Day 956 – Thanks New York
I copped that title from a friend, but the sentiment is genuine. See, i just read this on /. :
“Today the last section of the old Edison DC power grid will be shutdown in Manhattan. ‘The last snip of Con Ed’s direct current system will take place at 10 East 40th Street, near the Mid-Manhattan Library. That building, like the thousands of other direct current users that have been transitioned over the last several years, now has a converter installed on the premises that can take alternating electricity from the Con Ed power grid and adapt it on premises.’ I guess Tesla finally won the argument.”
In the comments i found this:
Kinda sad to me but it was in the way of progress. Lots and lots of buildings still use the old DC elevators here in New York City. Just yesterday I loaded in to Bayard’s in downtown Manhattan into a 4×4 foot elevator that I swear Otis himself must have installed. I love how you have to hold the lever to go up and down and manually align the elevator to the floor. The elevator lights are powered by the DC current as well. At Pratt Institute they used to have those old DC elevators that were powered by an ancient motor generator set that was dated back to the 30’s. Hell up until 1999 the MTA still had an old DC substation that had Rotary converters for the subway. ConEd also kept the 25 cycle plants running to feed those substations until the early 90’s.
If you want a feel of old DC equipment from the days when if you wanted power you had to make your own, head down to Pratt Institute (located in Brooklyn on Willoughby ave. and Hall st.). They still have 3 steam driven reciprocating piston dynamos built by Ames Iron Works. They work but are only for show. And to top it off they also have a steam turbine dynamo all of which is hooked to a large open marble panel board with knife switches, carbon arc circuit breakers and blade fuses. The panel is still live on the AC side. The Motor generator I mentioned is still there. You can go down to the Pratt engine room and get a tour from Conrad Milster, the Chief engineer who keeps the place running. The large 1930’s brick steam boiler still heats the campus and the surrounding neighborhood. The site is an IEEE land mark and walking down there is like going back in time, a real treat.
If i had to translate this into “pop speak” i might quote Dr. Rene Belloq from “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “We are just passing though history. The ark is history.”
New York is like that. While the rich and the pretty and the easily bored invent “new” fashion and “new” cultural crap and “new” things for similarly predisposed simpletons to buy, articles of true history, as measured by the life work of now almost invisible people, continue to do their job and to slowly fade into memory.
And yes, Boise is still ass.