Georgetown Steam Plant Pipes

The 1906 Steam Plant was full of pipes large and small.  They were made of brass, metal and painted over in different colors.  They carried oil, water, steam and who knows what else.

Lets have a walk around the plant and see what we can find.

Look up and you see pipes

The ceiling is a honeycomb of piping.
The ceiling is a honeycomb of piping.

These brass pipes were on the side of the turbines.  Oil or steam?

Brass pipes
Brass pipes

Up in the boiler room the pipes and valves were everywhere.  When I looked between the boilers looking to the west sunshine I got this photo. The spooky factor was high in this room.

Creepy space between boilers
Creepy space between boilers

The boilers were eight on each side.  Down at the southern end of the long room the light streamed in from a window high up.  It gave this shot of the front of the boilers two different tones of color.  Add more pipes and gauges to the picture for a good photo opportunity.

Front of two boilers
Front of two boilers

Later you will see a picture of the coiled heavy electrical cable that I was drawn to.  After I took several photos of that I weaved behind that area and found this huge pipe and valve wheel.

Big pressure pipe and control wheel.
Big pressure pipe and control wheel.

I leave you with two more sets of pipes at the Steam Plant.

Want more of the Georgetown Steam Plant?  Go to my master post on this subject for the other topics around this historic place.

More Georgetown Steam Plant


  1. A few comments.

    The top picture shows the area between the number two boiler (right) and the number three boiler (left). The “water column” has been removed from the number two boiler, it bolts on to the two flanges shown on the right side of the picture. The water column with the gauge glass (to determine the water level in the boiler) and “try cocks” (alternate method to determine water level) is in place on the number three boiler. The horizontal pipe is nothing more than a safety railing to make it a little more difficult to fall off the platform.

    The second picture shows lubricating oil piping, mostly for the “step” bearing, on one of the vertical turbine generators. The step bearing oil, at a pressure of about 400 psi on the smaller (number one) turbine and about 800 psi on the larger (number two) turbine actually lifts the turbine rotor and generator shaft a fraction of an inch when in operation so the entire weight of the rotating parts is held up by a film of oil.

    The brass pipes are really electrical conduits. The three larger ones carry the 13,800 volt alternating current conductors from the stationary windings on the generator while the two smaller conduits carry the 120 volt direct current used to energize the rotating electromagnets used to actually create the electrical current flow through the stationary windings. There are also a couple of smaller conduits for thermometer and control cabling back to the main switchboard.

    The fourth picture has the number six boiler to the right and the number seven boiler to the left. I don’t know why so many people think this area is spooky. Next time you go to the plant notice that the number seven and eight boilers are significantly different than the other fourteen boilers. Seven and eight were the last boilers installed, probably around 1918/1919 or perhaps as late as 1921.

    The fifth picture has number 15 boiler to the left and number 16 to the right. The “gauge” high on the column is an ammeter showing the current draw for the motor on the induced draft fan serving these two boilers. Below the ammeter is a pressure gauge connected with a loop siphon (to prevent steam from reaching the gauge internals) connected to a pressure reducing valve. This arrangement was used to lower the boiler pressure to about 10-15 psi for use in the unit heater located in the overhead space above and in front of the boiler.

    In the sixth picture is shown the main city water valve from the city service to the station water tank. This is not the original valve but a replacement that was originally installed in the Cedar Falls hydro plant.

    Of the last two pictures the one on the left shows the steam piping to the soot blowers, using boiler pressure steam to blow soot of the tubes inside the boiler casing. The right hand picture shows various drains going to an open funnel drain. These drains would come from the gauge glass, water column and soot blowers.

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