Too Long; Didn't Read
What I have to say in relation to elevators and motors will be mostly in regard to questions that their uses necessarily bring up for settlement at the water-works office; also to show how I have been able in a measure to overcome some of the many difficulties that have presented themselves, as well as to discuss and seek information as to the best way of meeting others that still have to be dealt with. At the outset, therefore, let me state that I am not an hydraulic engineer, nor have I sufficient mechanical knowledge to undertake the discussion of the construction or relative merits of either elevators or motors. This I would respectfully suggest as a very proper and interesting topic for a paper at some future meeting by some one of the many, eminent engineers of this association.
The water-works of Kansas City is comparatively young, and my experience only dates back six or seven years, or shortly after its completion. At this time it was deemed advisable on account of the probable large revenue to be derived from their use, to encourage the putting in of hydraulic elevators by low water rates. With this end in view a number of contracts were made for their supply at low special rates for a period of years, and our minimum meter rate was charged in all other cases, regardless of the quantity of water consumed. In most instances these special rates have since been found much too low, parties paying in this way being exceedingly extravagant in the use of elevators. However, the object sought was obtained, and now they are very extensively used. In fact, so much has their use increased, that the question is no longer how to encourage their more general adoption, but how to properly govern those that must be supplied. A present our works furnish power to about 15 passenger and 80 freight elevators, and the number is rapidly increasing.
Before going into details it seems proper to give at least a brief description of our water-works, as my observations are to a great extent local.
On account of the peculiar topography of Kansas City (and I believe it has more topography to the square foot than any city in the country) two systems of water supply have been provided, the high ground being supplied by direct pumping, and a pressure of about 90 pounds maintained in the business portion, and the lower part of the city being supplied by gravity, from a reservoir at an elevation of 210 feet, thus giving the business portions of the city, on high and low ground, about the same pressure. By an arrangement of valves, a combination of these two systems is effected, so that the Holly machinery can furnish an increased fire pressure at a moment's notice, into either or both pipe systems. Thus at some points the pressure is extremely high during the progress of fires, causing difficulties that do not exist where the gravity system of works is used exclusively.