TITLE: "Heavy Metal"
This portfolio celebrates the centenary of the construction of the Col. Ward Pumping Station, brought online in 1915 to provide water to the city of Buffalo.
Water flows under gravity from the Roundhouse Intake, 6,600 feet offshore in Lake Erie, along a 12x12 foot tunnel to the Pumping Station. The Station houses five immense vertical steam-driven reciprocating pumps: each pump weighs 1,100 tons, stands 60 feet tall, has two 20-foot diameter 30-ton flywheels, produces 1,200 horsepower, and is capable of discharging 30 million gallons of water per day through 48-inch diameter pipes. Higher capacity (50 mgd) electric pumps supplanted these steam pumps in 1938, but the steam pumps were retained in full working order through to the 1970s as a back-up system.
The pumps stand like a row of sleeping giants in splendid majesty, hand-crafted from larger than life building blocks, monumental silent reminders of an earlier heyday. In these images I’m documenting the pump’s gargantuan scale, muscular elements and intimate details, as testament to the imposing grandeur of an awe-inspiring industrial engineering achievement, a public-works temple to civic pride.
AUTHOR: John Eaton (United States)
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