Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Electric Steel

On page 217 of American Colossus, I mention the Electric Steel, a pioneering steel-binned grain elevator built in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was designed by Lewis S. Gillette and built in two stages by the American Bridge Company (1901) and the Minneapolis Steel & Machine Construction Company (1903). As the photographs above show, the Electric Steel utilized a workhouse that stood apart from the 12 grain tanks, which were lined up in a two rows leading straight back from it, so that if a fire or explosion took place, it would not travel easily through the entire complex.

In later years, the Electric Steel Elevator would become part of the Russell Miller Flour Mill, to which it was connected by horizontal gantries that traveled high above ground (see picture above). Today, the elevator still stands and is in use.

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