25
Apr

Frontiers – Cable Power

   Posted by: Andrew Linstrom   in Frontiers

Of the great marvels of the new age of industry, cable power is one that has revolutionized city life the most. Among captains of industry, a city’s progress is measured by the extent of its cable power grid. Beneath a city’s streets, mighty cables and chains heave along their conduits, a river of kinetic energy that can be tapped for strength to power a myriad of purposes from cable cars to machine tools and home conveniences.

Cable power begins with coal, though some cities augment their steam power with wind and water mills. The power plants are sizeable complexes that usually take the form of brick structures scattered throughout the city, as in Northport, Endeavor, and Saint Traboh. The planned imperial city of Fort Sajoo has its steam plants for cable power built underground, and while Cinder Keep has some of its plants aboveground, the massive generators buried under the fortress complex produce a surplus that is sold to the city. New Bronok’s generators, like nearly everything else in the mountain city, are entirely underground, and augment their coal-fired boilers with heat rising from the belly of the earth itself.

Within the power complexes, massive steam engines turn wheels that pull the largest chains, the main lines. The main line chains pass underground, through conduits that run parallel to the pipes carrying water and waste. At major plazas and intersections, the main line chains enter converter stations, where gearboxes transfer the main line’s energies to smaller chains and cables. These smaller lines run out from the converter stations to the businesses and wealthier homes where the kinetic energy is eventually employed. The smaller lines may either run under the surface, or they might run overhead, alongside pneumatic messenger tubes and telegraph wires. Where the lines enter the customer’s building, they pass through a box containing a meter that measures how much torque the customer has taken from the network, and an employee from the power company comes by to read it on a weekly or monthly basis and assess appropriate fees.

Cable power is used for a plethora of modern conveniences. It’s employed in larger buildings to drive lifts, and to turn fans for interior ventilation and in the air pumps that power pneumatic delivery tubes. In homes, offices, and restaurants, it turns ceiling fans to comfortably stir the air. Cable powered devices in the kitchen use spinning blades or burrs can slice meat, chop ice, and grind beans and grains. In industry, the cables turn lathes, spin saws, and lift forge hammers. Cable cars tap the main lines to pull them up and down the streets. In Endeavor, cable-riding gondolas connect the spires housing the city’s elite. In the home, smaller converter boxes can adjust the line’s strength to the proper ratios of speed and torque to wind up the springs within a myriad of portable clockwork devices useful for chores or grooming.

This entry was posted on Monday, April 25th, 2011 at 4:44 pm and is filed under Frontiers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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