The Water Works of the City of Philadelphia:
The Story of their Development and Engineering Specifications

Compiled by

Walter A. Graf, Staff Engineer

with the assistance of

Sidney H. Vought and Clarence E. Robson

The Budd Company, Philadelphia

Dedicated to the memory of Edward Gowen Budd whose keenness of interest in the early American of machinery in general and in American developments of the steam engine in particular, was the source of both the initial inspiration to make this compilation, and the support of months of research required to achieve it. Created from original volume housed at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, HSP Catalogue No. WZ 23591 (4th Fl. Folio). Presented to HSP by Edward Gowen Budd, Jr., November 19, 1957


Historical Consultant, Philadelphia Water Department


THE TEXT: This comprehensive compilation. of the water works pumping engines used in Philadelphia up to 1931, represents a tremendous undertaking. Especially notable is the chart, reproduced as Appendix C, which gives a one-of-a-kind graphic summary of all this information. However, while much research into primary materials was clearly done, the document includes no specific footnotes. I began adding footnotes to corroborate facts in the text with their sources, but soon realized that to do this for every fact would be a Herculean task, so I am presenting this volume mostly as written. I did take the liberty of converting all the numbers (originally written in text) into numerals, which are much easier to read. My main advice to researchers is to understand that this is NOT a primary source, and to realize that while all due diligence may have been taken by the authors and their typists (and by me, in my transcription of this volume, and in the numbers conversion) some errors will have inevitably crept in. For any reader who wishes to crosscheck for errors, you can contact me and I will provide a PDF of the original text images. The Philadelphia Water Department also has many of the original source documents used in this volume, and a visit can be arranged by contacting me.


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.

Map showing station locations (PDF)

Page numbers, referring to page in text version, are irrelevant in this online version.











The Centre Square Works (1801)



Fairmount Steam Works (1815)



Fairmount Water Powered Water Works (1822)



Fairmount Water Turbine Wheels (1851)



Fairmount Water Powered Works Expansion
(1859 to 1861)



Spring Garden Northern Liberties, or Schuylkill Works (1844)



The Germantown Works (1851) and The Mt. Airy Works (1882)



Delaware and Kensington Works (1851)



Twenty-fourth Ward (1855)



The Chestnut Hill Works (1859)



Roxborough Works (1869)



The Belmont Works (1870)



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

See Links


Photographs of Old Wooden Pipes   (1)   (2)

See Links


Comprehensive Chart of Philadelphia's Water Works Development Blueprint  Spreadsheet

See Links




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 Philadelphia.



Benjamin Henry Latrobe, First Chief Engineer, 1799-1803.



Chiefs of the Water Bureau, 1803-1930
(See individual images linked to text.)



The Water Works at Centre Square, now City Hall Square.



Plan and Profile of Philadelphia's First Water Supply System.



Nicholas J. Roosevelt, Builder of the First Pumping Engines.



Section Through the Engine House and Pumping Engine of the Centre Square Water Works.



The Wooden Steam Boiler Used at the Centre Square Water Works from 1801 to 1804.



The Cast Iron Boiler Used at the Centre Square Engine House 1804 to 1815.



The Cast Iron Boiler Used at the Schuylkill Engine House 1803 to 1815.



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.



Spring Garden Works, Started December 1844. (Photograph Taken About 1856)



Engines Nos. 1 and 2 of the Schuylkill Works, 1844.



Engine No. 4 of the Schuylkill Works, 1855.



Cornish Engine for Schuylkill Works, 1869-



Double Cylinder Engine with Bucket and Plunger Pumps, Works, 1870.



Compound Engine for Schuylkill Works Built by W. Cramp & Sons in 1872.



Worthington Compound Water Works Pump of 1873.



Sectional View, Worthington Compound Water Works Pump.



Spring Garden Works, 1844. (Also called Schuylkill Works and Northern Liberties Works).



Pipe Connections, Spring Garden Pumping Station, 1895



Germantown Water Works



Raising the Standpipe for the Germantown Water Works.



Engine No. 1, Delaware Works.



Engine No. 2, Delaware Works.



Plan of Fairhill Reservoirs.



First Pumping Station for West Philadelphia, The Twenty-fourth Ward Works, 1855.



Plan of the Chestnut Hill Pumping Station.



Tower of the Chestnut Hill Water Works.



Interior View of Upper Roxborough Filters, 1901.



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 Belmont Water Works, 1870.



Worthington Duplex Pumps, 1870.



George's Hill Pumping Station, 1900.



George's Hill Pumping Station, Worthington Duplex and Snow Engines.



New Belmont Station, 1901.



Holly Horizontal Duplex Engines, Belmont Station, 1901.



Bethlehem Cross Compound Engines, Belmont Station, 1909.



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 Station, 1895.



Queen Lane Pumping Engines, 1896.



Torresdale Pumping Station, Interior, 1907.



The Electrified Torresdale Station, 1930.



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 U. S. standard gallon of 231 cubic inches has been made throughout the text.



          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 century Philadelphia was regularly visited by fatal epidemics of yellow fever. Its constantly increasing population resulted in increased numbers of cesspools and these were often dug through the clay and into the underground water levels, thereby poisoning the water and making it the vehicle for conveying the germs of disease and death. Benjamin Franklin suggested that this was cause of the epidemics of yellow fever, and that they would continue as long as the water supply was limited and impure.

          In Franklin's will, bearing the date of June 23, 1789, we find these words:

          “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.”

          Franklin died in 1790, and so this simple plan, which he might have directed to fulfillment had he lived, was left in the hands of the city government.

          At the time Franklin proposed this centralized water supply system for Philadelphia (1789) but four others had been attempted in America. In 1652 the Boston Water Works, privately owned, was formed by a group of business men in the state of Massachusetts, and it is said to have been the first American public water supply system. The works consisted of a reservoir about 12 feet square into which water was conveyed through wooden pipes from neighboring springs. This supply was drawn upon for both domestic and fire extinguishing purposes. It was probably a gravity system since the record does not mention pumping equipment.

          The second American water works system for public supply was constructed at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, by Hans Christopher Christiansen, a Danish millwright. It was started in 1754 and completed in 1761. Christiansen is accorded the distinction of being America's first hydraulic and pumping engineer. He spent the greater part of the years between 1754 and 1761 in developing a satisfactory pump with a water-wheel for power. This pump is said to be the first American made pump. It was constructed of wood. The cylinder was five inches in diameter, and forced the water from a reservoir, fed by a spring, through bored wooden logs to a wooden tank located in the square 70 feet above the level of the pump. In 1761, Christiansen, encouraged by his success and with the assistance of others, built larger works including three single acting iron force pumps, four inches in diameter with an 18 inch stroke, driven by an undershot water wheel. Gum wood was used for the pipe from the pumps to the tank and pitch pine logs, bored to smaller diameter, composed the distributing pipes. In 1769 the wooden pipes required renewing, and in 1786 lead pipes were substituted for the pump to tank main and a number of the distributing pipes. In 1813 iron pipes were introduced. The joints were packed with leather clamped together with iron bands. The pumps installed in Bethlehem in 1761 were used continuously for 71 years when they supplanted by double acting pumps which remained in use until about 1887. Water power was used to actuate the pumps of the Bethlehem Water Company until 1868 when steam was substituted.

          Between 1761 and 1800, 14 water works for public water supply were built in various parts of the United States. The following list gives the location and the year in which each works became operative:



Rhode Island



New York












New Hampshire








New York,

New York



New Jersey






New Jersey



New York

1798 or 1799



before 1800


          In 1797, seven years after Franklin's death, the first petition for the introduction of water into the city of Philadelphia was presented to City Councils and Franklin's plan was discussed. In July 1798, Councils appointed a committee to investigate the water situation and determine whether a sufficient supply of water could be secured by water power and whether the necessary water power could be had within a reasonable distance of the City.

          The committee employed Benjamin Henry Latrobe, a French architect and engineer, who came to Philadelphia in 1798 and in a very short space of time became very prominent among Philadelphians because of his work and ability.

          Latrobe examined the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers and a number of smaller streams in the vicinity (including Wissahickon Creek) and reported to Councils on December 29, 1798 that there existed no such water power as they suggested. He recommended instead that the waters of Spring Mill Creek located 15 miles northwest of the city be conducted through an aqueduct by gravity into a city reservoir and then be raised by steam power for distribution. He estimated that elliptical culverts underground, and light aqueducts to cross the valleys, together with reservoirs and power machinery and pumps would cost $275,000 with an additional $52,000 for 104,000 feet of wooden distributing pipes. This plan was rejected by Select Councils. (See Appendix A).

          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 Franklin's idea of erecting a dam, impounding the water and supplying the city through pipes by gravity. Had this been done, a watershed of 44 square miles would have furnished a daily average of 60 million U.S. gallons, a quantity that would have been sufficient to supply the daily needs of the city until the Civil War, and could have formed a part of the gravity mode of supply from the Perkiomen, as recommended by the Water Commission of Experts appointed by the Mayor under Ordinance of June 5, 1875.

          The Delaware was rejected because of its contamination from the decaying vegetation of the marshes, filth from vessels and public sewers. The waters of the Schuylkill were then known for their purity, and Latrobe finally evolved a plan for using them. Again he proposed steam pumping engines instead of water power.

          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 practicability. Philadelphia was to be the first city in America to have a steam-powered water supply. The utilization of steam as the prime motive power for operating the pumps was a courageous experiment. These engines were to be the largest steam engines in America. Upon the adoption of Latrobe Schuylkill plan, Councils appointed him Chief of the city's Water Bureau. Latrobe chose Nicholas J. Roosevelt to design and build the two steam engines and pumps. Roosevelt built the parts of the steam engines and pumps at the Schuyler Copper Mines, near the Passaic River in New Jersey, and assembled them on their operation locations in Philadelphia. Latrobe served from 1799 to 1803 when he was succeeded by John Davis, who served from 1803 until 1805. Latrobe had employed an able assistant engineer by the name of Frederick Graff. Graff succeeded John Davis as the head of the Water Department in 1805, and served 42 years, until 1847. Up to 1930, this was the longest period that any one man had been in charge at the Water Bureau. Graff showed outstanding executive and engineering ability in the construction of the Fairmount steam works, which were completed and placed in operation in 1815. The Fairmount works eventually superseded the Schuylkill pumping station and led to its abandonment.

          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 Schuylkill did not meet the demands for both power and water supply. This resulted in the choice of steam engines to drive the pumps in the new Northern Liberties or Spring Garden Works located on the Schuylkill River in 1844, and all later stations were also steam-powered.

          When Frederick Graff, Sr. died in April 1847, his son, Frederick Graff, Jr., succeeded him. He continued until 1856. During his regime Philadelphia's population was greatly augmented, requiring yet further water supply. In 1854 the borders of the municipality were extended to include the entire district then known as the County of Philadelphia. Between 1850 and 1860 there was an aggregate increase in population of 444,153.

          To meet the situation the Germantown works were established in 1851 and the Delaware or Kensington works during the same year. In 1855 the Twenty-fourth Ward works was added to supply the metropolitan districts west of the Schuylkill River known as West Philadelphia.

          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 Philadelphia.

          Following Dr. McFadden came William Ludlow (1883 to 1886), then John L. Ogden (1886 to 1895). During Ogden's administration, the Queen Lane pumping station was designed and built, and it was placed in operation in 1894. From 1895 until 1900 John C. Trautwine Jr., was chief of the Water Department. Frank L. Hand was appointed in 1900 [PAGE 14] to succeed Trautwine and he served until 1905. During his term of office high pressure fire service was instituted with the establishment of the city's first such station in 1902. In 1906 and 1907 Allan J. Fuller was in charge. He was followed by Fred C. Dunlap who served from 1907 until 1912. Dunlap saw the Torresdale Filtration plant built and the high pressure fire service augmented in 1912 by the addition of a second station. From 1912 until 1923 Carlton E. Davis directed the affairs of the Water Bureau. From 1924 until 1928 Alexander Murdoch was Chief. C. Thomas Hayes, the present incumbent (1930) succeeded him.

          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 Philadelphia's water works in the chronological order of their placement in operation.


Philadelphia 1931




- 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

John Finkleston, Queen Lane

Walter Diamond, Shawmont

Superintendents of Filter Plants

Josephs. V. Siddons, Torresdale

Henry Welsfords, Belmont

William Thwaite, Roxborough

Thomas Riebel, Queen Lane


The Free Library of Philadelphia

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

The Franklin Institute

The Commercial Museum Library

The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

R. C. Ballinger Company, 925 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

Southwark Foundry and Machine Company


For permission to photograph several exhibits of the Germantown Historical Society relating to the first Germantown Water Works System:

Samuel Emlen, 38 Maplewood Avenue, Germantown, Philadelphia, Pa.


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, Dravo-Doyle Company, Philadelphia


- 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, Philadelphia

For photo mountings and binding:

William Fell Company of Philadelphia, represented by John L. Cronin


The Centre Square Works



          With the approval of Councils and encouraged by the enthusiasm of the citizenry of Philadelphia, Benjamin Latrobe applied himself to the stupendous task of designing and constructing the first Philadelphia Water Works. After the sites and general design had been decided upon, his first move was to select a reliable and trustworthy assistant. His choice fell upon Frederick Graff, who was following his chosen vocation as a draftsman when Latrobe made his acquaintance and was evidently attracted by the young man's ability. Frederick Graff was a native of Philadelphia, born August 27, 1776 in the house on Market Street near Seventh, wherein, according to historians, Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence. Jacob Graff, Jr., Frederick's father, was a successful builder. His grandfather, Jacob Graff, Sr., came to America from Hildesheim, Germany, in 1741, and established himself in the brick business which grew large and prosperous.

          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. This Centre Square, from which the station takes its name, was the gathering place of the people for public, municipal, social, and patriotic functions, and adorned by the building it became a place of beauty as well as one of usefulness. The building was 60 feet square to a height of 25 feet which constituted the first story. This was surmounted by a circular upper structure 40 feet in diameter and 60 feet high topped by a dome. The first story contained the boiler, engine and pump rooms, a committee room, offices, and an engineer's room. The upper structure accommodated the beam of the engine and the water tanks. (FIGURE 4)

          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 United States, one in New Jersey, one in New York, and one in Philadelphia. The steam engine in New Jersey was, as nearly as can be determined, of a lever beam type, constructed about the year 1763 by an Englishman, Josiah Hornblower, who imported the parts from England. This engine was located in the Schuyler Copper Mine on the Passaic River to keep the mine pits free of water which continually flooded the diggings and made the suspension of [PAGE 19] operations necessary. It is reported that this engine was quite successful, much to the satisfaction of the mine owner, Colonel John Schuyler. According to the biography of John Fitch, this English engine, erected at the Schuyler mines, was the third steam engine erected in the United States, the two others having been imported from England into New England about 40 years before the War of Independence. The engine of this time was built on the atmospheric principle of the Newcomen engine. The improvements of Watts had evidently not been accepted and employed.

          The steam engine in New York was used in the saw mill of Nicholas J. Roosevelt, who was a native of the United States, born in New York City, December 27, 1767. His brother, James Jacobus Roosevelt, was a brother of the great-grandfather of Theodore Roosevelt who became the 26th President of the United States. (FIGURE 6).

          In Philadelphia the steam engine was used by Oliver Evans to grind plaster in his mill located at Ninth and Chestnut Streets. This engine was of the high pressure type, possibly one of the first of this type, with a cylinder of six-inch diameter and a stroke of 18 inches. The cost to build it was said to have been $3,700. The power developed could crush about 12 tons of plaster in 12 hours. Later this same engine was employed to drive 12 saws for sawing stone and accomplished this work at the rate of 100 feet of marble in 12 hours.

          Previous to 1799 no municipality in America had employed steam as power for the operation of pumps to raise or propel water for public supply. Latrobe found it difficult to find an engine builder with sufficient skill and reliability to enter into a contract with the City of Philadelphia to build and maintain satisfactorily the steam engines for the Centre Square and the Schuylkill Pump House Works. Finally Nicholas J. Roosevelt contracted at a total cost of $33,000 to build the two engines and the two pumps for the Philadelphia Water Supply system, and bound himself to keep the engines in repair for five years. The specifications called for power and pump capacity to raise 3 million gallons of water to a height of 50 feet in 24 hours. When the engines were finished, in 1801, they were the largest steam engines in the United States.

          The steam engine at the Schuyler Copper Mines in New Jersey gave Nicholas Roosevelt the ideas for a steam engine, which he built in New York, and his friendship with Latrobe, coupled with his success in reproducing a satisfactory engine, made him the individual best suited to undertake the water works equipment. The stipulation in the contract which called for keeping the water works engines and pumps in repair for five years proved exceedingly unprofitable and financially he became greatly embarrassed.

          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 Centre Square engine was a beam type and many wooden members entered into its construction, including the lever beam and driving shaft, as well as the balance or flywheel, cisterns, and the supporting and bracing members. The steam cylinder of the engine, 78 inches long and 36 inches in diameter, was cast in two pieces and united with copper. The joints were secured externally with a cast-iron band 18 inches wide. Nearly four months were occupied in boring it out and fitting it for use.

          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.

          The Centre Square engine had a pump 18 inches in diameter with a 72-inch stroke. Its duty was 9 million pounds raised one foot high on consumption of one bushel of bituminous coal. Actually it raised 962,520 gallons of water 50 feet to the tanks in 24 hours, consuming 55 bushels of coal. This figures but about 7.25 million foot-pounds to the bushel.

          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 Schuylkill engine house. One tank was 10 feet in diameter and 12 feet deep and the other was 14 feet in diameter and 12 feet deep, and together they held 20,855 gallons.

          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 Market Street) while the 4½ inch main was laid in Arch street. In Chestnut Street there was laid another 4½ inch main. All three mains extended to Front Street. From them, three inch and 4½ inch bored log pipes distributed the water to the consumers. (Appendix B contains photographs of parts of the old bored log pipes which were found in some recent excavations. )

          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 Centre Square and Schuylkill engines were of this latter kind. They were what is commonly known as double acting, low pressure, condensing engines, their boilers operating on approximately 2½ pounds steam pressure.

          FIGURE 7 is a drawing of the Centre Square engine and Engine House prepared by Frederick Graff, Jr., from the original drawings and memoranda in his possession. While the Schuylkill Engine House was of different construction (there were no tanks there) the pumping engine was essentially the same. The principal view is a vertical sectional elevation of the engine house, engine, and pump. I have applied legends and letters to the parts. (A) is the steam cylinder with the ordinary piston (B) and the piston rod (C) connected to the beam (D). (E) indicates the steam ports. The boiler (K) and steam cylinder (A) were connected by means of a steam pipe leading to the steam chest in which were located hand lever operated admission and exhaust valves, F-l and F-2.

          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 Schuylkill and Centre Square Works were rectangular wooden chests, nine feet wide, nine feet high and 14 feet long inside, made of five-inch-thick white pine planks braced upon the sides, top and bottom with oak scantling 10 inches square, the whole securely bolted together with 1¼ inch diameter rods passing through the planks. Their detail construction is revealed by the cross sections of FIGURE 8.

          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 Schuylkill works in 1803. It was so successful that a somewhat similar cast-iron boiler was installed in the Centre Square Works the following year. (See FIGURES 9 and 10).

          The new boiler in the Schuylkill station had semi-circular ends, was 17 feet long and eight feet wide at the bottom, and 19 feet long and 10 feet wide at the top. The flame passed under the bottom and around the back into oval flues which passed through the boiler, returned and passed around the sides outside the shell. Centre Square's new boiler had a semi-circular top, the ends being flat, and the fire passed under the boiler and around heaters of irregular construction and through one flue of serpentine shape, to the front of the boiler just over the fire. These cast iron boilers remained in use until the steam water works at Fairmount were started on September 7, 1815.

          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.

          The Centre Square engine was able to fill its reservoirs in about 25 minutes, which just satisfied the demand at the time the Works began operation. If the pumps were not constantly at work the citizens suffered from lack of water. As the engines were defective in many respects because of inadequacy of tools and experience in building, and the boiler construction was poor, there were frequent shutdowns for minor or major repairs, and much annoyance and suffering was experienced from interruptions and shortages of the water supply.

               Some of the major engine troubles are of interesting note. In 1805 the wooden lever beam of the Centre Square engine was found to be so badly decayed or worm-eaten that it had to be replaced. The wooden fly-wheel shafts of the engines also gave trouble, and they had to be replaced by shafts of cast-iron in 1809. An outstanding replacement was that of one of the engine piston rods, a rod four inches in diameter and 10 feet long. The forging and finishing of a new one in one of the city's shops was considered quite a remarkable feat. the Watering Committee reporting it said “workmanship of this piece of iron could not in the opinion of the Committee have been better executed in any country.”

          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 Davis as superintendent in 1805). These gentlemen made another examination of the Wissahickon and Spring Mill creeks and also the Schuylkill for some distance and presented an estimate of $359,718 for bringing the water of the Wissahickon creek into the city by means of pumping. The proposed plan was not followed.

          Notwithstanding the many shortcomings of the Centre Square and Schuylkill stations, they were measurably successful and continued to give service for nearly 14 years, though at great cost to the city. The cost of these stations with yearly expenses, from March 1799 to September 1, 1815 (when a new steam operated water works was started at Fairmount) was $657,398.91, while the gross receipts amounted to but $105,429.68. Thus the project fell short of paying for itself by $551,969.23.

          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 Philadelphia then could not have had her beautiful Wissahickon Park.




Fairmount Steam Works



          The inefficiency and small capacity of the engines and pumps rendered the Centre Square and the Schuylkill stations inadequate for the growing population of the city, and led Councils to develop plans to provide for a better system of water supply. On December 18, 1811 Councils adopted the plan of John Davis and Frederick Graff, for a new and larger steam works on the Schuylkill at Fairmount, (Fairmount was deemed a better location), and for abandoning the old Schuylkill station. Reservoirs of sufficient capacity to accommodate the city with a constant supply of water were to be located on the summit. These works were commenced August 1, 1812 and in operation September 7, 1815. The Schuylkill station was then shut down. (FIGURE 11)

          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 Schuylkill River.

          This Boulton and Watt engine, a low pressure condensing engine, was somewhat similar in type and design to the engines of the Centre Square and Schuylkill works, with the exception that the beam, the flywheel arms and the shafts were made of cast iron. This was a distinct improvement over the former wooden constructions. The larger castings for this engine were made by Samuel Richards at Weymouth Blast Furnace, in New Jersey, because there was no furnace available in Philadelphia large enough to make them. The smaller castings were made at the Eagle Works foundry situated a short distance from Fairmount, at William (now 24th Street) and Callowhill Streets.

          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 Union Canal to Broad Street and down Broad Street to the Square, a total distance of 9,337 feet.

          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 Water Street in 1804 had been unsatisfactory. However the attention of those directing the water works was attracted to the reports on the use of iron water pipes prepared by a Mr. J. Walker, of London, who was reputed to be an authority on the subject. He brought out so many excellent points that it was decided to try iron pipes again, and to buy the first cast-iron pipe in England because the then existing industries in the United States were not equipped to manufacture cast-iron pipe or conduits. The imported pipe was laid from Fairmount to the junction of Chestnut and Broad Streets. The cast-iron industry was later developed in the United States.

          It was estimated in 1815 that up to the date of completion of the Fairmount Station, Philadelphia had spent on its centralized public water supply system around $1 million. This was an enormous expenditure, and yet it cannot be said that this was a loss to the city, because these early experiments, although crude, were foundation of the high degree of efficiency realized in later years. In those days the character of the city was strengthened by the improvement in its sanitary condition and the eventual adequacy of its pure water supply stimulated its growth as a residential city.

          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 Schuylkill.

          As early as 1807 deriving water power from the Schuylkill River had been considered. Upon April 9th, 1807 the State of Pennsylvania granted a charter to Mr. James Kennedy, giving him the rights and privileges of erecting a dam and locks at the at the Falls of the Schuylkill, for water power development, but with a clause inserted which gave the city the right to purchase Mr. Kennedy's improvements at any time the city desired to use them.




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.

          The use of water power had received some attention as early as 1807 as shown by the Falls of Schuylkill water power rights and reservations to James Kennedy in a charter granted him by the State of Pennsylvania during that year.

          In 1815 the state granted the Schuylkill Navigation Company a charter which carried the right to improve the navigation of the Schuylkill River to its mouth. Having completed a great part of its improvement work, the company invited the city to join it in the building of a dam across the Schuylkill, thereby creating a pool or reservoir from Fairmount up stream to the Falls of the Schuylkill. It was thought that this reservoir of water would be of great benefit to both the city and the Navigation Company. The company was not financially able to undertake the project alone. It was finally determined by Councils to proceed with the construction of the dam, and Captain Ariel Cooley, of Chicopee, Massachusetts, was consulted upon its practicability. After a careful examination he reported favorably on the project and presented plans and estimates for the work.

          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 April 19, 1819 and water flowed over the dam July 25, 1821.

          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 Philadelphia.”

          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 rocky river bed, the dam was made of quarry spalls and earth, and was raised about 15 feet higher than the other part of the dam, which served as the over-fall for the water. The base of this mound was at least 150 feet and its width on the top 12 feet. The whole of the top, also the upstream side from the water's edge, was paved to a depth of three feet with building stone, in order to properly withstand pressure and erosion by water and damage by ice.

          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 Philadelphia.

          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 Philadelphia in October 1840 to visit Fairmount....It is impossible to examine these works without paying homage to the science and skill displayed in their design and execution. In these respects no hydraulic works in the Union can compete nor do we believe they are excelled by any in the world. Not the smallest leak in any of the joints was discovered; and, with the exception of the water rushing in the wheels, the whole operation of forcing up daily millions of gallons into the reservoirs on the mount and thus furnishing in abundance one of the first necessaries of life to an immense population was performed with less noise than is ordinarily made in working a smith's bellows. The picturesque location, the neatness that reigns in the buildings, the walks around the reservoirs and the grounds at large with the beauty of surrounding scenery render the name of this place singularly appropriate.”

          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 Philadelphia deemed it advisable to have the dam reconstructed and work was started on May 2, 1842, and finished on December 7, 1843 at a cost of $56,216.85.




Water Turbine Wheels



          In 1802 there was born at St. Etienne (Loire) France a boy who was destined for fame, his name, Benoit Fourneyron. In 1827 when but 25 years of age he invented the turbine water wheel. In 1836 his beloved native country recognized this achievement by awarding him a prize of 6,000 francs. Of course there have been many improvements upon his original invention. Many exceedingly valuable improvements came from such Americans as Howe, Francis, and Morris, but all have been but refinements or betterments of Fourneyron's original idea.

          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 United States from France to exploit the Jonval Turbine patents in America. Geyelin undertook employment with the J. P. Morris Company of Philadelphia and this company secured the contract to build a Jonval turbine to augment the breast wheels in the Fairmount Water Works. Geyelin designed and engineered it. It was duly built and erected, and when placed in operation December 16, 1851 it became the ninth wheel of the Fairmount Station. (Refer to FIGURES 14, 15, and 16).

          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, Schuylkill, Delaware, and Twenty-fourth Ward, averaged 19,638,442 gallons a day. The consumption in the city during the summer months ran as high as 25,633,395 gallons a day.

          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 Schuylkill River. The first plan that suggested itself was to remove the old breast wheels and substitute wheels of a more modern type and larger capacity and better adapted to the peculiarities of the location. This suggestion was impossible of attainment because the entire capacity of all the wheels in the old works was required to maintain the supply and not one of them could be shut down for the considerable period required for its replacement. Indeed the old works, with its eight breast wheels and one turbine, was worked to its full capacity most of the time and with but little time taken for repairs or alterations of any kind. Fortunately no serious consequences of continuous wear and tear had been encountered.

          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 Philadelphia, presented to Councils February 10, 1870. Philadelphia: E. C. Marley & Son, 1870, p. 5]  It replaced two of the old breast wheels. This turbine was the largest in the works as well as the largest in the country, being 10 feet three inches in diameter and 17 inches deep in the bucket. It drove two double acting force pumps of 22-inch diameter and 72-inch stroke.

          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.

          FIGURE 17 is a plan and FIGURE 18 is a photograph of the completed plant. FIGURE 19 contains a plan and a section of the old and new dams.

          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 Philadelphia. One by one as the city added other pumping stations and added to their capacity, steam power was adopted for them.

          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 Schuylkill River supply which was used to accomplish this small service was beginning to assume considerable importance. It was computed that 30 gallons of water were used to run the turbines for every gallon pumped into the reservoirs. During 1904, 1905, and 1906, $25,000 was spent on repairs to the dam.

          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 Delaware River. Nevertheless the older station was used for the balance of the year to keep the Fairmount Reservoirs filled and to supply one large manufacturing establishment in the city. During 1910 the No. 4 wheel and its pumps were run for a short period every month and pumped a total for the year of 180 million gallons. The final pumping at this station was in 1911, when No. 4 wheel ran for 56 hours in January and February and then joined its mates in idleness and discard.

          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 Philadelphia's Aquarium established in them. The Aquarium occupies these same buildings today. The exterior appearances of the old and new wheel houses and the old Fairmount steam engine house are about the same today (1931) as when first constructed, and all the buildings are in good condition. The complete mechanism comprising the first Jonval Turbine installed in 1851, remained in its original location in the buildings until early 1930, when a large portion of the turbine was removed to allow for the passage of a new sewer. The gearing and pump remain intact and can be seen there at the present time. In the same year [WRONG - not 1930] the Fairmount reservoir site was transferred to the Fairmount Park Commissioners to be used as the site for the Art Museum.

          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 Queen Lane stations were the only stations relying upon the pool created by this dam, and they continue the only ones. Preliminary steps toward the building of a permanent dam were taken in 1921 when test borings were made to obtain the necessary information for the erection of such a structure. Construction of the present permanent dam was commenced in 1924, and completed in 1926.

          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.

          The Corinthian Avenue reservoir was also supplied from the Fairmount works. This reservoir, (situated between 22nd Street and Corinthian Avenue and Poplar and Parrish Streets), was built during the years 1851 and 1852. It was formed of earth embankments lined with brick and contained when full 20,321,392 gallons, thus affording the Fairmount works an aggregate storage of 47,200,402 gallons. Its water was 110 feet above the city datum, 107 feet above the lowest, and 67 feet above the highest curb regulation of the city proper. This reservoir, being elevated higher than those of Fairmount, was supplied by means of a standpipe 50 feet high and four feet in diameter erected on the river side of Fairmount reservoirs. The mains from the Fairmount station pumps were so arranged that water could be pumped through one or all of them, into either the reservoirs at Fairmount or the standpipe for redistribution to the Corinthian reservoir.

          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 Corinthian Avenue reservoir.




Spring Garden and Northern Liberties Works

or Schuylkill Works



          The districts north of Vine Street, namely, Northern Liberties, Spring Garden and Kensington, were all formerly known as the Northern Liberties. These districts had no water supply except from wells, pumps and natural sources, until 1826, when a contract was made with the city authorities for a supply of water from the Fairmount works. To compensate the city for the large amount expended in the erection of the Fairmount works, and probably with the design of discriminating in favor of the district for which the water was first intended, the city authorities arranged the price to the water-takers in newer districts 50 percent higher than that charged in the old city, but allowed the district six percent, to cover the expenses of collecting the revenues. There is no doubt that had it not been for this increased charge, a contract would have been made with the city authorities at a much earlier date. In addition to meeting this higher charge the districts were obliged to furnish their own street mains. The mains were paid for by owners of property fronting on the streets in which the mains were laid.

          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 Spring Garden, Northern Liberties, and Kensington, by an act dated April 18, 1843. Those districts immediately took the necessary steps to carry out the provisions of the law by electing three commissioners from each district. The commissioners met on the July 31, 1843 for the purpose of organizing. The commissioners of Kensington refused to participate in the erection of the works and withdrew from the board. The six remaining members were Alexander Cummings, president; George Williams, secretary; Thomas Halloway, G. W. Dohnert, James Landy and Joseph Yeager.

          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 Thompson Street on the Schuylkill River, just north of what is now Girard Avenue, for the pumping station; and another plot of ground at 26th and Master Streets for the reservoir. A reservoir site of greater altitude would have been preferable, but the Board of Commissioners had undertaken selection of sites without the services of an engineer. This station was originally designated as the Water Works of Spring Garden and Northern Liberties, but was known later as the Schuylkill Works.

          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 Schuylkill and seriously affect the operation of the water wheels, perhaps closing them down altogether.

          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 Schuylkill works. It was situated at 26th and Master Streets and had a capacity of 9.8 million gallons.

          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 Spring Garden and Northern Liberties districts from going ahead with their private project. They made many efforts to induce these districts to continue as customers for the water from Fairmount reservoir. Feelings became so strained at one time that legal steps were taken to prevent the Spring Garden and Northern Liberties districts from taking the water from the Schuylkill River. The city claimed to have purchased the right to all Schuylkill River water from the Schuylkill Navigation Company. The legal action reached the higher court of the state and the Supreme Court decided that the Schuylkill Navigation Company had sold that which it never did or could possess.

          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 Spring Garden and Northern Liberties districts. FIGURE 20 is a reproduction of a photograph of the completed works.

          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.

          The Schuylkill works were a success and the water consumers were highly elated. They had water at the same rates as those charged to the residents and industries in the older city districts. This meant quite a saving to them.

          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 Spring Garden works on December 22, 1852. This reservoir had four 30-inch outlets, one to the Kensington or Delaware water works basin, one to the First district distribution system south of South Street, one to supply the Spring Garden district, and one held in reserve. Early in 1859 the Corinthian reservoir embankments were raised in order to increase the capacity. In accomplishing this, the retaining walls were built on Corinthian Avenue, Poplar Street and 22nd Street. Raising the embankment increased the depth of water to 27 feet and the capacity of the reservoir to 37,312,000 gallons.

          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 Philadelphia. The installation was completed in 1855. The pump was a single acting plunger type. In FIGURE 22, this engine is shown in elevation and plan. Engine cylinder and pump were located under opposite ends at a balance lever beam and directly connected by suitable connecting rods. The pump plunger was made sufficiently heavy, (by adding weights to the extent necessary) to descend against the resistance of the water pressure in the cylinder and also to overcome normal friction of the engine and pump parts. The intake valve of the pump was a double beat valve and was placed immediately under the plunger. The discharge valve was of the treble beat type constructed on the same principle and was located in a valve box on a short curved branch near the bottom of the pump. The valves were both of cast iron, working upon seats of a composition of lead and tin cast in dovetailed grooves which were turned in the valve box casting.

          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 supplying the Schuylkill works, four in the building known as the South Boiler House and six in the building designated as the North Boiler House. The four boilers in the South Boiler House were flue-boilers, having cylindrical shells enclosed in brick work. The diameters of the different boilers varied from 7½ to eight feet and the length from 13½ to 20 feet. In design they were all generally the same. The fire box was located at the front end and the heat of combustion passed along the bottom and sides of the boiler to the back end where it entered the lower flues through which it passed to the front, and then entered the upper flues and passed through them to the back end and into the chimney. These four boilers contained about 2,500 square feet of absorbing surface and about 125 square feet of grate surface.

          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 Spring Garden and Northern Liberties works and replace it with a new Cornish engine known as the full side lever type. Its adoption was thought to be another forward step. The contract for the construction was given to Merrick & Sons, who had attained some degree of prominence as engineers and machinists. This engine was designated No. 5. The No. 1 engine was removed in 1868, and No. 5 was put in service November 3, 1869. [Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, presented to Councils February 10, 1870. Philadelphia: E. C. Markley & Son, 1870, p. 8] Its steam cylinder was 72 inches in diameter with a stroke of 120 inches. Its pump was a single-action plunger pump, with a cylinder 36 inches in diameter and a stroke the same as that of the steam cylinder. In capacity this engine was able to handle 7.5 million gallons per day without difficulty, increasing the capacity of the station to almost 19 million gallons per day.

          This full side lever type of Cornish engine was the first of its kind to be installed in the United States. [Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, presented to Councils February 20, 1868. Philadelphia: E. C. Markley & Son, 1868, p. 13; also, Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, presented to Councils February 1869. Philadelphia: E. C. Markely & Son, 1869, p. 9-10, and Plate 5.]

          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 Schuylkill works a compound cylinder steam engine of the Simpson type according to specifications evolved by Frederick Graff, Jr., Chief Engineer of the Water Works. This engine No. 6 brought the Schuylkill station abreast of the times in steam engine improvement. The aim was to provide the rapidly growing city with adequate water at minimum rates.

          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 Philadelphia, to construct a compound steam engine of 20 million gallons capacity to be known as No. 7 engine. It was a fond hope of the Bureau and builders to have this engine in operation by May 10, 1876, the day upon which the Centennial Exposition opened in Philadelphia, but it was not started until December 20 of that year. It was of the two-cylinder, vertical, independent compound type, having the cylinders placed side by side with a double acting plunger pump underneath each. A flywheel back of the pumps was worked by cranks at right angles respectively connected by rods to beams which obtained motion from cross-heads between the engine cylinders and pumps. The cylinders were respectively 45 and 80 inches in diameter, and the pumps each 30 inches in diameter, while all had 72 inches stroke. The contract with the builders stipulated that the engine should be capable of raising 20 million gallons of water to a height of 130 feet in 24 hours, and that it should perform a duty of 75 million foot pounds per 100 pounds of combustible, provided that the boilers evaporated 9½ pounds of water per pound of combustible.

          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 the Schuylkill and Corinthian reservoirs. They were at the lower elevation but nearly twice as distant from the engine as was the East Park reservoir. Some defects in detail were discovered during the trial but were promptly corrected by the builders. (See FIGURE 25)

          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 Schuylkill works. It was duly completed and went into operation in July 1881 as engine No. 8. This engine, which was first instituted by Mr. David Rowan, is comprised of duplex units each of which consists of a smaller cylinder into which the steam is first admitted and begins its expansion, which small cylinder is contained within and is concentric with a larger cylinder in which the expansion is continued. The two concentric cylinders correspond     to the two side by side cylinders of compound engines No. 6 and 7. The inner piston is of the common shape; the outer is ring-shaped and has packing not only on its outer surface but also on its inner surface, which slides on the outside of the inner cylinder. One piston rod is provided for the inner piston and two piston rods for the outer piston, and all are fixed to one crosshead, so that the two outside of the inner cylinder. One piston rod is provided for the inner piston and two piston rods for the outer piston, and all are fixed to one crosshead, so that the two pistons move together. Steam passes from the ends of the inner cylinder respectively to the opposite ends of the outer cylinder. The steam is superheated sufficiently to prevent condensation to an injurious extent in either cylinder. Being a duplex concentric type, this engine has four cylinders. Each high pressure cylinder had a 38 inch bore and each low pressure cylinder a 663/16 inch bore while the common stroke was four feet. Each duplex unit actuated a double acting plunger pump having a 30-inch bore with a stroke of 48 inches. Water was lifted under heads of from 121.2 to 216.6 feet. A cut of this pumping engine is not available, but FIGURES 26 and 27 show the somewhat similar duplex tandem concentric type of 1873. In this the cylinders while concentric are not arranged one within the other, but one in advance of the other.

          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 Schuylkill reservoir.

          By 1883 the Schuylkill water works (as the Spring Garden and Northern Liberties Station had come to be called) was the largest plant in the city. The station was additionally important because it was supplying a large population direct from the pumps without the intervention of a reservoir. A failure of the engines in this plant meant the deprivation of water to a large district which at that time had a population of 100,000.

          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 Schuylkill works. The plans and specifications for the new extensions were worked out by Mr. Joseph M. Wilson of the Water Department. Because the buildings were to be prominently located facing the popular East River Drive in Fairmount Park, near the Girard Avenue Bridge, the designs were worked out to harmonize them with their surroundings. The buildings were completed on June 9, 1884. They stood on the north side of the forebay, with a total length of 166 feet along the forebay and 58 feet width on the river end. The engine house was 58 feet wide and fronted along the east river drive. The boiler house, 48 by 110 feet, was separated from the engine house by store rooms and offices. The stack stood in the rear of the boiler house. It was 16 feet square at the base and 100 feet in height, with a wrought iron cap and railing at the top. FIGURE 28 is a photograph of the completed group.

          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 Wilmington, Delaware. The first four were under steam on June 24, the fifth and sixth on August 27, the seventh and eighth on September 5 and the ninth and tenth on October 21.

          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 Schuylkill pumping station as engines Nos. 9 and 10. They were identical in design. Each was capable of pumping 15 million gallons per day under a lift of 165 feet. The official test of these engines was commenced November 20, 1884, but the bursting of a pumping main a few hours after starting compelled postponement until November 25, when the test was concluded.

          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 Worthington duplex boiler feeding donkey pumps (14 inches by 10½ inches) each capable of feeding all the boilers at this station with comparative ease. The auxiliary donkey pumps fed water to the boilers when the main pumps were idle.

          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 Cambria reservoir which was to have a height of 100 feet above city datum, but this reservoir never materialized. Then it was planned the new station should pump its water into East Park Reservoir, but this was not finally completed until 1889.

          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 Delaware water works reservoirs at 6th and Lehigh Avenue as the service required from this last mentioned station was gradually lessened in view of its intended early abandonment. In addition to this the Fairmount districts made big demands on the Schuylkill station during the summer months by reason of the low water conditions in the Schuylkill River, which sometimes caused an almost complete shut down of the water turbine driven pumps in the Fairmount works. Occasionally the Schuylkill was so low that Fairmount could deliver but 5 or 6 million gallons per day and the Schuylkill works was compelled to make up the entire deficiency, a deficiency which at times reached approximately 30 million gallons per day.

          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 Worthington 6 million gallon per day duplex type engine from the old Delaware Water works and set it up in the old engine house at the Schuylkill works. This transfer was completed in 1890 and this engine became known as No. 12. It was started pumping into the East Park reservoir on June 27, 1890.

          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 Philadelphia. In 1891, a new boiler house, stack and five new boilers were erected. The installation of these new boilers permitted the removal of five of the old boilers and thereby provided space for locating the new 20 million gallon per day Southwark engine which was then in course of construction. This engine was completed and placed in service on June 15, 1892 and was known as No. 5. (Original Nos. 4 and 5 had been scrapped in 1884.)

          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 Belmont pumping station. FIGURE 29 is a plan of the station and its pipe connection as of September 1895, apparently made shortly after No. 4 and No. 12 had been removed.

          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 Schuylkill River waters and also to obtain data relative to the qualities of various local sands and filtering materials for use in preliminary filtration. The subject of filtration was of paramount importance at this time on account of the decision to make the first installation of Philadelphia's water filtration system at Roxborough.

          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 Delaware River, through the Frankford pumping station and Wentz farm reservoir system. Three new 20 million gallon per day pumps had been placed in operation at the new Lardner's Point pumping station. From this time on steady decline was experienced.

          On December 12, 1906, a contract was awarded to the Holly Manufacturing Company to equip No. 11 engine of Schuylkill station (20 million gallon per day Gaskill) with new pumps, and place it in first-class condition, and move it to the Shawmont pumping station. This was accomplished in 1908. At Shawmont this engine was designated No. 1 and rated at 10 million gallons per day on account of the greater head against which it was required to pump. In the city's 1901 plans for the improvement, extension and filtration of the water supply, it was proposed to abandon the Schuylkill works.

          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 Schuylkill station were shut down. However, for a number of years following, probably until 1914, steam was carried in the boilers and the station was kept in condition for use in case of emergency. Finally, the entire station was dismantled and razed. The only visible evidence of this once commanding station which remains today (1931) is the standpipe.



The Germantown Works - 1851

The Mt. Airy Works - 1882


          In 1851, Messrs. Birkinbine, Marton and Trotter, hydraulic engineers, whose place of business was at 16 Arch Street, with Mr. Henry P. M. Birkinbine as constructing engineers, and David B. Morrel as Superintendent of Construction, started the erection of the Germantown Water Works. The building of these works was financed by private capital, and it was reported at one time that the Queen of Spain held the principal part of the stock of this company as an investment.

          Several plans were formulated and discussed. The first was to install a hydraulic ram to supply Tulpehocken Street and its vicinity with water. Mr. John C. Fallen was the owner of the greater portion on the land fronting on Tulpehocken Street and extending northwest to Washington Lane on Adams Street, and from Tulpehocken Street southeast to Harvey Street, including Greene and Wayne Street, thence southeast to Wissahickon Avenue or Township Line. It was suggested that there be built a small dam at Paper Mill Run, (or Crab Creek, as it was commonly called) located a short distance southeast of Washington Lane, in order to supply the proposed eight-inch hydraulic ram; and also a tank at a suitable elevation to receive the water forced up by the ram, thereby creating a sufficient head to supply the area desired. Upon inspecting and prospecting the location, a number of springs were found adjacent to the run in the ravine between Washington and Walnut Lanes. After measuring the number of gallons which flowed in the creek in 24 hours and estimating the number of gallons that would be produced by rainfall the prospects appeared favorable, and it was determined to form a company to be known as the Germantown Water Company.

          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 Pennsylvania, and stock was sold at $50.00 per share. Dividends were to be $3.00 per share per year, payable in water rents.

          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 terminus of Tulpehocken Street. This well was 21 feet deep by 25 feet in diameter. A four-inch hole was drilled through the bottom of the well, 16 feet through gneiss rock, and this produced a considerable quantity of water. The well was walled with an outer wall and an inner dry wall. Each wall was 36 inches thick at the bottom and tapered to 27 inches thick at the top. On the southwest side of the well, opposite Tulpehocken Street, the water of Crab Creek (Paper Mill Run) was dammed to form a pool from the northwest side of Walnut Lane, extending northwest to the southeast side of Washington Lane. A four foot space between the outer and inner well walls was filled with coarse sand, and water from the pool was filtered through this sand into the well. The wells were finished with coping procured from a nearby quarry.

          The depth of the pool at Walnut Lane was 21 feet and the breast of the dam measured 120 feet. The greatest breadth was 250 feet. The clay for puddling the breast of the dam was taken from the ground between Tulpehocken and Harvey Streets. The breast of the dam was walled with stone. The wall was four feet thick at the bottom, battening to two feet at the top.

          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 Germantown at this period, except at such times as dye water from the washings of a carpet factory at Mt. Airy was drained into the creek. The carpet manufacturers were eventually enjoined from polluting the water of the creek. FIGURE 30 pictures these works and their pumping station.

          A two story pumping station was built at the southwestern terminus of Tulpehocken Street, the back wall of the pumping station facing the well. The second story of the pumping station was intended as a residence for the engineer, but owing to the heat from the boilers it was abandoned, and a dwelling was built for him on Tulpehocken Street, a short distance northeast of the pumping station. Two 15 horsepower high pressure, horizontal engines of 36 inches stroke and two six-inch horizontal pumps were installed, each engine driving one pump. Steam was generated by two cylindrical boilers, each 30 feet long by 30 inches in diameter. The pump suction pipes were six inches inside diameter and took water from four feet below the surface of the water in the well.

          A 10-inch supply main was laid from the pumps at Tulpehocken, northeast to Main Street, now Germantown Avenue. A branch with a 12-inch outlet was put in on Tulpehocken Street, 250 feet northeast of the northeast property line of Wayne Street, to supply a standpipe five feet in diameter and 127 feet high. This standpipe was made of boiler plate, and constructed in three sections of 40 feet each and one of seven feet. The top section was not intended to be water tight add was made bell-mouth to give the pipe a finished appearance. The sections were assembled together on the ground. On August 13, 1851 the completed pipe was hoisted and set up in place by means of derricks and capstans. (See FIGURE 31). It was then bolted fast to a bed-plate with sixteen 1½ inch bolts, four bolts at each corner of the bed-plate. The capacity of the standpipe filled to the 120 foot level was 17,568 gallons.

          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 Mount Airy on Allens Lane, southwest of Main Street. This reservoir was built by the Germantown Water Company in 1853. It had a capacity of 520,000 gallons. A four-inch main was laid from Washington Lane on Main Street southwest side, northwest to Allens Lane, and a 10 inch main was laid on Allens Lane, southwest about 700 feet to the reservoir. In 1856 a second Mount Airy reservoir was built with a capacity of 3.87 million gallons. The distribution system of the Germantown Water Company was eventually purchased by the city of Philadelphia in May 1866 for the sum of $84,000, exclusive of the Mount Airy reservoirs which were sold to the city for $16,085 in 1869. [This was actually 1868 - see Annual Report filed Feb. 1869 for 1868, p. 65, under Item 14. The full price was $16,085.33.]

          On November 15, 1870 two 20 inch mains were completed to convey water from the Roxborough reservoir to the Mount Airy reservoir to supply the Germantown area. A four span aqueduct conveyed these mains over the Wissahickon Creek at an elevation of 167 feet above the creek level. Flanged pipe 20 inches in diameter was used, and the mains were set apart 14 feet center to center. [Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, presented to Councils February 10, 1870. Philadelphia: E. C. Markley & Son, 1870, p. 11-12.]

          On September 30, 1872, the old Germantown water works pumping station was abandoned, and the Mount Airy reservoirs which had been partly supplied from the Roxborough pumping station since the completion of the 20 inch main in 1870 were now entirely fed from these works. Beside the Germantown and Mount Airy districts, the Chestnut Hill district was also supplied from the reservoirs. On December 22, 1873, the original standpipe was sold. The purchasers took it down by upsetting it by means of hydraulic jacks.

          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 Germantown, Chestnut Hill and Mount Airy districts.

          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 Mount Airy pumping station. The contract for building the stack and the foundations of engines and boilers, and for remodeling the old school house was awarded to Charles W. Rufe on February 28, 1882, and approved by Councils on March 18, 1882. The work was finished on December 1, 1882. The contract for the boilers was awarded to Hilles & Jones, February 7, 1882 and approved by Councils April 5, 1882, and the boilers were finished on August 25, 1882. The contractor was to furnish and set three tubular boilers, each four feet in diameter and 10 feet long, and having 48 three-inch lap welded tubes; complete with an eight-inch steam pipe connecting the boilers, feed and blow pipes, valves, gauges, water columns, and automatic dampers. The boilers were to be tested and to stand a working steam pressure of 90 pounds per square inch. The total price for the three boilers was $4,313. 08. The contract for the engines was awarded to W. E. Worthen, civil engineer, on February 7, 1882 and was approved by Councils, March 22, 1882. The contract called for the furnishing and erection of two direct acting flywheel, piston pumps, each capable of pumping a million gallons every 24 hours into the distributing mains, or into a standpipe against a head of 125 feet. The steam cylinders were 20 inches in diameter, each connected to an independent jet condenser and air pump. The water cylinders were 10 inches in diameter and the stroke was 20 inches. The water valves were Worthen's patent valves, having a lift of from 3/8 to ½ inch. The valve seat openings were rectangular, one inch by 15 inches, and 24 in number, 12 outlet and 12 inlet. The engines were known as the Davidson Rotary Engines. The inlet pipes were 12 inches and the outlet pipes 10 inches. At 60 revolutions, each pumped an average of over a million gallons per day. The total cost of construction of these pumping engines was $6,800.

          This Mount Airy station was designed to supplement the supply to Germantown, Mount Airy and the low lying sections of Chestnut Hill and the vicinity, by drawing water from the mains through which water was conveyed from the Roxborough reservoir to the Mount Airy reservoir, and forcing it into the supply mains at an increased pressure. The station was built on a level below that of the water in the reservoir, the water being delivered to the pumps under a head of 15 feet. This proved a disadvantage and caused more or less trouble.

          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 Mount Airy station.

          So equipped this station continued in active service until the completion of a second auxiliary station at the Lower Roxborough reservoir in 1895, after which date its activities began to decline, the new Roxborough high service station gradually taking over the service. The Mount Airy station continued to operate on an average of over 1 million gallons per day for several years although No. 3 engine practically went out of service in 1896, but by 1901 the station and its useable equipment was used very little. This condition continued for nearly 10 years, during which time No. 3 engine remained idle and Nos. 1 and 2 engines were in service only a few times a year, and each time for only a few days, until by 1910 operation was for only a few hours during the entire year. In 1911, the station was shut down entirely and notification given that such pumpage as had formerly been required from this station would thereafter be furnished from the Roxborough high service station.



Delaware And Kensington Works



          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 Schuylkill station soon found it­self unable to meet the Kensington demands, and it became necessary for Kensington to consider arranging for some other source.

          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.

          These Delaware works were situated on the Delaware River at the foot of what was then called Wood Street (later Otis Street and now Susquehanna Avenue) in the 18th Ward. The water was taken from the river at the end of a wharf which projected some distance into the river, and then passed through a sluice way to the front of the boiler house, and from there by separate pipes to the pumps.

          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 Lehigh Avenue, Eighth Street, Somerset Street and Sixth Street as will be seen by reference to FIGURE 34. They were formed by earth embankments puddled with clay and lined with brick. Their combined capacity was 9,384,000 gallons. Leading from each of these reservoirs, there was originally a distributing main 18 inches in diameter.

          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 Aramingo Canal, or Gunner's Run) which came down on the ebb tide. An early attempt to alleviate the trouble was made by pumping only during high tide. Later a wooden trunk four feet square was laid to mid-channel of the Delaware River. The water taken from this point through the trunk was much improved in quality and appearance, but still not up to the standard desired or even to the quality furnished to other sections of the city. To avoid the heightened danger from the impurity of water pumped at these works during the summer months or other low stage periods of the river, connections were made in 1879 with the general reservoirs and distribution system of the city, so as to enable a pumping engine placed at the Spring Garden works to feed the Kensington district with water pumped from the Schuylkill River. This arrangement when finally consummated and given a thorough tryout practically placed the Delaware and Kensington water works in the discard.

          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 Worthington 6 million gallon engine, at this works. It became increasingly evident that the Kensington station must ultimately be abandoned. No repairs, alterations or improvements were made beyond those necessary for the temporary use of the station. Despite this the station continued in fair condition, for it had been put in complete order during 1883. In 1886 the standpipe which had been erected at the Fairhill reservoir end of the pumping main was taken down.

          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 East Park reservoir to the Fairhill reservoir, which together with the main laid from Wentz Farm reservoir in 1887 gave the district supplied by this station two very substantial sources of supply. Preparations were then made to move the Worthington 6 million gallons per day engine remaining at this station to the old engine house of the Schuylkill water works station. Foundations for it were constructed there.

          During January of 1890, the Kensington or Delaware water works pumped its last water. Shortly afterward the engine was moved to the Schuylkill works and the Kensington station was formally abandoned. The engine and boiler house of this station is still in existence (1931) although all water works machinery has long since been taken out of it. Two sections of the reservoirs have been razed. On their sites now stand the Northeast High School, the Lehigh Avenue Branch of the Philadelphia Public Library, the No. 2 pumping station of the high pressure fire service, and the fire house for pipe line company No. 2 and water tower company No. 2. The remaining section of the reservoir with a capacity of nearly 5 million gallons is now used by the high pressure fire service.



Twenty-fourth Ward Works




          The public water supply activities until 1851 had been confined to the districts of the city east of the Schuylkill River, but in the fall of that year a group of influential men of West Philadelphia assembled for the purpose of considering the expediency and practicability of erecting a water works to supply West Philadelphia.

          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 Schuylkill River where the Zoological Gardens were later located. On January 24, 1853 the construction operations began. They were completed and service was inaugurated in August 1855.

          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 West Philadelphia districts. The abandonment caused considerable criticism for many years, because the works had proven adequate to meet all demands made upon them, and the engines were the most economical in the Water Department.




The Chestnut Hill Works



          In 1854 the city of Philadelphia annexed the entire area of Philadelphia County. The census of 1860 showed the population to be 565,529, an increase of 444,153 over the population of 1850 which was 121,376. This growth in the area and population of the municipality naturally led to the desire for improvements in the outlying districts.

          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 Mount Airy reservoirs. FIGURE 36 is a map of the works.

          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 Mount Airy works from 1883 until they were abandoned in 1911. The water supplied from the Roxborough water works was carried through a main which crossed the Wissahickon Creek to the Mount Airy reservoir, and through a further main from Mount Airy to the Chestnut Hill reservoir. During 1873, the first year these works were under the jurisdiction of the Philadelphia water works, they furnished 22 million gallons of water, the maximum daily demand being 153,480 gallons, and the minimum 76,740 gallons.

          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 Worthington duplex donkey pump. The low pressure cylinder of this pump was of 14 inches bore and 10½ inch stroke and the high pressure cylinder of 10 inches bore and 10½ inch stroke. During 1886 and1887, the remaining one of the original engines was removed and set up in the new machine shop of the Water Bureau. The Knowles engine and Worthington served this station until their permanent shutdown in 1911.

          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 Mount Airy reservoir to supply the Chestnut Hill district. This showed the possibility and advisability of regularly supplying this district with water pumped from the Roxborough pumping station on the Schuylkill River, but this was not fully consummated until 1907.

          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 from the Mount Airy station.

          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.

          When the Mount Airy pumping station went out of service in 1911, the work which it had been doing was taken over by the Roxborough High service station. The Roxborough station continued this service to Chestnut Hill for approximately 13 years (i.e., until about 1924) when it was decided to erect an independent station for supplying the then quite populous Chestnut Hill high area. The purpose of this station was to boost the pressure of the water delivered by either the Roxborough or Queen Lane Pumping station, to adequately supply those of the adjacent districts which were situated on higher elevations.

          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.




Roxborough Works



          In order to give a better supply of water to Germantown and to serve Roxborough and Manayunk, the city built the Roxborough water works on the east bank of the Schuylkill River, approximately 500 feet below the Shawmont station of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, and about a quarter mile above the Flat Rock Dam. Construction work was started on the engine in 1865, and on the engine and boiler houses in 1866, but neither the houses nor the equipment were completed until 1869.

          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 of Philadelphia, presented to Councils February 10, 1870. Philadelphia: E. C. Markley & Son, 1870, p. 10] This time the reservoir was placed in as near first-class condition as was possible.

          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 Schuylkill water works was substituted.

          In 1883, the Roxborough station was supplying the districts of Manayunk, the Falls of Schuylkill, Germantown and Mount Airy. Engine No. 1, the Cornish engine, then 14 years old, continued to operate in a generally fair condition, although it was a ponderous and extravagant machine in comparison with No. 2 Worthington, which had less weight and bulk and was more efficient.

          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 Upper Roxborough reservoir. During 1890, a complete electric lighting system was installed and superseded illumination by coal oil lamps.

          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 Worthington engine originally erected at the old Delaware water works pumping station, (which was abandoned in 1890) was erected and used at the Schuylkill works for nearly three years, and it was the first engine used at the Roxborough high service station. The demand on this station proved so great that the engine was used day and night continuously without stopping for a single hour. This condition called for a second engine at once and this was recommended. In 1896 after the old engine had run one full year without repairs of any kind, a yet more urgent request was made for a supplemental pumping outfit.

          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 Worthington pumping engines were contracted for, two on each of the above mentioned dates. Their complement of boilers, engine and boiler house extensions, and intakes were also contracted for September 19, 1899.

          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 in Brooklyn to inspect a 4 million gallon a day capacity pump, then in the mentioned company's works, and if it was found satisfactory he was given authority to purchase it. This pump was purchased, set up, and it started operating September 20, 1899. It was given No. 4.

          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 Worthington pumping engines, ordered in 1899, were completed in 1900 and the completed engines installed. Also completed were an electric lighting plant, and an additional pumping main to the reservoirs. The first of the four new engines, No. 6 was started on September 12, and the second and third, which had been assigned Nos. 4 and 7, on September 20 and November 27 respectively. This new No. 4 engine apparently displaced the 4 million gallon Worthington bought to meet the emergency of August and September 1899 when No. 1 was crippled. The fourth engine, designated No. 5, (formerly the number of the D'Auria engine) was set up but not placed in service on account of the attention required to get the other three into service. The high and low pressure cylinders of these engines were arranged tandem, the high pressure being 18 inches in diameter and the low 50 inches in diameter, with a stroke of 36 inches and a speed of 26 revolutions per minute at a piston speed of 156 feet per minute.

          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 Philadelphia to be equipped with a filtration system.

          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 above Green Lane, between Silverwood and Main Streets, was the first district to be served. The service was extended to additional sections from time to time, until on August 27, the filtration system was in full operation. By December 1, 1902 the system was supplying from 7 to 9 million gallons of filtered water.

          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 Schuylkill River at Shawmont. The lower reservoir with a capacity of nearly 12 million gallons at an elevation of 366 feet city datum was utilized as a sedimentation basin to feed the filters immediately adjoining. After being filtered and purified the water was passed to a filtered water basin and from the basin into two 30-inch distributing mains which supplied Manayunk and a low level district in Germantown. In case of very turbid conditions of the river, when the sedimentation effected through the lower reservoir was insufficient, sedimentated water was drawn also from the upper Roxborough reservoir.

          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 America of such construction in filters. The dividing walls are also built of concrete and constructed in sections of such length that each section is a monolith. The exposed faces of the piers and of the outside and dividing walls, below the sand line are coated with a thin plaster of Portland cement, mixed three parts to one and dashed with sand before the plaster had set, in order to afford a rough surface for the sand to press against and tend to prevent a rapid downward flow of water along these surfaces. The vaulting is also of concrete and in the form of semi-elliptical groined arches having a span of 14 feet, a rise of 36 inches, a thickness of six inches at the crown, and a thickness of 21 inches over the piers. Ventilator shafts provide for the admission of light and air during cleaning. On top of the vaulting there is a layer of broken stone four inches thick for the purpose of conveying rainwater to the drains leading down through the piers and dividing walls to points just above the sand level.

          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 New Jersey.

          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 high point at the center of the basin to the four sides. On this puddle is placed a layer of broken stone, and in this layer four inch drains with open joints are laid. These collect the rain water and lead it to an eight-inch pipe extending around the basin and connecting with the overflow.

          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 Philadelphia for the construction of preliminary filters at the lower Roxborough filter plant, and work was started the same year. These filters were experimental in character, and the contract included a proviso that payment was to be withheld until one year's operation  was completed, and it was determined whether the water furnished came up to specifications.

          Philadelphia was the first city in America and the second in the entire world to use preliminary filters. Through their use it was possible to practically double the production of filtered water from a filtration plant.

          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 Germantown and Manayunk not supplied by the lower Roxborough stations, and also Chestnut Hill, Mount Airy, Roxborough, Rising Sun, and the upper part of Nicetown. This filter plant is still running (1931). It is situated immediately north of the intersection of Port Royal Avenue and Hagy Street in the 21st Ward and adjacent to and northward of the upper Roxborough reservoir. The water supplying this plant is first pumped into the upper Roxborough reservoir by the pumping station located at Shawmont. This reservoir, finished in 1893, is, like the lower reservoir, used as a sedimentation basin. It comprises two compartments, each 25 feet deep and together having a capacity of over 147 million gallons at an elevation at the water line of 414 feet city datum. Sedimentated water is drawn from this reservoir and supplied to the filters by centrifugal pumps now (1931) located in what is known as the upper Roxborough Booster station. The plant, the interior of which is shown by the photograph of FIGURE 38, consists of eight covered sand filters, a covered filtered water basin, and courts which were formerly used for washing and storing filter sand. These filters are of the same type of construction as those of the lower Roxborough filter plant. The topography of the ground is such that the filters were arranged all on one level instead of in steps with the filtered water basin situated at a lower level. Each filter measures 140 feet 8 inches by 219 feet on the neat lines, and has a net filtering area at the normal sand line of about 30,380 square feet, or .698 acre. The theoretical yield of each filter was at first about 2.1 million gallons a day. With an average of seven filters in service, the initial overall capacity of the plant was about 14.7 million gallons every 24 hours.

          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 Brooklyn, New York. They were each designed to reach an easy maximum capacity of 10 million gallons a day against a static head of 25 feet with a steam pressure of 100 pounds. The centrifugal pumps were of the horizontal type. When placed in service they pumped the water from the upper Roxborough reservoir at the 414 foot elevation to the upper Roxborough filters, at the 419 foot elevation.

          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 Worthington was discarded for the second time, and the Gaskill then became No. 1.

                       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 the abandoned Schuylkill pumping station were installed.

          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 Philadelphia, was installed. This turbine and pump operated against a 400 foot head at 150 pounds steam pressure. This first installation was quickly followed by the installation of two more units of identically the same size and manufacture. All three units appear in the Shawmont station photograph of FIGURE 40, one in the center background, and two in the foreground.

          In 1918, the old 5 million gallon Worthington horizontal compound duplex pumping engine was removed from the second Roxborough high service pumping station. As originally installed in 1895 it was a third hand engine. In its place were installed two 6.5 million gallon and two 3.5 million gallon electrically driven 12-inch single-stage centrifugal pumps to operate against an 85 foot head. FIGURE 41 is an excellent photograph of the installation. These pumps were built by the Platt Iron Company. The two larger were driven by 150 H.P. 1800 R.P.M. and the two smaller by 75 H.P. 1800 R.P.M. General Electric motors.

          The Worthington 5 million gallon horizontal compound high duty duplex pump installed in 1900, remained in the station, but was not used after the installation of the motor-driven pumping units.

          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 Germantown, Roxborough, Manayunk and Wissahickon are supplied by gravity flow from the upper Roxborough filtered water basin. One section of the Chestnut Hill district is so high that an additional booster station is used to supply it.

          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 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Each consisted of two DeLaval double-suction single-stage centrifugal pumps in series, driven by a direct connected 2300 volt, 2157 H.P., 900 R.P.M., General Electric synchronous motor, and operating under a head of 410 feet. In the photograph of FIGURE 42, these two units can be readily identified. They were those in the pits surrounded by railings. Ever since these pumps were installed one pump alone has delivered enough water to supply the demand of the reservoirs, while the other is held in reserve for emergency use.

          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 Belmont Works



          The Belmont water works were designed to take the place of the Twenty-fourth Ward works in supplying the water requirements of the districts west of the Schuylkill River, known as West Philadelphia. The building of the reservoir for these works was started in 1866 and the building of the engine house and first engine were started in 1869. The buildings are pictured in FIGURE 43. On September 19, 1870, the works commenced operation, although only the eastern section of the reservoir was finished sufficiently to permit filling to a depth of 16 feet.

          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 Belmont works began operating the Twenty-fourth Ward water works, those first built to serve West Philadelphia, were abandoned and eventually demolished. (See Chapter 9).

          The pumping plant was situated on the west bank of the Schuylkill River several hundred feet below the Columbia Avenue Bridge of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad. The engine house, built of brick with Ohio sandstone window and door opening trimmings, was 72 feet long by 56 feet wide in its inside dimensions, large enough to house three 5 million gallon Worthington duplex compound pumping engines. The boiler house, located in the rear of the engine house, measured 100 feet by 53 feet and was provided with a stack 100 feet high.

          The first engine to be installed (No. 1) was a Worthington duplex whose specifications called for 5 million gallons per day lifted to a height of 216 feet. Its regular service to the 24th and 27th Wards was inaugurated on September 19, 1870. This engine had two high pressure cylinders of 29 inch bore and 48 inch stroke, and two low pressure cylinders of 50¼ inch bore and 48 inch stroke. The bore of its two plunger pumps according to one record is given as 2211/16 inches while another gives it as 22½. The stroke was 48 inches. This engine attracted attention because of its satisfactory performance and was considered a very efficient machine for the requirements of that time. It worked in a remarkably smooth and almost noiseless manner. Great credit was reflected upon the inventor and the contractor for the ingenuity of design and perfection of workmanship. The water was raised by this engine through a 30-inch main, 4,167 feet long. The photograph of FIGURE 44 is of the three Worthington pumps of this station and this first pump is probably the one on the left.

          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 Worthington pump tested was built with the steam and water cylinders in tandem. The valves were of the swinging piston-balanced type. The cylinders had separate steam and exhaust, passages. The valves were driven through bell-crank levers attached to the walking beams of the air pumps by connecting rods in such a way that the motion of one engine controlled the valves of the other engine. The direct path of the water through the pump diminished the friction loss in the machine and largely accounted for its high efficiency.

          On July 18, 1871 a second Worthington engine (No. 2) was placed in service. This engine was practically a duplicate of the first one and successfully met its specifications by pumping the specified 5 million gallons to a height of 216 feet in 24 hours. The high and low pressure steam cylinders, the pump cylinder and the stroke were all of the same dimensions as those from the first engine save that the low pressure cylinders were 55½ inches in diameter as against 50¼ and there was no question as to the 22½ inch bore of the pump cylinders.

          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 Belmont works continued to operate in a satisfactory manner, aside from an insufficiency of boiler capacity, up until the year 1883, when the Bureau reported that all three pumping engines were in bad condition, having been in continuous service for 10 to 13 years.

          In 1880, the No. 6 engine in the Schuylkill works broke down. This engine was at that time used as an auxiliary to the Belmont works. An attempt was made to run Belmont's 8 million gallon engine (its No. 3), which had been standing idle due to lack of boiler capacity. This attempt was unsuccessful and there resulted a water shortage in the districts supplied by this station. At this time there were in the station only the original eight Neafie and Levy boilers. The shortage became very acute, and in 1881 seven additional tubular boilers, built by Hilles and Jones, were added. The 15 together were able to produce all the steam necessary to run the works not only at that time but also for a number of years thereafter.

          During 1886, the experiment of forcing air under pressure into the water was made at the Belmont station. The results set forth in the Water Bureau's report for the year were as follows:


          “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 Belmont, because at the others, the mains are too leaky to permit its use.”


          The submerged main across the Schuylkill River caused considerable trouble during the years it was in use. Any breaks or leakages in the portion of this main which was underwater, would generally go for a long lime undetected, and when found were very troublesome and expensive to repair. It was necessary on one or two occasions to build special scows and a portable and floating cofferdam to make the necessary repairs.

          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 Belmont pumping station, according to specifications prepared by the Bureau of Water. The installation and trial of this filtering plant was recommended by the Bureau, in lieu of enlargement of the George's Hill reservoir, which was under proposal at this time. The object was to increase the storage capacity for sedimentation and avoid the practice of supplying the West Philadelphia districts with raw water by direct pumpage through the reservoir, which practice had grown with the increasing demands of the districts. However, inasmuch as no appropriation had been made for this work, the Bureau could not accept any of the bids or otherwise enter upon the construction of the proposed filter plant and the Belmont station was deprived of the honor of having the first Philadelphia filtration plant, an honor which some 10 years later fell to the lower Roxborough plant.

          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 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the buildings were finished October 31, 1894. There was also built for this station a standpipe 150 feet high and having a capacity of 106,000 gallons at an elevation of 364 feet city datum. FIGURE 45 is a photograph of the station.

          The first engine selected was an old Worthington. It was thoroughly overhauled and on June 27, 1895 started its service. It served the districts of Bala, Haddington and the high elevations of West Philadelphia. The complete original equipment consisted of this old Worthington, a duplex of 2 million gallon capacity, and a small Snow 500,000 gallon engine to be held in reserve. The small capacity of the Snow engine and the fact that the demand of the high service districts was already 2 million gallons a day, ruled this small engine out entirely and the Bureau's reports of operations during this period do not mention the Snow engine at all. The reports mention only the Worthington duplex and indicate it was necessary to run this Worthington night and day continuously, year after year, for several years. FIGURE 46 shows these engines.

          Yet another old engine was placed in the old Belmont pumping station in 1895. This engine was the No. 4 Worthington high duty duplex, with a capacity of 20 million gallons. It began service June 27. It was built with two high pressure cylinders 41 inches in diameter and of 48 inches stroke and two low pressure cylinders 82 inches in diameter and of the same stroke, operating two double plunger pumps 36½ inches in bore and of 48 inches stroke. As the station buildings were too small to accommodate this addition, No. 4 was housed and operated in a wooden shed until a permanent brick building was completed to accommodate it and the five additional boilers required to furnish it with steam.

          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 Belmont station, and one 5 million gallon pumping engine was requested for the George's Hill high service station. Repeated requests for additional pumping facilities for the George's Hill station resulted September 19, 1899 in the placing of an order for a 5 million gallon Worthington engine, and this went into service in 1900. This unit was a horizontal compound high duty pumping engine, with tandem high and low pressure cylinders of 13 and 36 inches diameter respectively, and with pump cylinders of 17 inches diameter, all of 36 inch stroke, and operated at a speed of 26 strokes per minute.

          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 Belmont filtration plant was built on the east side of Belmont Avenue at City Line Avenue.

          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 Lockport, New York. They were the Gaskill high duty rotative type, and each of 10 million gallon capacity with superimposed 20-inch high pressure and 50-inch low pressure cylinders. The length of stroke was 38 inches and the 22½ inch plungers operated at 30 R.P.M. These pumps discharged through two 36-inch mains and were designed to work against a static head of 290 feet. Active service began during July 1901, and during the first year their superiority over all the types previously used was proven by the smaller quantity of coal consumed. The coal consumption of the station was approximately 49 percent less than that of the previous year.

          During this same year (1901) the building of the projected new Belmont reservoir and filtration plant at Belmont and City Line Avenues was started. The contract was awarded to Ryan and Kelley of Philadelphia on June 26, 1901. This became the third plant of the city's filtration system. The 73 million gallon reservoir was built with two compartments, 279 feet above city datum when the depth of the water was 25 feet. Schuylkill water was delivered to this reservoir by the newly enlarged Belmont pumping station.

          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 Lower Roxborough filters, with the exceptions that where it was necessary to build all or portions of the floors of some of the filters on filled land, expanded metal (three-inch mesh, No. 10 gauge) was imbedded in the concrete.

          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 and Lower Roxborough filter plants except that the pillars are 22 inches square for their entire height and the semi-elliptical groined arches of the vaulting have a span of fourteen feet. Provision was made in designing and building an inlet chamber in one corner, for the addition of another compartment to the basin in the event of extension of the works. The filtered water is drawn off in another corner from the bottom of the basin directly into the distribution mains. Two 30-inch overflow pipes are provided.

          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 West Philadelphia districts.

          The construction of the preliminary filters for the Belmont plant, as at Roxborough and Torresdale, was not commenced until after the installation of all other parts of the plant was well under way, and for several years the plant operated without them. Following an investigation of the operations of the Bureau of Filtration made in 1905 by a special Board of Engineers, all work under the contracts for the preliminary filters was suspended until March 22, 1907, when the work was resumed. The preliminary filters were completed and started in service October 23, 1907 of the same year. Their initial delivery was at the rate of 40 million gallons per day per acre.

          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 Belmont station called for steam in excess of the boiler capacity for sustained operation, and the immediate construction of a new boiler house, stack and 10 new boilers was advocated. It was also recommended that three of the old engines, installed in the early 1870s, be replaced with more modern and efficient types, which would effect an estimated saving of $25,000 annually. During this same year the demand upon the (Belmont) George's Hill high service station increased 54 percent, and the 5 million gallon Worthington which had been installed in 1900 was being worked at its capacity limit. The immediate installation of an additional engine of the same size and type was deemed imperative.

          Two new steam driven centrifugal pumps were installed at the new Belmont filter plant in 1903. They were used to pump the wash water required for cleaning the preliminary filters, and if necessary to pump pre-filtered water from above the sand bed of low level filters to filters at high level. They each operated at a 5 million gallon capacity against a head of 45 feet.

          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 Belmont reservoir, which was approximately 67 feet higher than the old reservoir at George's Hill. This was a task that only the three Holly engines installed in 1901 could do successfully. Consequently when the Belmont filter plant was placed in full operation in 1904, the raw water pumps at the Belmont pumping station were unable to deliver a sufficient quantity of water into the new sedimentation reservoir and at the same time meet the requirements of the George's Hill reservoir for the high service districts. In order to remedy this condition as quickly as possible, the old 5 million gallon Worthington duplex engines and pumps, Nos. 1 and 2, were equipped with new pump barrels and plungers 19¾ inches in diameter instead of the former 22½, and the 8 million gallon Worthington duplex engine, No. 3, was equipped with pump barrels and plungers of 24¼ inches diameter instead of the former 28 inches. No. 4, the 20 million gallon engine, although originally designed as a high duty engine, also had difficulty and was straining under the additional load. Its pump size was reduced from one of 36½ inches diameter to one of 34 inches diameter. These changes decreased the capacity of Nos. 1 and 2 to 4.5 million gallons, that of No. 3 to 6.5 million gallons, and that of No. 4 to 17 million gallons.

          In spite of these measures the rapidly increasing population of West Philadelphia made it almost impossible for this station to keep pace with the water demand. Therefore on November 3, 1905, a contract was awarded for the construction of 10 new boilers, and a new boiler house and stack, in the hope that such an arrangement would enable the station to keep up an efficient water supply until arrangements could be made for new pumping engines and an extension to the engine house. The new boiler house was erected south of the pumping station, and the new boilers duly installed. They began operation in June 1906.

          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 Worthington duplex pump No. 1. The Allis-Chalmers engine and pump went into service in 1908.

          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 Belmont station. Two DeLaval 20 million gallon steam turbine driven centrifugal pumps were acquired. One of them was installed in 1915 and the other in 1916. FIGURE 50 is a photograph of one of the installations. The contracts for these pumps and 6,500 horsepower boilers were let in 1914. Each of these units comprised a DeLaval 1600 H.P. 3600 R.P.M., 14 stage turbine, coupled through a speed reducer to 24 25.5 inch 600 R.P.M. centrifugal pumps in series.

          By 1919, the West Philadelphia districts were using water up to the practical capacity of the Belmont plant, and warnings were accordingly issued by the Bureau that the extension of this plant must be given early consideration. The results were the planning and placing of certain contracts in 1921, not only to increase the output of the filters but also to add to their efficiency and enable them to cope with the steadily increasing pollution of the Schuylkill River waters. One of the attempts to improve the quality of the water from this station at this time was the installation of an aeration system to operate in conjunction with the filter system. When completed in 1922, it was found to reduce only those tastes and odors arising from the decomposition of organic matter in the water. The tastes and odors due to pollution of the river by industrial plant wastes were not reduced.

          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 Belmont filtration plant pumping station.

          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 Queen Lane pumping station since 1917, was moved over to the Belmont station. At Queen Lane this pump was rated at 25 million gallons against a 271 foot head. This rating was reduced to 22 million gallons a day by reason of the higher head at the Belmont station. The first and second units of this same type were also re-rated at 22 million gallons. The installation of this last turbo-centrifugal pumping outfit gave this station a complement of five steam driven pumps aggregating a maximum daily pumping capacity of 86 million gallons divided as follows:

          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 Belmont filtration plant site at the north end of the Belmont filter plant power house.

          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 Dark Run Lane and the Delaware River, and that the necessary reservoir be located in the vicinity of what was then known as the Oxford and Kensington Turnpikes. The site finally selected for the pumping station was at Robbins Street and the river and that for the reservoir at Second and Comly Streets, a site then known as the Wentz Farm. The surveys for these works were completed in 1874, and construction work was started on the pumping station in the early spring of 1875, and on the reservoir on October 28, 1875.

          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 Worthington engine was rushed from the Fairmount station and erected in this station where it became known as engine No. 2. This No. 2 engine was the one erected at the Fairmount pumping station in 1869 to supplement the water power driven pumps which were then seriously handicapped by the extremely low water in the Schuylkill River occasioned by the severe drought. No. 2 engine furnished all the water for this district until May 3, 1879, when the repairs to engine No. 1 were complete and it was again in operation.

          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 Worthington engine was removed from the engine house in order to make space for the new Corliss. The Corliss was built and erected by Robert Wetherill Company of Chester, Pa. It had a high pressure cylinder of 28 inch bore and 36 inch stroke, and a low pressure cylinder of 56 inch bore and 36 inch stroke, with two double plunger pumps of 20 inch bore and 36 inches stroke. Its total water lift was 187.5 feet. This engine was soon found to be too light in construction for its duty, and it was suggested that it be transferred to some other station where the lift requirements were lighter, and that it be replaced by a heavier engine.

          In 1893, a new 15 million gallon pumping engine was completed and installed on contract by the Southwark Foundry and Machine Company of Philadelphia. A year later, additional boilers, a smoke stack and an addition to the station were included.

          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 Chase, Lawndale and other districts in this vicinity. This new station was known as the Wentz Farm (or Frankford) high service pumping station. It was completed and placed in service in the fall of 1900. This station was located close to the Wentz Farm reservoir. Water from the reservoir was conveyed through a 20-inch main to the high service engine house, and there pumped to points of delivery under a head of 166 feet through 7,980 feet of 20-inch diameter mains, and 5,071 feet of 16­­‑inch diameter mains. The standpipe was located at the northeast corner of the reservoir. It was 11 feet in diameter, 150 feet high, and provided with a 12‑inch diameter overflow pipe discharging into the reservoir. The 3 million gallon pumping engine was manufactured by the Holly Manufacturing Company of Lockport, New York, and began service October 13, 1900. This engine was a horizontal, rotative, high duty, compound condensing type, with superimposed high and low pressure cylinders, the high pressure of 12‑inch diameter, and the low pressure of 32‑inch diameter while the plungers of the double acting pump were 137/8 inches in diameter and operated through a stroke of 24 inches at 35 R.P.M. It appears in the background of FIGURE 53.

          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 Oak Lane reservoir, as a compensating and distributing reservoir for filtered water from the new Torresdale filters.

          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 Lockport, New York on May 24, 1901. The first half of the Lardner's Point station buildings (as this No. 2 Frankford station came to be known) was practically completed in 1904. It was to house the first battery of six of the engines. A contract was issued the same year for the building of the other half. The first three 20 million gallon Holly engines were started in active service in February 1905. These engines, initially treated as if they had been additions to the equipment of the Frankford pumping station, were designated Nos. 5, 6, and 7. Before the end of 1905, all three of these engines were in active service and then relieved the old Frankford station of its duties so completely that this station immediately became of little value, and it was evident that its abandonment was only a question of time.

          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 Delaware River into a part of the distribution system because the filters at Torresdale were not yet entirely completed and their then capacity was not great enough to meet the demand. This condition continued until July 15, 1907, when the entire pumpage capacity of Larder's Point was used for the distribution of filtered water only. The second half of the station's buildings was practically completed in 1908.

          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 Pipe, Main: 42 inches diameter; Branch: 30 inches diameter

Discharge Pipe, Main: 42 inches diameter; Branch: 30 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 Oak Lane reservoir. It not only supplies all the territory lying generally east of Broad Street and south of the Roosevelt Boulevard, but also at times (with some help from the Queen Lane and Shawmont pumping stations) carries practically the entire load east of the Schuylkill River.




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 Queen Lane reservoir was awarded to Filbert, Porter and Company of Philadelphia. They guaranteed to complete the work by January 1, 1895, or to forfeit $100,000 of the contract price of $1,159,591, and under those terms building operations began on October 10, 1892.

          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 Philadelphia on June 7, 1894; and construction was started on July 14, 1894, and completed on September 30, 1895. FIGURE 56 is a photograph of the completed station taken in 1896.

          The Queen Lane reservoir consisted of two basins with a combined capacity of 383.1 million gallons at 238 feet city datum. The north basin contained 205.62 million gallons and the south basin 177.48 million gallons. It was completed by the contractors on December 13, 1894, just ahead of the guaranteed date. However, considerable difficulty was experienced with this reservoir on account of numerous and serious leaks, with the result that water from the new Queen Lane Pumping Station was not turned into the Queen Lane reservoir for the regular sedimentation process until November 29, 1895. Until the reservoir could be used, the water pumped by the new station was forced directly into the distribution system through a connection established between the pumping and the supply mains.

          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 Philadelphia's water supply, had recommended the installation of a filter plant adjacent to the Queen Lane reservoir. In 1901 these recommendations were superseded by revised recommendations which stated that further and more exhaustive studies than the committee was first able to give this subject “have shown that it is better to supply the districts now (1901) supplied from the Queen Lane, East Park, Corinthian and Fairmount reservoirs with water from the Torresdale filter plant and the Lardner's Point pumping station and that this can be done at very much less expense.” A reservoir at Oak Lane was considered a necessary adjunct to the recommended source of supply under the new plans. The plans were agreed upon and put into effect, but they did not work out entirely as intended, for it later became necessary after all to build the Queen Lane filter plant.

          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 Schuylkill pumping station pump more than 4.5 billion gallons to the Queen Lane reservoir.

          Approximately six years after the abandonment of the original plans to install a filtration plant at Queen Lane reservoir the proposal was revived. In 1907, tentative new plans for such an installation were made. In 1908, final plans for the Queen Lane filtration plant were completed and on March 31, 1909, the contract to build it was awarded to the Millard Construction Company. This filtration system at first consisted of twenty-two 0.76 acre, slow sand filters with a capacity of 6 million gallons per day, per acre, and 40 preliminary filter tanks. It was built within the north basin of the reservoir, leaving the south basin to be used as a sedimentation reservoir, with a capacity of 177.48 million gallons. The water was introduced at one corner of the south basin and drawn off at the other through three hydraulically operated sluice gates, three feet by four feet, built into a circular gate chamber constructed as part of the filter plant at the eastern end of the embankment next to the filters. From the gate chamber it entered the preliminary filters through a seven foot steel conduit surrounded by concrete.

          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 Queen Lane pumping station was shut down and all sections were supplied with filtered water from Torresdale. However as the season advanced, and the demands for water increased, it was found impossible to maintain sufficient pressure on the mains from Lardner's Point to supply the high levels of the Queen Lane district, and it became necessary to cut out parts of this section and supply it as formerly from the Queen Lane station.

          Because of a lack of funds, all work on the construction of the Queen Lane filters came to a standstill on December 19, 1910, with the work about 80 percent completed. Work was resumed on June 21, 1911, and again stopped for the same reason on November 10, 1911, but by this time the work was so far advanced that the contractors were persuaded to render the plant useable. The service was inaugurated on November 29, 1911, and from then until the end of the year averaged 47 million gallons of filtered water a day. In 1912, the plant was finally completed and placed in full operation.

          In January 1918, a DeLaval steam turbine-driven centrifugal pump of 25 million gallons per day capacity was installed in the Queen Lane pumping station on the Schuylkill River. This unit marked the highest development in efficiency and space-saving yet attained in steam-driven pumping machinery. The installation was intended as a temporary measure to assist this station during its troubles caused by the difficulties being experienced with the Southwark triple expansion engines.

          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 Queen Lane filter plant which would practically double its capacity, and enable it to supply water to the central and southern portions of the city, where there were indications of an acute water shortage. The plan was to convert the existing plant into a combination slow sand and rapid filter installation, which would afford a maximum capacity of 150 million gallons per day. It was foreseen that to meet so great an increase in the capacity of this plant would require total draft from the Schuylkill River closely approximating the minimum flow of the river in times of severe drought. This close margin caused the Bureau to issue the following warning and recommendation:


          “Safety therefore demands as part of the project that a compensating reservoir be built on a tributary of the Schuylkill River, which will be used to stabilize the dry weather flow. Such a reservoir can be located and built so that it will form a unit of either a future distant mountain supply or of a semi-mountain supply should either of these projects be adopted. If it should be decided to continue the use of the local rivers, the reservoir would remain an indispensable factor.”


          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 Worthington 20 million gallon centrifugal pumping driven by a General Electric 650 H.P., 900 R.P.M. motor.

          After filtration is accomplished at the Queen Lane plant, the greater part of the water is fed to the distribution system by gravity. The high service station pumps it to Germantown, or in case of emergency, to Belmont, Shawmont or Lardner's Point.

          This Queen Lane plant is one of the most important links in the chain of stations because its large reserve capacity and central location permit it to give service in the event of any serious interruption in the supply from the Torresdale filters. The Torresdale filters are located at a great distance from the center of demand, and supply from them depends entirely upon the Lardner's Point high lift pumping station and the long miles of supply mains, as can be seen by consulting the map of the stations (Frontispiece).




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 improvement of Philadelphia's water supply, particularly as it applied to filtration. In order to obtain the best possible results on a work of that magnitude and importance, a special bureau known as the Bureau of Filtration was organized on August 1, 1902, under the leadership of Mr. John W. Hill, as chief engineer. The great Torresdale filter plant was the fourth filter plant of the city to be finished. Daniel J. McNichol of Philadelphia was the contractor who built this plant and on January 23, 1902, work was started on the land appropriated to the Water Bureau by the City. The plant began operating in 1907.

          The station is admirably located on the Delaware River approximately 11 miles upstream from the center of the city, in the section known as the 41st Ward, very close to the northeastern boundary defining the city limits. The station consists of a coagulant basin and coagulant dispensing house, intakes, low lift pumping station, preliminary and slow sand filters and a filtered water basin. The unfiltered, but settled or sedimentated Delaware River water, is pumped through an 11‑foot riveted steel conduit encased in a six-inch layer of concrete into the preliminary filtration system. The water is then directed to the slow sand filters, where the filtering process is completed, and thence to the filtered water basin. From this basin it is drawn as required through a conduit leading to the Lardner's Point pumping station where the necessary pressure is applied to direct the pure water into the various distribution systems. Before the filtered water passes into the conduit leading from the storage basin to the pumps, it is treated with a chlorine solution in order to decrease the bacterial content which may have passed through the filters.

          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 Belmont filtration plants. Where the floors were built over fills, expanded metal of 3‑inch mesh No. 10 reinforcing steel was embedded in the concrete inverts. The arrangement of the regulating valve houses is similar to those at Upper Roxborough and Belmont. As in those plants a single building located at the end of the dividing wall between two filters contains a combined dry chamber for the inlet regulating apparatus for both filters and a separate wet outlet chamber for each filter. The raw water to supply the filters is taken from sedimentation basins built along the Delaware River by means of low lift pumps and is delivered to the several courts through a number of lines of 48‑inch cast iron water mains. The main drainage of the plant is carried generally from the northeast to southwest by means of a sewage system discharging into Pennypack Creek.

          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 Harrison Mansion. This testing contributed in a large measure to the ultimate success achieved by the main station. The test filter was located in the tower of the mansion house and was supplied from a small pumping plant consisting of a gasoline engine and two triplex pumps located in a frame building especially built for them.

          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 supply the Queen Lane district with filtered water from Torresdale. For this reason the number of filter beds at Torresdale was increased from 55 to 65.

          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 Worthington compound duplex pump was installed in place of the Deane pump for emergency use in sand washing. In 1909 additional primary pumping capacity was found necessary and a DeLaval 50 million gallon turbo-centrifugal pump was installed.

          During 1912 the Torresdale filters were put to a severe test by an unusually turbid condition of the Delaware River, and the state of the filters during 1913 demonstrated the necessity for a sedimentation basin which was subsequently built. It was finished in 1916. An index to the work done by a filter plant may be obtained from the records which show that during 1920 approximately 7,000 tons of mud were removed from the raw river water by the Torresdale filters alone.

          When in 1901 the Committee of Experts recommended that the Queen Lane districts be supplied with filtered water from the Torresdale filter plant and the Lardner's Point pumping station, the Committee also recommended the provision of a reservoir at Oak Lane. (The earliest known reference to the building of a reservoir in the Oak Lane district was in 1884 when the Water Bureau cited its necessity and recommended that it be built at Twelfth sleet and Olney Road, now Olney Avenue. Nearly twenty years elapsed before this suggestion was seriously considered as probably having value as a compensating reservoir to be used in conjunction with the new filtration and pumping systems, then in process of designing and building, particularly for the Torresdale and Lardner's Point stations.)

          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 Lancaster, Pa. Its construction was started April 14, 1902, and it was completed in 1904, but was not placed in actual service until 1909. This reservoir has a capacity of 70 million gallons and consists of two basins of equal capacity, with a normal water depth of 20 feet 6 inches at a height of 210 feet above city datum. It is situated on the east side of 5th Street, between Chelten Avenue and 65th Avenue.

          In 1926, a new pumping station known as the Oak Lane Booster or High Service Station was erected on the 5th Street and Chelten Avenue corner of the reservoir site to boost the pressure of the water above that of the reservoir, in order to adequately supply the higher areas of the Oak Lane and adjacent districts. Part of these districts had previously been taken care of by the Suburban Water Company, an independent company whose distribution system in this section was taken over by the city in 1926, at a cost of $358,525.60. The original equipment of the new station consisted of two Fairbanks-Morse, 7.5 million gallon per day, single-stage, double-suction centrifugal pumps and two 150 H.P. 1,200 R.P.M. A.C. motors; and one Fairbanks-Morse 10 million gallon single-stage, double-suction, centrifugal pump and a 350 H.P., 1,200 R.P.M. 2,200 volt motor. Two units of this equipment are in nearly constant service today (1931), and in order to provide a reserve unit for cases of emergency, a new 15 million gallon unit is now in process of installation.

          A contract was let in 1920 for six 500 horsepower pumping engines of the Ames single cylinder vertical uniflow type for addition to the Torresdale Pumping station. The first one of these engines was installed and placed in service the same year. The installation of the last one of the six was completed during 1922. They were connected directly to the original centrifugal pumps used in this station. The installation of these engines instead of the more modern electric motor-driven units which had already proven their superiority and greater efficiency was apparently an error of judgment; for the engines gave trouble constantly, and so serious did the difficulties become that approximately five years later they were discarded in favor of the electro-centrifugal equipment.

          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 of Philadelphia served by the great Torresdale filtration plant and the Lardner's Point pumping station. It would appear to be fully half of the city.




High Pressure Fire Service Stations






          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 Delaware River, Race Street, Broad Street and Walnut Street. For the commencement of the work, councils appropriated $300,000 to be applied to the laying of mains. Until additional funds were provided to pay for the construction of an engine house and the purchase of the necessary pumping engines, the fire boats then in service on the Delaware River were to be used for forcing water directly from the river into the mains.

          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.




          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 Allegheny Avenue on the north, Girard Avenue on the south, Germantown Avenue on the west, and Front Street on the east. At specific points extensions were made to districts around this area where necessity demanded.

          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 Seventh Street fronting on Lehigh Avenue just south of the remaining one-quarter section of the original Fairhill reservoir, which has a capacity of nearly 5 million gallons. The pumps received filtered water from the reservoir and delivered it through the mains at a pressure of 300 pounds per square inch. Two air compressors delivered air to 10 storage tanks where an air pressure of approximately 200 pounds per square inch was maintained for use in starting the gas engines. Two generators supplied the necessary current for ignition in the engines. Means were also provided whereby current for ignition was constantly available either from storage batteries or from the lines of the Philadelphia Electric Company, to provide for any possible emergency. Although each of the two high pressure fire service stations serves a particular district, they are so connected that in case of emergency or necessity either district may be supplied by either station over two separate and distinct lines of mains.



Back to

Contact Adam Levine
Page last modified December 20, 2014