In the last post, I talked about the stone foundation wall in the interior of the basement. I don't know why it's there, but even before I started the basement demo I knew of its existence. What I did NOT expect to find was a giant, galvanized-metal-covered, purposely-made hole in the stone wall.
The hole is the full depth of the wall, or about 20". The hole's diameter is about 24", and the whole thing is covered in galvanized metal.
Between my educational background, professional background, and personal interests, I usually feel like I can go toe-to-toe with just about anybody in terms of figuring out and/or understanding why or how something was built that way that it was built. But the wall, and to an even larger extent this hole, have me baffled. I suspect the hole was created to serve some sort of mechanical function, but I'd need a heating expert/historian to confirm this.
The only reason I think it had something to do with an old heating system is because the old flues, the ones I pulled newspapers out of a couple weeks back, are a few feet away. Those old flues existed as a means of exhausting whatever smoke/gas/funk was created by a long-gone boiler consuming fuel. Maybe this hole was a means of getting air or fuel from some other basement location to the boiler? Or maybe it was part of some type of old-school duct system? Other than that, I have no ideas.
One thing I noticed today - which both gives me some clues and adds to the mystery - is the labeling on the galvanized metal: "COP-R-LOY".
I did a little homework on COP-R-LOY and here's what I found out:
COP-R-LOY was a galvanized metal product trademarked in 1928 and made by the Wheeling Corrugating Company, which was established in 1890 by Alexander Glass in Wheeling, West Virginia. In its early days, the company made various light metal products including roofing, conductor pipes, metal ceilings and eaves, troughs, tin plate, and terneplate. In 1902 Wheeling Corrugating became a subsidiary of Wheeling Steel and Iron, which was then combined with LaBelle Iron Works and Whitaker-Glessner in 1920 to form Wheeling Steel Corp., of which Glass was the chairman until his death in 1941.
The hole is lined with this COP-R-LOY stuff, which didn't exist until 1928. The house was built in 1878. If we assume the interior stone wall is original to the house, and I think it is, then either the hole was added at least 50 years later, or if the hole was original to the wall and house, it wasn't cleaned up with the COP-R-LOY until 1928 at the very earliest.
So...what purpose did this hole serve, and when was it created?