Sunday, April 12, 2009

Elevator made out of iron, Philadelphia

On pages 192-193, I mention that a largely unknown engineer named George H. Johnson designed at least three pioneering, fireproofed grain elevators in the 1850s and 1860s. Two of them were made out of iron (Bessemer steel), and one was made of brick. The iron elevators were located in Brooklyn and Philadelphia, while the brick-binned elevator was located in Buffalo.

A picture of the iron elevator in Brooklyn appears in a book published by Johnson's employer, Daniel Badger, entitled Illustrations of Iron Architecture (New York: Baker & Godwin, 1865-1867). Here we seem to have a photograph of the iron elevator in Philadelphia. Though the main houses of the two structures are similar - massive, six-story buildings with brick facades that are divided into regular grids by cast-iron columns and arches - the Philadelphia elevator has two, very tall elevating towers, while the Brooklyn elevator (if memory serves) had a single cupola at one end of it.

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