March 7, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Picture of the Day: Hanging Out High Above the Hoover Dam

by twistedsifter




hanging out high above hoover dam vintage penstock Picture of the Day: Hanging Out High Above the Hoover Dam


Nearly 80 years ago, the Hoover Dam was built in Black Canyon on the Colorado River. A striking testimony to the perseverance of the human spirit and the ingenuity of the American laborer. On December 3, 2002, The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W) was honored by the American Welding Society (AWS), with the Historical Welded Structure Award in recognition of the advanced technology and high quality of welding used in the creation of the water pipe, or penstock, system for the Dam.

B&W was awarded a contract in 1932 to manufacture and install the Dam’s penstock system that connects the structure’s four intake towers to the power plant and outlet valves. The task was enormous as the penstocks and outlet pipes were fabricated from 45,000 tons of steel and welded into nearly three miles of pipe varying from 8 1/2 to 30 feet in diameter. Although contracted to complete the project in five years, B&W finished the job a year and a half ahead of schedule. [Source: AWS]

A penstock is a sluice or gate or intake structure that controls water flow, or an enclosed pipe that delivers water to hydraulic turbines and sewerage systems. It is a term that has been inherited from the technology of wooden watermills. [Source: Wikipedia]