Operating High Pressure Valves
Until recently the work of opening and closing the gate valves on the pipe line system of San Francisco’s high pressure fire protection project was a long hard job for two firemen, but since the completion by Mr. Birmingham, Superintendent of the Fire Department’s Corporation Yards, of a power operated gate opening and closing equipment, this work is now play for one fireman.
The device consists of an overhanging gear which is arranged on a swivel attached to the bed of a Ford truck in such a manner that it may be swung to the right or left to project out over the opening of any underground structure in which a gate valve is installed. When the apparatus has been placed in position over the manhole, a heavy rod sliding up and down in the gear driven by the car motor, is lowered down onto the operating stem of the gate valve, and a thumbscrew tightened which holds the rod or “key” tightly engaged with the valve.
Then the special shift lever installed at the side of the truck, within easy reach of the operator, is used to engage the driving apparatus with the truck motor. The rod extending down through the manhole and engaging the valve is driven rapidly or slowly. It will open or close the largest gate valves in a few minutes, an operation that formerly required a half hour by hand power.
There is a lever for raising the sevenfoot driving rod up off the valve. There is absolutely no vibration and the device will not spin a valve.
When the valve has been opened or closed, the seven-foot rod is raised sufficient so that it will clear the edge of the truck bed and the entire appaiatus is swung back over the truck bed and locked in a rigid position. The truck is ready to be driven to the next point where it is to be used.
The success of this device has been so pronounced that it is planned to build additional similar equipment.