A large-ish rope drive wheel being turned on a pit lathe.
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.
Continue reading Mesta Memories #23: Rope Drives and Flywheels
Yesterday we took a look at one of the lesser known efforts to find a peaceful use for the power of the atom, the gamma garden. Mini atomic gardens were also a part of the Atoms for Peace movement, an outgrowth of the efforts of many scientists who had been engaged in atomic research during WWII to speak publicly about their research and science in general, and the hope that the fruits of their labor could be used to bring good into the world. Gardeners around the world were encouraged to be part of the grand experiment of the atomic world by buying irradiated seeds, and carefully following the changes of the plants as they grew, to see if any permanent mutation came out of them.
Continue reading Mini Gamma Gardens
During the early part of the Atomic Age, there wasn’t much that the promise of atomic power didn’t have the potential to make better. While the main development was the idea of peace through atomic bombs, other peaceful uses were researched, including atomic aircraft, atomic cars, atomic power in the home, and of course, Atomic Toasters—and one fascinating sidebar, the atomic garden. The idea was essentially this: as plants grow, genetic drift and mutation occur over time, and the mutations that result in stronger plants then get passed along to future generations, so why not try increasing the mutation rate through bombardments of plants with radiation, in search of better plants?
Continue reading Gamma Gardens
One of the things that always stand out to me when I’m looking at pictures of old factories and machinery, is the enormous gears that are used almost everywhere. The herringbone-toothed gear shown above is a great example.
The Mesta Machine Company made a great variety of large gear drives for heavy industry and power production. The following pictures show some of the monstrous gears that Mesta made on a regular basis.
Continue reading Mesta memories #22: Gear Drives
In 1951 the light bulb and power plants were pretty ubiquitous. These four bulbs were probably bought for pennies each at the local hardware store. They could be installed in a lamp and plugged into a wall outlet. Electricity would flow into them by means of mysterious and, most probably, very malevolent forces. On the other end of all those wires would be a power plant serving a large area and tied into a grid of power generating stations across this great land. However, on December 20, 1951 these four bulbs were not powered by the commercial power plant feeding Arco, Idaho. Instead, they were being powered by something entirely new.
Continue reading When Reactors Breed
It’s always sad when evil villain’s plans are spoiled by the forces of good and they don’t have a fallback career.
Thanks to P161911 for the tip!
In the early 1960′s, in support of research into cold
fusion weather operations, the US Navy SeaBees build a nuclear reactor in Antarctica. Designed by the Martin Company, the reactor operated for 10 years, providing steam for desalination and electricity to the outpost. The operating consoles and control panels now reside at the Seabee Museum in California, and I was able to capture these images on a recent visit.
Continue reading Cold Enough to Freeze Steam
Today we’ll look at four types of inter-related rolling mills that produce steel sheets. A jobbing mill rolls steel sheets that range between 1/8″ and 1/2″ in thickness and then send the sheets to a furnace for annealing, producing “blue annealed sheets”. Some plate mills can produce light plates that overlap the output of jobbing mills, but the output of plate mills is not annealed, unlike the jobbing mill. The material sent to a jobbing mill is called “sheet bar” produced by a universal mill or a sheet bar mill and sent to the jobbing mill cold. A jobbing mill uses two-high stands, i.e. stands with two rollers, and consists of a stand with both rollers pinion driven, a roughing stand and a finishing stand.
Continue reading Mesta Memories #21: Sheet Mills and a Pickling Machine
He flies through the air with the greatest of ‘Bees…
Those of you who have been with us for a while may recall that back in 2011, our sister-site Hooniverse awarded their coveted Hooniversal Car Of The Year trophy to none other than the Official AtomicToasters Racing Hooptie, the now-world-famous ZomBee.
It is with something of a heavy heart that we inform you that the ZomBee is dead.
Continue reading Rising Like A Phoenix
When we think of steel wheels, we normally think of the one on our cars or trucks, but there are other kinds of steel wheels used in industry and heavy equipment. The easiest example I can think of are the steel wheel used to support and drive the treads on a bulldozer or a tank. We tend to think of the toothed wheel that drives the treads as a sprocket nowadays, but 100 years ago it was common to call them steel wheels, and I believe that it’s still a proper term in the industry, although I can’t prove it. Anyway, that’s basically the kinds of wheels that were made on the Mesta Wheel Mill, generally speaking.
The modern equivalent of the Steel Tire Mill would the ring rolling machines you see in forging operations. A common example of a steel tire is on a railroad wheelset, and you can also find them on certain kinds of excavating equipment.
Continue reading Mesta Memories #20: Wheel and Tire Mills