April 14th, 2013
Here is a photo from November of 2009 of the dismantling and cleanup of the Austin Green Water Treatment Plant in Austin, TX. This photo looks south with Caesar Chavez Blvd. and Lady Bird Lake in the background.
This water tower was a true water sphere. Not very tall, but notice the wonderful circularity of its dome. The tower was nicely maintained with very-well-done ghostly white for its mantle. This photo also gives a rare glimpse of the maintenance and access ports above a water tower, something that only birds and people in planes can spot.
Doink! The fallen tower has landed on the cement pipes. Better get that backhoe to clean things up.
April 10th, 2013
A 25 year veteran of the Union County Police Department was found dead in Kawameeh Park, near Kawameeh Junior High School, in the vicinity of Union’s World’s Tallest Water Sphere. The 50 year old officer was found seated on a metal bench on the softball field at Kawameeh Park around 8 a.m. on 2013/04/10.
Nj.com “Veteran police officer found dead”
April 6th, 2013
As mentioned in this blog, the old style water spheres are no longer built and are a dwindling piece of American history. Today water spheroids are the more popular water tower, and the old “sphere atop a mast” style are no longer build.
Reader Greg Pyne sends this photo of a lovely-but-rusting water sphere spotted along the highway near Baltimore Maryland. Greg writes: “On the way back to Baltimore today, we noticed this poorly maintained water sphere just north of exit 8 of the New Jersey Turnpike, near the community of Twin Rivers. Perhaps some sort of fundraiser could be held to help restore this water sphere to its original glory. After all, while it may not be the WTWS, it still deserves to maintain its dignity. ”
We fully support the sentiment. A beautiful tower but in need of a paint job. Perhaps some mobile phone antenna and a light beacon will make the “Big N” loved again.
April 2nd, 2013
Here is a bronze or copper plaque near the World’s Tallest Water Sphere. This plaque is embedded in a bridge guard rail. I love the green verdigris color of the plaque, the green mossy color spilling below, and the tan/pink sand and gray aggregate of the concrete. Also note the Grecian columns and borders of the plaque. This must be important.
February 18th, 2013
This is a view of the World’s Tallest Water Sphere with some geese on 2012/12/17. The geese love the warm and wet field and seem to feed on anything that happens to be hopping in the grass.
Notice some nice color bands on the bottom half of the photo. Brown, beige, and green. Notice gray sky and gray tower on the top half.
January 25th, 2013
This time of year the Kawameeh Swamp is frozen. Plant-life is bare. Reeds are brown. Sky is gray. The World’s Tallest Water Sphere continues its work: pumping water from the aquifer, purifying water, storing water, and giving water pressure to all.
January 1st, 2013
This photo shows an aerial shot of the WTWS from a Boeing 737 taking off from Newark Liberty airport at about 8:00 in the morning of 2012/12/30. The altitude is 2000 feet or so, looking south. A 2 to 3 inch covering of snow from the previous day lays on the ground.
The sphere is visible in the center of the photo. Ponds of the Kawameeh swamp border the left and top of the tower. Route 22 and the Garden State Parkway border the bottom. Light could cover obscure many of the houses, but the WTWS shines through clearly.
Enjoy this rare aerial sighting and the rest of 2013.
December 31st, 2012
Regular reader Gina Arlen contributes this World’s Tallest Water Sphere sighting. “As you can see from my December 2012 trip to New Jersey, the WTWS survived Hurricane Sandy, Election Season, and the Mayan Apocalypse.” This photo was taken on 2012/12/27.
Indeed, the WTWS survives another tumultuous year. How true that the mighty WTWS can survive a hurricane and yet still provide clean fresh water. An alternative scenario in which the hurricane blows over the WTWS would be a calamity. Residents would have to import water in plastic bottles or even drink from the Kawameeh swamp. Next they would be wearing fur skins, eating raw corn, and hunted down by gorillas on horseback.
As stated on the new billboard, “I’m not so easily replaced. Only Tap Water Delivers.” The graphic on the billboard shows an outline of the state of New Jersey suspended in a drop of water. This image is evocative of the master/slave relationship between the WTWS and the residents of New Jersey. The WTWS controls the water supply and the residents are compelled to do the bidding of the WTWS. The benevolent tower is our leader and protector.
September 4th, 2012
Here is an odd-shaped tower that was photographed on 2012/09/02. It is in the central Texas Hill Country on Ranch to Market Road 12 between Dripping Springs and Wimberley. The water tower has the name of its residential subdivision “Woodcreek”.
The water tower is a very unique and odd shape. This site has often discussed the difference between water spheres and water spheroids, but this one is a completely odd-duckling. It’s a composite shape of two differing parts. Its top is taller than it is wide. It is not a sphere or spheroid, rather is appears to be a sphere with a cylindrical mid section. In other words, take a sphere, bisect it horizontally, and add a cylinder in the middle. It’s a beaut. Go see it near Wimberley, Texas.
More views and geographic location is available from Google Maps.
August 19th, 2012
It had been suggested in a recent Star Ledger newspaper article that a water tower in North Carolina, at 219 feet, had usurped the title of “World’s Tallest Water Sphere”.
While this blog and its author expressed admiration for the water tower in Erwin, it still remained to be seen at the time of the interview whether the tower was a water sphere or something else. Most companies have abandoned the manufacture of water spheres for various reasons. The Star Ledger article cited the manufacturer’s use of the word “hydrosphere” as a possible competitor. Colloquial use of hydro sphere, water sphere, or water tower made this issue somewhat opaque.
Recently, Steve Tysinger’s Panoramio feed featured a photograph of the Erwin, NC water tower, and the facts became clear. As one can see in the photo, the Harnett Country water tower is very nice, but it is not a water sphere. You can see from the squashed pillow profile, that the top of the tower is in fact a spheroid, symmetrical in east and west axes, but less pronounced in bottom to top axis.
It is a beautiful tower and a very good photograph. However, the World’s Tallest Water Sphere still resides in Union, New Jersey.
August 12th, 2012
Winemaker Snoqualmie of Paterson, Columbia Valley, Washington gives recognition to water towers with its 2006 cabernet sauvignon. The artwork shows an iconic 4-legged tower, with town name Prussia (?), set against a swirling background, reminiscent of Van Gogh or Degas. The label is overprinted with clear varnish echoing the swirling of the background beneath. Click on the image to get a larger view.
“Water towers are an iconic image in rural communities. Their classic profile reminds of the days gone by and the harvests yet to come.”
The World’s Tallest Water Sphere site applauds this fine wine and the excellent artwork of the bottle. Perhaps someday there will be a wine featuring the WTWS on the label.
February 22nd, 2012
Be sure to read today’s (2012/02/22) issue of The Star-Ledger to read Lisa Rose’s interview, see Jennifer Brown’s photographs, and hear our thought on the World’s Tallest Water Sphere. We marvel at and respect a new tall water tower in North Carolina, but there will always be a tattoo burned in our minds and hearts of Union’s water sphere.
“When people look at a Van Gogh painting, some of them love it and others hate it,” said Becker, “It’s open to interpretation whether a water tower is beautiful or not beautiful.”
Read the article and see the photos. (photo credit to Jennifer Brown/The Star-Ledger)
January 21st, 2012
Gina Signorella-Arlen writes to contribute this photo of the World’s Tallest Water Sphere taken on 2011/12/26:
She also suggests that the year 2012 may be the end of the WTWS due to the end of the Mayan calendar.
Some food for thought:
- Both the Mayan Calendar and the WTWS are circular in shape. Coincidence?
- On the winter solstice in 2012, the sun will align with the center of the Milky Way for the first time in 26,000 years. Will the WTWS have any impact on the energy generated from this cosmic alignment?
- Did the Mayan Calendar predict the rise of the WTWS as a harbinger of the end?
These are interesting questions to ponder. One thing is certain. People should take photos of the WTWS before it is too late.
September 4th, 2011
This research is courtesy of the statistics at Google Ngram viewer. The basis for this discussion is a list of frequency of words and their usage in the English language. Google has scanned and analyzed a large body of books from 1800 to 2000. Words and their frequency can be graphed over time to help analyze their popularity and usage in language media.
In the first graph, the World’s Tallest Water Sphere researchers have graphed the usage of the word “water” versus the word “sphere”. From the chart one can see the data for the word water (in blue) has a popular roller coaster trip over the years 1800 through 2000. It seems the popularity of the word peaked shortly before 1920. Why is this? Were steam engines, locomotives, and battle ships dominating the news? Were people wondering where these engines were to find water to fill their boilers?
In contrasting form, the data for the word “sphere” (in red) has a steady popularity, never rising or falling much. Perhaps the usefulness and wonder of the spheres has been constant since Euclidean times.
The most interesting insight comes to light when one analyzes the frequency of the words “water sphere”. This chart shows a steady rise from 1880 (the dawn of the steel-building era) to 1960. Then, in the early 1960s, when people began to experiment with expanded consciousness and free love, “water sphere” usage rockets into the stratosphere. Later in the 1980s, when people were tired of wearing leather and lycra, and Molly Ringwald stopped making movies, interest in “water sphere” returned to the calm, less frenzied frequencies of the 40s and 50s.
In our estimation, the World’s Tallest Water Sphere (built in 1964) had a large effect on public consciousness. The Union water tower creation correlates to a rise in the frequency of “water sphere” use in the English language. At the same time, there was no increase in the frequency of use of the single words “water” or “sphere”. In fact, “water” usage declines during the 1960s. After the movement of water engineers and design to ellipsoidal water towers in the middle 1980s, the popularity for “water sphere” declines from the WTWS-induced hysteria. It is clear to witness the imprint of Union’s water tower on the psyche of the English language.
May 7th, 2011
Reader Adam Vorphilack writes to share a photo of an awesome water sphere sculpture done in chromed steel. This is an award that the Moog site in New York awards to retirees. You got to give credit to the Moog company. They love their water sphere, and being a true water sphere, it’s a work of art that should be preserved.
An art critic writes:
Is this sculpture a bit creepy? Yes! Its squat neck yells out to be grabbed. The neck is so thick that this water sphere has no shoulders. This work looks more like a weapon or a handle than a water sphere. The World’s Tallest Water Sphere clearly has more beautiful proportions. The WTWS balances its globe precariously up in the heavens. The WTWS is the true work of art.
April 24th, 2011
The World’s Tallest Water Sphere has had some site formatting updates. The site now has a default width of 960 over the older, narrower 760 pixels. The site has been validated with several mobile and tablet devices, such as the Nook shown here.
Let us know if your device or browser has trouble reading the site, and we will fix it.
March 6th, 2011
This photo of a glorious water tower is sent in via reader Jason Dengel. The water tower was completed on Wallops Island, Virginia in July of 2010. It stands 287 feet tall and holds 200,000. The water tank is used to service the nearby NASA launch pads.
Nice view of the tower, the construction equipment, and the backing Atlantic Ocean. Thanks Jason!
February 19th, 2011
This photo shows the Worlds Tallest Water Sphere during a plane landing approach to Newark’s Liberty International airport on Christmas Day 2010. The WTWS is located in the top center of the photograph. Click for a larger view.
The photo also shows a nice view of central Elizabeth and the Elizabeth River in the foreground. There is a beautiful band of the Watchung mountains in the background. There are also 3 or 4 other water towers visible in the photo.
The day after this photo was taken (2010/12/25), New Jersey was hit by 24 to 36 inches of in Elizabeth and Newark, one of the top 5 precipitous falls on record for these watery cities. The 2010-2011 winter season in New Jersey was also notable for the number and severity of deep snow storms.
December 22nd, 2010
A reader writes to this site to say that Union no longer has the world’s tallest water tower. In fact the person suggests we rename the domain “worldssecondtallestwatersphere”. A photo is attached and a link is given to information on a new 221 foot water tower in Braman, Okalahoma, built in May of 2010. Well, that sure is a beautiful water tower, and the white paint job must look great against a deep blue Oklahoma sky.
However, and we have stated this before, the World’s Tallest Water Sphere of Union, New Jersey is still the world’s tallest water sphere.
If you look closely at the Braman tower, you can see that the top of the tower is not spherical. Ignore that conical neck collar underneath the dome for now, many towers have such a pedestal for added strength and volume. Look at the outline of the top of the tower. It is quite squashed and flattened. The Braman tower is in fact a water spheroid, not a water sphere.
The spheroid is inferior to the sphere. The spheroid looks like it has been deflated. The spheroid is less regular than a sphere. Imagine how silly the World Cup tournament would be played with a spheroid. Imagine trying to calculate the volume of a spheroid without a calculator. Imagine all the people living life in spheroids.
Some may marvel at tall water towers. Some may marvel at new water towers. However, we marvel at water spheres. The tall kind. The ones with a ball at the top. This site is dedicated to the World’s Tallest Water Sphere.
September 4th, 2010
Gina Signorella-Arlen of Union, New Jersey contributes this photo of a water tower in Nassau, Bahamas, taken sometime about early September of 2010.
Gina says, “I thought you’d like to see how
Nassau, Bahamas has handled the ‘clean municipal water supply’ challenge. Not a bad effort, but it lacks the grace and style of our iconic water sphere.”
Indeed. It has a nice form and is prominently displayed. It must be visible from far at sea. However, imagine the impact on the islanders if there were a tall tower with crowning sphere lofted high above the palm trees. People would be navigating the waters to watch the sun and moon align with the tower. The impact on tourism and the local economy would be immense.