Video: Drexel Shaft Demolished, In Beautiful Slo-Mo

This is a slow motion video of yesterday’s demolition of the Drexel smokestack in Philly, set to “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap. It is sad. Bye bye, factory economy, hello, glass tower economy (affordable office space now available).

[via Boing Boing]


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  1. ircu says:

    Heh, do we have a Drexel alum at the Consumerist? See you in hell, Shaft!

  2. Working for the man, he pays well. says:

    I like how you can see the sound wave hit the glass building right after the Shaft hits the ground.

  3. BeyondtheTech says:

    They totally ripped Jason DeRulo’s song. :)

  4. idip says:

    I thought that was going to be more epic. :-/

  5. Xerloq says:

    Quick, someone start a thread of V1AGRA and C1AL1S jokes!

  6. treimel says:

    This article keeps talking about this as an eyesore, but I always thought it was sort of a pretty sight from the train in a sort of Battersea Power station kind of way.

  7. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    I hope that they were expecting it to topple like that, instead of falling in on itself.

    • gtsports says:

      @Oranges w/ Cheese has 2 cats! ahahaha.: Yeah – first time I’ve ever seen anything allowed to fall over like that instead of set up to implode down onto itself…must be a lot of open real estate up there.

    • Thrashy says:

      @Oranges w/ Cheese has 2 cats! ahahaha.: I’m pretty sure they meant for it to fall that way. A smokestack like that is a more-or-less solid cylinder of masonry. You can’t implode it because (apart from a relatively narrow tube in the center) there’s no voids for material from above to collapse into. So instead you set up the charge to blast a wedge of sorts into the side you want the stack to fall towards.

  8. nau1977 says:


    That was cool to see the glass shake.

  9. blahblahblah69 says:

    To steal another line, The Shaft will be with you, Always…

  10. bonzombiekitty says:

    Does consumerist have Drexel grads on the staff that I’m unaware of? I’m a Drexel grad myself and am annoyed I forgot to get up to go see the shaft demolished, but I just don’t understand the tie to Consumerist.

  11. katstermonster says:

    I’m just glad to see someone repping this song, instead of that inane sampling that’s playing on the radio constantly. I <3 Imogen Heap…

  12. MostlyHarmless says:

    @katstermonster: Better start practicing the ball curling.

  13. skyman8880 says:

    Ahhh, the old shaft. How I loathe the, but first, a Haiku

    Drexel Shaft falls down
    Beautiful dust cloud, Come FORTH!
    Future is now bright

  14. CarlR says:

    When did people start referring to the chimney as “the shaft”. I was at Drexel in the late 80s, and as I remember it “the shaft” was a sculpture that was supposed to look like a flame, but really just looked like some sort of huge torture device. I don’t remember where it was – maybe in front of the gym or in the quad in front of the old library? The other irony was that the “flame” sculpture was placed at the center of a fountain.

    I was also there the year they painted the grass (what grass there was) green so it would look better for graduation day.

    • bonzombiekitty says:

      @CarlR: They’ve been calling the chimney “the shaft” since at least when I started going to school there in 2001. Seems the switch happened sometime in the early 90s?

      The fountain you are referring to got moved when they renovated the quad a few years ago. The fountain is now in front of North Hall.

    • blahblahblah69 says:

      @CarlR: Yep- I thought it was the Flame of Knowledge, aka the Greek Bubble Generator, in the quad.

    • wordsmithy says:


      I graduated in mid 1980s. I could see this chimney from my dorm. We never had a name for it other than the chimney. The shaft was always the fountain in the quad–the same fountain that somebody added dish detergent to one spring. Bubbles floated over the entire campus. One Christmas someone added cutout snow flakes. Festive!

      I also remember the rainy night when the first Apple Macintosh computers were unloaded at the armory. Drexel was the first university to require its students to have a “microcomputer.” The incoming freshman class was required to buy Macintoshes through the school. I didn’t know what a Macintosh was, but I wanted one.

  15. RichasB says:

    Any one else totally think of Half-Life 2, you know, when you’re on the swamp boat going through City 17’s canals?

  16. Brain.wav says:

    I don’t know if I’m happy or sad that the shaft is gone. It was the gave everyone a physical reminder of the Drexel Shaft we all had to deal with.

  17. tackett says:

    Wow. That was some of the worst music I’ve heard in a long time. Totally ruined the video.

  18. akacrash says:

    The building (and shaft) in question is on land owned by the railroad and has no association with Drexel.
    It hasn’t been in use in decades.
    They’re using the land for a parking lot.

  19. Glomarization says:

    To clarify, the shaft was the chimney for a disused Pennsylvania Railroad power plant. It wasn’t part of Drexel University, wasn’t on Drexel property, and didn’t have anything to do with the factory vs. glass tower economy.

    It was taken down as part of a series of power infrastructure improvements on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor line, for which Amtrak got some $25 million in federal stimulus money.

  20. WaldoJeffers says:

    I was at Drexel in the 80s, and always thought the Shaft was mythical. I didn’t realize that that stupid flame thing was our official representaiton of the Shaft.

    I was in the first class to get a Macintosh, though- still have it- with its powerful 128K ram and 440K floppy drive, and the Drexel “D” underneath the screen.

  21. FezMan88 says:

    My friend shot this. In case you were wondering, he used a Sony EX-1 XDCAM, get it to 1080p 60/24 fps.
    You think this is cool, you should see the rest of his work.

  22. just_me says:

    Ok, Way off subject, but that has to be the BEST High Quality Video I have EVER seen on Youtube…