The second day of the recent weekend Pittsburgh trip with Road Runner Photo Tours brought us to this preserved heritage site. Located along the river's edge, seemingly in the middle of nowhere sits this fascinating bit of history. The volunteer on duty told me it was in operation from 1900 to 1996 and most of the machinery was dated from the late 1800's. Stepping through the front door brings you right into the machine shop portion. All the typical machinery I am familiar with at the local machine shop is squeezed in a fairly small space: drill presses, lathes, band saws, pipe threaders, etc. Being from the golden age of the Industrial Revolution, all of the machinery is powered by a central drive line and driven by belts to each. Originally, everything was powered by a single, large electric motor. The electricity came from a nearby coal mine which had a power plant. When the coal mine closed, the electric motor was replaced with a retrofitted small tractor featuring a Continental flat four engine with the main drive belt off the final drive. It still runs, as smooth as you could ask for. I was unable to determine the brand of tractor it once was and the curator did not know.
The lead image is a stitched HDR panorama created from 36 images. While I took many bracketed exposures, most of these images were crafted from one exposure. The conical drill bit cabinet (seen next below)is something I would love to have in my shop.
As you pass through the Machine Shop area, you enter the Foundry area. What I think of as a blacksmith shop on steroids. Today, a machine shop orders the required steel from which to fabricate the job. It appears that back then, this facility had the ability to make castings as needed for certain jobs. Something not typically seen today except in a specialty shop.
Then there was the upstairs area that housed a pattern shop and office. Equally interesting. I didn't have time capture it as I would have liked. Perhaps on a return visit I can do it justice. I feel I only scratched the surface at this location on my first visit.