(Published In 1894.)

No person who has been in New York City during the winter of 1893-94 needs a labored explanation to aid in identifying the Manhattan Life Insurance Building as the lofty structure which towers above the finial of Trinity Church steeple, just across Broadway, and the building, which is remarkable even in an era of tall structures, has been made familiar through the medium of illustrations to all who are interested in architectural development. The pneumatic caissons and other details of the foundation were described in The Engineering RECORD of January 20, 1894. The building is about 120x67 feet in size, has a height of over 300 feet from the cellar floor to the main roof, and has 19 stories devoted to the uses of the Insurance Company, to tenants' offices, and to the operating plant and equipment. It has a complete system of plumbing and drainage conforming to the requirements of Messrs. Kimball & Thompson, the architects of the building, and Mr. William Paul Gerhard, consulting engineer for sanitary work, which was installed by J. W. Knight & Son, contractors, under the supervision of Mr. Gerhard.

The system comprises a supply of Croton or artesian-well water in every toilet-room throughout the building and for fire service, steam-heated hot water to slopsinks, and the drainage and ventilation of all water, soil, and drip lines. Water through the city mains is received through a 4-inch pipe, meter, and gate valve and discharged in the cellar through two 2-inch ball cocks into a 2,000-gallon open iron suction tank 12'9"x7'4", set on brick foundations and provided with hinged wooden cover. This tank has emptying and overflow pipes and a supply to the suction pipes of all the pumps, three of which are for house and fire service, two for the elevators, and two for the boiler feed water, the house and feed pumps being interchangeably connected. The house pumps lift the water about 300 feet into a boiler-iron 5,000 gallon house tank 116"x8'x7'6". From this tank 1 - inch riser lines supply the distribution branches to the washbowls on each floor above the seventh, and a 2-inch pipe supplies the steam hot-water heater in the cellar. A 4-inch line also supplies an auxiliary 2,000. gallon tank on the eighth floor, which is filled through ball cocks and connected with a drum in the cellar, from which risers lead to all the fixtures on the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and mezzanine floors. These are controlled from one central point and are subjected to a pressure much less than would be imposed by direct communication with the roof tank. Adjacent to this distributing drum in the cellar is another one which is connected directly with the street pressure and delivers it to riser lines supplying all fixtures on and below the first floor.

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A 6-inch artesian well 2,000 feet deep has been drilled in the cellar, and water from it is delivered by a separate pump to a roof tank, the counterpart of the one described for the Croton water, and supplies all the water-closet and urinal flushing cisterns direct to the eighth floor, and from an auxiliary tank below the eighth floor, thus effecting a considerable economy of metered water purchased. The roof tanks and the eighth-floor tanks for street and artesian water and the distributing drums in the cellar for street and tank pressure are respectively cross-connected so that either or both may be supplied from either source. All riser lines are valved at their bottoms, and each horizontal branch is separately valved. All the hot water is under full roof-tank pressure.

A separate 3-inch riser extends from the cellar to the roof tank and has valves and hose on every floor for fire protection. It is under constant tank and pump pressure and has check valves to prevent the escape of water at increased pressure. The two Worthington duplex steam house pumps each has 6-inch steam cylinder, 5-inch water cylinder, 12-inch stroke, and a capacity of 100 gallons per minute, and are connected to draw from the suction tank or from the Croton main direct and to deliver either into the roof tank or to boiler feed pipes. The boiler feed pumps are similarly connected. The house pumps are fitted with sight feed lubricators and Fisher's automatic regulating attachment to start them whenever the tank water falls below a certain level. The height of water in the tanks is also indicated in the engine-room by an electric alarm operated by high and low water floats.

The fire pump is a Worthington new pattern "Underwriters' fire pump," with steam cylinder 14 inches in diameter, water cylinder 7 inches in diameter, length of stroke 12 inches, and a nominal capacity of 500 gallons per minute, equal to two 1 1/8 - inch fire streams at 250 gallons per minute each. This pump is built strictly and entirely in accordance with the specifications for underwriters' pumps, as adopted by the Boston Manufacturers' Mutual Fire Insurance Company, of Boston, and is fitted up with all the attachments, fittings, etc., therein described, and improved polished-brass sight-feed lubricators. This pump is connected with the 3-inch fire stand-pipe, and has an automatic regulating device for starting the fire pump automatically in case a fire valve shall be opened on any of the floors. The fire line connects with the house tanks, with 3-inch swing check valve opening downward, and also with the house pump discharge pipe, so that in case the house pump should need repairs it may do service temporarily in filling the house tanks.

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The general system of water pipes includes the direct street-pressure pipes from the 4 inch main as follows: 3-inch to the elevator tanks, 4 - inch to the suction tank, 2-inch to the boiler feed pump, 4-inch to the house and fire pumps, and 2 - inch to the distributing drum; a 3-inch discharge pipe from the house pumps and another from the artesian well pump to the roof tanks; a 3-inch fire line from pump to roof tank, a 4 inch pipe from roof tank to the eighth-floor tank, a 4-inch pipe from the eighth-floor tank to the cellar distributing drum, and a 2-inch pipe from the roof tank to the hot-water heater in the cellar. All of these main pipes are supplied with shut off gate valves, and have no branches taken from them. There is a separate falling main from the artesian roof tank to the general toilet-rooms, with branches on each floor for water-closets and urinal flushing cisterns only. It is 3 inches in diameter above the second floor, where it is reduced to 2 inches and continued to the pipe cellar, where it runs horizontally around the ceiling and supplies the various private toilet rooms with separate vertical risers.

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From the Croton pressure distributing drum there are run separate 1 - inch lines to each of the toilet-rooms in the basement, subbasement, and first floor. From the tank-pressure distributing drum there are run separate risers to each vertical line of office wash-stands 1 inches in diameter up to the eighth floor. For each vertical line of private toilet-rooms there are run 1-inch risers up to the eighth floor, and similar 1-inch lines are run down from the roof tanks to the eighth floor. For the large group of general toilet-rooms the risers are 3-inch pipes from the cellar and from the roof to the eighth floor. From these vertical rising supply lines the branches to the fixtures are as follows - viz., for supplying each washbasin, one-half inch; for supplying each water-closet and urinal cistern one-half inch, for supplying each slopsink three-fourths inch; for supplying each bathtub, kitchen or pantry sink, three-fourths inch.

Wherever a branch line supplies more than a single of the fixtures named it is proportionally increased in sectional area. The branches for supplying each general toilet-room begin at 1 inches in diameter, and those supplying private toilet-rooms at 1 inch in diameter, and are reduced in size as the various branches to fixtures are taken off. Each horizontal branch from a rising line supplying a group of fixtures is provided with separate shut-off valve, in order to control each toilet-room separately. Branches are provided in the rising lines for each story, and where there are no fixtures tees for possible future use are left tightly plugged. Separate full size shut-off valves are provided at each fixture (both on the cold and hot water supply) at each water-closet and each urinal flushing cistern. The rising hot-water lines for slopsinks in toilet-rooms are 1 inches in diameter, of tinned and annealed brass. They are carried up to the highest fixture without any reduction in size, and a -inch circulation pipe is taken from the highest fixture back into the hot-water tank or boiler. The hot-water riser is extended upwards and turned over the top of the roof tanks. All supplies to fixtures (except flushing cisterns) are provided with large-size air chambers. All horizontal lines are arranged neatly and symmetrically so that they do not unnecessarily cross each other have no depressions or sags, nor are bent up in such a manner as to become air bound.

The main vertical pipes are run in the ventilation shafts (V V, Fig. 2), or in wall recesses where they are accessibly inclosed by movable wooden panels, screwed on. Hot and cold water pipes do not touch each other, and are usually separated 3 inches in the clear. All supply pipes throughout the building are so graded and valved that they may be readily and completely emptied.

Figure 1 is a plan of the cellar showing the location of the tanks, pumps, distributing lines, etc. there. Figure 2 is a typical floor plan showing the arrangement of washstands, water-closets, etc. in the eighth floor, to which the other rented floors are similar. At each riser line are four pipes, a trap vent, a soil, a cold-water supply, and a safe waste, all run in wall recesses except at the two ventilation shafts V and V, which are accessibly located in the foul-air flues. In V there are six pipes and in V there are 15 pipes, including the fire line or stand-pipe, all mains to and from the roof and intermediate tanks, pump risers, rainwater leaders, gas mains, etc.