The only plant that we had insured in Paris, Illinois was a Corn Processing Mill that was owned by the Pabst Brewing Company and the only piece of equipment that I was involved with was an old Allis Chalmers Turbine-Generator set, and I do mean that it was old. It was, however, in good condition and as far as I know, it never gave them any trouble.
The most interesting thing about that old machine was that it exhausted to a Barometric Condenser. That was the only condenser of that type that I have ever seen. I will not go into the particulars of the theory, but the weight of a column of mercury 29.92 inches high, our atmosphere, and a column of water about 36 feet high, all exert the same pressure, 14.7 PSI at sea level. So, therefore, if you should exhaust a jet of steam into the top of an enclosed and falling, stream of water, it would not only condense the steam, it would also create a vacuum at the point where the steam entered. The water, after it fell into the sump, at the base of the condenser, was pumped to a cooling tower where the heat is extracted and the part that don’t evaporate is recirculated to the top of the condenser.
Shortly after we had taken on the account, I asked them to try to arrange their production so that they could shut the Turbine down for a few days so that a dismantled inspection could be made. They were very cooperative and contacted Allis Chalmers to send a Service Engineer to supervise the work.
They notified me when it was going to be ready and when I got there I found that the Service Engineer was a man that had done a dismantle inspection, for me, on the Allis Chalmers Turbine in Plymouth, three or four years earlier.
It took three or four days to complete the inspection, and during that same time the owner of the engineering firm, in Milwaukee, that did the Pabst design work was also there. I have an idea that the Allis Chalmers Engineer must have been talking when he should have been listening, because the owner of that engineering firm told me, very confidentially, that he wanted to get into the Paper Mills and would I be interested in heading up that phase of their design work. I told him that such a thing would be impossible because I was not a Professional Engineer, in fact, I was not even a High School Graduate. He told me that I shouldn’t be concerned about that because I could do the design work under one of his other engineer’s name. I guess that we could have pulled it off, but I didn’t think much of the idea and thanked him anyway.