TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Pre A/C Central Office Ventilation?

Re: Pre A/C Central Office Ventilation?
13 Jul 2006 10:07:39 -0700

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Interesting you wrote about this today
> when the outside temperature here in Independence reached 106 degrees;
> the hottest for this year so far. My air-conditioning has been running
> almost continuously for the past two days. I do not know how I
> survived back in the 1950-60s when the places I worked did not have
> a/c nor did I have it at home until around 1968 or so. PAT]

It's warm and humid around here too, which is what prompted me to write
the note.

I don't know how working people survived without air conditioning,
especially 40 years ago when people had to wear much more clothing at
work than they do now -- men had to wear suits and long sleeved shirts
(albeit lightweight material), women full dresses. Today young women
come to work dressed for the beach, pushing the envelope a little too
much for most employers. Many men don't wear ties. I believe many
years ago the workday started very early (6am) to beat heat. Also,
older buildings had high ceilings and cross ventilation by design, plus
awnings over windows to help. That might help the temperature, but
high humidity? Again, I don't know how the many office workers in
Washington DC during WW II survived; only a few buildings at that time
had a/c.

I recall a photo of an old switchboard room in Texas where fans were
directed at blocks of ice in pails in an attempt to reduce 100+
temperatures for the operators. While switchboard lamps and currents
were tiny, collectively they did throw off some heat.

I presume relay operated telephone equipment was not affected by high
heat or humidity (or cold for that matter). That is, relay parts
wouldn't expand so much as to get out of alignment or timing (many
telephone relays operated slowly by design). Likewise for motors that
drove panel or SxS banks, and xbar switches and control logic relays.

Likewise, I wonder if relay controlled IBM tabulating/accounting
machines, built before A/C, were sensitive to high heat. The last
generation (1948) used very tiny precision built relays. Some machines
used tubes which threw off heat.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: When I worked at University of Chicago
in the phone room we had overhead ceiling fans which would spin around
every few feet up and down the room. They did not do much good, IMO.

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