INSPECTOR TOURS WATER PIPE IN TINY ELECTRIC CAR (Jul, 1937)
INSPECTOR TOURS WATER PIPE IN TINY ELECTRIC CAR
KNOWN as a “pipe perambulator,” a curious vehicle devised by a Los Angeles, Calif., draftsman turns the city’s new thirty-six-inch water-supply pipes into miniature subways for inspection men before the aqueducts are placed in service. Storage batteries and an electric motor propel the three-wheeled vehicle along the interior of a metal conduit while the operator looks for defects. A circular steel brush at the front of the machine, charged with electricity, throws off sparks wherever the inner wall of the pipe lacks a proper protective coating of enamel. The spot may be marked for later attention, or a painter towed on a diminutive trailer may remedy the trouble at once.
When the pipe opening shrinks to twenty-inch diameter, at valves spaced along the water system, the “perambulator” may be partially collapsed and pushed through the aperture ahead of the operator. A powerful searchlight illuminates the interior of the pipe for a considerable distance ahead, and a steering wheel enables the operator to guide the vehicle along the bottom of the pipe. In case one of the three pneumatic tires is punctured, the steering wheel can be used as a spare.