Re: Photo: Loading Treated Water Pipe (1935)

William Jensen-Frisk

     Another use for the treated pipe could have been for penstocks (water supply) for water powered mills. In the Toledo, Ohio area I have seen Sanborn maps for mills along the Maumee River with the penstocks marked as being made of wood. Keeping a mill going with inexpensive water power would have been practical through the Great Depression. Before large power grids were established post WWII, it was also common for factories to have a large diesel engine generator set if the factory was electric. Some line shafted factories survived into the 1970's. After WWII electric companies offered low industrial power rates to get a big enough power usage to justify nuclear power plants, which were hoped to provide really cheap power. As part of the electric discount program the power company would supervise the destruction of the water turbines or other engine powered generators. 
    It had been cheaper to have workers tend factory electric plants than buy commercially generated power in many cases through the 1940's. Heavy electric usage, like electroplating, often had their own power plants to avoid expensive electric peak charges. 
    A penstock would lead from a water supply, like a canal, to a mill located 10 to 50 feet below the high point with a water outfall into a river or another canal. During WWI one of the Niagara Falls power stations had another penstock built of wood as a wood lined  tunnel to increase capacity without using steel or concrete. It ceased to be used after WWII. The creasoted pipes could have been replacements for a water powered mill with old penstocks. I toured a textile mill in St Catherines Ontario that made athletic jersey material that still had a water powered turbine. W Frisk

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