Heart issue

The giant heart

Visiting the Giant Heart at The Franklin Institute is a rite of passage for school children in the Greater Philadelphia area, as well as a “must do” for tourists visiting the city. That’s why it may be surprising to find out that the Giant Heart was never meant to be on permanent display. Built in 1953 at a cost of $40,000, the “Engine of Life” exhibit, as it was originally called, was only supposed to be open to the public for six months. But the public had other ideas. After the exhibit opened on January 29th, 1954, visitors flocked to The Franklin Institute for a chance to walk through the four-ton, papier-mâche structure. Due to its immense popularity, The Franklin Institute made the exhibit a permanent attraction.

Whose idea was it?

So who was the brain behind the heart of the City of Brotherly Love? Dr. Mildred Pfeiffer was a prominent physician and the Director of Cardiovascular Diseases at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. She often traveled around the state to deliver lectures about the heart and heart health. Before she died in 1992, Pfeiffer explained how inspiration struck. “Suddenly one day it dawned on me: why should I go everywhere? Why not establish a (heart) exhibit at The Franklin Institute? Kids go there all the time with their schools.” She enlisted the help of medical illustrator Richard Albany and engineer Albert Jehle to help her create a structure that was 15,000 times the size of a human heart. At 28- feet wide and 18-feet high, the Giant Heart is big enough to fit into a 220-foot tall person.

The Giant Heart at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, USA.

© Stock Images

Originally constructed of papier-mâche, chicken wire, and lumber, the Giant Heart has undergone many “surgeries” to keep it in healthy working condition for so many decades. Current visitors can enjoy a full sensory experience, as they hear the “beat” of the heart while tracing the path that blood takes through the organ.

The Giant Heart being painted for the first exhibition.

© Shutterstock

The largest submersible motor pumps

ANDRITZ has delivered the largest ever built submersible motor pumps. The pumps, each consisting of three individual components, are 22 meters long or rather high and weigh more than 32 tons when mounted. Thus, they are roughly four times higher than the Giant Heart in Philadelphia, USA, which is five meters high. In a Chinese mine, the pumps are installed at a depth of 900 meters, hanging freely on the pipe. A pump unit conveys 1000 m2/h to a height of 1000 m. The two larger submersible pumps provide 4 megawatts (4000 kW) each and even the smaller one 3.2 megawatts (3200 kW). The units are the heart of the mine’s safety device and shall prevent that the tunnels, in which the miners work, are flooded.


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