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Anyone know what this is?

Steamer1928 Member Posts: 34
edited April 2019 in THE MAIN WALL
I can’t tell if it’s a cistern or some sort of ash collector/compactor. It’s a little trap door in the foundation that keeps a slightly varying level of water throughout the year. It’s about 3 feet deep I would say.


  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,446
    The picture did not come through...
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,128
    That's the thing they used in Indiana Jones (3?) when the guy pulls the heart out of the other guy's chest.

    I'd say more of a cistern than ash dump. Doesn't look like you would want to climb in there.
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,443
    Spanish Inquisition? Is the house dated back to the early 1500's?

    Kidding aside, can you post a few more pics?Maybe of the room it is in. Looks like a old coal shoot conveyor but can't tell from what's there.
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,564
    Some old houses had underground coolers for food storage.
    The food, in sealed jars, was lowered down into the ground water below the basement floor.
    Does this seem possible?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,541
    3 feet deep isn't enough for a cistern
  • Steamer1928
    Steamer1928 Member Posts: 34
    Yeah it is right near my current boiler so maybe it was from an old coal system. Not sure why it would hold water...
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,541
    Not sure what it was originally used for but it probably holds water now because the water table is at that level.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,988
    I'd say part of an old coal stoker system.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • I see the rusty caterpillar chain connected to the round drum. I also see other chains connected to the small platform with holes. It looks like that platform can be raised and lowered.

    I think the round drum turned at some point, lifting something heavy.

    Where do you live?
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hourTwo btu/ per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,024
    Are you sure it's only 3 ft deep under the plate with the circle cut outs?
    In the first pic, the right side end of the axle, is that a sprocket?
    Someone seemed to have the need for a mechanical winch.
    Thread the rope through the drum and crank.
    Roped down into the abyss.
    I would definitely find out the what and why.
    It rubs the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose again.
  • Dungeons and Dragons.

    They used to tie up giants, dwarfs and monsters and lower them into basement pits. That pit is actually 20 feet deep and has been filled in. Only room for one giant or two dwarfs.

    From time to time, a circus would come to town and they'd be rented out. During growing season, they would work the fields. In the winter, they shoveled coal and snow.
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hourTwo btu/ per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,541
    Wow, what an imagination @Alan (California Radiant) Forbes . Now I'm wondering if those are even your hands. :D
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,024
    Let's not get dorky. The D&D forum is over there >>>
  • I'm just trying to massage our collective intelligence. If you have some ideas, please tell us.
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hourTwo btu/ per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • Timco
    Timco Member Posts: 3,039
    Does that arm with the chain on it swing up so a hand crank can attach? Looks like the drum on the close end could collect a strap or chain or rope?
    Just a guy running some pipes.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,663
    Is it actually a tunnel that runs horizontally outside to haul coal in?
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Steamer1928
    Steamer1928 Member Posts: 34
    edited May 2019
    Not as far as I can tell. It seems to be confined to a shape roughly the equivalent of a quarter of a donut, with the deeper end having the perforated plate you see in the picture. If it indeed was a stoker mechanism, it's a mystery as to how it interacted with a boiler. My neighbor had something similar, but had her's cemented in some years ago.
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,564
    edited May 2019
    Would there have been a coal room across from the boiler?
    Under floor coal conveyor perhaps?

    There were previous pictures of an in floor ash/clinker collector. IIRC it was round and divided into pie slice sections. It rotated to fill each section?

    May send the dog in and see where he get out at... ;)