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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • UP N' ATOM: c. 1950s

Chickamauga: 1942

Chickamauga: 1942

Generator hall of the Chickamauga Dam powerhouse near Chattanooga, Tenn. June 1942. View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer.

 

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Miles of tiles

The tiling on the floor and walls is not "scored concrete". I know because I've walked on it. It's real ceramic tile, used not for aesthetic purposes, but for practical reasons. This facility was designed to last for a long, long time, and spilled or leaked generator lube oil would soften and weaken the concrete underneath the tile. The tiling is also much easier to keep clean, and cleanliness is a requirement around the delicately precise equipment that this is. I also observed the installation of the tile on the turbo/generator floor at Sequoyah Nuclear Plant north of Chattanooga, and wondered, at first, over the "obsession with appearance."

Clean Workshop

Oh wow - is that what they are?! Such perfectly arranged tools make this the cleanest workshop I've ever seen - almost surgically sterile.

Generational Pride

The tiling might be scored concrete or some other semi-automatic process, but the designers of this facility clearly obsessed over the appearance of their work. Although seemingly simple if not stark, all of the shapes and surfaces are carefully designed and highly finished to create a strong impression of ageless quality. Check out the almost "graphic" tool sets on the wall between each generator. Maybe they wanted to impress the visiting taxpayer or government official.

Miles of Tiles

All that tiling, for a room that's seldom seen. What's wrong with bare concrete?

Awe-inspiring picture, especially with the little bloke in the distance providing perspective.

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