THE LAST OF THE GIANTS


| May/June 1970



5815 Upper Valley Pike, Dayton, Ohio 45424.

In 1904 the City of Columbus, Ohio, began a complete renovation of its water system. The lime and soda ash water softening and purification system was installed and continued as the world's largest for over 30 years, By 1907 the new pump building was completed and two Holly Vertical Triple Expansion Steam Engines from Buffalo, New York, were ordered for installation.

The two new engines were equal in size to those at Kansas City, then advertised as the world's largest. Each engine required 32 freight cars to bring it to Columbus. Each behemoth would pump 20 million gallons of water per day as the 28 ton flywheels lazily turned 18 to 25 revolutions per minute, gulping up 569 gallons on each stroke. The great water cylinder is nearly a yard in diameter and the three steam cylinders being 28, 54, and 80 inches in diameter.

Looking at these marvels of human creation one is immediately impressed by the superb engineering that went into these machines. The foundation was put in with great exactness, as to be off the thickness of a sheet of paper would have thrown these 65 foot, 900 ton giants out of alignment. One could not perceive any deflection in the 15 inch face of that 20 foot flywheels when in rotation.

Typical of this style of engine, four rods connected the water piston to the cross head of the engine. The water pumps are below the engine. The five foot stroke resulted in the output of 750 hp at 25 rpm. The Corliss valve system made these engines very efficient as steam entered from the Wicks 600 hp. boilers at 160 psi and was exhausted at 1 to 2 psi.

It is not surprising that thousands of visitors came to see these black and gold machines doing their job. They were truly a sight of the time.