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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Our New Facility: 1905

Our New Facility: 1905

So here's this new facility -- state of the art. Except it's over a hundred years old. And we've misplaced the caption. Who can tell us what this is? View full size.
UPDATE: Nobody identified this as the world's first indoor skateboard park. But it turns out that Nobody is wrong. The original caption from circa 1905: "New engineering building, big testing tank, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor."

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Michigan Hull Test Tank

I used to look in awe at this. I'd take a walk by the long indoor window alongside this tank, while I attended freshman classes at the University of Michigan. It is (was?) in the West Engineering Building on Central Campus, at NW corner of South University and East University Avenues. I'd see lots of hull designs being tested, mostly for large Navy ships and submarines. Great photo.


From "Calendar of the University of Michigan - 1904-1905":

This laboratory occupies a space 40 by 60 feet on the first and second floors of the north wing, adjoining the steam laboratories. A canal four feet wide, fourteen feet six inches deep, and forty feet long extends across the middle of the laboratory. Water enters this canal from the naval tank and is returned to the tank by a centrifugal pump in a well at the far end of the canal. This canal is provided with bulkheads, screens, and weirs, and is arranged for testing the flow of water over weirs and through no22les up to a capacity of ten cubic feet per second. The bulkhead between the naval tank and the canal is arranged for weirs and no22les so that tests may be made for flow from a still water basin as well as in a running stream. The naval tank itself is arranged for bulkheads dividing it into three basins, each one hundred feet long. By means of a sluice in the bottom of the tank these basins can be connected to the hydraulic canal and the centrifugal pump, so that water can be pumped from one of the basins and delivered into either of the others. The lab oratory" will also have two weighing tanks for calibrating purposes, each holding six hundred cubic feet. A 36-inch pressure tank, designed for 25o pounds pressure, extends through two stories. This affords means for no22le and motor experiments under high heads. An open tank eight feet wide, sixteen feet long, and five feet deep rests on a platform near the ceiling of the second floor. The centrifugal pump supplies this tank, which serves as a forebay for water wheel tests under heads up to about twenty-five feet.

Wade in NW Florida

Wade in NW Florida

[Not even warm. - Dave]

Fermentation room?

Just a guess, but with all those heaters along the wall and the steel doors and platform, something was cookin' in there. They may have yet to tile or seal over the concrete form. It looks like product was dumped through the doors to the platform and shoveled into the tank for processing. There may have been an auger or screw running along the deeper trough to mix and eventually aid in moving the product through the "U" shaped portal. Possibly the inentical concrete forms on either side in the foreground allowed screen filtered liquid to be separated from the solids for further processing or bottling. It could have produced beer, wine, or maybe Sauerkraut.

[We know the answer now -- it's in the caption. - Dave]

Still towing after all these years

Google "university of michigan marine tow tank" to find videos and other information about the tank. Ship models are attached to a frame which moves the hull the length of the tank. The engineers can "ride along" next to the model as it makes it journey. Now sophisticated sensors and computers record the data.

The Honeymooners

This could well be the training facility for new sewer workers. I can picture Ed Norton taking his first class and going home to tell Ralph Kramden how enlightening it was.

Is it a

drydock for small submarines?


Whatever it is, it looks unfinished. there are scraps of lumber lying about the place and there are planks laid across the supports for what will become proper walkways in the near future. I see a couple of shovels and a wheelbarrow down in the narrow trench. The walkways along both sides of the room are interesting, as are the exposed bolts sticking up from the concrete walls in the foreground and along both sides of the large trench.

It almost looks like it could be used for building boats of some kind, but they would not fit out through the narrow opening at the lower end.

I hope that YOU know what it is, 'cause I sure don't!

Whale era

The world's longest abatroph?

["Abatroph"? - Dave]

Modern Slaughterhouse

The problem is that it's not finished. Clearly they're going to put floorboards, or something, across the deep part. But it's hard to tell.

So my money's on abattoir, as borne out by this Monty Python sketch.

Tow Tank

Marine Hydrodynamics Lab, West Engineering Building, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Ship Model Basin?

Would that be the Ship Model Basin at the Marine Hydrodynamics Laboratories at the University of Michigan?

State of the Art

I know the answer will come from a fellow Shorpian as to what this is. My guess would be that it might be a facility for finishing boats.

Towing tank at U-Mich.

Looks like the towing tank at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Located right near the West Hall Engine Arch on Central Campus.

Ahoy, Matey?

Looks nautical to me -- perhaps for the early stages of a hull. The slot is for the keel, the cutout close to the camera is for the bow. Just a thought.

Seafood processing facility

My first thought was a German gas chamber. My second thought is a animal processing plant and since you just had shots of oysters, I will guess a sea food processing facility where the food is cut up and the waste is dropped into a water chute to be disposed of. Of course the waste is where fish sticks come from. I don't know and look forward to the answer. Thanks.

A submarine pen?

Or a sewer?

A Water Tank

To test model ship hulls?

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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