Forget Mardi Gras, New Orleans Houses Two Really Old Pumps

Last summer I wrote about a fun promotional contest Gardner Denver Nash was running to find the oldest-running Nash pump (Let's Hear It For Really Old Stuff).

Well, the Trumbull, Conn.-based company announced the winner of the "Oldest Pump Contest" -- the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, Drainage Station #6. They entered the contest with two pumps that have been running since 1928 – thus tying the record with the NASH #6 pump, which worked on the pulp dryer machine at Simpson Tacoma Kraft Company. The plant was built in 1928 by the Union Bag Company, and the #6 was there from the start. (Note to self: If I want something to last, call it #6.)

The Sewerage and Water Board, the water/drainage arm of the city of New Orleans, has a number of drainage stations throughout the city. At each of these stations, they have Nash vacuum pumps serving as priming pumps for their huge horizontal drainage pumps. Many of these pumps (including the two winners) are driven by 25 cycle motors. The 25 cycle power is produced by the S&WB themselves because the normal 60 cycle power produced by the local power company cannot be relied upon during hurricanes. Many of the other Nash pumps are diesel engine driven. Another interesting note is that the winning pumps are chain driven, an unusual set up.

The two winning pumps were installed in 1928 when the station was built. During Hurricane Katrina, the station where these pumps are installed was submerged. Once the water level dropped below the station floor level, the Nash pumps were started up to prime the drainage pumps, which then ran for several weeks draining the city.

Thanks Nash for bringing a little competitive fun into the world of pumps.

Traci Purdum
Senior Digital Editor