A Red Hot Boiler

| September/October 1996

178 Emerson Place Brooklyn, New York 11205

I sent these photos to be used on the I back cover in color, because color photographs are the only way to do this subject justice. The pictures represent every engineer's worst nightmare, a red hot boiler.

The boiler was one of a pair of H.R.T.'s located in a factory on the edge of the Pratt Institute campus in Brooklyn, New York. The school had wanted to purchase this property for years to complete our campus expansion begun in 1955, and in the late '60s the opportunity came when the company, United Metals, got into financial difficulty and sold us the building, retaining for themselves a long-term lease.

Part of the deal was that we had nothing to do with the maintenance, they had their own people, and so we did not set foot inside the building.

In the late 70s, things fell apart financially, and they went bankrupt in the fall of 1976. The bank immediately padlocked the building, initially only allowing the former general maintenance man in to run the boiler for heat, and this was followed by a period of chaos as the factory contents were inventoried and sold. Even though I hold the position of Chief Engineer with Pratt Institute, I was told to 'keep out,' the bank was running things.

' Your Worst Nightmare,' a story by Conrad H. Milster, 178 Emerson Place, Brooklyn, New York 11205, will explain how this boiler got to be in this red-hot and extraordinarily dangerous condition. All operators of steam-powered machinery should read his story . . . twice.