Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Dart Elevator, continued

On page 354 of American Colossus, I mention the plaque that was erected by the Industrial Heritage Committee and the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society in 1990 to commemorate the building of the Dart Elevator, the world's first mechanized (steam-powered) grain elevator. An entry on Waymarking displays this plaque's precise location, which is indeed on the very spot upon which the Dart and, later, the Bennett elevators stood. Note well that, in the intervening years (between 1842 and 1900), the Evans Slip was filled in, paved and called Erie Street.

Welcomed though it is, this plaque is open to nitpicking. It is true that work on the Dart began in the autumn of 1842; but the elevator wasn't ready to unload its first ship until June 1843. Furthermore, while it is true that the basic principles of the Dart "are still used in elevators along Buffalo's waterfront," these basic principles are also still used in elevators all over the world.

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