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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    9

    New member needing information

    I recently visited a friends project involving restoration of the oldest theater in Texas built in 1912. This theater is in the beginning stage of reatoration and has no working hvac equipment. It was cooled starting in the late 40s by evaporative coolers which work some of the time in Central Texas but not so much when the humidity is high. The coolers are in bad condition and we do not plan to reuse them. Heat was provided by 2 hanging gas fired fan forced heaters in the front of the auditorium. These will not be reused either. They do not provide any heat for the lobby, restrooms, or box office. There is a very strange control panel for the evaporative coolers with a guage, a container with some kind of chemical and the on off switches for each of the blowers. I wish someone could tell me what the guage and the jar of chemical would be for. I am not old enough to know what it is. there is a 1/4' tube running from the guage to each cooler cabinet. I can post pictures if anyone can help. I will be contacting a good friend I previously worked with to help with this project but I am open to suggestions on the job.
    The theater is 50' wide, 100' long including the lobby area and the ceiling is
    20' high. The walls are brick outside and plaster inside. The floor will be concrete when finished, wood now. The roof is metal squares about 2X2 and are original 1912 vintage. The roof is shingle over wood pitched in the center so there is an attic running fromt to back with room for ductwork in the center. The seating capacity after completion will be aprox 250 persons. When completed the attic will be insulated which is is not now.
    I really want to know what the old controls are for. I do not know how to post pircures on here. Jim in Waco, TX wb5oxq_1@grandecom.net.
    Attached Images Attached Images    
    Last edited by wb5oxq; 11-27-2011 at 11:10 PM. Reason: Adding pictures

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Landis North Carolina
    Posts
    528

    Thumbs up

    I think you are in the wrong forum. This should be in tech to tech commercial. Now I would check into this more. You may have one of the earliest carrier a/c's! I would reserch this and do you know the manufacturer? If its carrier I would even contact them as this may be something theyre interested in to preserve part of their history. I remember reading in a post on this site about the history of the brands and it seems like in it on carrier's history they mentioned a theater in texas as one of the first applications of willis carrier's new apparatus for the conditioning or air! Maybe someone will remember the post and chime in. Try as I will to do a site search for this post.Good luck with finding out what you want to know.Also if you dont mind post what you find out so we can all learn something.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    9
    I am new here so I really don't know where to post this. This is some very old and early design air cooling system often called washed air for theater purposes. I did not get to see the actual units which are still in place because we did not have the key to the room where they are housed. The owner says they have huge squrril cage type blowers and a water tank sprays through nozzels onto pads through which the air is passed before entering the theater. I know I have not seen anything like this in my lifetime. I am told these were installed before WWII. This is a very historical theater that predates movies and was a stage play theater first. Built in 1912 it is believed to be the oldest in Texas. Names the Texas Theater it is located in McGregor, Tx. There is a lot of historical items still in the theater. It deserves renovation.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Landis North Carolina
    Posts
    528
    Quote Originally Posted by wb5oxq View Post
    I am new here so I really don't know where to post this. This is some very old and early design air cooling system often called washed air for theater purposes. I did not get to see the actual units which are still in place because we did not have the key to the room where they are housed. The owner says they have huge squrril cage type blowers and a water tank sprays through nozzels onto pads through which the air is passed before entering the theater. I know I have not seen anything like this in my lifetime. I am told these were installed before WWII. This is a very historical theater that predates movies and was a stage play theater first. Built in 1912 it is believed to be the oldest in Texas. Names the Texas Theater it is located in McGregor, Tx. There is a lot of historical items still in the theater. It deserves renovation.
    Thats exactly what carrier called his "new"invention! You guy's have problably found one of the few(if any)surviving original carrier systems! I definatly would try to find out exactly what is there. Please at least get in touch with carrier and york as they often went together back then. PLEASE keep in touch and even contact me personally. My Email is in my profile I think or ive got a site comfortrepairservice.com I really cant wait to hear exactly what is there as im a huge history buff. Try to get some pics at least of the equipment and more controlls.You may have hit HVAC history gold! Some of the first examples were used in theaters inthe south especially Texas!As a matter of fact im shure I read about this one in that artical someone posted here.Ill start a post to find who posted and what its under.Keep checking in on this site and keep us/me informed please.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    1,341
    This is amazing. Please keep us posted.
    Never give up; Never surrender!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    9
    I did not take any photos of the registers of the washed air system but there are 2 very large ones located either side of the screen and probably at least4X4 feet square. Below each there is a smaller register about 1X2 feet where the discharge from the gas fan forced heaters go. The heaters are just behind the front facade but the washed air units are in a part of the building added at the rear of the theater and big square plywood ducts carry the air to the registers in front. The machinery is out back in a cinder block room probably to reduce noise also the water is kept outside of the theater. When the humidity is low patrons actually got cold on 100 degree days. I just cannot figure out what is in the glass canister connected to the silver canister with the guage on top. The floor below this device needs replacement so I cannot get within 4 feet of that wall at this time. I wonder if it is some kind of remote way of lubricating blower bearings or possably a rust inhibitor or even a deoderizer. I will talk with the owner about trying to get some pictures of the units. They used to be visable in the rear of the theater but that area has been sealled up to prevent vandalism. naturally the rear of the units would have to be open to function since usits like this do not recirculate the air rather they presurize the theater and there are exhaust vents on the front wall behind the balcony. This lets the hot air from the ceiling to exit.
    This equipment will be replaced in the renovation for a refregerated air system probably with natural gas heat. the unit can be installed at the rear of the building and be ducted into the auditoriun through the attic to registers in the ceiling. Once again this should keep mechanical noise way down and place the unit too high for vandals to reach.
    I work in the security buisness now and I have tried all kinds of trick to catch copper thieves. Most work but police are usually too slow to catch the vandals but sirens may scare them off before damaging the condenser units. Most would rather try to scare them off and prevent costly damage to their systems.
    Any educated guess to the tonnage required to cool this building? My expertise is in mobile and rv airconditioning and heat so I am no expert as sizing a unit. There may be a website somewhere that could help with the calculations. I am hoping for a single package unit that would do the job.
    If interested here is the history of the theater with many pictures but none of the washed air system. http://www.texastalkies.com/index.php/welcome/history
    This site is supplied by the current owner who bought the theater in 2007.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    9
    I got an email from the theater owner who says he believes he got, with all the papers when he bough the theater from the original family owners, the manual to the washed air cooling system and the date it was installed. If he find that information I will try to post it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    9

    Information now in on Texas Theater Air Washer

    I just got an email with a pdf file showing the air washer equipment and now I know what those wierd parts on the wall are for. I am not sure I can import any pictures from a pdf file so I will do my best to describe the equipment.
    first it is 66 years old and was supplied by a company in Dallas which now sells other hvac equipment.
    The 2 blowers are from US Airco and are equipped with a Horton variable speed pulley system so that an infinately variable speed can be obtained from a single speed motor. This is what the canister on the wall is for and the guage shows how much blower speed is requested. To increase speed on the blower you open the valve between the jar of chemical (hydraulic fluid?)
    and push down on the plunger which pushes the fluid into a clutch mechanism on each blower pully to further engage the clutch. To reduce speed you pull up on the plunger which reduces the pressure on the clutch allowing it to free wheel. Aparently in mild weather you need to slow down the blowers and when hotter you speed them up. Now we have multi speed motors, I guess in 1946 there were none.
    The air washers are called Gyra spray and are also made by US Air Conditioning. There is one behind each blower rated at 20,000CFM each.
    That is quite a bit of air volume.
    I have only seen the paper work and do not know what conditon the equipment is in. Since the housing was sealled up with concrete blocks you cannot see inside and I may not see the units until we remove them to change over to refrigerated air. None of the old plywood ducts will be reused and that area will be cleared out for a pipe organ installation. We plan to use a package ac unit with gas heat but I do not know what size unit will be needed. I hope 1 unit can do the job because down the center of the attic is the only room for ductwork. I know you can run 2 units into the same duct if it is large enough. I tried to run a calculator but found it did not work well with the theater building having actually no doors into the auditorium from the outside, no windows and primarily used at night. There are also very few lights when used as a movie theater but more when stage shows and concerts are being played. There were 500 seats at one time but we will probably not reinstall all of them and maybe go for only 250-300.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    9
    I found the air washers are 88X88X18 inches in size

  10. #10
    A variable speed fan clutch system. that is interesting.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Landis North Carolina
    Posts
    528
    Quote Originally Posted by wb5oxq View Post
    I just got an email with a pdf file showing the air washer equipment and now I know what those wierd parts on the wall are for. I am not sure I can import any pictures from a pdf file so I will do my best to describe the equipment.
    first it is 66 years old and was supplied by a company in Dallas which now sells other hvac equipment.
    The 2 blowers are from US Airco and are equipped with a Horton variable speed pulley system so that an infinately variable speed can be obtained from a single speed motor. This is what the canister on the wall is for and the guage shows how much blower speed is requested. To increase speed on the blower you open the valve between the jar of chemical (hydraulic fluid?)
    and push down on the plunger which pushes the fluid into a clutch mechanism on each blower pully to further engage the clutch. To reduce speed you pull up on the plunger which reduces the pressure on the clutch allowing it to free wheel. Aparently in mild weather you need to slow down the blowers and when hotter you speed them up. Now we have multi speed motors, I guess in 1946 there were none.
    The air washers are called Gyra spray and are also made by US Air Conditioning. There is one behind each blower rated at 20,000CFM each.
    That is quite a bit of air volume.
    I have only seen the paper work and do not know what conditon the equipment is in. Since the housing was sealled up with concrete blocks you cannot see inside and I may not see the units until we remove them to change over to refrigerated air. None of the old plywood ducts will be reused and that area will be cleared out for a pipe organ installation. We plan to use a package ac unit with gas heat but I do not know what size unit will be needed. I hope 1 unit can do the job because down the center of the attic is the only room for ductwork. I know you can run 2 units into the same duct if it is large enough. I tried to run a calculator but found it did not work well with the theater building having actually no doors into the auditorium from the outside, no windows and primarily used at night. There are also very few lights when used as a movie theater but more when stage shows and concerts are being played. There were 500 seats at one time but we will probably not reinstall all of them and maybe go for only 250-300.
    So is everything circa 1946 or therabouts? Nothing from earlier?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Landis North Carolina
    Posts
    528
    Quote Originally Posted by mmmporter View Post
    A variable speed fan clutch system. that is interesting.
    That is very interesting.Amazing really for 1946!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    9

    washed air system details

    Here are some pictures from the manual to the variable speed blowers and air washers feom the 1912 theater. Since these conditioners were installed in 1946 I can only assume that the theater was unusable during 100 degree days in central Texas. I understand on a very dry day the units worked so well people were actually uncomfortably cold that ios why the variable speed pully system allowed the blosers to be slowed down. check these pictures.

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