control-panels

Coke Batter B Control

The view from the larry, looking out at the overgrowing coke oven top. Papers listed the order of the charges for each oven, noting the sticky doors and persistent leaks. Emergency respirators and rescue gear was stored close, as long exposure to emissions from the rusty hatches could make worker pass out on the top of the ovens.

Brewhouse Staircase

In the brewhouse between the preheating tank and kettle room. The spiral staircase goes into a kettle annex where a few smaller stainless steel kettles hide. If you looked right from this frame you would see the bottom of one of the kettles like the bottom of a steel mixing bowl.

Panel Overload

The control room was used through the mid-1990s as the plant was used to stabilize the power grid.

Saturation Controls

In the modern control room at the base of the white elevator tower are the electronics that ran the newer building, its rail components and boat-loading component. The superstructure permeates all spaces here, as can be seen with the crossing I-beams in the main office.

Heavy Times

The building in the foreground–the old control booth–was arsoned in 2009.

Cockpit

One of two control towers that reached over the lake. The control panel here was used to move the conveyors over the ship’s hold doors, adjust flow of the taconite, and so on.

Signal Panel

Pocket door and light switches in the upper control room, at the top of the spiral staircase.

By Pass Stokerside

A control panel that was mothballed, anticipating a time when the plant may be reactivated.

Panel

Most of the control panels were faceless. No doubt, they were parted out to keep other sugar mills alive.

Hoist Operator Booth

Peering through the glass in the Hoist Operator’s cab, stained with graffiti. The cable and reels can be seen through the glass… these are now gone.

Main Flame

A furnace control panel, cut off its subordinate before the plant closed, no doubt to be replaced. I like this shot because it shows that many of the smaller machines were engineered by the plant itself.

Hoist Controls

A burned and rusted control panel in the corner of the new hoist room.

440 Volts

The secret sweet-yet-salty center of the nameless factoryscape. Home base, tuned to rule the AC and turn out Product X at record rates, I’m sure.

Overhang

This picture gives you the idea of how the boat-loading control rooms are set up; they lean over the dock and Lake Superior to be able to see down into the holds of the boats… important, considering how quickly it loaded the boats! An uneven load could put stress on the hull of a laker, increasing the risk it will break and sink.

Thruster Controls

One of the only modern features aboard was its bow and stern thrusters, which would have helped the Ford a lot, if it was not for the fact that without a working engine, forward motion was impossible. Strangely, even before it was scrapped, it could probably move side to side.

Boiler Blowers

While the stokers are gone, the pipes bringing pulverized coal down were left.

Quincey Flywheels

The generator room was state of the art when it was installed, allowing the complex to use motors and electric lighting ahead of its competitors.

Operator’s Chair

The well-worn chair in one larry’s operator cab, next to an overgrown coke battery.

Firebox Bricks

Spare firebox bricks palleted on the second floor, is if it was going to be repaired.

Distiller Control Panel

One of the only remaining pieces of equipment in the distilling room is this green control panel on a bridge suspended in the middle of it all.

MPE3- Manpower

The control room for Manitoba Pool Elevator #3 was the most modern of any I saw in Thunder Bay. Apparently, 25 men were working on the day this elevator shut down.

Sinterband 3

The control room for the whole of the plant. Sinterband here means one of the sintering lines. Temperatures, gasses, mixtures, speeds, and so on were centrally controlled here.

Turbine Room

A few from atop the steam gauges along the western wall. The turbines were scrapped quickly after the plant closed, it seemed.

Paint Control

Paint lines were constantly monitored through big windows. Adjustments could be made on the dedicated consoles. This is what most of the painting floor looked like.

Boiler Row

The boiler room has four big boilers in it, which seems like overkill. No wonder this plant could supply power to the works and the town at full capacity!

Furnace 59

The ’59’ is just a reference to that work station. Unfortunately the scrappers beat me to this machine–there was not much left besides the 2-ton shell and this control panel.

35 Ton Crane

A wimpy crane by most standards, only suitable for moving around parts of steam turbines.

Mill Controls

Though it’s a little unclear what control station controlled what function, these levers seemed to relate to some of the bigger equipment inside the dredge, such as the trommel.

Blown Gauges

Cracked gauges have a certain quality that hearkens to movies, I think. One can imagine the gauges going off the scales before dramatically cracking, throwing glass right at the camera. This damage, however, is unfortunate vandalism.