Monday, June 1, 2015

Since 1825 and Ready for 2015



PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL:  Between 1905 and 1918 old Erie Canal and offshoot canals of the system, with their towpaths and mules were re-engineered into the Erie Canal System for motorized freight barges. It remains a triumph of Jules Verne era engineering. Nothing is too big to be magnificently detailed and spit-shined. Tubes, meters, valves, insignias of brass - even the fuses have heavy caps that shine like gold. There are watch-like mechanisms of levers and gears, and escape valves that fly open by centrifugal force when they spin too quickly, and all still as a pin in a little windowed house, like a museum display.

Even today each lock is kept polished and painted by a lock master and crew who greeted us on our arrival. They work with military precision and compete much as local volunteer fire departments do to maintain the discipline of their work. Even if the canal system is no longer essential to commercial traffic it is an integral part of flood control throughout the Mohawk Valley. 



2 comments:

Caroline said...

Your photography is an enlightening and captivating blend of history, art, and science. Being in the field of engineering,I truly appreciate your take on Jules Verne era engineering. Also, as a jigsaw puzzle enthusiast, I think your images would make for wonderful puzzles. Have you ever had any of your images made into one?

Emery Roth II said...

Caroline, thank you for your comments on my pictures. If you're a fan of Jules Verne and turn-of-the-century technology, you may enjoy my book, Brass Valley: The Fall of an American industry (Schiffer Books, 2015). I hope you'll come back again or subscribe to the email version of my blog.