S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com HISTORY of TECHNOLOGY Page keywords = history rail road museum steam West Side Freight High Line Bell Labs

Updated:   04 Apr 2018 ; 14:15  ET
[Page converted 28 Jul 2011

    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/histtech.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/histtech.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's




Page Index

    unindexed except for:

    BellTelephone Laboraries (Manhattan) and Mercury (h\Hg) (27 Mar 2012).
    The Metropolitan Waterworks, Chestnut Hill High-Service Pumping Station, Boston.
        [moved to its own, separate page on 04 Feb 2017] rev (03 Feb 2017)
    The 1913 Phillipsburg Waterworks. Peoples Water Company Pump House, Phillipsburg, New Jersey.
        [on its own, separate page]   ListingAdded (02 Sep 2017)

[See the disclaimer on the main History page and AUTHORITY on my Home Page.]   added (04 Sep 2012)

This page presents odd items in the history of technology not germane to other pages on this site and link the other pages as applicable.

Ordnance buffs should see the news about a WWI British tank being uncovered in France!

See the Long Island Motor Parkway page, et seq.

The Long Island Motor Parkway had twelve little toll lodges and several other rather more significant structures (some still standing) designed by noted architect John Russell Pope; Pope also did other work on Long Island.  A little more on him is given at John Russell Pope on LIMP page 12.

A Motor Parkway Panel had been convened to keep the LIMP alive in situ, in minds, and in museums (it has now been superseded by the Long Island Motor Parkway Preservation Society.   rev (28 Jul 2011)

A pair of Long Island Motor Parkway afficionadoes, Sue and Rob Friedman, turned up with a great site about the Bronx's old Freedomland.

Interested in deep sea diving and palaeontology?  Take a look at "Deep Sixed Dinosaurs" on Naval and Marine continuation page 1.

Mike Natale has a fascinating "THE TOLL ROAD MAP MASTER LIST" and also has a page on the abandoned highway and tunnels of the old South Penn RR/Pennsylvania Turnpike route, with great color photos.

While not about history, per se, there is a book about the Fairchild Aerial Survey photos, "Cities from the Sky: An Aerial Portrait of America", by Thomas J. Campanella, which shows an enormous amount of detail of Boston, New York, and many other cities in the '20s. '30s, and '40s; it is simply staggering and well worth the trouble to borrow or buy.

The Bell Telephone Laboratories (Manhattan, NY) and Mercury (Hg)

[I have no provenance for this story although I am almost certain my father told me about it; he was a Funeral Director in Manhattan (see Universal Funeral Chapel), used large amounts of mercury* in manometers, and was exceedingly knowledgeable about NYC history.]

(* - with which I blithely played as a kid)

The Bell Telephone Laboratories (more popularly known as "Bell Labs") were (was?) located at 463 West Street from 1898 to 1966.  Per Wikipedia, it was a 13-building complex located on the block between West Street, Washington Street, Bank Street, and Bethune Street and was, for a time, the largest industrial research center in the United States.  The west side of the building straddled the West Side Freight Line of the New York Central (& Harlem River) Railroad; here's an old photo (perhaps ca. 1930):   new.gif (27 Mar 2012)

(photo courtesy of T. Fletcher - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnailed image - click on the picture for larger image]

The view is Manhattan-south from the West Side Elevated Highway.

[Odd, Wikipedia defines this view as being "seen from Washington Street in 1936"; 1936?  The WSFL, the "High Line", originally running from 34th Street down to St. John's Park Terminal at Spring Street, opened to trains in 1934,  I've always assumed this view, with a long string of passenger cars on a freight-only line, had to have be the grand opening.  There are far too many cars (and they are definitely passenger cars) to be just a fan trip.  Is a puzzlement.] added (27 May 2017)

[The site was home to part of the Manhattan Project during World War II.]

The story is that vibration from the heavy trains would have disturbed sensitive measuring equipment in the buildings so they were isolated by having their supporting columns mounted on big pads floating in huge pools of mercury.  If so, the mercury would have had to have some heavy oil floating on any exposed surfaces to prevent fumes of evaporated and oxidized mercury, deadly and accumulative poisons, from escaping into the ambient atmosphere.

The question, then, is what happened to the mercury when the buildings were renovated by Richard Meier, reopening in 1970 as Westbeth Artists Community for low to middle income artists?

The Metropolitan Waterworks
Chestnut Hill High-Service Pumping Station
Chestnut Hill, Boston, Massachusetts

new (30 Jan 2017)

(Image from HAER/LoC - all rights reserved)

[known also as the:

Chestnut Hill High Station

and later as the:

Boston Water Works]

Now restored and preserved as:

The Boston Metropolitan Waterworks Museum

Metropolitan Waterworks Museum, Inc., 2450 Beacon Street, Boston, MA  02467
http://waterworksmuseum.org, 617-277-0065


In my personal opinion, few artefacts exemplify the history of technology better than the Metropolitan Waterworks, of Boston, Massachusetts, the Chestnut Hill High-Service Pumping Station, now a fabulous museum, the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum.

Spanning over a century and a quarter, much of that in active use, the Metropolitan Waterworks is a prime example of the fusion of Victorian and Edwardian archtecture and landscape design with the massive engineering projects so amply demonstrated, beginning with London's 1862 International Exhibition, and continuing through our own Centennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876 and Chicago's 1893 Columbian Exposition, and perhaps culminating in San Francisco's 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, just to name a few.

What followed got so extensive that I moved it to its own page on 04 Feb 2017. new (04 Feb 2017)

PLUS: The 1913 Phillipsburg Waterworks. Peoples Water Company Pump House, Phillipsburg, New Jersey   ListingAdded (02 Sep 2017)
  (also on its own page).

PeoplesAK2229 PeoplesAK2309
(Images courtesy of A. Karnes and © 2017 - all rights reserved)

Cyclops automobili fans; see Cyclops on my Automotive page!

See also the main History page and the History of Technology page.


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


See Copyright Notice on primary home page.

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