Andre & Veronika’s Antique and Collectables is auctioning a Water pump gauge which was part of original plumbing installation of the Empire State Building, c.1930.
The item will go live at 23:30 GMT (NYC 18:30 EST) on Sunday 21st February on a 7-day e-bay auction. Search e-bay after that date to view or bid.
It comes to market from a private owner, Brian Purcell, who was foreman on the 1980’s plumbing refit of water pump room in the Empire State Building. Brian received the gauge from the Engineering Department as a memento. The Gauge was from Pump No. 5, which used to pump water to the very top floor of the building.
Brian Purcell was an Irish Imigrant at that time and now runs his own plumbing company back in Ireland. Remembering his time working in the Empire State, he said it was a huge undertaking to take out five of the old pumps to install six new ones.
Photographs of Brian’s time at the Empire State Building show the old pump and new installation nearing completion.
The original installation of the gauge was there from the inception of the building and lasted surprisingly long, gathering a wonderful patina, which greatly adds to its character. Early in its lifetime it was crudely painted with a drab green paint over the blackened brass, presumably to make it more visible. This same olive drab paint can be seen on parts of the old pump in the photo.
The 800 pounds per square inch rating of the pump gives some idea of the loads involved to push the water to the top floor.
Brian said, “Transferring from the old pump to the new, there was a slight hiccup in almost letting the building run out of water! The electrics failed on the new pump, so urgently we had to revert back to the old pump for a while.
“The possible problems from running out of water were incomprehensible, unlike a domestic system.”
For more information, contact André & Veronika’s Antiques & Collectables, Mount Merrion, Co Dublin.