- Purcell was foreman on the 1980's plumbing refit of water pump room
- in the Empire State Building
- The Gauge was from Pump No. 5 which used to pump water to the very top floor of the building
- 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 Purcell and the gauge that is coming up for auction.
Coming to market from its private owner Brian Purcell is a water pump gauge which was part of original plumbing installation of the Empire State Building c. 1930.
The auction will start at 23:30 GMT (18:30 EST) on Sunday, the 21st February as a 7 day eBay auction. Interested parties can search eBay after that date to view or bid.
Purcell was foreman on the 1980's plumbing refit of water pump room in the Empire State Building. Purcell received the gauge from the Engineering Dept. 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 in Ireland. Remembering his time working in the Empire State, it was a huge undertaking to take out 5 of the old pumps to install 6 new.
Photographs of Purcell's time 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.
Reflecting back on the installation Purcell said, “Transferring from old pump to 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.”