New York Water Distribution a Century Ago
The accompanying cuts illustrate the progress made in water distribution during the past century. One is a photograph of the type of valve used in New York’s first waterworks system, while the other is a 1909 model. The former was uncovered in Park row, New York, during the subway excavations, and was part of a pipe lint of white pine logs installed in 1799. The valve shown was made of a white cedar log, and is of the solid wedge type, the slab (or plug) covering and uncovering alternately the port or opening. Over a century has brought about great improvements in the valve world, but the most modern type of municipal gate differs but slightly in general construction. This general similarity can be seen by comparing the two pictures, the second being a photograph of the modern water gate installed in the Coney Island highpressure fire system by the Chapman Valve company. It is a cylindrical, semi-spherical body with a spherical cap; the construction is of semi steel with screwed-in, removable bronze seats, bronze face plugs, and bronze-lined splines or guides. Although adequate for the purposes of a century ago, it is doubtful if the wooden valve would carry resemblance to the point of successfully undergoing the 800-lb. hydrostatic test that is required of the modern gate.