Re: Vacuum (Vacume) power - 1920s
Date: July 11, 2013 12:54AM
A century ago, pneumatic tube systems (for sending paperwork, cash, or small objects around a building) were fairly popular, but I can't think of any reason one would have been installed in what was essentially a hotel. In any case, those had tubes at least six inches in diameter.
Medical office buildings (Willoughby, Pittsfield, Garland, etc.) had centralized compressed air systems, which would use small tubes like you describe. But the Lake Shore Athletic Club was never intended or imagined as a medical office building.
The building did have a vacuum return steam heat system, which was state-of-the-art. But at the time you were in the building, the original pipes and radiators would presumably have still been in use. There wouldn't have been a bunch of plugged-off tubes.
The connection to Bathhouse John Coughlin doesn't seem very clear. The word [i]vacuum[/i] doesn't seem to appear anywhere in [i]Lords of the Levee.[/i]