Saturday, June 16, 2018

Running on Water: The Hydraulic System that Tapped the Thames to Power London

This isn't the Phillips model that we looked at in 2011 (and see after the jump) this is actual motive force.
From 99% Invisible:
For nearly a century, a vast system of underground pipes run by the London Hydraulic Power Company pumped water to power hotels, shops, offices, mansion blocks, hotels, docks, factories and more.  Hydraulics lifted elevators at the Bank of England, opened gates along the Thames and even provided backup power for the Tower Bridge.
Water pressure lifted curtains at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and rotated stages at the London Palladium in the West End, in addition to raising and lower organs and orchestra platforms at other venues. It also doubled as a fire safety system in buildings it served.
The water was pumped from the Thames (and heated in winter) and pressure was maintained at around 800 pounds per square inch by five hydraulic power stations. Short-term pressure storage was provided by hydraulic accumulators, which were large vertical pistons loaded with heavy weights. An accumulator essentially stores energy and enables a hydraulic system to cope with changes in demand....
... “Applications for the enormous power of the hydraulic ram were manifold,” explains Subterranea Britannica. “It was used for cranes and lifts and could also be applied in presses for forging, stamping or flanging. At one time hundreds of such presses were in use throughout warehouses for baling cloth and paper, and for compressing scrap metal and other materials to facilitate transport.”...

And from March 2011:

The computer model that once explained the British economy (and the new one that explains the world)

Here's the original Phillips (he of the curve) Machine:

The Phillips Machine
From the headline article at the Guardian.

Here's the schematic, from the New York Times:
Two weeks ago, while visiting Cambridge University, I arranged to have lunch with my friend Allan McRobie. He’s a professor of engineering, so it seemed a bit strange that he kept insisting we meet at the department of applied economics. “There’s something there you’ve really got to see,” he said in his Liverpudlian lilt. “It’s utterly fab. Just brilliant. The Phillips machine — it uses water to predict the economy.”...MORE 
Schematic diagram of the Phillips machine. (Click to enlarge.)

And here's the latest incarnation:


Genius squared.

The second schematic is from a post on GE's Mark I nuclear reactor at ZeroHedge