Following on to the last post about the giant frikkin’ gears that the Mesta Machine Co. used to make, this time we’ll take a quick look at their rope drives and flywheels which are also predictably huge.
As it states above, rope drives are used where quiet and smooth transmission of power is required and belts are either not strong enough or too cumbersome. A good example is the drive mechanisms used by most elevators used in buildings. Could you imagine riding a chain-driven elevator up to the 50th floor of a building? I can, unfortunately, and it makes me want to go outside and sit on the nice, safe gravel of my front yard.
Mesta made several types of industrial flywheels of varying construction depending upon their application. For an idea of the forces placed on these huge pieces of spinning iron and steel, consider the rim speeds referenced in the plate below: 6,000 feet per minute = 68 MPH, 13,000 FPM = 148 MPH, 16,000 FPM = 182 MPH, and 20,000 FPM = 227 MPH. That’s quite a bit of kinetic energy in a massive metal wheel whizzing around, trying its best to fly apart, and must have been rather exciting for the men that had to work around them.
Here is the black and white photo for the above image used in Mesta’s promotional pamphlet. You can really see how much the photo was retouched. Photo found on the Industrial Pittsburgh website.
Lastly, here is a cool photo of a huge Mesta gear being transported, found on the Practical Machinist website, a great place to peruse old industrial machinery and, on occasion, stories by the men who used them.
Except where noted, all images are from the 1919 edition of “Plant and product of the Mesta Machine Company, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania“.