Sunday, September 21, 2008

Nora Gets Shafted--Part Three

The first Take Nora To Work Day was a fascinating adventure in exploring the world of elevator mechanics. Review Parts One, Two and Two if you're just now joining us. Walk with me now into The Pit...

This is looking up a shaft.

This contrapiton is the buffer. If the elevator were to crash down the shaft, it would hit the pipe, which is a piston. The pipe is filled with oil, just like a car's shock absorber. Amazingly enough, the buffer is enough to keep it from crashing to the pit floor.

This is the tail sheave. It's connected to the car and the flyball governor by a rope, which communicates the car's speed.

On the left of the shaft is counterweight, also known as The Silent Killer (dun dun duuuuuuun!):

Here we have the compensating, or comp sheave, which, predictably, compensates for the weight of the car, and helps pull it.

These are the comp ropes. They go from the bottom of the car to the bottom of the counterweight. Meanwhile, the cables from the motors in the machine room go from the top of the car, around the machine to the top of the counterweight.

This very low-tech piece of equipment is called a timber, because it's, well, a big hunk of timber. If cables need to be changed, the counterweight is rested upon the timber. The car would then be level with the top floor,and the mechanic can safely change the cables.

This is a view of the bottom of a car. Those rubber cables connect the car to the controllers in the machine room.

It's not all preventative maintenance, fiddling with circuit boards and working in the pit, though, kids. Elevator mechanics have access to all kinds of interesting areas of the building. Let's see what the bowels of this particular Chicago skyscraper look like ...

Walking through the boiler room in the sub basement:

Entering the hydraulic elevator, which will bring us to the sub-sub-basement. The EM had to operate it manually.

He takes me to the nicest places. Right after I snapped this photo, he kicked away a mouse-sized roach. I think I might just have a crush on this particular elevator mechanic.

Look at the floor: coal cart rails from back in the olden days. There was an enormous amount of kickass door frames, cabinets and other furniture. Apparently, they don't make them like that anymore, so the building just holds onto them for parts and such.

A coal storage bin, where it would dump out into the carts into the room below:

We emerged from the sub-sub-basement for two more adventures. Sifting through decades of history and kicking aside huge cockroaches is only part of the fun. Come back to read about some old Otis relay logic technology and my death-defying trip on top of car 27.


Anonymous said...

I expected the shaft to be bigger. Now I will wait for the obligatory "that's what she said" line. lol

Nora said...

Oh, it was big enough. If you know what I mean!

Luke Baggins said...

I love the coal cart rails. That gives the whole thing a kinda Indiana Jones feel.

Nora said...

If you'd seen the cockroaches, you would know how true that statement is. I could have hung out in the sub-sub all day. There was so much cool shit stored down there.