the engine and pump were respectively attached by suitable connecting rods. From the upper end of the beam, a connecting rod also extended to a crank on the end of the flywheel shaft.
The valves of the pump were metallic flap or hinged valves now commonly known as swing check valves working on seats placed at an angle of 45 degrees. The pump was provided with an air chamber, on both the receiving and discharge pipes; that on the latter being one of unusually large dimensions. The valves of the steam cylinder were of the single poppet variety operated by revolving cams, fixed on a shaft that received its motion from the flywheel shaft of the engine through a pair of bevel gears.
Engine No. 2 (shown in side elevation and plan in FIGURE 33) was a condensing engine, built by Reanie & Neafie in 1851. It had a vertical cylinder 42 inches in diameter, and a stroke of 72 inches. An overhead lever beam supported by two columns and an entablature, was connected at one end by a connecting rod with a crank on the end of the flywheel shaft, and at the other by two short links to the piston rod of the engine. A prolongation of the piston rod passed through a stuffing box in the bottom of the cylinder and connected by links to a horizontal arm of a right angle bell-crank lever, while a rod from the vertical arm gave motion to the piston of a pump of 19½ inch diameter and 72 inch stroke. The pump was similar in other respects to the pump of engine No. 1.
The pumps of engines Nos. 1 and 2 were
at a level several feet below the surface of the river from which they received
their supply. They were both connected to a single main, 18 inches in diameter,
through which they forced the water into the two original Fairhill reservoirs,
located on the plot of ground bounded by
On October 25, 1871, a third engine (No. 3) was installed. It was of the duplex type and of 6 million gallons daily capacity, built by H. A. Worthington Company. This engine started operating at a disadvantage, pumping through the old inadequate mains to the reservoirs on Sixth and Lehigh until a 36 inch pumping main was laid from a standpipe which had been erected in front of the engine house to a new reservoir, which was located to the west of and adjoining the two original reservoirs. Building of the new reservoir was started in 1870 and it received its first water on December 20, 1871. It covered an area of 4.83 acres at the foot of its embankment, and an area of 3.29 acres at the water surface, while its contents, with a depth of 17 feet 9 inches, were 16,373,720 gallons.
In 1872 five plain tubular boilers were constructed and installed in these works by the Southwark Foundry Company. Each boiler was 70 inches in diameter by 15 feet long, with 75 four-inch tubes. In order to make room for these the marine boiler built by Reanie & Neafie to supply steam for the No. 2 engine, was moved to the Fairmount works to run a Worthington engine which had been set up there for auxiliary purposes in 1869.
The quality of the water pumped at
this station was very poor, and contamination of it was blamed for the
contagious diseases which occasionally afflicted the districts that the station
served, yet notwithstanding the urgent representation of its evil quality,
water continued to be supplied the people from the end of the same wharf as
late as 1884. The contamination came both from the general sewers of the river,
and from the contents of Gunnar's Run (otherwise known as the
In 1883 all but 24 feet of the
standpipe in front of the engine house was taken down, and the remaining
portion was used as an air chamber to lessen the shocks to both main and engine
while water was being pumped. This arrangement did not continue in service very
long, for in 1885 even this remainder of the standpipe was removed. During
1884, engines Nos. 1 and 2 which were old and practically unserviceable, were
condemned and sold, leaving only No. 3, the
In 1887, a 30-inch diameter main was
laid from the Wentz Farm reservoir (Frankford water works system) to the
Fairhill reservoir. This main, completed in the spring of 1888, was nearly five
miles long and cost $142,272.77. It was planned to abandon the Kensington
station when this main was completed, but the station continued to operate
spasmodically for another two years. During 1888, the average daily pumpage at
this station dwindled from 6,349,317 gallons in January to merely 125,284
gallons in October. The engine was shut down entirely from November 1888 to
February of 1889, when it was started once again and used sparingly until
December 1889, when it was again shut down. In 1889, a 48-inch diameter main
was laid from the
During January of 1890, the Kensington
Twenty-fourth Ward Works
The public water supply activities
until 1851 had been confined to the districts of the city east of the
A committee was appointed consisting of the following citizens: Mr. E. M. Eakin, as Committee President; and Messrs. Benjamin R. Miller, Dr. R. Bicknell, C. C. Pierson, J. Sidney Keen and Robert L. Martin. They employed Messrs. Birkinbine and Trotter, civil engineers and contractors, to make a thorough examination of the whole subject. The following plan was submitted to the committee:
The location to be on the west side of the Schuylkill, near the foot of the old inclined plane, at or near the Belmont Cottage; a subsiding reservoir to be constructed together with a pumping plant consisting of two direct acting vertical Cornish pumping engines with a capacity that would supply the district for some time anticipating reasonable growth; and two reservoirs to be built on the elevated ground near the top of the plane. The plan seemed to be satisfactory, but the estimated cost, $300,000, was considered too great a financial burden for the district to carry.
Mr. Birkinbine then came forward with a plan for works similar in design but smaller and more limited in capacity. This plan was also rejected because it still called for spending more money than the committee thought advisable.
The committee was then persuaded to
visit the works of the Germantown Water Company. The layout and equipment of
these works impressed them very much. Plans and estimates were prepared for a
somewhat similar layout with modifications to suit the views of the committee,
and a contract was almost immediately entered into at an estimated cost of
$120,000. The contract called for completion in one year, and this short period
required for construction influenced the committee in its decision. It was also
decided to install a standpipe to serve until the district could afford to
finance the cost of storage reservoirs and lay the estimated three miles of
main pipes required to connect the reservoirs with the built-up sections of the
district. The site selected was situated north of the Fairmount Dam, on the
west side of the
At first two high pressure engines were ordered for these works, and they were already under construction when it was decided to change the specifications to call for direct acting vertical Bull Cornish engines and cancel the order for the high pressure engines, since the Cornish engines were considered more economical in fuel consumption than the high pressure engines. It was figured that one-quarter the amount of fuel required by the high pressure engines would be saved by using the Bull Cornish engines, and that this would in but a short time more than offset the cost of the work already done on the high pressure engines.
The water from the river was directed through a planked tunnel to a paved chamber in which were placed three screening strainers. In ordinary stages of the river, the water was 5½ feet deep in the tunnel and at the extremely low rate of flow (two miles per day in the tunnel when but 2 million gallons per day were taken into the chamber) there was sufficient time for the heavier waterborne particles to settle. The lighter floating particles were screened out. Provision was made for the convenient removal of the sediments.
The subsiding reservoir was 165 feet long and 75 feet wide and its water depth was 16½ feet under ordinary conditions of river water volume. This reservoir acting as a sedimentation basin allowed the water to deposit most of the impurities. The depth of the water proved to be of the greatest importance in purifying by subsidence. It was found that the reservoir was of ample capacity and size to render the water pure and limpid under almost all conditions of the river, provided no greater volume of water was pumped from it than the works were calculated to supply.
The water works buildings (FIGURE 35) were all of stone of the hard gneiss rock variety found in the vicinity of the works. The engine house was circular and surmounted by a dome supported on cast iron girders. On the girders strong hooks were attached over each engine cylinder for use in lifting the machinery in case repairs were needed. The boiler houses were built one on each side of the engine house with short flights of stairs connecting them with the engine house. Slate supported on iron framing was used for the fireproof roofs of the buildings. The boiler stack was built on a base of cut stone 30 feet high. Above this the stack was continued in brick to 90 feet making a total height of 120 feet. The stack flues were 40 inches in diameter and lined with fire-brick to a height of 30 feet from the bottom.
The cylinders of the Bull Cornish engines were bored 50 inches in diameter and had a piston stroke of eight feet (96 inches!). The cylinders were inverted and placed directly over the pumps with the piston rods directly connected to the plungers of the pumps. These plungers were each 17 inches in diameter and operated in the same stroke as the engines, i.e., eight feet. They were plain plunger pumps fitted with double beat valves having metallic facings. A lever beam operated the air, feed and cold water pumps. These engines were also fitted with Birkinbine's patented equilibrium governor. All parts of the machinery were made of extraordinary strength from materials of the best quality. Great care was taken to make the engines as efficient as possible so as to economize on fuel consumption. Each steam cylinder was surrounded by a steam tight jacket or outer cylinder of somewhat larger diameter and steam was introduced into the space between them on its way to the power cylinder. The jacket was covered with two inches of felt, outside of which was a six inch brick wall, and this latter was in turn encased by wooden staves, bound with polished metallic bands.
There were four boilers of Cornish design, two in each boiler house. Each boiler was six feet in diameter and 32 feet long and equipped with two safety valves. Either of the engines might be supplied with steam from any one or all of the boilers, and they were so arranged that any one boiler might be removed without disturbing all the others. The engines were also entirely independent of each other.
The standpipe was situated on high ground, about 2,000 feet from the works, near 35th and Sycamore Streets. Its base was 100 feet above the level of the river. Its main body was of heavy boilerplate five feet in diameter and 130 feet high. Around its lower portion there was an octagonal base of ashler masonry composed of gneiss rock, 36 feet high, and each angle of this base was sustained by a buttress.
A 16-inch main led from the works to the standpipe, and a 16-inch outlet led from near the bottom of the standpipe to the distributing mains of the district. Water was maintained in the standpipe at a height of 100 to 127 feet, giving heads of water in the different parts of the district varying from 120 to 225 feet.
Each pump raised 90 gallons at every stroke and operated at the rate of 10 strokes a minute and so lifted 1,296,000 gallons in 24 hours. Under necessity the pumps were capable of making 14 strokes per minute by which the capacity of each of the pumps was increased to 1,814,400 gallons in 24 hours. These works without storage reservoirs could supply about 20,000 persons with water.
In 1870 after 15 years of active service
the works were abandoned. At this time the Belmont Works further up the river
had been completed and supplied all the
The Chestnut Hill Works
In 1854 the city of
In 1856 the Chestnut Hill water works was incorporated as a private corporation with Charles Heebner as president and co-manager with John Stallman, Enoch Rex, W. L. Hirst and Owen Sheridan. The engineer was Joshua Comly and the contractors for the construction and installation were Gordon McNeil and John F. Rumer.
The company purchased a tract of land
on the east side of Ardleigh Street extending north to what is now Gravers
Lane, south to Hartwell Avenue, and east to the Philadelphia & Reading
Railroad. On this site a reservoir was built with a storage capacity of 5
million gallons. A spring on the property fed the reservoir at the rate of
350,000 gallons per day. A well on the same property supplied an additional
80,000 gallons each day, thus assuring the residents of the district a daily
total of 430,000 gallons of spring water, somewhat more than required. At
frequent intervals the surplus water was furnished to the
The necessary head of water for satisfactory gravity flow was obtained from a 40,000 gallon tank into which the water was pumped from the reservoir and the well through a 10-inch main. The tank was made of cedar wood and surmounted a circular stone tower 110 feet high. The stone work of the tower was covered with a protective coating of cement. FIGURE 37 is a photograph of the tower and the adjoining section of the district looking west across the reservoir.
The Chestnut Hill works contained two independent horizontal engines of a type known as the Wilbraham Rotary engine. There is no record of the name of the builder. These engines were jointly connected to one and the same double acting pump. The pump cylinder was seven inches in diameter and its stroke 48 inches. Operating at 40 revolutions a minute it had a capacity of approximately 432,000 gallons per day. Steam was supplied by two 30-inch diameter cylindrical boilers 30 feet long provided with steam drums.
In 1873 the city purchased the
Chestnut Hill water works from the original private company, and on January 20,
1873 the Water Bureau took charge of their operation. They were used in
conjunction with the Roxborough works from 1875 and the
As soon as the city obtained the works, reconditioning of the buildings and equipment was commenced. In 1876, a Knowles pump that had been formerly used at the Roxborough station was removed from the Roxborough station and installed at the Chestnut Hill station as a reserve in case of accident to the other machinery. Eventually it was used for irregular service, and the original engines and pump were shut down. This Knowles pump could deliver 250,000 gallons a day. It had a steam cylinder of 24 inches bore with a stroke of 21 inches. The pump was of the piston type, its bore 18 inches and its stroke 21 inches.
By 1880 demand had increased to such a point as to require the continuous operation of pumps, and while it was found feasible to keep the pumps in such repair as to achieve this, the boilers proved inadequate for the work required of them. The demands also outgrew the capacity of the storage tank and any shut down by reason of accident or repairs to the boilers, if for more than five or six hours, resulted in emptying of the tank, with hardship and inconvenience to the citizens of the district.
This brought about an appropriation
for additional boilers and to improve the condition of the works. One of the
original pumping engines of these works was removed to make room for a new
The spring and well at the Chestnut
Hill water works failed to supply the demands of this station during the summer
of 1875, and made it necessary to lay the main mentioned above from the
As the population of the district increased, the inadequacy of the spring and well to supply the demand began to appear. The construction of a pumping plant and standpipe at the Mount Airy works was advocated in 1878, This proposal continued to be urged until 1883, when there was a pumping station erected adjacent to the Mount Airy reservoir, and special supply mains were arranged so the pumps at that station could supply the Chestnut Hill district in case of failure of its own station to do so.
By 1884, the Chestnut Hill district
had grown to such an extent that the water supplied by the spring and well was
sufficient to supply only the demands of the higher elevations of this
district. Then the lower sections were regularly supplied with water pumped
The Chestnut Hill station continued to operate more or less fully, though under increasingly unfavorable conditions on account of its lessened importance, until 1896, or shortly after the Roxborough high service pumping station went into service. From this time on the station was used very little. During 1897 one engine was run less than six days in the entire year and the other engine was shut down entirely. This kind of service continued for a number of years. In 1900 the pumps were used for but a few hours, for example for six hours during 1904, for 20 hours in 1905, for three hours in 1906; and so on until 1907, when both engines were shut down entirely, though steam was carried in the boilers throughout this last year of service. The station was finally abandoned and the ground and buildings turned into a playground during the year 1911.
The independent station was built on the east side of Germantown Avenue a short distance below Gravers Lane and a distance of about one block from the old or original Chestnut Hill Water Works pumping station. This location had the advantage of being closer to the district which it served whereas the Roxborough station had to force the water through several miles of mains from Roxborough across the Wissahickon Creek and Valley. This crossing of the valley in itself constituted a constant menace.
The new station building, although small, is of substantial stone construction. The original equipment consisted of two 1 million gallon daily capacity, DeLaval six-inch double-suction single-stage, centrifugal pumps, each driven by a General Electric Company 20 H.P., 1750 R.P.M. motor. In 1927, one of the 1 million gallon units was removed and two 2 million gallon Fairbanks-Morse double-suction, single-stage centrifugal pumps, driven by 50 H.P. 1800 R.P.M. Fairbanks-Morse, ball bearing, electric motors, were installed.. This and the remaining 1 million gallon unit constitute the total pumping equipment of this station today.
In order to give a better supply of
The engine was a Cornish overhead beam
engine designed by H. P. M. Birkinbine and built by the Bush Hill Iron Works.
When it was installed it was capable of pumping 2.25 million gallons per day
against a lift of 346 feet. This engine was started in operation April 5, 1869,
but when it had pumped almost 9 million gallons into the reservoir it was
stopped because the reservoir had started leaking very badly. The reservoir
when full contained nearly 12 million gallons. It took until December to repair
the reservoir. The engine was then started again. However when the water
reached a level but three feet higher than on the first attempt, other leaks
were found and the engine once more shut down. [Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City
In the short runs made before the reservoir's failure, the engine showed up well, but it was clearly indicated that the lift of more than 330 feet to the reservoir was a gigantic task with serious contingencies if the station was compelled to depend on one engine. Therefore the immediate construction of a second engine and boiler house was recommended. In line with these recommendations, engine No. 2, an H. R. Worthington duplex compound engine of 5 million gallons capacity, was ready for service in 1872. Its rated water lift was 346 feet. This engine was built with four cylinders, two high pressure and two low pressure; the high pressure cylinders having a bore of 36 inches and a stroke of 48 inches, and the low pressure cylinders a bore of 58 inches and a stroke of 48 inches. Connected with the engine were two double acting plunger pumps of 21 inch bore and 48 inch stroke. These pumps were so arranged that they could be used to raise 8 million gallons a day into a lower reservoir than that then in use, if future developments required it.
The operation of the Roxborough water works in its early years was unsatisfactory and expensive and, in order to relieve or lessen the load on the pumping plant, the building of an auxiliary pumping station was soon advocated. This auxiliary station was built on the east side of the reservoir and pumped water from the reservoir to storage tanks built on a trestle on a lot back of the Manatawna church. These tanks had an aggregate capacity of 100,000 gallons. The surface of the water in the tanks was 440 feet above city datum. The tanks supplied the high ground on the Roxborough ridge, one of the highest sections in the city.
As completed in 1870 the auxiliary
station was equipped with the two Knowles pumps that were originally bought for
emergency purposes at Fairmount during the drought of 1869. The water was
pumped from the reservoir into a standpipe, built of 30-inch diameter water
mains up-ended, and thence to the tanks at Manatawna. These two engines proved
of greater capacity than required by the auxiliary station. so one of them was
removed in 1876 and installed in the Chestnut Hill station, and a feed water
pump that was formerly used at the
In 1883, the Roxborough station was
supplying the districts of Manayunk, the
On July 28, 1890, the building of a
new 148 million gallon reservoir was started. Situated on higher ground north of
the old Roxborough reservoir, this new reservoir became known as the
On January 19, 1892, the Southwark Foundry and Machine Company contracted to build a 10 million gallon per day pumping engine of the vertical compound flywheel type at a cost of $72,000. This engine and the necessary boilers to serve it were completed on March 30, 1893 and started in service April 24, 1893. On its test 12,765,840 gallons were pumped in 24 hours, phenomenally exceeding the contracted capacity by 25 percent. The old Cornish engine, No. 1, was discarded and the new engine thereupon became No. 1.
The upper Roxborough reservoir was also completed during this year and the first water was pumped into it on September 21, 1893. This reservoir was composed of two basins, the north basin with a capacity of 71,594,000 gallons and the south basin with a capacity of 75,438,000 gallons, with the water surface of both basins at 414 feet above city datum.
In order to supply the highest part of the 21st and 22nd Wards, a second auxiliary steam pumping station including a standpipe was constructed on the east side of Ann Street, opposite the northeast corner of the old Roxborough reservoir. It was known as the Roxborough high service station. Work on the station was started on October 5, 1893, and it was completed and put in operation on May 17, 1895. It supplied the Chestnut Hill district and adjacent territory, and the first auxiliary station, built near the southeast corner of the reservoir, was shortly thereafter abandoned. The standpipe for this new station was 11 feet in diameter and 150 feet high, with a capacity of 106,000 gallons. The water surface was 490 feet above city datum.
A 5 million gallon a day
It was not until 1898 that another pumping engine was installed in the Roxborough high service station, and then the pumping installation was experimental. A party named D'Auria had been given permission to make the installation for experimental purposes. The unit was of about 2.5 million gallons capacity. It was started in service on May 12, 1898, but was run at uncertain intervals only.
The recommendation which followed called for the acquisition of a new 5 million gallon unit, and on September 19, 1899, the new unit was ordered from the H. R. Worthington Company. It was completed and started in service in 1900. This pumping engine was the well known horizontal compound high duty duplex type with tandem high and low pressure cylinders respectively of 13 inch diameter and 36 inch diameter, and pump barrels of 17 inch diameter, all of 36 inch stroke. The engine speed was 26 revolutions a minute with a piston speed of 156 feet a minute.
In 1896, a new 10 million gallon a day triple expansion pumping engine installation complete with the necessary boilers, engine and boiler house, stack and intake was requested for the Roxborough pumping station at Shawmont. The arguments for it were the following. In addition to a steady increase in the demand for water, the extra pressure required to force water into the recently completed upper Roxborough reservoir was beginning to tell on the engines and pumps in this station. They had been designed to work under the head of the old Roxborough reservoir, or 346 feet city datum, whereas the new or upper Roxborough reservoir, which they were required to fill, was at 414 feet above city datum. In the Water Bureau report of 1898, it was mentioned that although the new or upper Roxborough reservoir had been completed for more than five years it had never been filled, owing to the insufficiency of the pumping capacity at Shawmont. It was also pointed out that the largest pump at this station (the 12 million gallon Southwark which was installed in 1893) was constantly breaking down and required the greatest care to keep it in operation. After only five years of service it was considered practically useless and its removal and replacement by more serviceable machinery was urgently recommended.
Recommendations and requests for
additional pumping facilities continued through 1897 and 1898. On May 8, 1899, and
on September 19, 1899, four 5 million gallon a day capacity
In 1899 the defective Southwark
engine, (the 12 million gallon vertical compound unit installed in 1893 as No. 1)
had begun to show signs of complete failure. Its condition finally became such
that it was unsafe to run it at full capacity, so on August 23, 1899, one side of
the pump was disconnected and thrown out of service, leaving it with but one
side. In order to keep the districts depending on this station supplied, it was
necessary to purchase and install another pump immediately. Mr. Frank L. Hand,
then general superintendent of the works, was sent to the Worthington Company
On February 10, 1899, the 2.5 million gallon D'Auria pump, which had been installed in the Roxborough high service station, was moved to Shawmont station (as the main station was then generally called) and on March 16 began service as engine No. 5.
The new engine room, boiler house and
intake for the four new 5 million gallon
The four new pumping engines proved very efficient. Steam consumption was lowered and considerably reduced in comparison with the engines formerly used. A reduction of 34 percent was claimed, and this at then current prices represented a saving of $29,481.30 a year.
When these new pumps were started, old Nos. 1 and 2 were shut down. It was recommended that the Southwark engine be moved to the Frankford station. Accordingly a contract was made to repair and place this engine and pump in first class condition and set it up in the Frankford station by July 1, 1901. The D'Auria pump, old No. 5, was removed to the Frankford high service or Wentz farm pumping station in 1900.
The Roxborough water works system has
the distinction of being the first water works plant in
On April 9, 1901, work was started on
the construction of the lower Roxborough filters, and later in the same year,
work on the construction of the upper Roxborough filter. According to the
records of the Water Bureau, the first filtered water delivered to the mains
flowed from the lower Roxborough filter plant August 12, 1902, though Mayor
Ashbridge's report of 1902 claims a date of August 2. The Manayunk district
The lower Roxborough filter plant is
located near Ridge and Shawmont Avenues and is adjacent to and westward of the
lower Roxborough reservoir. The plant is still in existence (1931). The water
supplying the plant was taken from the
As built, the filtration plant consisted first of five covered filters with a court for the washing and storage of filter sand, and a covered filtered water basin. Because of the topography of the ground it was necessary to arrange the filters in a series of steps. The difference in level between successive filters was made 2 feet 9 inches, and the filtered water basin was located at a still lower level. Each filter measured 109 feet by 219 feet 10 inches on the neat lines, and afforded a net filtering area at the normal sand line of about 23,400 square feet, or .537 acre. The theoretical yield of each filter was originally about 1.6 million gallons per day, so that with four filters in service, the gross capacity of the plant was about 6.4 million gallons per day.
In general design these filters are similar
to those that were in use in Berlin, Warsaw, old St. Petersburg (now Leningrad)
and other large cities of continental Europe, and also similar to the
filtration plant built at Albany, New York, several years prior to 1901. The
floors of the filters are built of concrete to form inverted groined arches six
inches thick at the center and 14 inches thick under the piers, and on a puddle
lining. Puddle lining consists of a mixture of clay and broken stone carried up
around the outside walls to a level above the water line of the filters. The
piers are built of concrete, each pier built as a monolith. This is the first
instance of the use in
Twenty-four-inch concrete main
collecting drains extend the entire length of each filter, and are covered with
movable concrete slabs for convenience of inspection during operation. Six inch
lateral collectors in each bay enter this drain at the sides, through special
terra-cotta fittings. The lateral collectors consist of six-inch diameter
vitrified pipe perforated all around from end to end and plugged at the end
remote from the main collector. Surrounding the collectors to a height of six
inches from the floor is first a layer of gravel of a size ranging from three
inches to 1¾ inches in diameter. Above this there are four other layers of
gravel, each of successively smaller size. The second is a four-inch layer of a
size from 1¾ inches to 5/8 inches diameter; the third a three-inch layer
ranging in size from 5/8 inches to ¼ inch; the fourth a two-inch layer ranging
in size from ¼ inch to material which would be retained on a sieve having 14
meshes to the linear inch; the fifth and final layer one inch thick of coarse sand
that would pass a No. 14 sieve and be retained on a No. 20. The whole depth of
the underdrain gravel is 16 inches. Above the gravel underdrain, to a depth
averaging approximately 36 inches, is filter sand having an effective size from
0.28 to 0.36 millimeters, with a uniformity co-efficient of about 2.5. Some of
this sand is dredged from the Delaware River and some is procured from
sandbanks in the southern part of
Each filter is provided with a regulating house in which are located all valves pertaining to its operation together with automatic effluent regulators that maintain a uniform rate of filtration regardless of the loss of head or the constantly changing friction through the sand. Each filter is also provided with a large entrance at the court level to afford access to care for the filters.
The filtered water basin is similar in
construction to the filters except that it is deeper and its piers are 22
inches square for their entire height. The capacity of the basin at the water
line is 3 million gallons. On top of the vaulting is placed a layer of puddle,
filling up the depressions over the piers, with its top surface graded from a
The pipe supplying raw water to the filters is connected with the sedimentation reservoir at a point diametrically opposite the point where the water is admitted to the reservoir. A main effluent pipe whose branches lead from the effluent chambers conducts the filtered water to the filtered water basin. To draw off the four feet depth of water above the sand prior to cleaning, because the filters are at different levels, arrangement was made to drain this water in succession from the higher filters, to the lower ones. The lowest filter drains into the sewers. The effluent chamber drain removes from the effluent chamber the last water filtered just before cleaning. After the raw water has been drained off, the water level in the filter is allowed to drop a few inches below the top of the sand. This effluent chamber drain connects not only with the filtered water basin, but also with the sewer, in order to waste this last filtered water if it is deemed advisable.
In 1902, a contract was placed with
the Maignen Filtration Company of
The preliminary filters at this station consisted of eleven concrete tanks, 16 feet wide, 64 feet long and 5 feet 6 inches deep inside measurements. In the bottom of each tank was laid five inches of coarse gravel, ranging in size from 2½ to 1½ inches in diameter; next above a layer of crushed furnace slag 10 inches thick, ranging in dimensions from 1½to ¾ inches; then a layer of crushed furnace slag 24 inches thick, ranging in dimensions from ¾ to ¼ inch; and above this slag a layer of compressed sponge, nine inches thick weighing about five pounds per square foot of surface. The sponge was compressed on the layer of slag through a set of narrow planks laid transversely over it with half-inch spaces between, and superimposed timber beams running lengthwise of the filter tank and in turn engaged by screw jacks reacting upward transversely arranged overhead I-beams set in on eight-foot centers. The water was introduced into the bottom of the tanks through five-inch perforated tile pipes, percolated upwards through the gravel, crushed slag and sponge, and was drawn off at the top of the filters over brass wire plates with rectangular notches 22½ inches long and nine inches deep. The water entered these filters at the rear end and was drawn off at the front end into galvanized iron boxes, from which it flowed into the collecting pipe and was then conducted to the plain sand filters.
These preliminary filters each had a filtering area of 1,024 square feet and when all 11 were in service, they had a theoretical capacity of 12 million gallons per day, which was at the rate of 46.4 million gallons per acre per day.
On an average of once a month the preliminary filters were cleaned by reversing the current at a rapid rate and wasting the water into the sewers through a 20-inch pipe drain at the bottom. When the sponges became heavily clogged, which occurred approximately twice a year, they were removed from the tank by mechanical appliances and washed in laundry washers driven by electric motors.
Two sand washers of the ejector type served for cleaning the five slow sand filters. They were located in the outside court. Each washer consisted of a series of hoppers, each hopper 36 inches in diameter, into which series was discharged the dirty sand from the filters. In this type of washer sand finds its way to the bottom of the one hopper and is thereupon ejected to the next hopper. The dirty water that overflows from the hoppers passes to the sewer.
The operation of this filter plant was as follows:
The water was pumped from the river into the east end of the sedimentation reservoir basin, and was drawn off at the west end through a screen chamber near the surface. The sedimentation basin operated upon the continuous subsidence system, and at a rate which gave the water 24 hours subsidence before it passed to the preliminary filters. Passing through the preliminary filters the water entered the plain sand filters, and having passed through them, collected in the clear water basin. The water flow, all the way from sedimentation basin to clear water basin, was by gravity flow. There was necessary no supplementary pumping excepting that done while cleaning the sand. Water for washing purposes was obtained from the Roxborough high service station standpipe.
Today (1931) this entire lower Roxborough filtration plant with the exception of the reservoir is out of commission, service having been discontinued in June 1926. The preliminary filters have been partially demolished. However the slow sand filters are still in good condition and could be made ready for action on short notice.
Construction of the upper Roxborough
filters commenced May 15, 1901, and they went into service July 3, 1903. They
supplied filtered water to sections of
Each filter has its own regulating or valve chamber. However, this is not located at the centre of one side of the filter, as is the case at the lower Roxborough filters, but instead the valves for the filters of successive pairs are located at the end of the dividing wall between the filters. The arrangement possesses the advantage of controlling of two filters within one house, thus reducing the number of points for operating the plant.
The filtered water basin of the upper Roxborough plant is similar in construction to that of the lower Roxborough plant. It is 237 feet 8 inches by 318 feet 10 inches on the neat lines, and 15 feet deep, with a capacity of 8 million gallons at the water line. Preliminary filters were not made a part of this station owing to the long period of sedimentation obtained in the great-sized upper Roxborough basins. Their over 147 million gallon capacity was about nine days supply for the filters, as operated during 1900.
The year 1901 introduced the newest and most modern of prime movers, the internal combustion engine, into the service of Philadelphia Water Works systems. Bids for two gasoline engine pumps were received December 18, 1901, but the contract was not immediately awarded, pending an examination of the merits of the several designs submitted. These two engines and pumps, were designed to take water from the filtered water basin and discharge it under a head of 184 feet to the sand ejectors used in the early days of filter service to convey the scraped sand from the filter beds to the sand washers, then located in the court adjoining the filter beds. These pumps also supplied the necessary wash water to these sand washers. The units purchased were of 67.4 horsepower each, and of the vertical, triplex piston type. They were placed in service about July 1, 1903 in what was known as the upper Roxborough pumping station and administration building, which was built in 1902. This building is used today (1931) only for administration purposes. These gasoline engines and pumps were removed after the installation of the electrically-operated upper Roxborough booster station in 1926.
While the upper Roxborough filters were in process of construction, the necessary equipment to pump the water from the reservoir to the filters was contracted for. This pumping was necessary because the upper reservoir did not have sufficient elevation to supply the filters by gravity. After the water passed through both basins of the reservoir, it was pumped to the filters by centrifugal pumps located in an extension of the Roxborough Auxiliary or high service pumping station. This station was situated near the lower Roxborough reservoir, about a half mile from the upper Roxborough filters. The pumps were first placed there because boiler equipment and part of the necessary piping system were already in place and could be utilized in connection with the operation of the upper Roxborough filters. The building extension was located on the north side of the station and south of the standpipe. In every respect it preserved the architectural features of the existing station.
The pumping equipment consisted of
three vertical compound condensing crank and flywheel engines built by the
Worthington Company of
In 1902, recommendations were made to install two additional 5 million gallon a day pumping engines to meet the steadily increasing demand on the Shawmont pumping station.
On February 23, 1902, the Flat Rock dam burst, but the prompt and efficient efforts of the Water Bureau personnel averted what might have been a serious situation. They quickly erected centrifugal pumps on the river front to temporarily draw the water directly from the river channel to the intakes of the main pumps, thereby preventing disruption of the water supply from this station.
So great was the demand for water at this station in 1903. that it was necessary to again place in service old pumping engine No. 4, the 4 million gallon Worthington duplex which had been discarded shortly after the four new 5 million gallon Worthingtons (new No. 4 and Nos. 5, 6 and 7) were placed in service in 1900. Old No. 4 was now designated No. 1. Two 15 million gallon pumping engines, together with eight boilers, a boiler house and a stack were recommended in 1903. The three low duty engines, which were in service in this station, i.e. Nos. 1, 2, and 3, were reputed to be great coal consumers. In addition their efficiency was much lower than their rated 16.5 million gallons per day. Their best performance, ascertained by a Venturi meter, was only 10.725 million gallons. Accordingly their removal and replacement by new pumps of more modern construction was advocated.
Early in 1904, the Flat Rock dam was again partly swept away and again centrifugal pumps and engines were setup on the river's bank to supply the engine wells with water, as had been done in 1902. Following this break and in the same year, a new dam was built directly below the old one.
When filtration at both the upper and
lower Roxborough filtration plants was in full swing, the pumps at the Shawmont
station could not supply the quantity of water needed to supply both the
districts and to meet the requirements of the filtration plants for cleanings,
sand conveying, etc. The acquisition of four 5 million gallon pumping engines
and the boiler equipment requested in 1903 was urgently recommended This
additional equipment was again requested in 1905. In 1906 the recommendations
were modified, this time to call for but two 5 million gallon engines and 10
boilers. None of these recommendations were adopted, but in 1906, the City made
a move to increase the pumping capacity of Shawmont by placing a contract to
equip with new pumps the 20 million gallon Gaskill compound pumping engine
located at the Schuylkill station, and expected to be abandoned, to place the
unit in first class operating condition, and then to erect it in the Shawmont
station. This was achieved in 1908. Because of the increased head, pump
cylinders of smaller diameter were necessitated, so this engine was re-rated at
10 million gallons a day. The 4 million gallon
The Snow Steam Pump Works of Buffalo, New York, were given a contract in 1908 to install two 5 million gallon horizontal cross compound pumping engines. They commenced service in 1909. With these additions the station capacity proved adequate for a number of years. FIGURE 39 is a photostat of the manufacturer's drawing of these pumps. In the station interior photograph of FIGURE 40 they appear in the right background as they were installed.
In 1909, a DeLaval turbine driven centrifugal pump was installed in the Roxborough high service pumping station for the lower Roxborough filter plant to furnish wash water at 100 pounds per square inch pressure for use in the sand removal and washing operations. The water which was previously furnished from the standpipe for this purpose did not have sufficient pressure, and the washing operations were therefore uneconomical.
Following a number of years of
repeated recommendations an extension was made to the boiler room of the
Roxborough high service pumping station in 1911, and two boilers removed from
In 1914, the four 5 million gallon high duty Worthington pumping engines, Nos. 4, 5, 6 and 7 which were acquired in 1900, were reported as unfit for the service conditions under which the station was compelled to operate them, and their removal and replacement with more modern and efficient equipment was suggested. In 1916 a first step was made toward electrification of pumping equipment at the Shawmont and Roxborough pumping stations. In this year contracts were let and work was started on the installation of an electric generating plant at the Shawmont pumping station to supply power for electrical equipment proposed and in process of installation at the Roxborough high service station and the upper Roxborough booster station.
The years 1917 and 1918 at the
Shawmont pumping station marked the passing of the old style reciprocating
steam engine with its wide variety of designs. In 1917 a 10 million gallon
steam turbine driven centrifugal pump, built by the Southwark Foundry and
Machine Company of
In 1918, the old 5 million gallon
In 1921, work was begun in changes in the filtering system to enable the upper Roxborough reservoir to be used as a sedimentation basin for both the upper and lower filter plants, and so do away with the inefficient sponge and coke preliminary filters at lower Roxborough. July 30, 1922 the changes were complete and these preliminary filters were abandoned.
The high service portion of the Roxborough second steam driven high service station was abandoned in 1922 when a new all-electric high service pumping station was built at the northwest corner of the lower Roxborough filter plant court. The two 6.5 million gallon and the two 3.5 million gallon motor-driven pumps built by the Platt Iron Company and first installed in the steam-driven high service station (see FIGURE 41) were removed to the new station and there set up in series.
In addition, there are in this station
two 6 million gallon Frederick Iron and Steel Company 12 inch single-stage
centrifugal pumps, driven by 250 H.P. 1800 R.P.M. General Electric motors, and
a 1 million gallon 12-inch single-stage Frederick Iron and Steel Company pump
driven by a 50 H.P. 1800 R.P.M. General Electric motor. This latter unit was
formerly used to supply the water for filter washing purposes at the lower
Roxborough filter plant. All these pumps were designed to work against a head
of 170 feet. At present, the Roxborough high service station pumps filtered
water that flows to it by gravity from the upper Roxborough filtered water
basin and boosts the pressure to supply the upper or high portions of
Roxborough and Chestnut Hill. The lower sections of
In 1922, the old Gaskill 10 million gallon compound engine and pump was removed from the Shawmont works and in its place a 20 million gallon turbo-centrifugal unit was installed. This unit consisted of two single-stage 18 inch, 900 R.P.M. Worthington centrifugal pumps arranged in series and driven by a General Electric 1750 H.P. 3578 R.P.M., nineteen stage turbine. This large turbo-centrifugal, together with the three Southwark turbo-centrifugals (each of 10 million gallon capacity) and the two 5 million gallon Snow cross compound engines, were in service at this station until 1926.
Through a series of unfortunately bad breaks, which occurred about this time, this station failed completely and for a while the districts supplied experienced the most severe water famine in their history. This speeded greatly the trend to do away entirely with steam driven pumping equipment, not only that at the Shawmont station, but also that at all other stations.
As rapidly as possible, two 25 million
gallon electric motor-driven pumps were installed in the Shawmont station.
Current was supplied by the Philadelphia Electric Company. These large electric
units were erected in 1926 by the Dravo-Doyle Company of
As clearly shown by FIGURE 42, this station strikingly presents the great advances made in pumping equipment. Occupying an entire side of the latest addition to the buildings are two ponderous steam pumping engines and pumps, the combined capacity of which is but 10 million gallons. In the center of the floor occupying less than half the space occupied by the steam engines, are the two 25 million gallon electrically driven centrifugal pumping units of a combined capacity of 50 million gallons, five times that of the two steam pumps. Over and above this, the huge boiler room, boilers, their various cumbersome accessories, the coal bunkers, and the ash handling facilities, like the engines they served, stand today as silent reminders of the era of steam pumping. The powerful and reliable electrified regular and reserve equipment daily adds to the dimness of one's memories of the old time difficulties.
In 1926, an all-electrically-equipped station known as the upper Roxborough booster station was built at the west of the upper Roxborough reservoir, for the purpose of pumping the water from the upper Roxborough reservoir to the upper Roxborough filters, a duty formerly performed by the steam-engine-driven pumps which were located in the Roxborough high service station. This new booster station, together with the new electrically-operated lower Roxborough high service station, permitted the abandonment and ultimate demolition of the steam-powered Roxborough high service station. The brick building of the station is relatively small but substantial. It houses two DeLaval, 24-inch single-stage centrifugal pumps of 20 million gallons capacity driven by two General Electric 150 H.P., 585 R.P.M. induction motors. Included also in this station are one DeLaval 20-inch single-stage centrifugal pump of 17 million gallons capacity driven by a General Electric 100 H.P., 450 R.P.M., induction motor; one Platt Iron Works 24-inch single-stage centrifugal pump of 15 million gallons capacity driven by a General Electric 40 H.P., 1800 R.P.M. motor, and two four-inch single-stage-in-series DeLaval centrifugal pumps of 1 million gallons capacity driven by a General Electric 75 H.P., 1800 R.P.M. motor. The last mentioned unit replaced the gasoline-engine-driven triplex pumps which formerly furnished wash water to the filters. The two 20 million gallon pumps are now (1931) alternately used for furnishing the filters with raw water, and the 15 and 17 million gallon pumps are held in reserve. The 1 million gallon wash water pump is practically idle since the introduction of a Bayard Filter Washing Machine, for this machine does not need pumping equipment.
The reservoir was located nearly one
mile from the pumping station and was known as the George's Hill reservoir. It
had a capacity of 40 million gallons. One month after the
The pumping plant was situated on the
west bank of the
The first engine to be installed (No.
1) was a
The boilers supplying this engine were 54 inches in diameter, and under each were two heaters, 26 inches in diameter. The boilers were safe and reliable and could be run almost continuously without more than ordinary attention. For these reasons they proved very desirable units for use in the Water Department where it was essential that delays and interruptions in pumping be avoided if possible. They were not, however, as economical as the Cornish and some other available types, and the duty of the engine was as a result somewhat reduced. However this was later, for the first engine in its trial run of 25 consecutive hours exceeded its contract guaranteed performance by 20 percent.
The duplex compound
On July 18, 1871 a second
In 1873 installation of the third engine (No. 3) was completed. While of the same make and type as the other two it was considerably larger. Its two high pressure cylinders were each of 33¾ inches in diameter and its pump cylinders 28 inches in diameter, while the common stroke was 48 inches. As it went into service it pumped 8 million gallons a day against its lift of 216 feet.
In 1873, and again in 1874, Dr. Wm. H.
McFadden, then chief engineer of the Water Bureau, advocated the duplication of
the Belmont Water Works buildings, pumps and mains, in order to provide a 20
million gallon supply to adequately serve the Centennial Exposition in
Philadelphia and meet the increase in demand expected on account of the great
influx of visitors to the exposition. These recommendations were not approved. The
In 1880, the No. 6 engine in the
During 1886, the experiment of forcing
air under pressure into the water was made at the
“The water is charged with 20 percent of
its volume of air, and the result appears to be the almost complete
disappearance of ammonia and the diminution of nearly 50 percent of albuminoid
ammonia. There is another result, however, the difficulty in preventing the
mains from leaking. Joints that are perfectly tight while pumping in the usual
way, will leak badly when the pipes are charged with air, and when the use of
the air compressors is stopped, the joints resume their former good condition. Professor
Leeds, in a lecture before the Franklin Institute, December 23, 1886, stated
that this process had been applied at only one of our pumping stations, namely
The submerged main across the
On June 23, 1892, Councils passed an
ordinance that was approved by Mayor Stuart, authorizing invitations for bids
for the erection of a filtering plant at the
In 1893, it was decided to build a
high service pumping station, a short distance to the east of the George's Hill
reservoir, to improve the water supply to the western part of the 34th Ward.
The contract for the engine and boiler house for this station was awarded in
the same year to the R. C. Ballinger Company, of
The first engine selected was an old
Yet another old engine was placed in
In 1895 and 1896, the need of a new reservoir for this station became very apparent, and urgent formal request for it was made to Councils by the Water Bureau.
In 1897 it was considered imperative to take definite action to provide additional boilers together with boiler house and stack, to meet the anticipated increased demands on this station the ensuing year.
In 1898 two additional pumping engines
of 10 million gallon capacity were requested for the
After a number of years of agitation for an additional reservoir, pumping engine, engine house, boiler house and boilers, an ordinance was approved July 12, 1898 appropriating (from a loan authorized by ordinance of Councils and approved June 17, 1898) the sum of $500,000 for the purpose of constructing a reservoir, and furnishing pumping engines and mains for that portion of the city lying west of the Schuylkill River.
On July 12 of the same year a new
reservoir site adjoining the old reservoir on the north was selected. This new
reservoir was to be triangular in shape with capacity for 85 million gallons, but
this plan did not materialize. Instead, a few years later, a 73 million gallon
sedimentation basin to work in conjunction with the new
There was recommended new pumping equipment capable of delivering 20 million gallons a day, together with a new engine house large enough not only to accommodate this new machinery, but also the earlier 20 million gallon engine which had been operating under temporary wooden shelter ever since its acquisition in 1895. This plan was strongly urged in 1898 but not until June 30, 1900 was any relief afforded. On that date contracts were let for the construction of a new engine house and intake and for an addition to the old boiler house. Work was started almost immediately by the contractor. A frame structure was erected inside of the old engine house completely housing the existing engines, Nos. 1, 2 and 3. The old engine house was demolished to its foundations, the foundations were extended on the south side to provide room for three additional pumps, and a new building 166 feet 10 inches long and 73 feet 6 inches wide was erected. The boiler house was also extended. Demolition began June 15, 1900, and the new engine house, together with the installation of three newly acquired pumping engines was completed during 1901. FIGURE 47 is a photograph of the station as of 1901.
The new units, which bore
manufacturer's serial numbers, 519, 520 and 521, were assigned stations Nos. 5,
6, and 7 respectively. The extension of the boiler house was finished December
3, 1900. The new engines (shown in the photograph of FIGURE 48) were erected by the Holly
Manufacturing Company of
During this same year (1901) the building
of the projected new
At the gate chamber or valve house of the reservoir the water was initially carried through a main laid on the floor of the easterly compartment to the extreme northerly end where it was admitted through special branches from the main to the bottom of the compartment to be subjected to its first period of sedimentation. The water then passed diagonally across the basin to a so called floating discharge pipe nearly the southerly end of the dividing embankment between the compartments. This discharge pipe consisted of a 48-inch riveted iron pipe 1/8 inch thick, inclined to the bottom of the reservoir.
At the bottom end of the pipe, a hinged joint was provided while the top end of the pipe was supported from a cylindrical iron float, so adjusted as to keep the mouth of the pipe at a constant depth of but a few feet below the surface of the water, so that only the surface water in the basin could be drawn off. The hinged joint at the bottom end permitted the pipe to rise or fall as the depth of the water varied. Entering from this floating discharge pipe in the easterly compartment, the water passed down the pipe through an equalizing pipe in the division embankment into the westerly compartment where it was led to the extreme northerly end, where it issued into this compartment at the bottom. Then passing diagonally across and upwards through this basin, it underwent its second period of sedimentation, and was drawn off at the top through another floating pipe connected with a screening chamber, thus completing a full transit through both compartments of the reservoir.
From the screen chamber, the water was conveyed through the outlet pipe and gate chamber, or valve house, to the filters. The arrangement of the valves was noteworthy. While water was normally admitted first to the easterly compartment of the filters and then into the westerly one, from which latter it was drawn off, if desired the water could be admitted to and drawn from either one of the compartments independently of the other. Still further the compartment could be operated independently but simultaneously. This system of flow through the reservoirs was modified upon completion of the aeration flume in 1922. With this in operation the water flow was reversed, the water being first introduced into the westerly compartment and then flowed through the aeration flume to the northerly end of the easterly compartment, in which it completes its transit.
The filter plant is located south of the reservoir. The general arrangement of the filters in plan is irregular. There are 18 covered sand filters and a court for storing and washing filter sand. The topography of the terrain allowed arrangement of the filters in a series of terraces with a maximum difference in level of three feet between adjacent filters. All the filters are rectangular in shape, with eight filters measuring 120 feet 2 inches by 272 feet 8 inches, seven filters measuring 135 feet 5 inches by 242 feet 2 inches, and three filters measuring 165 feet 11 inches by 196 feet 5 inches. Each filter provides approximately 32,000 square feet (or .735 acres net) of filtering area at the normal sand line. Assuming a normal rate of filtration of 3 million gallons per acre every 24 hours, each filter was figured to yield approximately 2.2 million gallons of water per day, and with 15 filters in operation the capacity of the plant was approximately 33.3 million gallons daily.
The capacity of this plant, as recommended by the Board of Experts in their report of 1899, was 27 million gallons per day, but owing to an increase in water consumption between the time the report was made and the beginning of the filtration installation, it was deemed advisable to provide the extra capacity. Sufficient land was acquired by the city to allow for plant extensions to a capacity of 65 million gallons a day, based on the 3 million gallon per acre performance.
In general the construction of these
filters is the same as that of the Upper and
The accompanying filtered water basin
is rectangular in plan, measuring 382 feet 2 inches by 396 feet on the neat
lines. It has a normal water depth of 15 feet, and a capacity of 16.5 million
gallons. In general construction this basin is similar to those at the Upper
The pipes and sewers of this plant were all designed and built of sufficient capacity to provide for future filter installations. As far as possible, the regulating mechanisms of two adjacent filters were placed in one house located at the dividing walls between the filters; but where the location and elevation were such that this could not be accomplished, isolated valves were provided.
Work on the reservoir began August 1,
1901, and was completed in 1903; with work on the filters begun July 10, 1901
and completed in 1903. The first water was pumped into the filters on September
3, 1903, and the first filtered water was turned into the city mains April 1, 1904.
It was, however, not until December 13, 1904, that the full capacity of the
plant was available to the
The construction of the preliminary
filters for the
These preliminary filters consisted of nine separate concrete filter tanks each divided into three compartments. The first compartment was uncovered and contained ordinary coke. The water admitted at the bottom at one end of the tank was passed through the length of the tank and upward to the second compartment which was filled with a sponge layer about six feet deep. Water introduced at the bottom of this second compartment passed upward through the sponge and flowed on to the third compartment, which contained a layer of coke dust or cinders, (coke breeze) ranging from 1/8 inch to ¼ inch in diameter. The water filtered downward through the coke breeze at the rate of 40 million gallons per acre per day. Early experience with this system indicated the first and second compartments were not economical in operation for reducing turbidity and the coke breeze was then depended upon entirely.
In 1902 the pumpage required at the
Two new steam driven centrifugal pumps
were installed at the new
Three duplex direct acting pumps to supply filtered water under pressure to the sand washers and ejectors, together with the necessary boilers, were built during 1903, but their installation was not completed until 1904.
The recommendations of 1902 to install
new pumping engines in the Belmont pumping station were renewed in 1903 and
1904, when there were requested three 10 million gallon pumps, a 36-inch
pumping main, 10 boilers, a stack, and new engine and boiler houses. The
demands on the station had increased greatly and in addition it was necessary
to raise the water to the new
In spite of these measures the rapidly
increasing population of
During 1906, the George's Hill reservoir was given a thorough cleaning, and in 1907 filtered water was delivered to this reservoir and thence to the districts supplied by this high service station.
On November 4, 1907, a contract was
awarded to the Allis-Chalmers Company for a new 6 million gallon horizontal cross
compound pumping engine for service in the George's Hill high service pumping
station. This was to replace the old 2 million gallon
The old No. 1 and No. 2 Worthington engines of the Belmont station (which were erected 1870-1871) were removed in 1908 and superseded by two 10 million gallon Bethlehem Cross Compound pumping engines, the first of which was put in service April 27, 1909, and the second on October 19, 1909. FIGURE 49 is a photostat of the manufacturers drawing.
Construction of an extension to the Belmont Filter System and the Belmont Preliminary Filters was commenced in 1914. These extensions when placed in service in 1915 added 50 percent to the areas of these plants.
During the years 1915 and 1916, a new
and modern type of prime mover was introduced into the
By 1919, the West Philadelphia
districts were using water up to the practical capacity of the
Plans were made in 1921 to consolidate
the George's Hill high service station (or Belmont auxiliary pumping station,
as it was sometimes called) with the pumping station of the Belmont filtration
plant, and to operate with the filter pumping equipment and the high service
pumping equipment by electric power produced in the main Belmont pumping
station. This arrangement was completed in 1922, and the steam driven George's
Hill high service pumping station went out of commission on November 30 of that
year. The service it had been rendering was then taken over and has been
carried to date (1931) by the electrically-driven centrifugal pumps located in
The George's Hill reservoir was at
this time (1922) and still is (1931) used as a filtered water emergency storage
basin. At the time of the consolidation in 1922,the electrically-driven pumping
equipment of the Belmont high service station (as located at the Belmont
filtration plant) consisted of three 4 million gallon and two 1 million gallon
Frederick Iron and Steel Company pumps, driven by General Electric Company
motors, which afforded high service pumpage; and the two 1 million gallon pumps
which were used as reserve units for the high service pumpage and as regular
units for supplying filter wash water. Wash water is today (1931) supplied by
two 10 million gallon double-suction single-stage Fairbanks Morse centrifugal
pumps driven by Fairbanks Morse 150 H.P. 900 R.P.M. motors. About 1929 two 8
million gallon Fairbanks Morse, double-suction single-stage centrifugal pumps
driven by 250 H.P. 1200 R.P.M. Fairbanks Morse motors were added to the high
service duty equipment. In 1922, an additional 20 million gallon DeLaval
turbo-centrifugal pump, which had been installed at the
Two DeLaval turbo-centrifugals, installed in 1915-1916, capacity 22 million gallons a day each; one DeLaval turbo-centrifugal, installed in 1922, capacity 22 million gallons a day; and two Bethlehem Cross compounds, installed in 1909, capacity 10 million gallons a day each.
The various laboratories which had
been organized previous to and after the advent of the starting of the
filtration plants were consolidated in 1925 and placed in a completely-equipped
chemical laboratory and office on the
Plans for the most modern and efficient mechanical filtering units for this station were completed in 1925 and construction commenced and carried on through the succeeding years. The units were completed in 1928.
A complete chlorinating plant was installed in the early part of 1930.
The year 1929 closed the era of steam driven pumping equipment at the Belmont pumping station with the completion and placing in service of the two 60 million gallon centrifugal pumping units shown in FIGURE 51. They were driven at 900 R.P.M. by Westinghouse 3800 H.P. 13,200 volt motors. About the same time there was undertaken the electrification of the remaining three 22 million gallon turbo-driven DeLaval centrifugal pumps which were installed 1915, 1916, and 1922. These pumps were then re-rated at 25 million gallons. With the installation of the electrical units, the Philadelphia Electric Company became the source of supply for power, and the station's boiler equipment and the three Allis-Chalmers generators and Kerr turbines were placed in the discard.
Frankford Pumping Station
Active promotion for the building of a
pumping station at Frankford was started in 1872 with the passing of a loan by
Councils. In 1873 it was suggested by Dr. Wm. H. McFadden, then chief engineer
of the Water Bureau, that the pumping station for these works be located at
At first it was intended to build a reservoir of 11 million gallons capacity, but this was later changed to approximately 36 million gallons, at 167 feet city datum. The pumping station was built to accommodate two 10 million gallon pumping engines, and the first of them was contracted for in 1875. The station house was built by Prior and West, Contractors of Trenton, New Jersey, to whom the contract was awarded on June 13, 1876. A station wharf, and a water intake and foundations, were built by a Mr. R. A. Malone under a contract awarded on April 25, 1876. The inlet conduit ran well into the river and was provided with a top that could be used as a wharf, providing 13,000 square feet of wharf area. Coal bunkers with a storage capacity of 1,500 tons were also constructed.
The reservoir on the Wentz Farm was completed in July 1877, and the station started pumping December 1, 1877. It was found that the forebay was soon pumped dry. Investigation disclosed the fact that some malicious person had placed bulkheads in front of the wooden inlet conduit to prevent the free inflow of water into the forebay. This was quickly remedied and pumping resumed. On December 10, 1877, water was delivered into the reservoir, and supplied to the residents of Frankford. The pumping main between the station and the reservoir was 30 inches in diameter and 20,250 feet long. A rubber-coated pipe one inch in diameter was laid alongside the pumping main so that the height of the water in the reservoir could be indicated at the engine house.
The first engine, No. 1, was built by
the Wm. Cramp and Sons Engine Company. It was a marine compound rotary type of 10
million gallons daily capacity. It had one high pressure cylinder of 40 inches
bore and a 60-inch stroke, and one low pressure cylinder of 69 inches bore and 60-inch
stroke. Connected to the engine were two double acting plunger pumps, each of 21-inch
bore and 60-inch stroke, and capable of a total water lift of 187.5 feet. After
having been in operation approximately seven months, on July 15, 1878 the
engine pump cylinders broke. Then the small 2 million gallon
A duplicate of engine No. 1 was
urgently requested in 1880 as a reserve against accident to the equipment in
service. A new 10 million gallon Corliss compound rotary engine was provided
and began service August 5, 1884. The
In 1893, a new 15 million gallon
pumping engine was completed and installed on contract by the Southwark Foundry
and Machine Company of
This new engine (See FIGURE 52), which then became No. 3, was a vertical compound flywheel type, and although rated at 15 million gallons per day was expected to be capable of delivering 20 to 25 million gallons. The engine was completed in 1894, but it was not accepted by the Bureau until June 1897 because of a series of defects which resulted in a broken piston and necessitated its remaining in the hands of the builders until the defects were remedied. During the time between August 1, 1894 and December 31, 1896, the builders experimented with a hydraulic attachment for operating the pump valves.
In 1895, and again in 1898, additional reservoir storage facilities were again recommended, for the demands of the districts supplied by this station had reached such proportions that a sedimentation period of only 1½ days was possible with the existing reservoir, and this was entirely inadequate for the type of water delivered to this basin.
Since the reservoir on the Wentz Farm
was in the midst of several thriving suburbs it was later deemed advisable to
provide these districts with the water stored in their vicinity. In line with
this reasoning, on August 22, 1899, a contract was awarded for the erection of
a 3 million gallon pumping engine, together with a boiler house, three
boilers, a stack, and a standpipe for a new pumping station to supply the Fox
The D'Auria 2.5 million gallon duplex engine, which was first installed at the Roxborough pumping station in 1899, was moved in 1901 to the Wentz Farm (or Frankford) high service station. There it entered service on a revised rating of 4 million gallons per day on account of the lower lift required at this station.
November 25, 1901, a 10 million gallon Southwark vertical compound flywheel type engine, which had first been installed at the Roxborough works, was placed in operation at the Frankford pumping station, and was designated No. 4 engine.
During the same year (1901) plans and
specifications were prepared for a reconstruction of the Wentz Farm reservoir
to increase its capacity. It was a part of this plan to have this reservoir
work in conjunction with the
The original Frankford pumping station continued to function satisfactorily and to adequately serve the steadily increasing demands of the districts which it supplied until 1905. In this year the three new 20 million gallon pumps at the Lardner's Point pumping station (originally Frankford Station No. 2; see next chapter) took over the regular service of these districts. The old Frankford station ceased regular pumping in April 1905; but during 1906 and 1907 it was kept under steam and did a small amount of pumping. In 1908 not a gallon of water was pumped, although the station was kept under steam during the entire year. While the old station seemed superfluous, this arrangement continued until 1914, when the station's activities ceased entirely, for it had been completely supplanted by Lardner's Point, A few years later the old equipment was disposed of and the station entirely demolished.
The Wentz Farm high service station survived the parent Frankford Station. Early in 1914 the districts of Somerton and Byberry were added to the duty of the Wentz Farm station and an appropriation was made and a contract let for additional pumping equipment. This new equipment, which did not see service until 1916, consisted of one 2.5 million and one 5 million gallon Kerr-D'Oiler turbo-centrifugal pumps. These are pictured as installed in the foreground of FIGURE 53.
After another five years plans were developed for transferring the service handled by the Wentz Farm high service station to the Lardner's Point pumping station, to thereby eliminate the high overhead expense of operating the isolated Wentz Farm station. In 1921 the Wentz Farm reservoir was abandoned, and the basin was drained. The territory northerly and westerly from Frankford, which formerly received its supply from this reservoir, was transferred to the Oak Lane Service. In 1924, the Lardner's Point pumping station assumed the pumping burden formerly carried by the Wentz Farm station, and it was formally abandoned. The empty engine and boiler house and the stack of the station and small portions of the reservoir embankment still mark the site.
Lardner's Point Pumping Station
At the time of its inception, and for a number of years thereafter, the Lardner's Point pumping station was considered as the classic of municipal water works pumping stations, and in that respect it became world renowned. It was the subject of much illustration and discussion not only in the technical publications, but also in many text books and other literature pertaining to hydrodynamics, and to this day (1931) it stands a monument of gigantic municipal enterprise and progressiveness. The station has been visited and studied by delegations from all over the world. Its outstanding features have been copied in a large number of water works pumping stations in this and foreign countries. In FIGURE 54 one section of the station is pictured.
The idea for building this station was formulated when the decision was made shortly before the century closed to provide Philadelphia with the most modern and efficient water filtration plant that it was then possible to devise, but engine contracts were not let until 1901 and construction of the station was not started until the latter part of 1902 The project was known for a long time as the No. 2 Frankford station, as it was built directly behind and on the land side of the original Frankford station.
The purpose of this station was (and is today, 1931) to pump the filtered water which flows to it by gravity from the Torresdale filters to nearly all of the distribution districts lying east of the Schuylkill River. Those districts lying in the high portions of the city east of the Schuylkill and which are served by the Shawmont pumping station and the Roxborough filters are the exceptions. To serve so great an area called for tremendous capacity. The complete plans called for twelve 20 million gallon engines.
The initial pumping machinery
installation consisted of three of these great engines. They were vertical
compound triple expansion crank and flywheel pumping engines, capable of
operating against a static head of 210 feet above city datum, when operated
under steam pressure of 150 pounds per square inch. The contract for these
first three engines was awarded to the Holly Manufacturing Company of
Three more Holly 20 million gallon vertical triple expansion pumping engines, similar to those installed in 1905, were placed in active service during the year 1907 and marked the completion of the pumping equipment of the first half of the Lardner's Point pumping station. Owing to the fact that the new distributing mains were not all laid, it was possible to use only three of the six pumps at this station until April 1908, when the mains were completed. From then on all six could be used, affording a full capacity of 120 million gallons daily.
Contracts for six more 20 million gallon Holly pumping engines for installation in the second half of the station were let during the year 1907. These six were identical with the first six except for one or two slight refinements which had been added since the first six were built.
In the early days of this station's
history it was sometimes necessary to pump raw water from the
Four of the six engines were installed and ready for service. The last two were installed, and placed in service in the early part of 1909, and the Lardner's Point pumping station was constituted the largest single pumping station in the world. Its 12 great engines were arranged in two batteries of six engines each. Each engine was of the following specifications:
Nominal capacity of each engine: 20 million gallons daily
Number of revolutions per minute: 20
Stroke: 66 inches
Piston speed (feet per minute): 220
Cylinder diameter: 30 inches (high), 60 inches (intermediate), 90 inches (low)
Diameter, piston rod: 7½ inches (high, intermediate and low))
Receiver volume: (1) 205 cubic feet (2) 504 cubic feet
Receiving heating surface: (1) 166 square feet (2) 304 square feet
Cross head pins: Diameter 12 inches, length 11 inches
Crank pins: Diameter 12 inches, length 11 inches
Shaft bearings: Diameter 17½ inches, length 32 inches
Shaft at center: Diameter 20¾ inches
Distance Rods: four each, 5 inches in diameter
Air pump: one, 28 inches diameter, 66 inches stroke
Feed pump: one, 3¼ in. diameter, 66 inches stroke
Feed water heater: one in exhaust, 308 square feet
Flywheels: two - 20 ft. diameter, approx. weight 32 tons ea.
Throttle Valves: 8 inches diameter
Exhaust pipe: 24 and 3/8 inches diameter
Suction Injection: 8 inches and 10 inches diameter
Force Injection: 3 inches and 3½ inches diameter
Overflow: 18 inches diameter
Diameter of pump plungers: 33 inches
Number of pump valves: No. 2 house, 960; No. 3 house, 864
These engines were designed to work under varying lifts to suit the pressure required in the districts which they served. All six of the engines in the first half of the station were required to work under a lift 206 feet, as were also three of the engines installed in the second half of the station. The remaining three engines in the second half worked under a lift of 250 feet. Some idea of their enormous size can be had from the beautiful end elevation drawing of FIGURE 55.
In spite of the immensity of this pumping station, it had been in full operation for but six years when an additional pumping unit of the turbo-centrifugal type was urgently requested by the Bureau, and in response to these recommendations contracts were let and work was started in 1916 on the installation of a new 35 million gallon DeLaval turbo-centrifugal pump. This was completed and placed in active service in the latter part of 1918. This important and expensive piece of machinery had to be installed outside of the station buildings under a temporary wooden shed because the fund that had been set aside for a proper and suitable building had been diverted to meet the urgent expenditure for pipe laying to supply water for the tremendous number of dwellings being built during the World War period. This temporary shelter remained until 1920 when provision was made for an appropriate building in keeping with the other buildings of the station.
This station remains essentially the same today (1931) as when first built, over 25 years ago. The same equipment is still in active service including the modern turbine-driven centrifugal pump previously described. There have been made one or two smaller installations of minor importance. The filtered water, which this station distributes, is conveyed from the Torresdale plant through a conduit 10½ feet inside diameter and 13,815 feet long.
The station pumps this water to places
as far distant as League Island Navy Yard, and to the
Queen Lane Water Works
During 1890 the building of a reservoir
on what was known as Indian Queen Lane was seriously considered by the
Committee on Water, and resulted in a plan to serve the entire northwestern
part of the city, comprising the 15th, 28th, 29th, 32nd, and parts of the 20th
and 33rd Wards, with subsided water from this projected reservoir in place of
the raw water supplied directly from the river to the homes and industries in
this locality. This “direct service” practice had been in vogue so long in this
part of the city that these wards were known as the “direct pumpage districts.”
On September 13, 1892, the contract for the construction of the
As one approaches the Queen Lane Filtration Plant and Reservoir from the north, a fine monument and bronze plate informs him that the site is that where the Continental Army under the command of General George Washington was encamped from August 1 to 8, and from September 12 to 14, 1777, before and immediately after the battle of Brandywine.
The same year, 1892, the Water
Committee approved plans for the construction of a new pumping station to
supply the new reservoir, the station to be located in Fairmount Park on the
east side of the Schuylkill River a few hundred feet below the City Line
Bridge. The contract for the station buildings was awarded to I. H. Hathaway
and Company of
This station was equipped first with four 20 million gallon triple expansion pumping engines provided with triple plunger pumps, built and installed by the Southwark Foundry and Machine Company of Philadelphia. One of these engines is shown in FIGURE 57. The first one of them was started in operation on October 23, 1895 and the second one on November 20, 1895. The third and fourth engines were completed and started in operation on May 20 and May 28, 1896, respectively. These engines marked another step forward in the development of steam prime movers. The four engines and pumps were identical. Each was capable of pumping 20 million gallons a day against a total lift of 264 feet, thus affording a combined capacity of 80 million gallons. The high pressure cylinder had a bore of 37 inches, the intermediate cylinder 62 inches, and the low pressure cylinder 96, and the stroke of all was 54 inches. The three plunger pumps were each of 34½‑inch bore and 54‑inch stroke. The triple expansion system for pumping engines superseded the compound system. It was made possible by increased steam pressures, developed by improved boiler designs. Engines with three and even four cylinders, in which the steam at a high initial pressure, was expanded successively in the high pressure cylinder, the intermediate cylinders, and the low pressure cylinder, were found to be more economical than all previous types. The smaller weight per horsepower of the triple expansion engines and the reduction in the floor area required were additional advantages gained.
This station was in complete running order in 1896, but the reservoir had never been filled to its maximum depth of 30 feet owing to the lack of an $88,000 appropriation to install a duplicate pumping main between the station and the reservoir. For the same reason it was impossible to utilize the entire pump capacity to the reservoir and a portion only of the so-called “direct pumpage district” was supplied with subsided water, while the remainder continued to be supplied raw or direct pumped water. In 1897 the engines at this station were operating under unfavorable circumstances thought to be caused by the admission of air into the suction mains. The engines would thump and pound so heavily at times that a number of breakdowns resulted. This continued and in 1900 a new system of intake and pump wells were installed in an attempt to remedy it.
On March 21, 1897, the south basin of the reservoir was filled to its intended maximum depth of 30 feet for the first time, while the north basin contained only 21 feet 2 inches on the same date. Former leaks had all been repaired but new ones were discovered from time to time even at this late date.
The paved walks around the reservoir on top of the retaining walls and across the subdivision between the north and south basins proved a popular course for bicycle riders. In 1898 it became necessary to install gates across the walks to prevent the use of them for bicycle racing, which some had been doing in spite of the danger of their landing in the basin.
A committee of experts, appointed in
1899 to suggest ways and means for the improvement of
In spite of the installation of the
new intake and engine pump wells system in 1900. the machinery continued
breaking down. The Bureau's report for the year 1904 recites that the pumpage
at this station decreased over 1 billion gallons during the year on
account of engine and pump troubles. In 1907 the pumping equipment was
constantly being repaired and it was necessary to have the
Approximately six years after the
abandonment of the original plans to install a filtration plant at
The 40 preliminary filters measured 32 feet by 40 feet each. They were located partly on the original reservoir embankment and partly on fill, in two rows, separated by a power house and administration building at the centre, and so formed two separate preliminary filter operating galleries. In all their essential details these filters were identical with those at Torresdale, excepting that the water was introduced at the front instead of at the rear, and was drawn off through an effluent discharge located immediately under the raw water supply. Both introduction and discharge took place under the floor of an operating gallery. The effluent was discharged at an elevation of 245 feet city datum from both batteries of filters in the centre line of the plant, and it was from there carried through a main supply conduit extending to the centre of the final or sand filters These preliminary filters were all covered by a reinforced concrete roof. The elevation of the water surface was fixed at 231¼ feet city datum, or 6¾ feet below the line of the sedimentation basin. In 1922 these filters were remodeled into rapid sand filters.
The final or slow sand filters are located immediately west of the preliminary filters but like them, inside of the north basin of the reservoir. The method of filtration is the same as employed at other stations, but the filters are constructed on different lines, inasmuch as they are built immediately over the filtered water basin. The filters are supported above the basin on rectangular piers 30 inches square, constructed on 16 foot centers and founded on the rock strata beneath it. The floor of the filters forms the roof of the filtered water basin and is constructed of groined arches surmounting the piers. These arches are approximately 10 inches thick at the crown with a rise of 45 inches from the pier heads. The side walls of the filters have a minimum thickness of two feet and are of reinforced concrete. The filter roof is carried on lines of square concrete piers spaced on 64 inch centers and of sufficient height to allow head room between the water surface of the filters and the underside of the roof beams. The roof is of reinforced concrete and is supported from the lines of piers on reinforced beams 19 inches deep, six inches wide and 32 feet in length. The roof proper is six inches thick.
There are 22 separate filter beds on the floor, each dimensioned 344 feet 5 inches by 96 feet. They are arranged in two groups or batteries separated by a court 20 feet wide, under which are placed the raw water conduit and the necessary piping and drains. The supply is received from the preliminary filters through a rectangular, reinforced steel conduit 10 feet wide by 7 feet 4 inches high, which is connected to each filter by a 20-inch pipe leading through the chamber of a regulating house where a valve regulates the rate of flow in the filter. The main collector is built of reinforced concrete in two sections and covered by a reinforced concrete slab six inches thick. The lateral collectors are of six‑inch terra cotta pipe extending from opposite sides of the main collector at 16 foot intervals. The filtered water is passed from each filter directly to the filtered water basin through a rectangular orifice provided in the wall of the chamber of the regulating house. The regulating houses all face the center court or aisle and each accommodates two filters. The first filtering material consisted of a layer of gravel 16 inches in depth, varying in size from three inches in diameter to about 1/16 inch in diameter. Over the gravel is placed a layer of sand 20 inches in depth. The filters are drained at the rear through a 20‑inch pipe that connects with a drainage system leading to the sewers.
The power station and administration building as heretofore indicated are located centrally of the eastern side of the preliminary filters and include the operating gallery beneath which introduction and discharge of water are located. In the power house are the boilers and steam pumps for pumping water for cleaning the filters. Originally engines for the electric lighting equipment were included. A steel storage tank for wash water, 35 feet in diameter and 35 feet high, is supported above the roof of the buildings. It is enclosed by brick walls treated to conform to the architecture of the buildings.
The filtered water basin occupies the entire space beneath the final filters, a space of 1,056 feet by 709 feet. When filled to its normal depth of nine feet, the basin has a capacity of 50 million gallons. Excepting on the east, the basin side walls are of plain concrete 4½ feet thick. They are surmounted by the side walls of the final filters which they support. The east wall is formed by the retaining wall of the fill which lies under the preliminary filters. The floor of the original reservoir forms the floor of the filtered water basin and is lined with four inches of concrete covered with two inches of asphalt concrete.
For a short time prior to installation
of the Queen Lane filters, portions of the Queen Lane districts were supplied
by filtered water from Torresdale pumped to the north basin of the Queen Lane
reservoir, which was cleaned out in 1906 for the purpose of storing this
filtered water. This arrangement continued in operation more or less successfully
until May 1, 1909, when the entire
Because of a lack of funds, all work
on the construction of the
In January 1918, a DeLaval steam
turbine-driven centrifugal pump of 25 million gallons per day capacity was
installed in the
In 1919, the triple expansion engines and pumps showed signs of considerable deterioration. The breakdowns became yet more frequent and serious. It was decided to replace them with four 40 million gallon DeLaval turbo-centrifugal pumping units, and the contract for them was let in 1920.
It was also decided in 1919, to effect
certain improvements and modifications of the
“Safety therefore demands as part of
the project that a compensating reservoir be built on a tributary of the
Contracts were placed and the work started on the modifications to the filter plant in 1920, but no action was taken as to the recommended compensating reservoir. The dismantling and demolition of the old Southwark 20 million gallon triple expansion engines was started in 1920, to make room for the installation of the new DeLaval turbo-centrifugals which were being built. The first of the four new units was installed in 1921. These units worked under a 150 pound steam pressure, and each was capable of delivering its 40 million gallons per day against a head of 275 feet. The installations of the remaining three followed in rapid order and were completed during 1922. The 23-stage steam turbines were rated at 3,000 H.P. at 3,000 R.P.M. Through a reduction gear they drive 30 inch by 25.5 inch centrifugal pumps operating at 560 R.P.M. These pumps are connected with the river intake by two masonry conduits, one leading into each end of the engine room, and each supplying two pumps. Two Sprague Electric Company dynamos furnish power for illumination.
The year 1924 brought to completion the conversion of the filters. The prefilters had been changed to the mechanical type. There had been constructed an aeration flume in the sedimentation basin to deliver the raw water to the point most remote from the filter intake. The aeration flume was built on the slope of the basin. Wash water is supplied to the filters by two Fairbanks-Morse 12 inch single-stage centrifugal pumps of 5 million gallon capacity, driven by a 75 H.P., 900 R.P.M., motor; one unit consisting of two Fairbanks-Morse eight-inch single-stage centrifugal pumps and of 2 million gallons capacity in series driven by a 125 H.P., 1800 R.P.M. motor; and one Fairbanks-Morse unit consisting of two four-inch single-stage centrifugal pumps and of 1 million gallons capacity, in series, driven by a 60 H.P., 1800 R.P.M. motor.
About this time high service was
planned for this station and a contract placed for the installation of electric
motor-driven pumps to give this service. This first introduced the modern
electric pumping units to this station. The equipment was installed in 1926. It
consists of two DeLaval 18‑inch centrifugal pumps driven by two General
Electric. 500 H.P., 900 R.P.M. induction motors. Each of these pumps has a
capacity of 15 million gallons at a head of 145 feet. There are also in
this high service station two DeLaval fourteen inch centrifugal pumps of 7.5 million
gallons capacity which are driven by General Electric 250 H.P., 1200 R.P.M.,
induction motors; and one
After filtration is accomplished at
Torresdale Water Works
The Torresdale Station is the largest and the chief of the filtering plants and pumping stations forming the Philadelphia Water Works System. It is also the largest pumping and filtration plant of its kind in the world. It occupies an area of over 200 acres with sufficient ground available to provide for future extensions.
This station and the Lardner's Point
pumping station were placed in service at approximately the same time and were
the results of a long period of study and planning by the Water Bureau for the
The station is admirably located on the
The original station consisted of 55 covered sand filters rectangular in shape, 23 filters being 140 feet 8 inches by 235 feet 8 inches, and 22 filters being 133 feet 2 inches by 253 feet 2 inches. Each of the 23 filters has an area of approximately 32,500 square feet or 0.747 acres net filtering area at the normal sand line, while each of the 22 filters has an area of approximately 33,000 square feet or 0.758 acres at the normal sand line. At a nominal filtration rate of 3 million gallons per acre per hour these filters with an average area of three-quarters of an acre were originally figured to yield a total of approximately 100 million gallons per day with all filters operating to capacity. Sufficient land was originally acquired by the City to extend this plant, ultimately to a capacity of 300 million gallons per day figured on the same basis. Provision was made in the original layout of the whole plant for the installation of preliminary filters to treat the water during periods of excessive turbidity.
The general construction of the
filters is similar to those at Upper and Lower Roxborough and the
The filtered water basin is rectangular in plan, measuring 601 feet 10 inches by 762 feet 2 inches, and has an available depth of 15 feet and a capacity of 50 million gallons at the normal line. In general construction, this basin is similar to the filters, except that the piers supporting the vaulting are squared their full length and not battered at the base. Tie filtered water passes into the filtered water basin at one corner through an inlet gate house and out through a concrete conduit eight feet in diameter. The main contexts leading to and from the basin are built of concrete with expanded metal reinforcements, and are 10 feet in diameter. The water, upon leaving the basin, passes to shaft No. 1 of the filtered water conduit, and thence by gravity to the Lardner's Point pumping station.
To learn fully the characteristics of
the Delaware River water a testing station was established in 1901 in the old
One of the principal features of the Torresdale filtration plant and the Lardner's Point pumping station is the connecting link between the two which is known as the Torresdale conduit. This conduit carries the filtered water from the Torresdale filter plant to the Lardner's Point pumping station. It is built for its entire length in a tunnel through solid rock and connects by vertical shafts at its opposite ends respectively with the filtered water basin and the pump wells in the pumping station. The conduit is circular in section, of 10 feet 6 inches inside diameter, and is 13,815 feet in length from center to center of the end shafts. Its rated capacity is 300 million gallons per day. At the Torresdale end the bottom of the conduit is 98.68 feet below mean high water, or 115 feet below the surface of the ground; while at the Lardner's Point end it is 88.14 feet below mean high water or about 93 feet below the surface of the ground, thereby providing an upgrade to the pumping station of nine inches per 1000 feet. The work of building the tunnel was carried on simultaneously from 11 shafts, two end shafts which were permanent, and nine temporary working shafts. Headings were driven in both directions in all the working shafts, and in one direction only from each of the permanent end shafts. Active work on this conduit was begun September 23, 1901, and it was reported finished by the contractor in 1904.
The orderly progress of the construction of the Torresdale works was seriously delayed due to the resignation of John W. Hill, the chief engineer, and the working out of various recommendations made by a group of engineers who were investigating the construction of the filtration plant at this time. Not until 1907 was the pumping station for supplying water to the filter beds completed.
In 1907 contracts were awarded for preliminary filters designed to increase the capacity of the slow filter beds from 3 to 6 million gallons per acre per day.
In 1901 or shortly after decision was
made to install additional filter beds at the Torresdale plant in order to
The Torresdale pumping station was equipped with steam-engine-driven centrifugal pumps, then the most advanced units of modern and efficient pumping equipment. The original installation of 1907 consisted of three 40 million gallon pumping units, two driven by compound vertical engines built by the R. D. Wood Company, and one driven by a compound vertical Bates engine built by the Allis-Chalmers Company. The installation of these three units was quickly followed by four additional R. D. Wood units of the same capacity. The interior of the Torresdale pumping station 1907-8 is the subject of the photograph of FIGURE 58 and the unit in the foreground is one of the R. D. Wood units. In the year 1907 the Torresdale plant filtered an average of 60 million gallons a day.
In 1908 additional equipment was found
necessary as follows: three DeLaval 75 K. W. turbo-generators; two DeLaval
turbo-centrifugal pumps each of 2.5 million gallons capacity, for supplying
wash water for filter cleaning purposes; and two DeLaval turbo-centrifugal
pumps each of 5 million gallons capacity (for pre-filter sand washing), and one
Deane motor-driven triplex pump. A slight change in this small auxiliary
pumping equipment was made during the years 1909 and 1910, by eliminating one
of the 2.5 million gallon DeLavals and the Deane triplex. No substitution was
made for the DeLaval, but a 3 million gallon
During 1912 the Torresdale filters
were put to a severe test by an unusually turbid condition of the
When in 1901 the Committee of Experts
recommended that the
This recommendation was adopted, the
reservoir was designed, and a contract for its construction was let on December
23, 1901 to the R. A. Malone Company of
In 1926, a new pumping station known
as the Oak Lane Booster or High Service Station was erected on the
A contract was let in 1920 for six 500
horsepower pumping engines of the
An additional emergency pumping main six feet in diameter was laid from the pumping station to the filter plant in 1922, as an insurance against an absolute shut down in case of an accident to the original main.
The passing of the steam-driven pumping engines in this plant came in 1926 when there was made an initial installation of four 50 million gallon Fairbanks-Morse single-stage centrifugal pumps each driven by a 600 H.P., 650 R.P.M. electric motor. Two more were installed during 1927.
During 1929, all steam equipment no longer required, such as boilers, water softeners, feed water heaters, overhead coal bunkers, ash handling apparatus, etc., was removed, and the space formerly occupied by it made available for the installation of high capacity electrically-driven pumps. The Torresdale pumping station as fully electrified in 1930 is pictured in FIGURE 59.
By reference to the map of Water Works
Stations at the front of the volume one can gain an idea of the large portion
High Pressure Fire Service Stations
STATION NO. 1
A separate supply of water for fire
fighting purposes was discussed during the close of the nineteenth century. On
November 15, 1900, an ordinance was approved, authorizing the construction of
the city's first independent high pressure, raw water, fire service system. It
was to cover the district bounded by the
The work of laying the mains was started on May 20. 1901. A final test, under the supervision of a committee representing the Board of Fire Underwriters Association, was made on September 15, 1902 and was judged eminently satisfactory. The mains were constructed of cast iron flanged pipes and the branch connections as well as all gate valves and fire hydrants were of semi-cast steel.
The system was kept under a constant pressure of about 70 pounds per square inch, by means of a 12 inch connection to the main which at this time supplied City Hall with water by gravity from the George's Hill reservoir.
The pumping station was started on November 10, 1902. October 15, 1903 marked its completion. The main pumping equipment in this station consists of seven Westinghouse triple cylinder, four cycle, 300 H.P. gas engines, each driving a Dean triplex, double acting plunger pump of 1,728,000 gallons daily capacity, and two 90 H.P. engines of the same make and type, each driving a Deane triplex double acting plunger pump of 360,000 gallons daily capacity. These pumps deliver the water to the mains and maintain it at a maximum pressure of 300 pounds per square inch. In addition to the pumps, there are two air compressors and two 220 volt dynamos. Ordinary illuminating gas is used in the engines, which are started with compressed air admitted to the first cylinder. They can develop full speed and pressure (300 pounds per square inch) in less than one minute. Current for the ignition system is supplied from three sources, the first being a primary battery; the second, the small dynamos for 220 volts; and the third, the regular 220 volt alternating current taken from the city's regular power lines and put through a rotary transformer.
When first inaugurated, this system was under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Fire, Department of Public Safety, but on March 21, 1912, it was turned over to the Bureau of Water. Together with new No. 2 high pressure station and system then nearly completed, they have continued under jurisdiction of the Bureau of Water.
STATION NO. 2
The success of No. 1 High Pressure Fire Service Station resulted in the inauguration of a similar system to serve other sections of the city. Three years after the institution of No. 1 station, a similar station was planned to operate in connection with the then remaining section of the Fairhill reservoir, a reservoir which formerly served the abandoned Delaware or Kensington pumping station. Station No. 2 was to be located on Lehigh Avenue adjacent to this reservoir, a location admirably suited to enable the station to provide protection for the extensive and valuable properties comprising the mill districts of Kensington and Richmond.
Although the idea of a second station
began to develop in 1905 it was not until April 16, 1912 that the No. 2 station
and its distribution system were placed in active service. The mains were laid
and high pressure fire hydrants located to serve the district bound by
The pumping equipment at this station was similar to that installed in the No. 1 station. There were 10 Westinghouse triple cylinder, four cycle, 300 H.P. gas engines, each driving a Dean triplex double acting plunger pump of 1,728,000 gallons daily capacity, and one 90 H.P. engine connected to a pump of 360,000 gallons capacity. Both engine and pump were similar in makes and types to the previously mentioned equipment.
The pumping station was built on the
east side of
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