Reader Terry Christensen found himself wondering about something, so he wrote this comment, which is lightly edited for style:
Hello and thanks millions for these awesome stories!
My dad, George T. Christensen, worked for Tillotson Construction in the early ’50s, and he died in an unrelated accident while building the elevator in Boxholm, Iowa, in 1955. My mom told us that he worked on several elevators in Oklahoma, and I would love to see the construction notes for all the elevators they built in Oklahoma. I think they built the one in Weatherford, Okla., in 1952 or 1953 and maybe the one at Hydro Okla.?
Well, in fact, we don’t know anything about Hydro, but Tillotson Construction Co. sure did build at Weatherford–a 181,000-bushel storage annex in 1954.
We find specifications in the construction record. At the top of the entry, the coded notes tell us there were eight tanks of 17 feet in diameter by 115 feet in height. Two 24-inch conveyor belts moved grain through the run atop the tanks. There was a tunnel, probably from the main house to the annex. And a tripper would sweep grain off the belt into a storage tank.
“The key feature of the steam-powered conveyor belt that ran alongside the tops of the grain bins was the ‘trimmer’ or ‘tripper,’ a device that deflected the flow of grain off the belt, and down and into a particular grain bin,” writes William J. Brown in American Colossus: The Grain Elevator 1843 to 1943.
Here are the notes for Weatherford (as well as Dacoma and Orienta, Okla.); Newell, Iowa; and Bellwood, Neb.: