While working in the Davenport hotel I was introduced to a number of new and unexpected circumstances.  For instance:

Surprise 1. All rubber is not all rubber.  The front desk had a large number of control operators underneath it.  At that time the hotel was busy, and the management of the hotel did not want to shut off any of the electrical power while I was working on the front desk area.  Consequently I had to work on it hot.

I decided I would use a rubber mat while I was working on the controls.  I took an old truck tire inner tube and cut it open and made a nice mat to stand on.  It didn’t seem to work too well as I was constantly getting bit by electricity while I was working.  I couldn’t understand it.  Finally I convinced the management to shut off the circuits I was working on.  I later learned two interesting pieces of information.  One, – that in the making of those particular types of inner tube, the manufacturers use metallic compounds in the rubber for strength.  And two, – You can get a manufactured rubber mat for the specific purpose of working in such situations.

That would have been good information to have.

Surprise 2.  All of the old panel boxes had the neutral wires fused.  Today that is definitely a no-no.

Surprise 3.  There was very little access between floors, except in one instance there was about a four foot space between the ceiling below and the floor above.  We cut an access hole in the space to do the wiring between those two floors.  I was working in dust that had accumulated over a 75 year period.  Not a good idea.  I’m not sure how much it affected my health, but it was at that time I had a round of pleurisy.

We would remodel the rooms one room at a time.  To run the new electrical in the rooms, we would cut a notch in the plaster, lay the conduit in the notch, and the plaster crew would cover over it, and the painters would cover the damage.

The panels were old fuse type panels and we replaced them with breaker type panels.  We would use the new panel interiors and throw the new can away.

I never had the opportunity to work on the recent major renovation of the Davenport Hotel, but I often wondered how much of the work we did back then survived.

I guess, either way, that might be a surprise too.