Accumulator and lift
Some might consider the hydraulic elevator system that Gustave Eiffel designed in 1889 to be well ahead of its time. Here's how it works, according to information provided by the organization that runs The Eiffel Tower:
The elevator "passenger compartments, mounted on a carriage and kept horizontal by a leveling system, are pulled upwards by cables that move in line with two parallel pistons located underground, via a cable drum system--the cables themselves, the ends of which are attached to the passenger compartment carriage--run back and forth eight times over two sets of pulleys, one of which is fixed and the other attached to the moving pistons, thereby ensuring that the [elevator] passenger compartments can travel [420 feet], i.e. eight times the piston travel--of 52 feet.
"The pistons are actuated by a water circuit with a pressure of 40 to 60 bar, which until 1986 generated motion thanks to three large accumulators of some 200 metric tons each, which provided both the pressurized water reserve--the energy to drive the motion--and the counterweight function.
"Since modernization in 1986, high-pressure, oil-driven hydraulic motors drive piston carrier motion while two of the three accumulators serve as counterweights."
Here we see two of the hydraulic lifts and one of the accumulators.
June 26, 2011 4:00 AM PDT
Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET
| Caption by: Daniel Terdiman
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