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The Breakers

Noel Kelly_3
Noel Kelly_3 Member Posts: 43
Finally got to read about your trip to The Breakers

http://pmengineer.com/CDA/ArticleInformation/features/BNP__Features__Item/0,2732,157169,00.html

- great stuff.

Any pictures or must we wait for the coffee table book?

Noel

Comments

  • Dave Yates (PAH)
    Dave Yates (PAH) Member Posts: 2,162
    and

    If you walk to the sea-wall, you'll be able to gaze down upon the cast iron sanitary sewer line that simply emptied into the ocean. Must have been quite a challenge to pour those lead joints!

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  • Pat Clark_2
    Pat Clark_2 Member Posts: 102
    I was there last year

    with a group of contractors from Alaska. We took the tour thru the Breakers and the next day did the Taco Factory. We begged and pleaded to go into the boiler room at the entrance, but to no avail. The guard on duty was actually sympathetic to our cause but did not have the authority to let us in. He did however have a lot of knowledge about the system and how it worked and I am sure the other tourists thought "who were those crazy guys huddled around the outbuilding where you walk in asking all those weird questions about a "boiler" and not being excited to get to the mansion and see the pretty drapes and flooring" Then when we went through the house, we bombarded our guide with numerous questions on plumbing & heating and strained past the velvet ropes as far as we could. She also wished she could let us just whisk past and cover our tracks but alas, she also did not have the authority to do so.

    All in all, it was a great experience and the basement did have some exposed piping to drool over. No pictures allowed inside the mansion, but I got a lot outside, including the boiler room at the entrance.

    Pat (Alaska Time) Clark
  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928


    If you ever tour the Biltmore in Asheville, NC (the Vanderbilt mansion to outdo all Vanderbilt mansions) make sure you take the "behind-the-scenes/mechanical tour".

    Odd combination of heat in the house. Gravity warm air (indirect I believe) for the downstairs and the "gathering rooms" around which clusters of suites are arranged. Bedrooms (seem) to be heated only by fireplaces. Basement and sub-basement heated by direct hot water radiators. Boilers look like those in large ships. Old coal bins at least the size of racquetball courts. Now an utterly massive natural gas forced air furnace to replace the indirects. The D/C wiring system is a sight to behold.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,490
    I took just a few photos that day

    because I was mostly climbing around and thinking. Here's what I've got:
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,490
    I took just a few photos that day

    because I was mostly climbing around and thinking. Here's what I've got:

    This is from the front gate. The boiler is under the caretaker's house, which is that building on the left.
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,490
    And then . . .

    this is the tunnel that runs between the boiler room and the main house.
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,490
    This . . .

    is an access door to one of the indirect heaters. There were many of these.
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,490
    And . . .

    an indirect heater.
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,490
    And . . .

    the main heating pipe, which looked to be about 20" in diameter.

    Dead Men.
    Retired and loving it.
  • J.C.A._3
    J.C.A._3 Member Posts: 2,981
    We still.....

    See those type of indirect heaters around the "gold coast" every once in a while.

    I used to run into them all the time in hallways/entranceways when I worked over in Marblehead too!
    I've worked quite a few into a new boiler installs, and after a thorough cleaning the owners were really glad we did.(I found the air dampers shut on most of them and the new owners just thought they used to belong to a warm air system that had been ripped out) Lots of heat for a grand entrancway after the doors got opened and the units were cleaned. Lots of rare finds after running a brush thorugh one of those. Thanks for the pseudo-tour Dan! Chris
  • bob_50
    bob_50 Member Posts: 306
    Mike T

    I thought Biltmore originally had electric boilers. bob
  • Firedragon_4
    Firedragon_4 Member Posts: 1,436
    Great story Dan,

    I got into some of those basements years ago with the old Newport Oil.

    There are many stories yet to be told in that town, FACT!

    Check out 'The Elms' sometime, it had coal fired boilers with a mini-train that traveled under the backlawn all the way to the waterfront, amazing! What else would you expect from a guy who made his money in coal?

    It must be nice to have money, hmmmmmmm?


    The Elms

  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
    just think of the dead bricklayers

    who also put each of the bricks in place in that tunnel..and the plumbers/steamfitters who must have had arms like popeye's..we don't have it so tough, do we?

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  • Bob Sweet
    Bob Sweet Member Posts: 540
    Great story Dan

    Must have been a peaceful experience hanging out in those quite areas, and the dead mens memories. If I close my eyes I can feel it. Thanks
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,490
    Bob,

    it was like being in a cathedral.
    Retired and loving it.
  • ScottMP
    ScottMP Member Posts: 5,884
    You

    should have brought the Holy Grail aka Carlson Wheel :)

    I need to go and take the tour.

    WAIT ... WHAT about a Wetstock tour of the Breakers ??

    Could be WAY cool ??

    Scott

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  • Great Story Dan, I was

    blessed with the opportunity to visit many of the unique heating plants of all the Newport Mansions when my old company (Providence Gas) purchased Newport Gas. An old friend of mine Eddie Smith who was the manager of customer service at Newport Gas would call me up and tell me that they had a job at a particular mansion the next day and if I wanted I could ride along and get a free tour. I also got to meet some of the maintenance personnel of a lot of those old systems. They all have some great stories to tell. The sad story is that many of them have retired or passed away (my friend Eddie died several years back).

    It would be great to get in and do a story on each one of them. The Doris Duke mansion was an unusual heating and cooling system. It included a driveway melt system and pool heater that was integrated with the main heating and cooling plant. I understand that much of it has been removed and a new modern system installed.

    One of the other mansions, I cannot remember which one also included a steam system for cooking and food preperation. I saw a similar system at the old Valles Steakhouse in Warwick RI.
  • john_27
    john_27 Member Posts: 195


    i think the Indirects are American Radiator Excelsior's....Was the entire house indirect or were radiators on the second floor? I am asking because the entire first floor and two rooms on the second floor are indirct in my home, and the rest of the house is radiators(Broomell)....still can't figure out
    why the mix...John
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,490
    Nope,

    they were Newports, made especially for these homes.
    Retired and loving it.
  • john_27
    john_27 Member Posts: 195


    since I've got them....could someone tell us why they were made especially for these homes?...it would greatly help me...john
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,490
    Do yours say

    "Newport" on them?
    Retired and loving it.
  • john_27
    john_27 Member Posts: 195


    Dan...thanks for your response. My house is 17,000 square feet, and the indirects pictured in your attachment look very similar to your posting. Hence the question. Glad you enjoyed
    the Breakers, and thanks for a great post. Richard Morris Hunt
    designed a beautiful house...I liked salt water, as well as fresh water, piped into the bathrooms...John
  • Scott Denny
    Scott Denny Member Posts: 124
    Great houses

    I was wondering when someone would write a story on one of the Great American Houses. I, too, have been to Newport. It's awesome. The many old mansions in the Hudson Valley have some stories to tell as well. Out here in California I've found plumging and heating treasures at the old Gouvernors Mansion in Sacramento and at Hearst's Castle in San Simean.
  • Scott Denny
    Scott Denny Member Posts: 124
    Great houses

    I was wondering when someone would write a story on the mechanical system in one of the Great American Houses. I, too, have been to Newport. It's awesome. The many old mansions in the Hudson Valley have some great stories to tell as well. Out here in California I've found plumbing and heating treasures at the old Governors Mansion in Sacramento, at Hearst's Castle in San Simeon and in a variety houses in and around San Francisco. I remember the gooseflesh I felt when I peeked under the sink in a side pantry at Mrs. Winchester's Mystery House in San Jose. There in front of me was an intact, still connected to the wall, lead bottle trap. These old treasures are all over America and though many of them have loving caretakers, they often don't have a clue when it comes to their mechanical systems.
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