First watch manufacturer in the country to install air conditioning, The Elgin National Watch Company reports great benefits from its extensive, steam-powered system, construction of which was ,started early last year. The system is designed to remove dust from the air, control the degree of moisture content, cool the air in summer, and heat it in winter. It brings an even greater degree of standardization to the conditions under which Elgin timepieces are assembled.
In summer, a humidity of 50% is maintained, and temperature is regulated so as to insure comfort with relation to outdoor weather. In winter, temperature is maintained at 76 degrees. In both winter and summer, an ample supply of pure fresh air is provided, amounting to 250,000 cubic feet per minute. All windows are slightly sealed against infiltration of raw outside air and dust.
The air conditioning machinery is operated with exhaust steam from the factory power house - the same source as the steam used for heating the plant in winter - at the low pressure of one pound per square inch. For cooling purposes, water is drawn from two wells 1,225 feet deep, at a temperature of 55 degrees. This water is further cooled by a huge refrigerating unit before being used to chill the circulating air. The cooling effect of the entire system is comparable to that which would be exerted by 13 1/3 tons of melted ice per hour.
The Elgin air conditioning system is capable of dehumidifying the air to the extent of one barrel of water every hour.
Dust control is attained by passing a mixture of fresh and recirculated air through a filter, which contains a sectional wool mat impregnated with a viscous oil. This filter effectively removes the finest dust and lint from the air and protects each Elgin movement from the danger of invisible dirt being deposited during assembly.