toilet dam  

The flow of fresh water to this reservoir is controlled by the flushing of the toilet located in the rear of the gallery. The floodgates of the dam open automatically at intervals controlled by the ringing of the gallery telephone. The reservoir is also supplied with filtered wastewater from the fountain.

Roughly fourteen percent of the electricity flowing to this gallery is generated four hundred miles away at the Adams Power Plant at Niagara Falls, New York. Eighteen twenty-two ton turbines convert the falling weight of one hundred million gallons of water a day into fifty thousand gigawatts of electricity through the oldest array of electrical generators in use today. These generators were developed by Westinghouse after designs by Nicola Tesla, who was the progenitor of the present day use of Alternating Current. Detested by fellow inventor, Thomas Edison, whose own power plant on Pearl street in lower Manhattan (which is today occupied by the Strand Bookstore Annex where I got the book containing this information), generated Direct Current which ultimately fell out of favor, Tesla spent his expatriate life on the edge between respectability and poverty. His largest project which was ultimately dynamited by the US government as a suspected Nazi spying organ, was located on Long Island, at a site which is now home to a rather unpopular nuclear power plant.

The reservoir associated with this dam holds one million gallons of water and is shaped like the classic Standard toilet tank. As it happens, Standard is a subsidiary of Westinghouse. Naturally, the power plant in this dam generates about enough direct current to operate a flashlight bulb.
  toilet dam schematics  
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