June 13, 2018

The Power To Carve A Mountain

Our customers are literally everywhere, including in Keystone, South Dakota. That's where Ingersoll Rand compressors powered the jackhammers that carved the likenesses of U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln into the granite face of a batholith in the Black Hills.

Dynamite blasted nearly 450,000 pounds of rock from the mountain; then jackhammers powered by three Ingersoll Rand compressors at the base of the mountain carved the details of the faces. The Ingersoll Rand Imperial Type Air Compressor was the largest of three compressors on site, and it's still there, on display at the base of the mountain.

By the Numbers

  • 450,000 tons of rock removed, mostly by dynamite
  • 3 Ingersoll Rand compressors powered jackhammers that etched the faces
  • 1,800 feet of 3-inch pipeline carried compressed air up the mountain
  • 4 U.S. Presidents
  • 14 years of construction, halted in 1941 due to lack of funding

Laundry day changes everything

For most of the carving, Keystone Consolidated Mines provided the electricity to power the Ingersoll Rand compressors. However, large losses of power on Mount Rushmore sent National Park Service Engineer Julian Spotts searching for the cause.

"Well, I found that just about every woman in Keystone washed clothes on Monday, and a lot of them had electric washing machines," Spotts said. Instead of trying to rearrange Keystone's laundry schedule, Spotts asked the Mount Rushmore Commission to buy a gasoline-powered auxiliary compressor.

After that, Spotts reported no more power problems. This improvement doubled the max number of jackhammers that could be operated at once, from 16 to 32.



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From Wikipendia, the free encyclopedia – Mount Rushmore

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