Locally made product credited with protecting building during earthquake in Italy

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NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — The recent earthquakes in Italy wiped out entire towns and villages, and more than 200 people were killed. But one building in the region was left untouched – thanks to a unique product that’s made right here in Western New York.

The destruction was widespread and scores of people were killed when the 6.2 magnitude earthquake rocked Italy last week. But a building which stands just 10 miles away from the epicenter was spared, when other nearby buildings were damaged. The hospital turned school had seismic shock dampers made by Taylor Devices.

Douglas Taylor, the CEO of Taylor Devices said, “They’re basically gigantic shock absorbers, much like you would have on your car, only in terms of size, they are much much bigger.” Taylor added, “The damper absorbs energy that would go into breaking the building, it’s as simple as that.”

Taylor says their shock dampers were first developed for military use – to help protect missile silos against nuclear strikes.

“Most notably we have been able to commercialize defense technology, when it becomes a little bit dated, we get a release from the government that says we can sell the products commercially, and back in 1990 that gave us a new product line called the seismic damper.”

Douglas says the seismic damper line has been very sucessful. The dampers are used all over the world, and they’re installed in some very high profile structures..

“The retrofit of monumental structures or landmark structures has been very popular, the biggest project that was an early one was Los Angeles City Hall.”

Taylor says every damper is put under a stress test before it leaves the facility, which employs 120 people. Once the dampers pass inspection, they’re shipped off to every corner of the world to protect the next building or bridge against a future earthquake.

“It makes us feel good, we are pleased that products in North Tonawanda, that were made in North Tonawanda can be used all over the world for such an important purpose.”

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