(Published In 1895.)

The new residence of Cornelius Vanderbilt, Esq., Fifty-seventh Street and Fifth Avenue, New York City, is one of the largest and most costly private city residences in the world, and the unlimited care and expense devoted to its construction and decoration have also governed its equipment with modern mechanical and sanitary apparatus which for power, heating, ventilating, illuminating, water supply, and drainage is of the most improved and complete nature. It is chiefly constructed under special supervision and specifications intended to secure above all the utmost superiority of workmanship and materials and efficient operation regardless of cost. The plumbing system for the varied requirements of the extensive establishment includes complete service of hot and cold water, filtered, unfiltered, and double-filtered, under street and tank pressure, and the drainage, drip, and waste for the domestic establishment, besides the service for numerous general and private bath and toilet rooms and the servants' quarters. Water pipes are of galvanized iron or tinned brass, and waste and drainage pipes are of screwed galvanized iron up to 1 inches, and of extra heavy cast iron for larger sizes. No lead pipes are used, and all are tested to a maximum water pressure of from 160 to 210 pounds. Gate valves are used throughout on all pipes above 1% inches, and all hot-water lines have return circulation. Sets of complete standard apparatus are established in the kitchen and laundry, where steam is supplied from the boilers for the power and heating service and cooking and scullery uses.

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There are several miles of water and drain and back-air pipes in the house, and all the main hot and cold water lines are interchangeable from tank to street pressure, are independent of each other and other parts of the system, and have separate branches with valves commanding each set of fixtures. The main or riser lines themselves are all commanded by sets of valves concentrated at one point in the cellar and controlled by the engineer, who has charge of a complicated labyrinth of pipes. This installation is more extensive and elaborate than the installations in many large hotels and public buildings, and presents many special and interesting features of construction, arrangement, and operation. The features and details shown have been sketched by a member of our staff, who received a general explanation of the work from Mr. George B. Post, of New York, the architect of the building, under whose requirements and superintendence the work was executed by James Muir & Co. The foreman in charge of the work for the Messrs. Muir explained the mechanical details and operation.

The water supply is taken from the city mains on both Fifty-seventh and Fifty-eighth Streets through two 2-inch connections, which deliver it through two Worthington meters in the cellar to the suction tank. From this point it is pumped to the attic tank, and to the steam boilers and the No. 33 Jewell's filter, Fig. 1, which delivers it eventually to the distribution drum, where all the house supplies are controlled. The filter is designed to purify 50,000 gallons of water per diem without appreciable diminution of pressure head, valves 1 3, and 6 being open and the others closed normally It is intended to wash the filter daily, for which operation valves 1 and 3 are closed and 2 and 4 are open for a few seconds, when valve 4 is closed and 5 open, valve 2 being set so as to admit only enough water to liquefy the bed sufficiently to promote the revolution of the agitator. The water is forced upward through the screens and perforated diaphragms that confine the filtering materials until it overflows into the sewer through valve 5. This operation is to cause the separation of the grains of quartz, and by increasing the sizes of the interstices between them to detach the accumulated particles of impurities and carry them upwards and outwards with the flowing water, while the heavier quartz, being continuously agitated, remains in semi-suspension and scours itself by the rubbing of its particles together. The revolution of the agitator is intended to break up any films or lumps and to thoroughly wash the sides of the filter. About five minutes is required for the washing, which is continued until water runs clear from the try cock D. When the filter is clean it is quickly rewashed to remove the unfiltered water left therein. To do this valves 2 and 5 are closed and 1 and 4 are opened until the discharge from try-cock E is clear and bright. The machine is then set to filtering by simply closing valve 4 and opening valve 3.



In filtering, the water from the street mains is received on top of the quartz filtering bed, and percolates downward through its rugged interstices and the screens and pipes at the bottom. The filter requires from 10 to 15 minutes' attention daily, and can be thoroughly washed with less than 1 per cent, of the amount of water filtered When a coagulant is used its cost varies from 1 cent to 10 cents per 10,000 gallons of water, according to its quality. The overflow and discharge pipes are 5 inches in diameter, the other pipes shown are all 2 inches except the - inch ones connecting the alum tank which is controlled by valves F F. The shaft I extends vertically downward into the filter and carries, a little below the overflow outlet, a crosspiece from which a set of beveled rakes parallel to it extend about 2 feet down into the filter bed, and thoroughly cut it up and loosen it when revolved by the hand crank J. Tight and loose pulleys are also provided to drive it by a belt if it is wished to operate it by power. Just above the dished bottom piece an internal horizontal diaphragm-plate makes a false bottom, beneath which the water is collected as filtered, and upon which the filtering bed (about 2 feet of two sizes of White's machine-crushed quartz, claimed to be 99 per cent, pure silicon) is supported. The diaphragm is perforated by numerous round holes, which are capped above with inverted conical aluminum bronze strainers that distribute the washing water in small jets in every direction, and prevent the passage of the quartz through the diaphragm.

Figure 2 shows the 4-foot suction tank, about 5 feet high, which automatically receives water under street pressure direct from the meters and filter through a 2-inch pipe and ball cock, although by opening valve D the tank may be independently filled by hand. The overflow and waste pipes discharge freely into an adjacent trapped sink, and the 3-inch pump suction pipe is connected to a Crocker-Wheeler Electric Company's one horse-power pump, which is driven by an attached motor with a speed of 1,050 revolutions per minute, and to a two horse-power Rider gas engine pump, the delivery of which is connected up with a section of rubber hose inserted just beyond the air chamber to diminish the transmission of noise, vibrations, etc., through the house by means of the riser pipes.

Figures 3, 4, 5, and 6 show the arrangement and construction of the cold-water distribution drums in the cellar. Figure 3 is a front perspective. Fig. 4 is an end elevation from X X, Fig. 5 is a plan from Y Y, and Fig. 6 is an elevation from Z Z of the pipes on the wall. The drums are of -inch galvanized steel with flanged ends and tested to 200 pounds per square inch. They are supported solidly on heavy cast-iron chairs and are about 21"x8' long, with a 6x1-inch longitudinal bar riveted on inside to provide reinforcement for the screwed pipe connections. The upper drum is supplied with filtered tank water and the lower one with filtered street-pressure water, each through 2-inch pipe, while the riser lines to different parts of the house above and below the second floor are respectively supplied from the branches E E, etc., and F F, etc., most of them 1 inches in diameter. Each line E or F has a -inch emptying pipe H connecting it with a 1-inch waste pipe J, through which it may be emptied into the sewer and the line left free for disconnection at any point by closing the main valve G and opening the small one I. The upper portions of the drums are designed to be filled with air, forming a cushion to absorb shocks and prevent water hammer in the pipes. The amount of air in the drums is indicated by the gauge glasses, and if its volume becomes diminished it can be increased by shutting off the riser lines, emptying the drums and waste pipes, admitting air, and refilling them with water. All the valves are consecutively numbered and marked by attached brass labels, and the service thus commanded is recorded on a printed chart or key numbered to correspond and framed and hung up conveniently near. The pipes are symmetrically arranged in a regular and mechanical manner, and are so connected up with unions that any one can be taken off for alteration or repairs without interfering with the others.

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