New York is such a modern, bustling city that sometimes it’s hard to remember that the buildings and structures that surround us every day are in some cases hundreds of years old. Amazing historical events took place on the streets and avenues we use to get to work, school, and our favorite places to eat. But when I, as a NYC plumber, go into work some days, I’m confronted with proof of the city’s past in form of historic plumbing fixtures.
That’s not always a great thing. Whether I’m working on a building’s sprinkler system, a boiler, or the water supply lines that make sure everyone in the building can take a shower when they want, the perfect situation is for all of the components to be modern and up to code. That’s not always the case, and we handle those circumstances on a case by case basis. Luckily, we’ve never run into a job with a piece of plumbing history quite like this.
Going up on the auction block in just over a month is an original piece of the Empire State Building’s plumbing. When the Empire State Building was built in the 1930’s, it was involved in a hectic battle to be the officially tallest building in the world. The gauge that is for sale was from pump room five, and it was part of the system responsible for bringing water to the building’s very top floor – at that time, an unprecedented height. The gauge was salvaged during a 1980’s retrofit of the pump room; it wasn’t exactly a smooth transition as you can read here, but things are in good shape now and the old gauge is ready for a new life in someone’s plumbing or historic collection. We’re sure it will be someone’s prize possession – if you turn out to be the lucky winner, let us know! We’d love to hear about your plans for the Empire State Building water pump.