Utilitarian Structures Keeping Your Roof Tanks in Tip-Top Shape

New York City's skyline wouldn't be the same without its rooftop water tanks. The strange-looking structures have graced the cityscape for more than a century, and today, surrounded as many of them are by towering glass skyscrapers, they seem anachronistic. They may hearken back to an older time, but the city's water tanks aren't just for decoration; they're still very much in use.

According to Scott Hochhauser, an owner of Isseks Bros., a century-old company in Manhattan that specializes in water tank repair and maintenance, most buildings with more than six floors use a water tank as their water source."As you start going above [six floors] the water pressure decreases because you're going higher. That's why you need a tank."

According to Hochhauser, his great-grandfather Abraham Isseks invented the water tank after the mechanical elevator became more and more widely used in New York City and buildings started to get taller.

"My great-grandfather was a barrel maker and he said, "˜This is something that is going to be needed as they make more and more of these tall buildings,' says Hochhauser. "So in 1890, they started this company to put water tanks on roofs."

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