Sunday, June 5, 2016

Monorail Crane

PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL: Factories are architectural machines. Earlier this year I photographed and wrote about what is left of the famous and infamous Carrie Furnaces in Homestead, PA. Nowhere is that statement more true than at those furnaces which ran 24/7 over durations of 8 or 10 years, while being constantly fed with ore and limestone and other smelting ingredients in careful quantities delivered by workers to a 17-story high conveyor that loaded the furnace at the top while men poured iron into pigs at the bottom. It was a balanced digestive system kept eupeptic by ant-sized chefs and cooks and a channel of train tracks and a river of barges constantly delivering deliciousness for the Carnegie-Frick beast.

The Farrel foundry, was at the other end of the food chain, where metal is cast and made into precision machines for manufacturing. Like the Carrie Furnaces, it is a fully integrated digestive system, though of an entirely different scale with time to rest. For its type, however, it is giant and when gearing for war there was no time to rest. By my calculation, this room is near the bottom of the digestive tract. From this terminal room the monorail follows the track overhead and enters a tall crevice between the three large foundry furnaces on one side, and the roll sheds on the other. 

There seem to have been just two stops for this shuttle: this room with a chute to the foundry's main floor, and the place just beyond where the crevice intersected the side of the sand elevator bridge and opened onto the cathedral space of the foundry. There, the crevice crane and the sand bridge crane met at right angles, and people and material in buckets could transfer to reach destinations in either direction.

1 comment:

Ginnie said...

I feel "short of eyes" when I look at your images from the factories, Ted. To use the eating/digestive analogy is brilliant. I see another book.....