Deming Triplex Pump

The pictures below show a Deming Triplex pump that was installed in its present location in 1911at the Mount Wilson Observatory which is situated in the mountains above Pasadena, California. It supplied the pressure for the fire hydrant system for many years and then became obsolete quite a few years ago when a new pump was installed that automatically pressurized the system whenever a hydrant was opened. This original pump had to be manually controlled as needed.

Recently my brother Ken and I were asked to check the condition of this 97 year old unit and make it serviceable if at all possible so that it could be used as a backup fire fighting unit while the "new" system was being serviced. Inspection of the pump indicated that it was feasible. It took a fair amount of time but there were only three or four items that needed taken care of. The pump itself has 13 spring loaded automatic greasers that needed servicing and refilling with new grease. We used a zerk fitting and grease gun to force all the old grease from the various lubrication points. The three pump plungers had to be cleaned up as much as possible and the old packing had to be removed so new could be inserted. It took about 25 feet of 1/2 inch square packing for the three cylinders. The commutator on the 15 hp. direct current motor had to be cleaned and the motor controller also had to be serviced. After this work the unit operated quite well with just enough water oozing from the cylinders to keep them cool and lubricated.

Deming and other companies made this general type of pump in many different sizes for different applications. A period Deming catalog shows a size range from 2 x 2 inch bore and stroke all the way up to 13 x 14 inches with capacities of 5-1/2 gallons per minute to 965 gallons per minute. This pump has a bore and stroke of 5-1/2 by 8 inches and a capacity of 147 gallons per minute with a working pressure of 150 psi.

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Updated: 05-18-2008

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