Antique Deming Triplex Pump Operates 100 years after Installed

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Los Angeles, CA
Located on the summit of Mount Wilson above Pasadena at an altitude of 5,715 feet, the Mt. Wilson Observatory is visible from much of the Los Angeles area.

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1911 Deming Triplex Pump


A Deming Triplex pump was installed in 1911 at the Mount Wilson Observatory. It supplied the pressure for the fire hydrant system for an estimated 50 years until the 1960’s. In 2008, two volunteers performed routine maintenance repairs on the pump. Today it is available as a power washer.


Crane Pumps & Systems Deming brand delivers a rich legacy of heavy duty, long-lasting performance requiring essentially no maintenance.

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Deming Triplex Installed

The Mount Wilson Solar Observatory was first funded by the Carnegie Institution of Washington in 1904. The site is an astronomical observatory in Los Angeles, California and contains two historically important telescopes: the 60-inch Hale telescope built in 1908 and the 100-inch Hooker telescope.

The facility is used for astronomical research and offers visitors guided tours. In 1911, A Deming Triplex pump with a 15 hp direct current motor was installed to supply the pressure for the fire hydrant system. It operated continuously for an estimated 50 years until an entire system upgrade in the 1960’s obsoleted the pump. In 2008, there was a need for a backup fire fighting unit while the new system was being serviced. The old Deming Triplex pump was resurrected for the application.

Two volunteers performed routine maintenance including; refilling 13 spring loaded automatic greasers, cleaning the three pump plungers, removing old packing, and inserting new packing. A third volunteer cleaned the commutator and serviced the motor controller. After the routine servicing the pump operated without any issues. While the pump was not used to put out any fires, it was used as a power washer.

The Deming brand was the first pump line manufactured by Crane Pumps & Systems and offers a full line of highly regarded municipal and industrial pumps today. Many Deming pumps operate continuously for over 30 years before being replaced.

“In 2008, the Deming pump was used as a most impressive power washer with a couple of fire hoses to wash down the inside of a 500,000 gallon water tank.”Larry Evans, Mount Wilson Observatory Volunteer
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