While it's not easy to quickly usher visitors of our world headquarters in Downers Grove, IL (a suburb of Chicago) into a deep underground mine, we can easily take visitors into downtown Chicago where there are some of the world's tallest buildings (and where Lovejoy was originally founded in 1900). Among the many skyscrapers, is Chicago's tallest: The Willis (formerly Sears) Tower.
On the Willis Tower's 103rd floor (1353 feet or 412 meters in the air) and featuring spectacular views has long stood the tourist focused SkyDeck. In 2009, the SkyDeck completed a renovation that included 4 glass boxes overhanging the city. These 4 boxes, dubbed "The Ledge", were designed for maximum impact and carried the load of the boxes from above visitors' heads, allowing them to feel like they were steeping out onto thin air.
|One of the author's first visits to "The Ledge"|
While the rails above are often missed and under appreciated by visitors, a second consideration is also often missed... and that is window washing. Because the Willis Tower's window washing system requires windows to be flush with the building, the designers of "The Ledge" had to ensure that the hung boxes could be retracted.
Anyone who bothers to look up while visiting "The Ledge" will quickly realize that the designers addressed this concern by putting the boxes on rails...which allows the boxes to be repeatedly retracted when the exhibit is closed. (Users may also look down to discover a large mat that is also covering a space used to retract the box.)
Following the exposed rails away from each box will quickly reveal the four power transmission systems designated for the task... and smack in the middle of each is a beautiful Chicagoland (yes' that's what we call the greater Chicago suburb area) beautiful orange banded Lovejoy jaw coupling.
|One of the "The Ledge" Lovejoy Jaw Couplings|
While we realize there are taller buildings in the world, and we have not taken the time to inspect and certify whose coupling is a top these structures... for us, a Chicagoland company, the Willis Tower is as tall as it gets... and we have been proudly there serving for years.
If you are ever so lucky to be in Chicago and be afforded the opportunity to visit "The Ledge", we highly recommend you look up and take in the full engineering depth and breadth required to provide visitors such a thrill.