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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

High Water: 1900

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High Water: 1900

Circa 1900. "Water tower in Dwight, Illinois." Unusual columnar design with a brick base, topped off by a weather vane and lights -- a sort of smokestack-lighthouse-watertower hybrid. Detroit Publishing glass negative. View full size.

 

Standpipe

This is called a standpipe. It is basically a large pipe stood on its end. It provides some water storage volume but is mainly used to increase the pressure in the water system without having to constantly run a pump.

Big tower

The Fostoria, Ohio, water plant still has a base, made of stone, but the upper part is gone. It too was similar, but the water was not potable, rather only for fire suppression. Old photos show the tower was taller than the base.

Pressure would be higher

It would be higher pressure because the pressure depends upon the weight of all the water above the output area. Although the volume of water could be the same as a short fat tank, the depth would be less in a short fat tank, hence a smaller amount of water above the output.

What is that upside down funnel thing

Looks to be hanging from the wires.

[It's a carbon-arc lamp. - Dave]

Also for those not used to such things, that farm implement at the base of the water tower is a mower. Could be used for hay, or wheat or just grass. Used my grandpa's many a time back in the '60s.

Tower for Sale

There's a similar brick water tower (minus the tank) for sale in Raleigh, NC. Built in 1887, it's on the National Register. Yours for a cool $685,000.

A tale of two cylinders

I am no expert on water-pressure physics, but it seems like a "tall" column-style tank like this would give more water pressure than a shorter, fatter cylinder of the same volume. Or is that just misleading intuitive thinking? The weight of the water would be the same, after all.

[I think your hunch is correct. The weight of the water over the drain (or water pressure, expressed as weight divided by area, for example pounds per square inch) would be greater in a tall, relatively thin (columnar) cylinder. - Dave]

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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