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A Catechism of the Steam Engine by John Bourne

Part 4 out of 8

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357. _Q._--Cannot you give some rules of strength which will be applicable
whatever pressure may be employed?

_A._--In the rules already given, the effective pressure may be reckoned at
from 18 to 20 lbs. upon every square inch of the piston, as is usual in
land engines; and if the pressure upon every square inch of the piston be
made twice greater, the dimensions must just be those proper for an engine
of twice the area of piston. It will not be difficult, however, to
introduce the pressure into the rules as an element of the computation,
whereby the result will be applicable both to high and low pressure

358. _Q._--Will you apply this mode of computation to a marine engine, and
first find the diameter of the piston rod?

_A._--The diameter of the piston rod may be found by multiplying the
diameter of the cylinder in inches, by the square root of the pressure on
the piston in lbs. per square inch, and dividing by 50, which makes the
strain 1/7th of the elastic force.

359. _Q._--What will be the rule for the connecting rod, supposing it to be
of malleable iron?

_A._--The diameter of the connecting rod at the ends, may be found by
multiplying 0.019 times the square root of the pressure on the piston in
lbs. per square inch by the diameter of the cylinder in inches; and the
diameter of the connecting rod in the middle may be found by the following
rule:--to 0.0035 times the length of the connecting rod in inches, add 1,
and multiply the sum by 0.019 times the square root of the pressure on the
piston in lbs. per square inch, multiplied by the diameter of the cylinder
in inches. The strain is equal to 1/6th of the elastic force.

360. _Q._--How will you find the diameter of the cylinder side rods of a
marine engine?

_A._--The diameter of the cylinder side rods at the ends may be found by
multiplying 0.0129 times the square root of the pressure on the piston in
lbs. per square inch by the diameter of the cylinder; and the diameter of
the cylinder side rods at the middle is found by the following rule:--to
0.0035 times the length of the rod in inches, add 1, and multiply the sum
by 0.0129 times the square root of the pressure on the piston in lbs. per
square inch, multiplied by the diameter of the cylinder in inches; the
product is the diameter of each side rod at the centre in inches. The
strain upon the side rods is by these rules equal to 1/6th of the elastic

361. _Q._--How do you determine the dimensions of the crank?

_A._--To find the exterior diameter of the large eye of the crank when of
malleable iron:--to 1.561 times the pressure of the steam upon the piston
in lbs. per square inch, multiplied by the square of the length of the
crank in inches, add 0.00494 times the square of the diameter of the
cylinder in inches, multiplied by the square of the number of lbs. pressure
per square inch on the piston; extract the square root of this quantity;
divide the result by 75.59 times the square root of the length of the crank
in inches, and multiply the quotient by the diameter of the cylinder in
inches; square the product and extract the cube root of the square, to
which add the diameter of the hole for the reception of the shaft, and the
result will be the exterior diameter of the large eye of the crank when of
malleable iron. The diameter of the small eye of the crank may be found by
adding to the diameter of the crank pin 0.02521 times the square root of
the pressure on the piston in lbs. per square inch, multiplied by the
diameter of the cylinder in inches.

362. _Q._--What will be the thickness of the crank web?

_A._--The thickness of the web of the crank, supposing it to be continued
to the centre of the shaft, would at that point be represented by the
following rule:--to 1.561 times the square of the length of the crank in
inches, add 0.00494 times the square of the diameter of the cylinder in
inches, multiplied by the pressure on the piston in lbs. per square inch;
extract the square root of the sum, which multiply by the diameter of the
cylinder squared in inches, and by the pressure on the piston in lbs. per
square inch; divide the product by 9,000, and extract the cube root of the
quotient, which will be the proper thickness of the web of the crank when
of malleable iron, supposing the web to be continued to the centre of the
shaft. The thickness of the web at the crank pin centre, supposing it to be
continued thither, would be 0.022 times the square root of the pressure on
the piston in lbs. per square inch, multiplied by the diameter of the
cylinder. The breadth of the web of the crank at the shaft centre should be
twice the thickness, and at the pin centre 1-1/2 times the thickness of the
web; the length of the large eye of the crank would be equal to the
diameter of the shaft, and of the small eye 0.0375 times the square root of
the pressure on the piston in lbs. per square inch, multiplied by the
diameter of the cylinder.

363. _Q._--Will you apply the same method of computation to find the
dimensions of a malleable iron paddle shaft?

_A._--The method of computation will be as follows:--to find the dimensions
of a malleable iron paddle shaft, so that the strain shall not exceed
5/6ths of the elastic force, or 5/6ths of the force iron is capable of
withstanding without permanent derangement of structure, which in tensile
strains is taken at 17,800 lbs. per square inch: multiply the pressure in
lbs. per square inch on the piston by the square of the diameter of the
cylinder in inches, and the length of the crank in inches, and extract the
cube root of the product, which, multiplied by 0.08264, will be the
diameter of the paddle shaft journal in inches when of malleable iron,
whatever the pressure of the steam may be. The length of the paddle shaft
journal should be 1-1/4 times the diameter; and the diameter of the part
where the crank is put on is often made equal to the diameter over the
collars of the journal or bearing.

364. _Q._--How do you find the diameter of the crank pin?

_A._--The diameter of the crank pin in inches may be found by multiplying
0.02836 times the square root of the pressure on the piston in lbs. per
square inch, by the diameter of the cylinder in inches. The length of the
pin is usually about 9/8th times its diameter, and the strain if all thrown
upon the end of the pin will be equal to the elastic force; but in ordinary
working, the strain will only be equal to 1/3d of the elastic force.

365. _Q._--What are the dimensions of the cross head?

_A._--If the length of the cross head be taken at 1.4 times the diameter of
the cylinder, the dimensions of the cross head will be as follows:--the
exterior diameter of the eye in the cross head for the reception of the
piston rod, will be equal to the diameter of the hole, plus 0.02827 times
the cube root of the pressure on the piston in lbs. per square inch,
multiplied by the diameter of the cylinder in inches; and the depth of the
eye will be 0.0979 times the cube root of the pressure on the piston in
lbs. per square inch, multiplied by the diameter of the cylinder in inches.
The diameter of each cross head journal will be 0.01716 times the square
root of the pressure on the piston in lbs. per square inch, multiplied by
the diameter of the cylinder in inches--the length of the journal being
9/8ths its diameter. The thickness of the web at centre will be 0.0245
times the cube root of the pressure on the piston in lbs. per square inch,
multiplied by the diameter of the cylinder in inches; and the depth of web
at centre will be 0.09178 times the cube root of the pressure on the piston
in lbs. per square inch, multiplied by the diameter of the cylinder in
inches. The thickness of the web at journal will be 0.0122 times the square
root of the pressure on the piston in lbs. per square inch, multiplied by
the diameter of the cylinder in inches; and the depth of the web at journal
will be 0.0203 times the square root of the pressure upon the piston in
lbs. per square inch, multiplied by the diameter of the cylinder in inches.
In these rules for the cross head, the strain upon the web is 1/2.225 times
the elastic force; the strain upon the journal in ordinary working is
1/2.33 times the elastic force; and if the outer ends of the journals are
the only bearing points, the strain is 1/1.165 times the elastic force,
which is very little in excess of the elastic force.

366. _Q._--How do you find the diameter of the main centre when
proportioned according to this rule?

_A._--The diameter of the main centre may be found by multiplying 0.0367
times the square root of the pressure upon the piston in lbs. per square
inch, by the diameter of the cylinder in inches, which will give the
diameter of the main centre journal in inches when of malleable iron, and
the length of the main centre journal should be 1-1/2 times its diameter;
the strain upon the main centre journal in ordinary working will be about
1/2 the elastic force.

367. _Q._--What are the proper dimensions of the gibs and cutters of an

_A._--The depth of gibs and cutters for attaching the piston rod to the
cross head, is 0.0358 times the cube root of the pressure of the steam on
the piston in lbs. per square inch, multiplied by the diameter of the
cylinder; and the thickness of the gibs and cutters is 0.007 times the cube
root of the pressure on the piston in lbs. per square inch, multiplied by
the diameter of its cylinder. The depth of the cutter through the piston is
0.017 times the square root of the pressure on the piston in lbs. per
square inch, multiplied by the diameter of the cylinder in inches; and the
thickness of the cutter through the piston is 0.007 times the square root
of the pressure on the piston in lbs. per square inch, multiplied by the
diameter of the cylinder.

368. _Q._--Are not some of the parts of an engine constructed according to
these rules too weak, when compared with the other parts?

_A._--It is obvious, from the varying proportions subsisting in the
different parts of the engine between the strain and the elastic force,
that in engines proportioned by these rules--which represent nevertheless
the average practice of the best constructors--some of the parts must
possess a considerable excess of strength over other parts, and it appears
expedient that this disparity should be diminished, which may best be done
by increasing the strength of the parts which are weakest; inasmuch as the
frequent fracture of some of the parts shows that the dimensions at present
adopted for those parts are scarcely sufficient, unless the iron of which
they are made is of the best quality. At the same time it is quite certain,
that engines proportioned by these rules will work satisfactorily where
good materials are employed; but it is important to know in what parts good
materials and larger dimensions are the most indispensable. In many of the
parts, moreover, it is necessary that the dimensions should be proportioned
to meet the wear and the tendency to heat, instead of being merely
proportioned to obtain the necessary strength; and the crank pin is one of
the parts which requires to be large in diameter, and as long as possible
in the bearing, so as to distribute the pressure, and prevent the
disposition to heat which would otherwise exist. The cross head journals
also should be long and large; for as the tops of the side rods have little
travel, the oil is less drawn into the bearings than if the travel was
greater, and is being constantly pressed out by the punching strain. This
strain should therefore be reduced as far as possible by its distribution
over a large surface. In the rules which are contained in the answers to
the ten preceding questions (358 to 367) the pressure on the piston in lbs.
per square inch is taken as the sum of the pressure of steam in the boiler
and of the vacuum; the latter being assumed to be 15 lbs. per square inch.



* * * * *


369. _Q._--Will you explain the course of procedure in the construction and
setting of wagon boilers?

_A._--Most boilers are made of plates three eighths of an inch thick, and
the rivets are from three eighths to three fourths of an inch in diameter.
In the bottom and sides of a wagon boiler the heads of the rivets, or the
ends formed on the rivets before they are inserted, should be large and
placed next the fire, or on the outside; whereas on the top of the boiler
the heads should be on the inside. The rivets should be placed about two
inches distant from centre to centre, and the centre of the row of rivets
should be about one inch from the edge of the plate. The edges of the
plates should be truly cut, both inside and outside, and after the parts of
the boiler have been riveted together, the edges of the plates should be
set up or caulked with a blunt chisel about a quarter of an inch thick in
the point, and struck by a hammer of about three or four pounds weight, one
man holding the caulking tool while another strikes.

370. _Q._--Is this the usual mode of caulking?

_A._--No, it is not the usual mode; but it is the best mode, and is the
mode adopted by Mr. Watt. The usual mode now is for one man to caulk the
seams with a hammer in one hand and a caulking chisel in the other, and in
some of the difficult corners of marine flue boilers it is not easy for two
men to get in. A good deal of the caulking has also sometimes to be done
with the left hand.

371. _Q._--Should the boiler be proved after caulking?

_A._--The boiler should be filled with water and caulked afresh in any
leaky part. When emptied again, all the joints should be painted with a
solution of sal ammoniac in urine, and so soon as the seams are well rusted
they should be dried with a gentle fire, and then be painted over with a
thin putty formed of whiting and linseed oil, the heat being continued
until the putty becomes so hard that it cannot be readily scratched with
the nail, and care must be taken neither to burn the putty nor to
discontinue the fire until it has become quite dry.

372. _Q._--How should the brickwork setting of a wagon boiler be built?

_A._--In building the brickwork for the setting of the boiler, the part
upon which the heat acts with most intensity is to be built with clay
instead of mortar, but mortar is to be used on the outside of the work. Old
bars of flat iron may be laid under the boiler chime to prevent that part
of the boiler from being burned out, and bars of iron should also run
through the brickwork to prevent it from splitting. The top of the boiler
is to be covered with brickwork laid in the best lime, and if the lime be
not of the hydraulic kind, it should be mixed with Dutch terrass, to make
it impenetrable to water. The top of the boiler should be well plastered
with this lime, which will greatly conduce to the tightness of the seams.
Openings into the flues must be left in convenient situations to enable the
flues to be swept out when required, and these openings may be closed with
cast iron doors jointed with clay or mortar, which may be easily removed
when required. Adjacent to the chimney a slit must be left in the top of
the flue with a groove in the brickwork to enable the sliding door or
damper to be fixed in that situation, which by being lowered into the flue
will obstruct the passage of the smoke and moderate the draught, whereby
the chimney will be prevented from drawing the flame into it before the
heat has acted sufficiently upon the boiler.

373. _Q._--Are marine constructed in the same way as land boilers?

_A._--There is very little difference in the two cases: the whole of the
shells of marine boilers, however, should be double riveted with rivets
11/16ths of an inch in diameter, and 2-3/8th inches from centre to centre,
the weakening effect of double riveting being much less than that of single
riveting. The furnaces above the line of bars should be of the best
Lowmoor, Bowling, or Staffordshire scrap plates, and the portion of each
furnace above the bars should consist only of three plates, one for the top
and one for each side, the lower seam of the side plates being situated
beneath the level of the bars, so as not to be exposed to the heat of the
furnace. The tube plates of tubular boilers should be of the best Lowmoor,
or Bowling iron, seven eighths to one inch thick: the shells should be of
the best Staffordshire, or Thornycroft S crown iron, 7/16ths of an inch

374. _Q._--Of what kind of iron should the angle iron or corner iron be

_A._--Angle iron should not be used in the construction of boilers, as in
the manufacture it becomes reedy, and is apt to split up in the direction
of its length: it is much the safer practice to bend the plates at the
corners of the boiler; but this must be carefully done, without introducing
any more sharp bends than can be avoided, and plates which require to be
bent much should be of Lowmoor iron. It will usually be found expedient to
introduce a ring of angle iron around the furnace mouths, though it is
discarded in the other parts of the boiler; but it should be used as
sparingly as possible, and any that is used should be of the best quality.

375. _Q._--Is it not important to have the holes in the plates opposite to
one another?

_A._--The whole of the plates of a boiler should have the holes for the
rivets punched, and the edges cut straight, by means of self-acting
machinery, in which a travelling table carries forward the plate with an
equal progression every stroke of the punch or shears; and machinery of
this kind is now extensively employed. The practice of forcing the parts of
boilers together with violence, by means of screw-jacks, and drifts through
the holes, should not be permitted; as a great strain may thus be thrown
upon the rivets, even when there is no steam in the boiler. All rivets
should be of the best Lowmoor iron. The work should be caulked both within
and without wherever it is accessible, but in the more confined situations
within the flues the caulking will in many cases have to be done with the
hand or chipping hammer, instead of the heavy hammer previously prescribed.

376. _Q._--How is the setting of marine boilers with internal furnaces

_A._--In the setting of marine boilers care must be taken that no copper
bolts or nails project above the wooden platform upon which they rest, and
also that no projecting copper bolts in the sides of the ship touch the
boiler, as the galvanic action in such a case would probably soon wear the
points of contact into holes. The platform may consist of three inch
planking laid across the keelsons nailed with iron, nails, the heads of
which are well punched down, and caulked and puttied like a deck. The
surface may then be painted over with thin putty, and fore and aft boards
of half the thickness may then be laid down and nailed securely with iron
nails, having the heads well punched down. This platform must then be
covered thinly and evenly with mastic cement and the boiler be set down
upon it, and the cement must be caulked beneath the boiler by means of
wooden caulking tools, so as completely to fill every vacuity. Coomings of
wood sloped on the top must next be set round the boiler, and the space
between the coomings and the boiler must be caulked full of cement, and be
smoothed off on the top to the slope of the coomings, so as to throw off
any water that might be disposed to enter between the coomings and the

377. _Q._--How is the cement used for setting marine boilers compounded?

_A._--Mastic cement proper for the setting of boilers is sold in many
places ready made. Hamelin's mastic is compounded as follows:--to any given
weight of sand or pulverized earthenware add two thirds such given weight
of powdered Bath, Portland, or other similar stone, and to every 560 lbs.
weight of the mixture add 40 lbs. weight of litharge, 2 lbs. of powdered
glass or flint, 1 lb. of minium, and 2 lbs. of gray oxide of lead; pass the
mixture through a sieve, and keep it in a powder for use. When wanted for
use, a sufficient quantity of the powder is mixed with some vegetable oil
upon a board or in a trough in the manner of mortar, in the proportion of
605 lbs. of the powder to 5 gallons of linseed, walnut, or pink oil, and
the mixture is stirred and trodden upon until it assumes the appearance of
moistened sand, when it is ready for use. The cement should be used on the
same day as the oil is added, else it will be set into a solid mass.

378. _Q._--What is the best length of the furnaces of marine boilers?

_A._--It has already been stated that furnace bars should not much exceed
six feet in length, as it is difficult to manage long furnaces; but it is a
frequent practice to make the furnaces long and narrow, the consequence of
which is, that it is impossible to fire them effectually at the after end,
especially upon long voyages and in stormy weather, and air escapes into
the flues at the after end of the bars, whereby the efficacy of the boiler
is diminished. Where the bars are very long it will generally be found that
an increased supply of steam and a diminished consumption of coal will be
the consequence of shortening them, and the bars should always lie with a
considerable inclination to facilitate the distribution of the fuel over
the after part of the furnace. When there are two lengths of bars in the
furnace, it is expedient to make the central cross bar for bearing up the
ends double, and to leave a space between the ends of the bars so that the
ashes may fall through between them. The space thus left enables the bars
to expand without injury on the application of heat, whereas without some
such provision the bars are very liable to get burned out by bending up in
the centre, or at the ends, as they must do if the elongation of the bars
on the application of heat be prevented; and this must be the effect of
permitting the spaces at the ends of the bars to be filled up with ashes.
At each end of each bed of bars it is expedient to leave a space which the
ashes cannot fill up so as to cause the bars to jam; and care must be taken
that the heels of the bars do not come against any of the furnace bearers,
whereby the room left at the end of the bars to permit the expansion would
be rendered of no avail.

379. _Q._--Have you any remarks to offer respecting the construction and
arrangement of the furnace bridges and dampers of marine boilers?

_A._--The furnace bridges of marine boilers are walls or partitions built
up at the ends of the furnaces to narrow the opening for the escape of heat
into the flues. They are either made of fire brick or of plate iron
containing water: in the case of water bridges, the top part of the bridge
should be made with a large amount of slant so as to enable the steam to
escape freely, but notwithstanding this precaution the plates of water
bridges are apt to crack at the bend, so that fire brick bridges appear on
the whole to be preferable. In shallow furnaces the bridges often come too
near the furnace top to enable a man to pass over them; and it will save
expense if in such bridges the upper portion is constructed of two or three
fire blocks, which may be lifted off where a person requires to enter the
flues to sweep or repair them, whereby the perpetual demolition and
reconstruction of the upper part of the bridge will be prevented.

380. _Q._--What is the benefit of bridges?

_A._--Bridges are found in practice to have a very sensible operation in
increasing the production of steam, and in some boilers in which the brick
bridges have been accidentally knocked down by the firemen, a very
considerable diminution in the supply of steam has been experienced. Their
chief operation seems to lie in concentrating the heat within the furnace
to a higher temperature, whereby the heat is more rapidly transmitted from
the furnace to the water, and less heat has consequently to be absorbed by
the flues. In this way the bridges render the heating surface of a boiler
more effective, or enable a smaller amount of heating surface to suffice.

381. _Q._--Are the bridges behind the furnaces the only bridges used in
steam boilers?

_A._--It is not an uncommon practice to place a hanging bridge, consisting
of a plate of iron descending a certain distance into the flue, at that
part of the flue where it enters the chimney, whereby the stratum of hot
air which occupies the highest part of the flue is kept in protracted
contact with the boiler, and the cooler air occupying the lower part of the
flue is that which alone escapes. The practice of introducing a hanging
bridge is a beneficial one in the case of some boilers, but is not
applicable universally, as boilers with a small calorimeter cannot be
further contracted in the flue without a diminution in their evaporating
power. In tubular boilers a hanging bridge is not applicable, but in some
cases a perforated plate is placed against the ends of the tubes, which by
suitable connections is made to operate as a sliding damper which partially
or totally closes up the end of every tube, and at other times a damper
constructed in the manner of a venetian blind is employed in the same
situation. These varieties of damper, however, have only yet been used in
locomotive boilers, though applicable to tubular boilers of every

382. _Q._--Is it a benefit to keep the flues or tubes appertaining to each
furnace distinct?

_A._--In a flue boiler this cannot be done, but in a tubular boiler it is
an advantage that there should be a division between the tubes pertaining
to each furnace, so that the smoke of each furnace may be kept apart from
the smoke of the furnace adjoining it until the smoke of both enters the
chimney, as by this arrangement a furnace only will be rendered inoperative
in cleaning the fires instead of a boiler, and the tubes belonging to one
furnace may be swept if necessary at sea without interfering injuriously
with the action of the rest. In a steam vessel it is necessary at intervals
to empty out one or more furnaces every watch to get rid of the clinkers
which would otherwise accumulate in them; and it is advisable that the
connection between the furnaces should be such that this operation, when
being performed on one furnace, shall injure the action of the rest as
little as possible.

383. _Q._--Can any constructive precautions be taken to prevent the
furnaces and tube plates of the boiler from being burned by the intensity
of the heat?

_A._--The sides of the internal furnaces or flues in all boilers should be
so constructed that the steam may readily escape from their surfaces, with
which view it is expedient to make the bottom of the flue somewhat wider
than the top, or slightly conical in the cross section; and the upper
plates should always be overlapped by the plates beneath, so that the steam
cannot be retained in the overlap, but will escape as soon as it is
generated. If the sides of the furnace be made high and perfectly vertical,
they will speedily be buckled and cracked by the heat, as a film of steam
in such a case will remain in contact with the iron which will prevent the
access of the water, and the iron of the boiler will be injured by the high
temperature it must in that case acquire. To moderate the intensity of the
heat acting upon the furnace sides, it is expedient to bring the outside
fire bars into close contact with the sides of the furnace, so as to
prevent the entrance of air through the fire in that situation, by which
the intensity of the heat would be increased. The tube plate nearest the
furnace in tubular boilers should also be so inclined as to facilitate the
escape of the steam; and the short bent plate or flange of the tube plate,
connecting the tube plate with the top of the furnace, should be made with
a gradual bend, as, if the bend be sudden, the iron will be apt to crack or
burn away from the concretion of salt. Where the furnace mouths are
contracted by bending in the sides and top of the furnace, as is the
general practice, the bends should be gradual, as salt is apt to accumulate
in the pockets made by a sudden bend, and the plates will then burn into

384. _Q._--In what manner is the tubing of boilers performed?

_A._--The tubes of marine boilers are generally iron tubes, three inches in
diameter, and between six and seven feet long; but sometimes brass tubes of
similar dimensions are employed. When brass tubes are employed, the use of
ferules driven into the ends of the tubes is sometimes employed to keep
them tight; but when the tubes are of malleable iron, of the thickness of
Russell's boiler tubes, they may be made tight merely by firmly driving
them into the tube plates, and the same may be done with thick brass tubes.
The holes in the tube plate next the front of the boiler are just sensibly
larger in diameter than the holes in the other tube plate, and the holes
upon the outer surfaces of both tube plates are very slightly countersunk.
The whole of the tubes are driven through both tube plates from the front
of the boiler,--the precaution, however, being taken to drive them in
gently at first with a light hand hammer, until the whole of the tubes have
been inserted to an equal depth, and then they may be driven up by degrees
with a heavy hammer, whereby any distortion of the holes from unequal
driving will be prevented. Finally, the ends of the tubes should be riveted
up so as to fill the countersink; the tubes should be left a little longer
than the distance between the outer surfaces of the tube plates, so that
the countersink at the ends may be filled by staving up the end of the tube
rather than by riveting it over; and the staving will be best accomplished
by means of a mandril with a collar upon it, which is driven into the tube
so that the collar rests upon the end of the tube to be riveted; or a tool
like a blunt chisel with a recess in its point may be used, as is the more
usual practice.

385. _Q._--Should not stays be introduced in substitution of some of the

_A._--It appears expedient in all cases that some of the tubes should be
screwed at the ends, so as to serve as stays if the riveting at the tube
ends happens to be burned away, and also to act as abutments to the riveted
tube--or else to introduce very strong rods of about the same diameter as a
tube, in substitution of some of the tubes; and these stays should have
nuts at each end both within and without the tube plates, which nuts should
be screwed up, with white lead interposed, before the tubes are inserted.
If the tubes are long, their expansion when the boiler is being blown off
will be apt to start them at the ends, unless very securely fixed; and it
is difficult to prevent brass tubes of large diameter and proportionate
length from being started at the ends, even when secured by ferules; but
the brass tubes commonly employed are so small as to be susceptible of
sufficient compression endways by the adhesion due to the ferules to
compensate for the expansion, whereby they are prevented from starting at
the ends. In some, of the early marine boilers fitted with brass tubes, a
galvanic action at the ends of the tubes was found to take place, and the
iron of the tube plates was wasted away in consequence, with rapidity; but
further experience proved the injury to be attributable chiefly to
imperfect fitting, whereby a leakage was caused that induced oxidation, and
when, the tubes were well fitted any injurious action at the ends of the
tubes was found to cease.

386. _Q._--What is the best mode of constructing the chimney and the parts
in connection therewith?

_A._--In sea-going steamers the funnel plates are usually about nine feet
long and 3/16ths thick; and where different flues or boilers have their
debouch in the same chimney, it is expedient to run division plates up the
chimney for a considerable distance, to keep the draughts distinct. The
dampers should not be in the chimney but at the end of the boiler flue, so
that they may be available for use if the funnel by accident be carried
away. The waste steam pipe should be of the same height as the funnel, so
as to carry the waste steam clear of it, for if the waste steam strikes the
funnel it will wear the iron into holes; and the waste steam pipes should
be made at the bottom with a faucet joint, to prevent the working of the
funnel, when the vessel rolls, from breaking the pipe at the neck. There
should be two hoops round the funnel, for the attachment of the funnel
shrouds, instead of one, so that the funnel may not be carried overboard if
one hoop breaks, or if the funnel breaks at the upper hoop from the
corrosive action of the waste steam, as sometimes happens. The deck over
the steam chest should be formed of an iron plate supported by angle iron
beams, and there should be a high angle iron cooming round the hole in the
deck through which the chimney ascends, to prevent any water upon the deck
from leaking down upon the boiler. Around the lower part of the funnel
there should be a sheet iron casing to prevent any inconvenient dispersion
of heat in that situation, and another short piece of casing, of a somewhat
larger diameter, and riveted to the chimney, should descend over the first
casing, so as to prevent the rain or spray which may beat against the
chimney from being poured down within the casing upon the top of the
boiler. The pipe for conducting away the waste water from the top of the
safety valve should lead overboard, and not into the bilge of the ship, as
inconvenience arises from the steam occasionally passing through it, if it
has its termination in the engine room.

387. _Q._--Are not the chimneys of some vessels made so that they may be
lowered when required?

_A._--The chimneys of small river vessels which have to pass under bridges
are generally formed with a hinge, so that they may be lowered backward
when passing under a bridge; and the chimneys of some screw vessels are
made so as to shut up like a spyglass when the fires are put out and the
vessel is navigated under sails. In smaller vessels, however, two lengths
of chimney suffice; and in that case there is a standing piece on deck,
which, however, does not project above the bulwarks.

388. _Q._--Will you explain any further details in the construction of
marine boilers which occur to you as important?

_A._--The man-hole and mud-hole doors, unless put on from the outside, like
a cylinder cover, with a great number of bolts, should be put on from the
inside with cross bars on the outside, and the bolts should be strong, and
have coarse threads and square nuts, so that the threads may not be
overrun, nor the nuts become round, by the unskilful manipulations of the
firemen, by whom these doors are removed or replaced. It is very expedient
that sufficient space should be left between the furnace and the tubes in
all tubular boilers to permit a boy to go in to clear away any scale that
may have formed, and to hold on the rivets in the event of repair being
wanted; and it is also expedient that a vertical row of tubes should be
left out opposite to each water space to allow the ascent of the steam and
descent of the water, as it has been found that the removal of the tubes in
that position, even in a boiler with deficient heating surface, has
increased the production of steam, and diminished the consumption of fuel.
The tubes should all be kept in the same vertical line, so as to permit the
introduction of an instrument to scrape them; but they may be zig-zagged in
the horizontal line, whereby a greater strength of metal will be obtained
around the holes in the tube plates, and the tubes should not be placed too
close together, else their heating efficacy will be impaired.


389. _Q._--What is the cause of the formation of scale in marine boilers?

_A._--Scale is formed in all boilers which contain earthy or saline
matters, just in the way in which a scaly deposit, or rock, as it is
sometimes termed, is formed in a tea kettle. In sea water the chief
ingredient is common salt, which exists in solution: the water admitted to
the boiler is taken away in the shape of steam, and the saline matter which
is not vaporizable accumulates in process of time in the boiler, until its
amount is so great that the water is saturated, or unable to hold any more
in solution; the salt is then precipitated and forms a deposit which
hardens by heat. The formation of scale, therefore, is similar to the
process of making salt from sea water by evaporation, the boiler being, in
fact, a large salt pan.

390. _Q._--But is the scale soluble in fresh water like the salt in a salt

_A._--No, it is not; or if soluble at all, is only so to a very limited
extent. The several ingredients in sea water begin to be precipitated from
solution at different degrees of concentration; and the sulphate and
carbonate of lime, which begin to be precipitated when a certain state of
concentration is reached, enter largely into the composition of scale, and
give it its insoluble character. Pieces of waste or other similar objects
left within a marine boiler appear, when taken out, as if they had been
petrified; and the scale deposited upon the flues of a marine boiler
resembles layers of stone.

391. _Q/_--Is much inconvenience experienced in marine boilers from these
incrustations upon the flues?

_A._--Incrustation in boilers at one time caused much more perplexity than
it does at present, as it was supposed that in some seas it was impossible
to prevent the boilers of a steamer from becoming salted up; but it has now
been satisfactorily ascertained that there is very little difference in the
saltness of different seas, and that however salt the water may be, the
boiler will be preserved from any injurious amount of incrustation by
blowing off, as it is called, very frequently, or by permitting a
considerable portion of the supersalted water to escape at short intervals
into the sea. If blowing off be sufficiently practised, the scale upon the
flues will never be much thicker than a sheet of writing paper, and _no
excuse_ should be accepted from engineers for permitting a boiler to be
damaged by the accumulation of calcareous deposit.

392. _Q._--What is the temperature at which sea water boils in a steam

_A._--Sea water contains about 1/33rd its weight of salt, and in the open
air it boils at the temperature of 213.2 deg.; if the proportion of salt be
increased to 2/33rds of the weight of the water, the boiling point will
rise to 214.4 deg.; with 3/33rds of salt the boiling point will be 215.5 deg.;
4/33rds, 216.7 deg.; 5/33rds, 217.9 deg.; 6/33rds, 219 deg.; 7/33rds, 220.2 deg.; 8/33rds,
221.4 deg.; 9/33rds, 222.5 deg.; 10/33rds, 223.7 deg.; 11/33rds, 224.9 deg.; and 12/33rds,
which is the point of saturation, 226 deg.. In a steam boiler the boiling
points of water containing these proportions of salt must be higher, as the
elevation of temperature due to the pressure of the steam has to be added
to that due to the saltness of the water; the temperature of steam at the
atmospheric pressure being 212 deg., its temperature, at a pressure of 15 lbs.
per square inch above the atmosphere, will be 250 deg., and adding to this 4.7 deg.
as the increased temperature due to the saltness of the water when it
contains 4/33rds of salt, we have 254.7 deg. as the temperature of the water in
the boiler, when it contains 4/33rds of salt and the pressure of the steam
is 15 lbs. on the square inch.

393. _Q._--What degree of concentration of the salt water may be safely
permitted in a boiler?

_A._--It is found by experience that when the concentration of the salt
water in a boiler is prevented from exceeding that point at which it
contains 2/33rds its weight of salt, no injurious incrustation will take
place, and as sea water contains only 1/33rd of its weight of salt, it is
clear that it must be reduced by evaporation to one half of its bulk before
it can contain 2/33rds of salt; or, in other words, a boiler must blow out
into the sea one half of the water it receives as feed, in order to prevent
the water from rising above 2/33rds of concentration, or 8 ounces of salt
to the gallon.

394. _Q._--How do you determine 8 ounces to the gallon to be equivalent to
twice the density of salt water, or "two salt waters" as it is sometimes

_A._--The density of the water of different seas varies somewhat. A gallon
of fresh water weighs 10 lbs.; a gallon of salt water from the Baltic
weighs 10.15 lbs.; a gallon of salt water from the Irish Channel weighs
10.28 lbs.; and a gallon of salt water from the Mediterranean 10.29 lbs. If
we take an average saltness represented by a weight of 10.25 lbs., then a
gallon of water concentrated to twice this saltness will weigh 10.5 lbs.,
or the salt in it will weigh .5 lbs or 8 oz., which is the proportion of 8
oz. to the gallon. However, the proportion of 2/33rds gives a greater
proportion than 8 oz. to the gallon, for 2/33 = 1/16 nearly, and 1/16 of 10
lbs. = 10 oz. By keeping the density of the water in a marine boiler at the
proportion of 8 or 10 oz. to the gallon, no inconvenient amount of scale
will be deposited on the flues or tubes. The bulk of water, it may be
remarked, is not increased by putting salt in it up to the point of
saturation, but only its density is increased.

395. _Q._--Is there not a great loss of heat by blowing off so large a
proportion of the heated water from the boiler?

_A._--The loss is not very great. Boilers are sometimes worked at a
saltness of 4/33rds, and taking this saltness and supposing the latent heat
of steam to be at 1000 deg. at the temperature of 212 deg., and reckoning the sum
of the latent and sensible heats as forming a constant quantity, the latent
heat of steam at the temperature of 250 deg. will be 962 deg., and the total heat
of the steam will be 1212 deg. in the case of fresh water; but as the feed
water is sent into the boiler at the temperature of 100 deg., the accession of
heat it receives from the fuel will be 1112 deg. in the case of fresh water, or
1112 deg. increased by 3.98 deg. in the case of water containing 4/33ds of salt--
the 3.98 deg. being the 4.7 deg. increase of temperature due to the presence of
4/33rds of salt, multiplied by 0.847 the specific heat of steam. This makes
the total accession of heat received by the steam in the boiler equal to
1115.98 deg., or say 1116 deg., which multiplied by 3, as 3 parts of the water are
raised into steam, gives us 3348 deg. for the heat in the steam, while the
accession of heat received in the boiler by the 1 part of residual brine
will be 154.7 deg., multiplied by 0.85, the specific heat of the brine, or
130.495 deg.; and 3348 deg. divided by 130.495 deg. is about 1/26th. It appears,
therefore, that by blowing off the boiler to such an extent that the
saltness shall not rise above what answers to 4/33rds of salt, about 1/25th
of the heat is blown into the sea; this is but a small proportion, and as
there will be a greater waste of heat, if from the existence of scale upon
the flues the heat can be only imperfectly transmitted to the water, there
cannot be even an economy of fuel in niggard blowing off, while it involves
the introduction of other evils. The proportion of 4/33rds of saltness,
however, or 16 oz. to the gallon, is larger than is advisable, especially
as it is difficult to keep the saltness at a perfectly uniform point, and
the working point should, therefore, be 2/33rds as before prescribed.

396. _Q._--Have no means been devised for turning to account the heat
contained in the brine which is expelled from the boiler?

_A._--To save a part of the heat lost by the operation of blowing off, the
hot brine is sometimes passed through a number of small tubes surrounded by
the feed water; but there is no very great gain from the use of such
apparatus, and the tubes are apt to become choked up, whereby the safety of
the boiler may be endangered by the injurious concentration of its
contents. Pumps, worked by the engine for the extraction of the brine, are
generally used in connection with the small tubes for the extraction of the
heat from the supersalted water; and if the tubes become choked the pumps
will cease to eject the water, while the engineer may consider them to be
all the while in operation.

397._Q._--What is the usual mode of blowing off the supersalted water from
the boiler?

_A._--The general mode of blowing off the boiler is to allow the water to
rise gradually for an hour or two above the lowest Working level, and then
to open the cock communicating with the sea, and keep it open until the
surface of the water within the boiler has fallen several inches; but in
some cases a cock of smaller size is allowed to run water continuously, and
in other cases brine pumps are used as already mentioned. In every case in
which the supersalted water is discharged from the boiler in a continuous
stream, a hydrometer or salt gauge of some convenient construction should
be applied to the boiler, so that the density of the water may at all times
be visible, and immediate notice be given of any interruption of the
operation. Various contrivances have been devised for this purpose, the
most of which operate on the principle of a hydrometer; but perhaps a more
satisfactory principle would be that of a differential steam gauge, which
would indicate the difference of pressure between the steam in the boiler
and the steam of a small quantity of fresh water enclosed in a suitable
vessel, and immerged in the water of the boiler.

398. _Q._--What is the advantage of blowing off from the surface of the
water in the boiler?

_A._--Blowing off from a point near the surface of the water is more
beneficial than blowing off from the bottom of the boiler. Solid particles
of any kind, it is well known, if introduced into boiling water, will lower
the boiling point in a slight degree, and the steam will chiefly be
generated on the surface of the particles, and indeed will have the
appearance of coming out of them; if the particles be small the steam
generated beneath and around them will balloon them to the surface of the
water, where the steam will be liberated and the particles will descend;
and the impalpable particles in a marine boiler, which by their subsidence
upon the flues concrete into scale, are carried in the first instance to
the surface of the water, so that if they be caught there and ejected from
the boiler, the formation of scale will be prevented.

399. _Q._--Are there any plans in operation for taking advantage of this
property of particles rising to the surface?

_A._--Advantage is taken of this property in Lamb's Scale Preventer, which
is substantially a contrivance for blowing off from the surface of the
water that in practice is found to be very effectual; but a float in
connection with a valve at the mouth of the discharging pipe is there
introduced, so as to regulate the quantity of water blown out by the height
of the water level, or by the extent of opening given to the feed cock. The
operation, however, of the contrivance would be much the same if the float
were dispensed with; but the float acts advantageously in hindering the
water from rising too high in the boiler, should too much feed be admitted,
and thereby obviates the risk of the water running over into the cylinder.
In some boilers sheet iron vessels, called sediment collectors, are
employed, which collect into them the impalpable matter, which in Lamb's
apparatus is ejected from the boiler at once. One of these vessels, of
about the size and shape of a loaf of sugar, is put into each boiler with
the apex of the cone turned downwards into a pipe leading overboard, for
conducting the sediment away from the boiler. The base of the cone stands
some distance above the water line, and in its sides conical slits are cut,
so as to establish a free communication between the water within the
conical vessel and the water outside it. The particles of stony matter
which are ballooned to the surface by the steam in every other part of the
boiler, subside within the cone, where, no steam being generated, the water
is consequently tranquil; and the deposit is discharged overboard by means
of a pipe communicating with the sea. By blowing off from the surface of
the water, the requisite cleansing action is obtained with less waste of
heat; and where the water is muddy, the foam upon the surface of the water
is ejected from the boiler--thereby removing one of the chief causes of

400. _Q._--What is the cause of the rapid corrosion of marine boilers?

_A._--Marine boilers are corroded externally in the region of the steam
chest by the dripping of water from the deck; the bottom of the boiler is
corroded by the action of the bilge water, and the ash pits by the practice
of quenching the ashes with, salt water. These sources of injury, however,
admit of easy remedy; the top of the boiler may be preserved from external
corrosion by covering it with felt upon which is laid sheet lead soldered
at every joint so as to be impenetrable to water; the ash pits may be
shielded by guard plates which are plates fitting into the ash pits and
attached to the boiler by a few bolts, so that when worn they may be
removed and new ones substituted, whereby any wear upon the boiler in that
part will be prevented; and there will be very little wear upon the bottom
of a boiler if it be imbedded in mastic cement laid upon a suitable

401. _Q._--Are not marine boilers subject to internal corrosion?

_A._--Yes; the greatest part of the corrosion of a boiler takes place in
the inside of the steam chest, and the origin of this corrosion is one of
the obscurest subjects in the whole range of engineering. It cannot be from
the chemical action of the salt water upon the iron, for the flues and
other parts of the boiler beneath the water suffer very little from
corrosion, and in steam vessels provided with Hall's condensers, which
supply the boiler with fresh water, not much increased durability of the
boiler has been experienced. Nevertheless, marine boilers seldom last more
than for 5 or 6 years, whereas land boilers made of the same quality of
iron often last 18 or 20 years, and it does not appear probable that land
boilers would last a very much shorter time if salt water were used in
them. The thin film of scale spread over the parts of a marine boiler
situated beneath the water, effectually protect them from corrosion; and
when the other parts are completely worn out the flues generally remain so
perfect, that the hammer marks upon them are as conspicuous as at their
first formation. The operation of the steam in corroding the interior of
the boiler is most capricious--the parts which are most rapidly worn away
in one boiler being untouched in another; and in some cases one side of a
steam chest will be very much wasted away while the opposite side remains
uninjured. Sometimes the iron exfoliates in the shape of a black oxide
which comes away in flakes like the leaves of a book, while in other cases
the iron appears as if eaten away by a strong acid which had a solvent
action upon it. The application of felt to the outside of a boiler, has in
several cases been found to accelerate sensibly its internal corrosion;
boilers in which there is a large accumulation of scale appear to be more
corroded than where there is no such deposit; and where the funnel passes
through the steam chest the iron of the steam chest is invariably much more
corroded than where the funnel does not pass through it.

402. _Q._--Can you suggest no reason for the rapid internal corrosion of
marine boilers?

_A._--The facts which I have enumerated appear to indicate that the
internal corrosion of marine boilers is attributable chiefly to the
existence of surcharged steam within them, which is steam to which an
additional quantity of heat has been communicated subsequently to its
generation, so that its temperature is greater than is due to its elastic
force; and on this hypothesis the observed facts relative to corrosion
become to some extent explicable. Felt, applied to the outside of a boiler,
may accelerate its internal corrosion by keeping the steam in a surcharged
state, when by the dispersion of a part of the heat it would cease to be in
that state; boilers in which there is a large accumulation of scale must
have worked with the water very salt, which necessarily produces surcharged
steam; for the temperature of steam cannot be less than that of the water
from which it is generated, and inasmuch as the boiling point of water,
under any given pressure, rises with the saltness of the water, the
temperature of the steam must rise with the saltness of the water, the
pressure remaining the same; or, in other words, the steam must have a
higher temperature than is due to its elastic force, or be in the state of
surcharged steam. The circumstance of the chimney flue passing through the
steam will manifestly surcharge the steam with heat, so that all the
circumstances which are found to accelerate corrosion, are it appears such
as would also induce the formation of surcharged steam.

403. _Q._--Is it the natural effect of surcharged steam to waste away iron?

_A._--It is the natural effect of surcharged steam to oxidate the iron with
which it is in contact, as is illustrated by the familiar process for
making hydrogen gas by sending steam through a red hot tube filled with
pieces of iron; and although the action of the surcharged steam in a boiler
is necessarily very much weaker than where the iron is red hot, it
manifestly must have _some_ oxidizing effect, and the amount of corrosion
produced may be very material where the action is perpetual. Boilers with a
large extent of heating surface, or with descending flues circulating
through the cooler water in the bottom of the boiler before ascending the
chimney, will be less corroded internally than boilers in which a large
quantity of the heat passes away in the smoke; and the corrosion of the
boiler will be diminished if the interior of any flue passing through the
steam be coated with fire brick, so as to present the transmission of the
heat in that situation. The best practice, however, appears to consist in
the transmission of the smoke through a suitable passage on the outside of
the boiler, so as to supersede the necessity of carrying any flue through
the steam at all; or a column of water may be carried round the chimney,
into which as much of the feed water may be introduced as the heat of the
chimney is capable of raising to the boiling point, as under this
limitation the presence of feed water around the chimney in the steam chest
will fail to condense the steam.

404. _Q._--In steam vessels there are usually several boilers?

_A._--Yes, in steam vessels of considerable power and size.

405. _Q._--Are these boilers generally so constructed, that any one of them
may be thrown out of use?

_A._--Marine boilers are now generally supplied with stop valves, whereby
one boiler may be thrown out of use without impairing the efficacy of the
remainder. These stop valves are usually spindle valves of large size, and
they are for the most part set in a pipe which runs across the steam
chests, connecting the several boilers together. The spindles of these
valves should project through stuffing boxes in the covers of the valve
chests, and they should be balanced by a weighted lever, and kept in
continual action by the steam. If the valves be lifted up, and be suffered
to remain up, as is the usual practice, they will become fixed by corrosion
in that position, and it will be impossible after some time to shut them on
an emergency. These valves should always be easily accessible from the
engine room; and it ought not to be necessary for the coal boxes to be
empty to gain access to them.

406. _Q._--Should each boiler have at least one safety valve for itself?

_A._--Yes; it would be quite unsafe without this provision, as the stop
valve might possibly jam. Sometimes valves jam from a distortion in the
shape of the boiler when a considerable pressure is put upon it.

407. _Q._--How is the admission of the water into the boiler regulated?

_A._--The admission of feed water into the boiler is regulated by hand by
the engineer by means of cocks, and sometimes by spindle valves raised and
lowered by a screw. Cocks appear to be the preferable expedient, as they
are less liable to accident or derangement than screw valves, and in modern
steam vessels they are generally employed.

408. _Q._--At what point of the boiler is the feed introduced?

_A._--The feed water is usually conducted from the feed cock to a point
near the bottom of the boiler by means of an internal pipe, the object of
this arrangement being to prevent the rising steam from being condensed by
the entering water. By being introduced near the bottom of the boiler, the
water comes into contact in the first place with the bottoms of the
furnaces and flues, and extracts heat from them which could not be
extracted by water of a higher temperature, whereby a saving of fuel is
accomplished. In some cases the feed water is introduced into a casing
around the chimney, from whence it descends into the boiler. This plan
appears to be an expedient one when the boiler is short of heating surface,
and more than a usual quantity of heat ascends the chimney; but in well
proportioned boilers a water casing round the chimney is superfluous. When
a water casing is used the boiler is generally fed by a head of water, the
feed water being forced up into a small tank, from whence it descends into
the boiler by the force of gravity, while the surplus runs to waste, as in
the feeding apparatus of land engines.

409. _Q._--Suppose that the engineer should shut off the feed water from
the boilers while the engine was working, what would be the result?

_A._--The result would be to burst the feed pipes, except for a safety
valve placed on the feed pipe between the engine and the boilers, which
safety valve opens when any undue pressure comes upon the pipes, and allows
the water to escape. There is, however, generally a cock on the suction
side of the feed pump, which regulates the quantity of water drawn into the
pump. But there must be cocks on the boilers also to determine into which
boiler the water shall be chiefly discharged, and these cocks are sometimes
all shut accidentally at the same time.

410. _Q._--Is there no expedient in use in steam vessels for enabling the
position of the water level in the boiler to determine the quantity of feed
water admitted?

_A._--In some steam vessels floats have been introduced to regulate the
feed, but their action cannot be depended on in agitated water, if applied
after the common fashion. Floats would probably answer if placed in a
cylinder which communicates with the water in the boiler by means of small
holes; and a disc of metal might be attached to the end of a rod extending
beneath the water level, so as to resist irregular movements from the
motion of the ship at sea, which would otherwise impair the action of the

411. _Q._--How is the proper level of the water in the boiler of a steam
vessel maintained when, the engine is stopped for some time, and the boiler
is blowing off steam?

_A._--By means of a separate pump worked sometimes by hand, but usually by
a small separate engine called the Donkey engine. This pump, by the aid of
suitable cocks, will pump from the sea into the boiler; from the sea upon
deck either to wash decks or to extinguish fire; and from the bilge
overboard, through a suitable orifice in the side of the ship.


412. _Q._--Will you recapitulate the general features of locomotive

_A._--Locomotive boilers consist of three portions (see fig. 29): the
barrel E, E, containing the tubes, the fire box B, and the smoke box F; of
which the barrel smoke box, and external fire box are always of iron, but
the internal fire box is generally made of copper, though sometimes also it
is made of iron. The tubes are sometimes of iron, but generally of brass
fixed in by ferules. The whole of the iron plates of a locomotive boiler
Which are subjected to the pressure of steam, should be Lowmoor or Bowling
plates of the best quality; and the copper should be coarse grained, rather
than rich or soft, and be perfectly free from irregularities of structure
and lamination.

413. _Q._--What are the usual dimensions of the barrel?

_A._--The thickness of the plates composing the barrel of the boiler varies
generally from 5/16ths to 3/8ths of an inch, and the plates should run in
the direction of the circumference, so that the fibres of the iron may be
in the direction of the strain. The diameter of the barrel commonly varies
from 3 ft. to 3 ft. 6 inches; the diameter of the rivets should be from
11/16ths to 3/4ths of an inch, and the pitch of the rivets or distance
between their centres should be from 17/8th to 2 inches.

414. _Q._--How are the fire boxes of a locomotive constructed?

_A._--The space between the external and internal fire boxes forms a water
space, which must be stayed every 4-1/2 or 5 inches by means of copper or
iron stay bolts, screwed through the outer fire box into the metal of the
inner fire box, and securely riveted within it: iron stay bolts are as
durable as copper, and their superior tenacity gives them an advantage.
Sometimes tubes are employed as stays. The internal and external fire boxes
are joined together at the bottom by a N-shaped iron, and round the fire
door they are connected by means of a copper ring 1-1/4 in. thick, and 2
in. broad,--the inner fire box being dished sufficiently outward at that
point, and the outer fire box sufficiently inward, to enable a circle of
rivets 3/4 of an inch in diameter passing through the copper ring and the
two thicknesses of iron, to make a water-tight joint. The thickness of the
plates composing the external fire box is in general 3/8ths of an inch if
the fire box is circular, and from 3/8ths to 1/2 inch if the fire box is
square; and the thickness of the internal fire box is in most cases 7/16ths
if copper, and from 3/8ths to 7/16ths of an inch if of iron. Circular
internal fire boxes, if made of iron, should be welded rather than riveted,
as the rivet heads are liable to be burnt away by the action of the fire;
and when the fire boxes are square each side should consist of a single
plate, turned over at the edges with a radius of 3 inches, for the
introduction of the rivets.

415. _Q._--Is there any provision for stiffening the crown of the furnace
in a locomotive?

_A._--The roof of the internal fire box, whether flat as in Stephenson's
engines, or dome shaped as in Bury's, requires to be stiffened with cross
stay bars, but the bars require to be stronger and more numerous when
applied to a flat surface. The ends of these stay bars rest above the
vertical sides of the fire box; and to the stay bars thus extending across
the crown, the crown is attached at intervals by means of stay bolts. There
are projecting bosses upon the stay bars encircling the bolts at every
point where a bolt goes through, but in the other parts they are kept clear
of the fire box crown so as to permit the access of water to the metal;
and, with the view of facilitating the ascent of the steam, the bottom of
each stay bar should be sharpened away in those parts where it does not
touch the boiler.

416. _Q._--Is any inconvenience experienced from the intense heat in a
locomotive furnace?

_A._--The fire bars in locomotives have always been a source of trouble, as
from the intensity of the heat in the furnace they become so hot as to
throw off a scale, and to bend under the weight of the fuel. The best
alleviation of these evils lies in making the bars deep and thin: 4 or 5
inches deep by five eighths of an inch thick on the upper side, and three
eighths of an inch on the under side, are found in practice to be good
dimensions. In some locomotives a frame carrying a number of fire bars is
made so that it may be dropped suddenly by loosening a catch; but it is
found that any such mechanism can rarely be long kept in working order, as
the molten clinker by running down between the frame and the boiler will
generally glue the frame into its place. It is therefore found preferable
to fix the frame, and to lift up the bars by the dart used by the stoker,
when any cause requires the fire to be withdrawn. The furnace bars of
locomotives are always made of malleable iron, and indeed for every species
of boiler malleable iron bars are to be preferred to bars of cast iron, as
they are more durable, and may if thin be set closer together, whereby the
small coal or coke is saved that would otherwise fall into the ash pit. The
ash box of locomotives is made of plate iron, a quarter thick: it should
not be less than 10 in. deep, and its bottom should be about 9 in. above
the level of the rails. The chimney of a locomotive is made of plate iron
one eighth of an inch thick: it is usually of the same diameter as the
cylinder, but is better smaller, and must not stand more than 14 ft. high
above the level of the rails.

417. _Q._--Are locomotive boilers provided with a steam chest?

_A._--The upper portion of the external fire box is usually formed into a
steam chest, which is sometimes dome shaped, sometimes semicircular, and
sometimes of a pyramidical form, and from this steam chest the steam is
conducted away by an internal pipe to the cylinders; but in other cases an
independent steam chest is set upon the barrel of the boiler, consisting of
a plate iron cylinder, 20 inches in diameter, 2 feet high, and three
eighths of an inch thick, with a dome shaped top, and with the seam welded
and the edge turned over to form a flange of attachment to the boiler. The
pyramidical dome, of the form employed in Stephenson's locomotives,
presents a considerable extent of flat surface to the pressure of the
steam, and this flat surface requires to be very strongly stayed with angle
irons and tension rods; whereas the semiglobular dome of the kind employed
in Bury's engines requires no staying whatever. Latterly, however, these
domes over the fire box have been either much reduced in size or abandoned

418. _Q._--Is any beneficial use made of the surplus steam of a locomotive?

_A._--To save the steam which is formed when the engine is stationary, a
pipe is usually fitted to the boiler, which on a cock being turned conducts
the steam into the water in the tender, whereby the feed water is heated,
and less fuel is subsequently required. This method of disposing of the
surplus steam may be adopted when the locomotive is descending inclines, or
on any occasion where more steam is produced than the engine can consume.

419._Q._--What means are provided to facilitate the inspection and cleaning
of locomotive boilers?

_A._--The man hole, or entrance into the boiler, consists of a circular or
oval aperture of about 15 in. diameter, placed in Bury's locomotive at the
apex of the dome, and in Stephenson's upon the front of the boiler, a few
inches below the level of the rounded part; and the cover of the man hole
in Bury's engine contains the safety valve seats. In whatever situation
this man hole is placed, the surfaces of the ring encircling the hole, and
of the internal part of the door or cover, should be accurately fitted
together by scraping or grinding, so that they need only the interposition
of a little red lead to make them quite tight when screwed together. Lead
or canvas joints, if of any considerable thickness, will not long withstand
the action of high pressure steam; and the whole of the joints about a
locomotive should be such that they require nothing more than a little
paint or putty, or a ring of wire gauze smeared with white or red lead to
make them perfectly tight. There must be a mud hole opposite the edge of
each water space, if the fire box be square, to enable the boiler to be
easily cleaned out, and these holes are most conveniently closed by screwed
plugs made slightly taper. A cock for emptying the boiler is usually fixed
at the bottom of the fire box, and it should be so placed as to be
accessible when the engine is at work, in order that the engine driver may
blow off some water if necessary; but it must not be in such a position as
to send the water blown off among the machinery, as it might carry sand or
grit into the bearings, to their manifest injury.

420. _Q._--Will you state the dimensions of the tube plate, and the means
of securing the tubes in it?

_A._--The tube plates are generally made from five eighths to three fourths
of an inch thick, but seven eighths of an inch thick appears to be
preferable, as when the plate is thick the holes will not be so liable to
change their figure during the process of feruling the tubes: the distance
between the tubes should never be made less than three fourths of an inch,
and the holes should be slightly tapered so as to enable the tubes to hold
the tube plates together. The tubes are secured in the tube plates by means
of taper ferules driven into the ends of the tubes. The ferules are for the
most part made of steel at the fire box end, and of wrought iron at the
smoke box end, though ferules of malleable cast iron have in some cases
been used with advantage: malleable cast iron ferules are almost as easily
expanded when hammered cold upon a mandrel, as the common wrought iron ones
are at a working heat. Spring steel, rolled with a feather edge, to
facilitate its conversion into ferules, is supplied by some of the
steel-makers of Sheffield, and it appears expedient to make use of steel
thus prepared when steel ferules are employed. In cases where ferules are
not employed, it may be advisable to set out the tube behind the tube plate
by means of an expanding mandrel. There are various forms of this
instrument. One form is that known as Prosser's expanding mandrel, in which
there are six or eight segments, which are forced out by means of a
hexagonal or octagonal wedge, which is forced forward by a screw. When the
wedge is withdrawn, the segments collapse sufficiently to enable them to
enter the tube, and there is an annular protuberance on the exterior circle
of the segments, which protuberance, when the mandrel is put into the tube,
just comes behind the inner edge of the tube plate. When the wedge is
tightened up by the screw, the protuberance on the exterior of the segments
composing the mandrel causes a corresponding bulge to take place in the
tube, at the back of the tube plate, and the tube is thereby brought into
more intimate contact with the tube plate than would otherwise be the case.
There is a steel ring indented into the segments of Prosser's mandrel, to
contract the segments when the central wedge is withdrawn. A more
convenient form of the instrument, however, is obtained by placing the
segments in a circular box, with one end projecting; and supporting each
segment in the box by a tenon, which fits into a mortise in the cylindrical
box. To expand the segments, a round tapered piece of steel, like a drift,
is forced into a central hole, round which the segments are arranged. A
piece of steel tube, also slit up to enable a central drift to expand it,
answers very well; but the thickness of that part of the tube in which
there requires to be spring enough to let the mandrel expand, requires to
be sufficiently reduced to prevent the pieces from cracking when the
central drift is driven in by a hammer. The drift is better when made with
a globular head, so that it may be struck back by the hammer, as well as be
driven in. An expanding mandrel, with a central drift, is more rapid in its
operation than when the expansion is produced by means of a screw.

421. _Q._--Will you explain the means that are adopted to regulate the
admission of steam to the cylinders?

_A._--In locomotives, the admission of the steam from the boiler to the
cylinders is regulated by a valve called the regulator, which is generally
placed immediately above the internal fire box, and is connected with two
copper pipes;--one conducting steam from the highest point of the dome down
to it, and the other conducting the steam that has passed through it along
the boiler to the upper part of the smoke box. Regulators may be divided
into two sorts, viz., those with, sliding valves and steam ports, and those
with conical valves and seats, of which the latter kind are the best. The
former kind have for the most part consisted of a circular valve and face,
with radial apertures, the valve resembling the outstretched wings of a
butterfly, and being made to revolve on its central pivot by connecting
links between its outer edges, or by its central spindle. In some of
Stephenson's engines the regulator consists of a slide valve covering a
port on the top of the valve chests. A rod passes from this valve through
the smoke box below the boiler, and by means of a lever parallel to the
starting lever, is brought up to the engineer's reach. Cocks were at first
used as regulators, but were given up, as they were found liable to stick
fast. A gridiron slide valve has been used by Stephenson, which consists of
a perforated square moving upon a face with an equal number of holes. This
plan of a valve gives, with a small movement, a large area of opening. In
Bury's engines a sort of conical plug is used, which is withdrawn by
turning the handle in front of the fire box: a spiral grove of a very large
pitch is made in the valve spindle, in which fits a pin fixed to the
boiler, and by turning the spindle an end motion is given to it, which
either shuts or opens the steam passage according to the direction in which
it is turned. The best regulator would probably be a valve of the
equilibrium description, such as is used in the Cornish engine: there would
be no friction in such a regulator, and it could be opened or shut with a
small amount of force. Such valves, indeed, are now sometimes employed for
regulators in locomotives.




422. _Q._--Will you explain the course of procedure in the erection of a
pumping engine, such as Boulton and Watt introduced into Cornwall?

_A._--The best instructions on this subject are those of Mr. Watt himself,
which are as follows:--Having fixed on the proper situation of the pump in
the pit, from its centre measure out the distance to the centre of the
cylinder, from which set off all the other dimensions of the house,
including the thickness of the walls, and dig out the whole of the included
ground to the depth of the bottom of the cellar, so that the bottom of the
cylinder may stand on a level with the natural ground of the place, or
lower, if convenient, for the less the height of the house above the
ground, the firmer it will be. The foundations of the walls must be laid at
least two feet lower than the bottom of the cellar, unless the foundation
be firm rock; and care must be taken to leave a small drain into the pit
quite through the lowest part of the foundation of the lever wall, to let
off any water that may be spilt in the engine house, or may naturally come
into the cellar. If the foundation at that depth does not prove good, you
must either go down to a better if in your reach, or make it good by a
platform of wood or piles, or both.

423. _Q._--These directions refer to the foundations?

_A._.--Yes; but I will now proceed to the other parts. Within the house,
low walls must be built to carry the cylinder beams, so as to leave
sufficient room to come at the holding down bolts, and the ends of these
beams must also be lodged in the wall The lever wall must be built in the
firmest manner, and run solid, course by course, with thin lime mortar,
care being taken that the lime has not been long slaked. If the house be
built of stone, let the stones be large and long, and let many headers be
laid through the wall: it should also be a rule, that every stone be laid
on the broadest bed it has, and never set on its edge. A course or two
above the lintel of the door that leads to the condenser, build into the
wall two parallel flat thin bars of iron equally distant from each other,
and from the outside and inside of the wall, and reaching the whole breadth
of the lever wall. About a foot higher in the wall, lay at every four feet
of the breadth of the front, other bars of the same kind at right angles to
the former course, and reaching quite through the thickness of the wall;
and at each front corner lay a long bar in the middle of the side walls,
and reaching quite through the front wall; if these bars are 10 feet or 12
feet long it will be sufficient. When the house is built up nearly to the
bottom of the opening under the great beam another double course of bars is
to be built in, as has been directed. At the level of the upper cylinder
beams, holes must be left in the walls for their ends, with room to move
them laterally, so that the cylinder may be got in; and smaller holes must
be left quite through the walls for the introduction of iron bars, which
being firmly fastened to the cylinder beams at one end, and screwed at the
other or outer end, will serve, by their going through both the front and
back walls, to bind the house more firmly together. The spring beams or
iron bars fastened to them must reach quite through the back wall, and be
keyed or screwed up tight; and they must be firmly fastened to the lever
wall on each side, either by iron bars, firm pieces of wood, or long strong
stones, reaching far back into the wall. They must also be bedded solidly,
and the residue of the opening must be built up in the firmest manner.

424. _Q._--If there be a deficiency of water for the purpose of
condensation, what course should be pursued?

_A._--If there be no water in the neighborhood that can be employed for the
purpose of condensation, it will be necessary to make a pond, dug in the
earth, for the reception of the water delivered by the air pump, to the end
that it may be cooled and used again for the engine. The pond may be three
or four feet deep, and lined with turf, puddled, or otherwise made water
tight. Throwing up the water into the air in the form of a jet to cool it,
has been found detrimental; as the water is then charged with air which
vitiates the vacuum.

425. _Q._--How is the piston of a pumping engine packed?

_A._--To pack the piston, take sixty common-sized white or untarred
rope-yarns, and with them plait a gasket or flat rope as close and firm as
possible, tapering for eighteen inches at each end, and long enough to go
round the piston, and overlapped for that length; coil this rope the thin
way as hard as possible, and beat it with a sledge hammer until its breadth
answers the place; put it in and beat it down with a wooden drift and a
hand mallet, pour some melted tallow all around, then pack in a layer of
white oakum half an inch thick, so that the whole packing may have the
depth of five to six inches, depending on the size of the engine; finally,
screw down the junk ring. The packing should be beat solid, but not too
hard, otherwise it will create so great a friction as to prevent the easy
going of the engine. Abundance of tallow should be allowed, especially at
first; the quantity required will be less as the cylinder grows smooth. In
some of the more modern pumping engines, the piston is provided with
metallic packing, consisting for the most part of a single ring with a
tongue piece to break the joint, and packed behind with hemp. The upper
edge of the metallic ring is sharpened away from the inside so as to permit
more conveniently the application of hemp packing behind it; and the junk
ring is made much the same as if no metallic packing were employed.

426. _Q._--Will you explain the mode of putting the engine into operation?

_A._--To set the engine going, the steam must be raised until the pressure
in the steam pipe is at least equal to three pounds on the square inch; and
when the cylinder jacket is fully warmed, and steam issues freely from the
jacket cock, open all the valves or regulators; the steam will then
forcibly blow out the air or water contained in the eduction pipe, and to
get rid of the air in the cylinder, shut the steam valve after having blown
through the engine for a few minutes. The cold water round the condenser
will condense some of the steam contained in the eduction pipe, and its
place will be supplied by some of the air from the cylinder. The steam
valve must again be opened to blow out that air, and the operation is to be
repeated until the air is all drawn out of the cylinder. When that is the
case shut all the valves, and observe if the vacuum gauge shows a vacuum in
the condenser; when there is a vacuum equivalent to three inches of
mercury, open the injection a very little, and shut it again immediately;
and if this produces any considerable vacuum, open the exhausting valve a
very little way, and the injection at the same time. If the engine does not
now commence its motion, it must be blown through again until it moves. If
the engine be lightly loaded, or if there be no water in the pumps, the
throttle valve must be kept nearly closed, and the top and exhaustion
regulators must be opened only a very little way, else the engine will make
its stroke with violence, and perhaps do mischief. If there is much
unbalanced weight on the pump end, the plug which opens the steam valve
must be so regulated, that the valve will only be opened very slightly; and
if after a few strokes it is found that the engine goes out too slowly, the
valve may be then so adjusted as to open wider. The engine should always be
made to work full stroke, that is, until the catch pins be made to come
within half an inch of the springs at each end, and the piston should stand
high enough in the cylinder when the engine is at rest, to spill over into
the perpendicular steam pipe any water which may be condensed above it; for
if water remain upon the piston, it will increase the consumption of steam.
When the engine is to be stopped, shut the injection valve and secure it,
and adjust the tappets so as to prevent the exhausting valve from opening
and to allow the steam valve to open and remain open, otherwise a partial
vacuum may arise in the cylinder, and it may be filled with water from the
injection or from leaks. A single acting engine, when it is in good order,
ought to be capable of going as slow as one stroke in ten minutes, and as
fast as ten strokes in one minute; and if it does not fulfil these
conditions, there is some fault which should be ascertained and remedied.

427. _Q._--Your explanation has reference to the pumping engine as
introduced into Cornwall by Watt: have any modifications been since made
upon it?

_A._--In the modern Cornish engines the steam is used very expansively, and
a high pressure of steam is employed. In some cases a double cylinder
engine is used, in which the steam, after having given motion to a small
piston on the principle of a high pressure engine, passes into a larger
cylinder, where it operates on the principle of a condensing engine; but
there is no superior effect gained by the use of two cylinders, and there
is greater complexity in the apparatus. Instead of the lever walls, cast
iron columns are now frequently used for supporting the main beam in
pumping engines, and the cylinder end of the main beam is generally made
longer than the pump end in engines made in Cornwall, so as to enable the
cylinder to have a long stroke, and the piston to move quickly, without
communicating such a velocity to the pump buckets as will make them work
with such a shock as to wear themselves out quickly. A high pressure of
steam, too, can be employed where the stroke is long, without involving the
necessity of making the working parts of such large dimensions as would
otherwise be necessary; for the strength of the parts of a single acting
engine will require to be much the same, whatever the length of the stroke
may be.

428. _Q._--What kind of pump is mostly used in draining deep mines?

_A._--The pump now universally preferred is the plunger pump, which admits
of being packed or tightened while the engine is at work; but the lowest
lift of a mine is generally supplied with a pump on the suction principle,
both with the view of enabling the lowest pipe to follow the water with
facility as the shaft is sunk deeper, and to obviate the inconvenience of
the valves of the pump being rendered inaccessible by any flooding in the
mine. The pump valves of deep mines are a perpetual source of expense and
trouble, as from the pressure of water upon them it is difficult to prevent
them from closing with violence; and many expedients have been contrived to
mitigate the evil, of which the valve known as Harvey and West's valve has
perhaps gained the widest acceptation.

429. _Q._--Will you describe Harvey and West's pump valve?

_A._--This valve is a compromise between the equilibrium valve, of the kind
employed for admitting the steam to and from the cylinder in single acting
engines, and the common spindle valve formerly used for that purpose; and
to comprehend its action, it is necessary that the action of the
equilibrium valve, which has been already represented fig. 34, should first
be understood. This valve consists substantially of a cylinder open at both
ends, and capable of sliding upon a stationary piston fixed upon a rod the
length of the cylinder, which proceeds from the centre of the orifice the
valve is intended to close. It is clear, that when the cylinder is pressed
down until its edge rests upon the bottom of the box containing it, the
orifice of the pipe must be closed, as the steam can neither escape past
the edge of the cylinder nor between the cylinder and the piston; and it is
equally clear, that as the pressure upon the cylinder is equal all around
it, and the whole of the downward pressure is maintained by the stationary
piston, the cylinder can be raised or lowered without any further exertion
of force than is necessary to overcome the friction of the piston and of
the rod by which the cylinder is raised. Instead of the rubbing surface of
a piston, however, a conical valve face between the cylinder and piston is
employed, which is tight only when the cylinder is in its lowest position;
and there is a similar face between, the edge of the cylinder and the
bottom of the box in which it is placed. The moving part of the valve, too,
instead of being a perfect cylinder, is bulged outward in the middle, so as
to permit the steam to escape past the stationary piston when the
cylindrical part of the valve is raised. It is clear, that if such a valve
were applied to a pump, no pressure of water within the pump would suffice
to open it, neither would any pressure of water above the valve cause it to
shut with violence; and if an equilibrium valve, therefore, be used as a
pump valve at all, it must be opened and shut by mechanical means. In
Harvey and West's valves, however, the equilibrium principle is only
partially adopted; the lower face is considerably larger in diameter than
the upper face, and the difference constitutes an annulus of pressure,
which will cause the valve to open or shut with the same force as a spindle
valve of the area of the annulus. To deaden the shock still more
effectually, the lower face of the valve is made to strike upon end wood
driven into an annular recess in the pump bucket; and valves thus
constructed work with very little noise or tremor; but it is found in
practice, that the use of Harvey and West's valve, or any contrivance of a
similar kind, adds materially to the load upon the pump, especially in low
lifts where the addition of a load, to the valve makes a material addition
to the total resistance which the engine has to overcome. Instead of end
wood driven into a recess for the valve to strike upon, a mixture of tin
and lead cast in a recess is now frequently used, and is found to be
preferable to the wood.

430. _Q._--Is there any other kind of pump valve which is free from the
shocks incidental to the working of common valves?

_A._--In some cases canvass valves are used for pumps, with the effect of
materially mitigating the shock; but they require frequent renewal, and are
of inferior eligibility in their action to the slide valve, which might in
many cases be applied to pumps without inconvenience.

431. _Q._--Could not a form of pump be devised capable of working without
valves at all?

_A._.--It appears probable, that by working a common reciprocating pump at
a high speed, a continuous flow of water might be maintained through the
pipes in such a way as to render the existence of any valves superfluous
after once the action was begun, the momentum of the moving water acting in
fact as valves. The centrifugal pump, however, threatens to supersede pumps
of every other kind; and if the centrifugal pump be employed there will be
no necessity for pump valves at all. There is less loss of effect by the
centrifugal pump than by the common pump.

432. _Q._--What is the best form of the centrifugal pump?

_A._--There are two forms in which the centrifugal pump may be applied to
mines;--that in which the arms diverge from the bottom, like the letter V;
and that in which revolving arms are set in a tight case near the bottom of
the mine, and are turned by a shaft from the surface. Such pumps both draw
and force; and either by arranging them in a succession of lifts in the
shaft of the mine, or otherwise, the water may be drawn without
inconvenience from any depth. The introduction of the centrifugal pump
would obviously extinguish the single acting engine, as rotative engines
working at a high speed would be the most appropriate form of engine where
the centrifugal pump was employed.

433. _Q._--This would not be a heavy deprivation?

_A._--The single acting engine is a remnant of engineering barbarism which
must now be superseded by more compendious contrivances. The Cornish
engines, though rudely manufactured, are very expensive in production, as a
large engine does but little work; whereas by employing a smaller engine,
moving with a high speed, the dimensions may be so far diminished that the
most refined machinery may be obtained at less than the present cost.

434. _Q._--Are not the Cornish engines more economical in fuel than other

_A._--It is a mistake to suppose that there is any peculiar virtue in the
existing form of Cornish engine to make it economical in fuel, or that a
less lethargic engine would necessarily be less efficient. The large duty
of the engines in Cornwall is traceable to the large employment of the
principle of expansion, and to a few other causes which may be made of
quite as decisive efficacy in smaller engines working with a quicker speed;
and there is therefore no argument in the performance of the present
engines against the proposed substitution.


435. _Q._--What species of paddle engine do you consider to be the best?

_A._--The oscillating engine.

436. _Q._--Will you explain the grounds of that preference?

_A._--The engine occupies little space, consists of few parts, is easily
accessible for repairs, and may be both light and strong at the same time.
In the case of large engines the crank in the intermediate shaft is a
disadvantage, as it is difficult to obtain such a forging quite sound. But
by forging it in three cranked flat bars, which are then laid together and
welded into a square shaft, a sound forging will be more probable, and the
bars should be rounded a little on the sides which are welded to allow the
scoriae to escape during that operation. It is important in so large a
forging not to let the fire be too fierce, else the surface of the iron
will be burnt before the heart is brought to a welding heat. In some cases
in oscillating engines the air pump has been wrought by an eccentric, and
that may at any time be done where doubt of obtaining a sound intermediate
shaft is entertained; but the precaution must be taken to make the
eccentric very wide so as to distribute the pressure over a large surface,
else the eccentric will be apt to heat.

437. _Q._--Have not objections been brought against the oscillating engine?

_A._--In common with every other improvement, the oscillating engine, at
the time of its introduction, encountered much opposition. The cylinder, it
was said, would become oval, the trunnion bearings would be liable to heat
and the trunnion joints to leak, the strain upon the trunnions would be apt
to bend in or bend out the sides of the cylinder; and the circumstance of
the cylinder being fixed across its centre, while the shaft requires to
accommodate itself to the working of the ship, might, it was thought, be
the occasion of such a strain upon the trunnions as would either break them
or bend the piston rod. It is a sufficient reply to these objections to say
that they are all hypothetical, and that none of them in practice have been
found to exist--to such an extent at least as to occasion any
inconvenience; but it is not difficult to show that they are altogether
unsubstantial, even without a recourse to the disproofs afforded by

438. _Q._--Is there not a liability in the cylinder to become oval from the
strain thrown on it by the piston?

_A._--There is, no doubt, a tendency in oscillating engines for the
cylinder and the stuffing box to become oval, but after a number of years'
wear it is found that the amount of ellipticity is less than that which is
found to exist in the cylinders of side lever engines after a similar
trial. The resistance opposed by friction to the oscillation of the
cylinder is so small, that a man is capable of moving a large cylinder with
one hand; whereas in the side lever engine, if the parallel motion be in
the least untrue, which is, at some time or other, an almost inevitable
condition, the piston is pushed with great force against the side of the
cylinder, whereby a large amount of wear and friction is occasioned. The
trunnion bearings, instead of being liable to heat like other journals, are
kept down to the temperature of the steam by the flow of steam passing
through them; and the trunnion packings are not liable to leak when the
packings, before being introduced, are squeezed in a cylindrical mould.

439. _Q._--Might not the eduction trunnions be immersed in water?

_A._--In some cases a hollow, or lantern brass, about one third or one
fourth the length of the packing space, and supplied with steam or water by
a pipe, is introduced in the middle of the packing, so that if there be any
leakage through the trunnion, it will be a leakage of steam or water, which
will not vitiate the vacuum; but in ordinary cases this device will not be
necessary, and it is not commonly employed. It is clear that there can be
no buckling of the sides of the cylinder by the strain upon the trunnions,
if the cylinder be made strong enough, and in cylinders of the ordinary
thickness such an action has never been experienced; nor is it the fact,
that the intermediate shaft of steam vessels, to which part alone the
motion is communicated by the engine, requires to adapt itself to the
altering forms of the vessel, as the engine and intermediate shaft are
rigidly connected, although the paddle shaft requires to be capable of such
an adaptation. Even if this objection existed, however, it could easily be
met by making the crank pin of the ball and socket fashion, which would
permit the position of the intermediate shaft, relatively with that of the
cylinder, to be slightly changed, without throwing an undue strain upon any
of the working parts.

440. _Q._--Is the trunk engine inferior to the oscillating?

_A._--A very elegant and efficient arrangement of trunk engine suitable for
paddle vessels has latterly been employed by Messrs. Rennie, of which all
the parts resemble those of Penn's oscillating engine except that the
cylinders are stationary instead of being movable; and a round trunk or
pipe set upon the piston, and moving steam tight through the cylinder
cover, enables the connecting rod which is fixed to the piston to vibrate
within it to the requisite extent. But the vice of all trunk engines is
that they are necessarily more wasteful of steam, as the large mass of
metal entering into the composition of the trunk, moving as it does
alternately into the atmosphere and the steam, must cool and condense a
part of the steam. The radiation of heat from the interior of the trunk
will have the same operation, though in vertical trunk engines the loss
from this cause might probably be reduced by filling the trunk with oil, so
far as this could be done without the oil being spilt over the edge.

441. _Q._--What species of screw engine do you consider the best?

_A._--I am inclined to give the preference to a variety of the horizontal
steeple engine, such as was first used in H.M.S. Amphion. In this engine
the cylinders lie on their sides, and they are placed near the side of the
vessel with their mouths pointing to the keel. From each cylinder two long
piston rods proceed across the vessel to a cross head working in guides;
and from this cross head a connecting rod returns back to the centre of the
vessel and gives motion to the crank. The piston rods are so placed in the
piston that one of them passes above the crank shaft, and the other below
the crank shaft. The cross head lies in the same horizontal plane as the
centre of the cylinder, and a lug projects upwards from the cross head to
engage one piston rod, and downwards from the cross head to engage the
other piston rod. The air pump is double acting, and its piston or bucket
has the same stroke as the piston of the engine. The air pump bucket
derives its motion from an arm on the cross head, and a similar arm is
usually employed in engines of this class to work the feed and bilge pumps.

442. _Q._--Is not inconvenience experienced in direct acting screw engines
from the great velocity of their motion?

_A._--Not if they are properly constructed; but they require to be much
stronger, to be fitted with more care, and to have the bearing surfaces
much larger than is necessary in engines moving slowly. The momentum of the
reciprocating parts should also be balanced by a weight applied to the
crank or crank shaft, as is done in locomotives. A very convenient
arrangement for obtaining surface is to form the crank of each engine of
two cast iron discs cast with heavy sides, the excess of weight upon the
heavy sides being nearly equal to that of the piston and its connections.
When the piston is travelling in one direction the weights are travelling
in the opposite; and the momentum of the piston and its attachments, which
is arrested at each reciprocation, is just balanced by the equal and
opposite momentum of the weights. One advantage of the horizontal engine
is, that a single engine may be employed, whereby greater simplicity of the
machinery and greater economy of fuel will be obtained, since there will be
less radiating surface in one cylinder than in two.


443. _Q._--Is it a beneficial practice to make cylinders with steam

_A._--In Cornwall, where great attention is paid to economy of fuel, all
the engines are made with steam jackets, and in some cases a flue winds
spirally round the cylinder, for keeping the steam hot. Mr. Watt, in his
early practice, discarded the steam jacket for a time, but resumed it
again, as he found its discontinuance occasioned a perceptible waste of
fuel; and in modern engines it has been found that where a jacket is used
less coal is consumed than where the use of a jacket is rejected. The cause
of this diminished effect is not of very easy perception, for the jacket
exposes a larger radiating surface for the escape of the heat than the
cylinder; nevertheless, the fact has been established beyond doubt by
repeated trials, that engines provided with a jacket are more economical
than engines without one. The exterior of the cylinder, or jacket, should
be covered with several plies of felt, and then be cased in timber, which
must be very narrow, the boards being first dried in a stove, and then
bound round the cylinder with hoops, like the staves of a cask. In many of
the Cornish engines the steam is let into casings formed in the cylinder
cover and cylinder bottom, for the further economisation of the heat, and
the cylinder stuffing box is made very deep, and a lantern or hollow brass
is introduced into the centre of the packing, into which brass the steam
gains admission by a pipe provided for the purpose; so that in the event of
the packing becoming leaky, it will be steam that will be leaked into the
cylinder instead of air, which, being incondensable, would impair the
efficiency of the engine. A lantern brass, of a similar kind, is sometimes
introduced into the stuffing boxes of oscillating engines, but its use
there is to receive the lateral pressure of the piston rod, and thus take
any strain off the packing.

444. _Q._--Will you explain the proper course to pursue in the production
of cylinders?

_A._--In all engines the valve casing, if made in a separate piece from the
cylinder, should be attached by means of a metallic joint, as such a
barbarism as a rust joint in such situations is no longer permissible. In
the case of large engines with valve casings suitable for long slides, an
expansion joint in the valve casing should invariably be inserted,
otherwise the steam, by gaining admission to the valve casing before it can
enter the cylinder, expands the casing while the cylinder remains unaltered
in its dimensions, and the joints are damaged, and in some cases the
cylinder is cracked by the great strain thus introduced. The chest of the
blow-through valve is very commonly cast upon the valve casing; and in
engines where the cylinders are stationary this is the most convenient
practice. All engines, where the valve is not of such a construction as to
leave the face when a pressure exceeding that of the steam is created in
the cylinder by priming or otherwise, should be provided with an escape
valve to let out the water, and such valve should be so constructed that
the water cannot fly out with violence over the attendants; but it should
be conducted away by a suitable pipe, to a place where its discharge can
occasion no inconvenience. The stuffing boxes of all engines which cannot
be stopped frequently to be repacked, should be made very deep; metallic
packing in the stuffing box has been used in some engines, consisting in
most instances of one or more rings, cut, sprung, and slipped upon the
piston rod before the cross head is put on, and packed with hemp behind.
This species of packing answers very well when the parallel motion is true,
and the piston rod free from scratches, and it accomplishes a material
saving of tallow. In some cases a piece of sheet brass, packed behind with
hemp, has been introduced with good effect, a flange being turned over on
the under edge of the brass to prevent it from slipping up or down with the
motion of the rod. The sheet brass speedily puts an excellent polish upon
the rod, and such a packing is more easily kept, and requires less tallow
than where hemp alone is employed. In side lever marine engines the
attachments of the cylinder to the diagonal stay are generally made of too
small an area, and the flanges are made too thick. A very thick flange cast
on any part of a cylinder endangers the soundness of the cylinder, by
inducing an unequal contraction of the metal; and it is a preferable course
to make the flange for the attachment or the framing thin, and the surface
large--the bolts being turned bolts and nicely fitted. If from malformation
in this part the framing works to an inconvenient extent, the best
expedient appears to be the introduction of a number of steel tapered
bolts, the holes having been previously bored out; and if the flanges be
thick enough, square keys may also be introduced, half into one flange and
half into the other, so as to receive the strain. If the jaw cracks or
breaks away, however, it will be best to apply a malleable iron hoop around
the cylinder to take the strain, and this will in all cases be the
preferable expedient, where from any peculiarities of structure there is a
difficulty in introducing bolts and keys of sufficient strength.

445. _Q._--Which is the most eligible species of piston?

_A._--For large engines, pistons with a metallic packing, consisting of a
single ring, with the ends morticed into one another, and a piece of metal
let in flush over the joint and riveted to one end of the ring, appears to
be the best species of piston; and if the cylinder be oscillating, it will
be expedient to chamfer off the upper edge of the ring on the inner side,
and to pack it at the back with hemp. If the cylinder be a stationary one,
springs may be substituted for the hemp packing, but in any case it will be
expedient to make the vertical joints of the ends of the ring run a little
obliquely, so as to prevent the joint forming a ridge in the cylinder. For
small pistons two rings may be employed, made somewhat eccentric internally
to give a greater thickness of metal in the centre of the ring; these rings
must be set one above the other in the cylinder, and the joints, which are
oblique, must be set at right angles with one another, so as to obviate any
disposition of the rings, in their expansion, to wear the cylinder oval.
The rings must first be turned a little larger than the diameter of the
cylinder, and a piece is then to be cut out, so that when the ends are
brought together the ring will just enter within the cylinder. The ring,
while retained in a state of compression, is then to be put in the lathe
and turned very truly, and finally it is to be hammered on the inside with
the small end of the hammer, to expand the metal, and thus increase the

446. _Q._--The rings should be carefully fitted to one another laterally?

_A._--The rings are to be fitted laterally to the piston, and to one
another, by scraping--a steady pin being fixed upon the flange of the
piston, and fitting into a corresponding hole in the lower ring, to keep
the lower ring from turning round; and a similar pin being fixed into the
top edge of the lower ring to prevent the upper ring from turning round;
but the holes into which these pins fit must be made oblong, to enable the
rings to press outward as the rubbing surfaces wear. In most cases it will
be expedient to press the packing rings out with springs where they are not
packed behind with hemp, and the springs should be made very strong, as the
prevailing fault of springs is their weakness. Sometimes short bent
springs, set round at regular intervals between the packing rings and body
of the piston, are employed, the centre of each spring being secured by a
steady pin or bolt screwed into the side of the piston; but it will not
signify much what kind of springs is used, provided they have sufficient
tension. When pistons are made of a single ring, or of a succession of
single rings, the strength of each ring should be tested previously to its
introduction into the piston, by means of a lever loaded by a heavy weight.

447. _Q._--What kind of piston is employed by Messrs. Penn?

_A._--Messrs. Penn's piston for oscillating engines has a single packing
ring, with a tongue piece, or mortice end, made in the manner already
described. The ring is packed behind with hemp packing, and the piece of
metal which covers the joint is a piece of thick sheet copper or brass, and
is indented into the iron of the ring, so as to offer no obstruction to the
application of the hemp. The ring is fitted to the piston only on the under
edge; the top edge is rounded to a point from the inside, and the junk ring
does not bear upon it, but the junk ring squeezes down the hemp packing
between the packing ring and the body of the piston.

448. _Q._--How should the piston rod be secured to the piston?

_A._--The piston rod, where it fits into the piston, should have a good
deal of taper; for if the taper be too small the rod will be drawn through
the hole, and the piston will be split asunder. Small grooves are sometimes
turned out of the piston rod above and below the cutter hole, and hemp is
introduced in order to make the piston eye tight. Most piston rods are
fixed to the piston by means of a gib and cutter, but in some cases the
upper portion of the rod within the eye is screwed, and it is fixed into
the piston by means of an indented nut. This nut is in some cases
hexagonal, and in other cases the exterior forms a portion of a cone which
completely fills a corresponding recess in the piston; but nuts made in
this way become rusted into their seat after some time, and cannot be
started again without much difficulty. Messrs. Miller, Ravenhill & Co. fix
in their piston rods by means of an indented hexagonal nut, which may be
started by means of an open box key. The thread of the screw is made flat
upon the one side and much slanted on the other, whereby a greater strength
is secured, without creating any disposition to split the nut. In side
lever engines it is a judicious practice to add a nut to the top of the
piston rod, in addition to the cutter for securing the piston rod to the
cross head. In a good example of an engine thus provided, the piston rod is
7 in. in diameter, and the screw 5 in.; the part of the rod which fits into
the cross head eye is 1 ft. 5-1/2 in. long, and tapers from 6-1/2 in. to
6-13/16 in. diameter. This proportion of taper is a good one; if the taper
be less, or if a portion of the piston rod within the cross head eye be
left untapered, as is sometimes the case, it is very difficult to detach
the parts from one another.

449. _Q._--Which is the most beneficial construction of slide valve?

_A._--The best construction of slide valve appears to be that adopted by
Messrs. Penn for their larger engines, and which consists of a three ported
valve, to the back of which a ring is applied of an area equal to that of
exhaustion port, and which, by bearing steam tight against the back of the
casing, so that a vacuum may be maintained within the ring, puts the valve
in equilibrium, so that it may be moved with an inconsiderable exercise of
force. The back of the valve casing is put on like a door, and its internal
surface is made very true by scraping. There is a hole through the valve so
as to conduct away any steam which may enter within the ring by leakage,
and the ring is kept tight against the back of the casing by means of a
ring situated beneath the bearing ring, provided with four lugs, through
which bolts pass tapped into bosses on the back of the valve; and, by
unscrewing these bolts,--which may be done by means of a box key which
passes through holes in the casing closed with screwed plugs,--the lower
ring is raised upwards, carrying the bearing ring before it. The rings must
obviously be fitted over a boss upon the back of the valve; and between the
rings, which are of brass, a gasket ring is interposed to compensate by its
compressibility for any irregularity of pressure, and each of the bolts is
provided with a ratchet collar to prevent it from turning back, so that the
engineer, in tightening these bolts, will have no difficulty in tightening
them equally, if he counts the number of clicks made by the ratchet. Where
this species of valve is used, it is indispensable that large escape valves
be applied to the cylinder, as a valve on this construction is unable to
leave the face. In locomotive engines, the valve universally employed is
the common three ported valve.

450. _Q._--Might not an equilibrium valve be so constructed by the
interposition of springs, as to enable it to leave the cylinder face when
an internal force is applied?

_A._--That can no doubt be done, and in some engines has been done. In the
screw steamer Azof, the valve is of the equilibrium construction, but the
plate which carries the packing on which the top ring rests, is an octagon,
and fits into an octagonal recess on the back of the valve. Below each side
of the octagon there is a bent flat spring, which lifts up the octagonal
plate, and with it the packing ring against the back of the valve casing;
and should water get into the cylinder, it escapes by lifting the valve,
which is rendered possible by the compressibility of the springs. An
equivalent arrangement is shown in figs. 39 and 40, where the ring is
lifted by spiral springs.

[Illustration: Fig. 39. EQUILIBRIUM GRIDIRON SLIDE VALVE. Longitudinal
Section. Scale 3/4 inch = 1 foot.]

451. _Q._--What species of valve is that shown in figs. 39 and 40?

[Illustration: Fig. 40. EQUILIBRIUM GRIDIRON SLIDE VALVE. Back View with
Ring removed. Scale 3/4 inch = 1 foot.]

_A._--It is an equilibrium gridiron valve; so called because it lets the
steam in and out by more than one port. A A are the ordinary steam
passages to the top and bottom of the cylinder; B B is the ring which rubs
against the back of the valve casing, and D is the eduction passage, S S S
S shows the limits of the steam space, for the steam penetrates to the
central chamber S S by the sides of the valve. When the valve is opened
upon the steam side, the cylinder receives steam through both ports at that
end of the cylinder, and both ports at the other end of the cylinder are at
the same time open to the eduction. The benefit of this species of valve
is, that it gives the same opening of the valve that is given in ordinary
engines, with half the amount of travel; or if three ports were made
instead of two, then it would give the same area of opening that is given
in common engines with one third the amount of travel. For direct acting
screw engines this species of valve is now extensively used.

452. _Q._--Will you describe the configuration and mode of attachment of
the eccentric by which the valve is moved?

_A._--In marine engines, whether paddle or screw, if moving at a slow rate
of speed, the eccentric is generally loose upon the shaft, for the purpose
of backing, and is furnished with a back balance and catches, so that it
may stand either in the position for going ahead, or in that for going
astern. The body of the eccentric is of cast iron, and it is put on the
shaft in two pieces. The halves are put together with rebated joints to
keep them from separating laterally, and they are prevented from sliding
out by round steel pins, each ground into both halves; square keys would
probably be preferable to round pins in this arrangement, as the pins tend
to wedge the jaws of the eccentric asunder. In some cases the halves of the
eccentric are bolted together by means of flanges, which is, perhaps, the
preferable practice. The eccentric hoop in marine and land engines is
generally of brass; it is expedient to cast an oil cup on the eccentric
hoop, and, where practicable, a pan should be placed beneath the eccentric
for the reception of the oil droppings. The notch of the eccentric rod for
the reception of the pin of the valve shaft is usually steeled, to prevent
inconvenient wear; for when the sides of the notch wear, the valve movement
is not only disturbed, but it is very difficult to throw the eccentric rod
out of gear. It is found to be preferable, however, to fit this notch with
a brass bush, for the wear is then less rapid, and it is an easy thing to
replace this bush with another when it becomes worn. The eccentric catches
of the kind usually employed in marine engines, sometimes break off at the
first bolt hole, and it is preferable to have a bolt in advance of the
catch face, or to have a hoop encircling the shaft with the catches welded
on it, the hoop itself being fixed by bolts or a key. This hoop may either
be put on before the cranks in one piece or afterwards in two pieces.

453. _Q._--Are such eccentrics used in direct acting screw engines?

_A._--No; direct acting screw engines are usually fitted with the link
motion and two fixed eccentrics.


454. _Q._--What are the details of the air pump?

_A._--The air pump bucket and valves are all of brass in modern marine
engines, and the chamber of the pump is lined with copper, or made wholly
of brass, whereby a single boring suffices. When a copper lining is used,
the pump is first bored out, and a bent sheet of copper is introduced,
which is made accurately to fill the place, by hammering the copper on the
inside. Air pump rods of Muntz's metal or copper are much used. Iron rods
covered with brass are generally wasted away where the bottom cone fits
into the bucket eye, and if the casing be at all porous, the water will
insinuate itself between the casing and the rod and eat away the iron. If
iron rods covered with brass be used, the brass casing should come some
distance into the bucket eye; the cutter should be of brass, and a brass
washer should cover the under side of the eye, so as to defend the end of
the rod from the salt water. Rods of Muntz's metal are probably on the
whole to be preferred. It is a good practice to put a nut on the top of the
rod, to secure it more firmly in the cross head eye, where that plan can be
conveniently adopted. The part of the rod which fits into the cross head
eye should have more taper when made of copper or brass, than when made of
iron; as, if the taper be small, the rod may get staved into the eye,
whereby its detachment will be difficult.

455. _Q._--What species of packing is used in air pumps?

_A._--Metallic packing has in some instances been employed in air pump
buckets, but its success has not been such as to lead to its further
adoption. The packing commonly employed is hemp. A deep solid block of
metal, however, without any packing, is often employed with a satisfactory
result; but this block should have circular grooves cut round its edge to
hold water. Where ordinary packing is employed, the bucket should always be
made with a junk ring, whereby the packing may be easily screwed down at
any time with facility. In slow moving engines the bucket valve is
generally of the spindle or pot-lid kind, but butterfly valves are
sometimes used. The foot and delivery valves are for the most part of the
flap or hanging kind. These valves all make a considerable noise in
working, and are objectionable in many ways. Valves on Belidor's
construction, which is in effect that of a throttle valve hung off the
centre, were some years ago proposed for the delivery and foot valves; and
it appears probable that their operation would be more satisfactory than
that of the valves usually employed.

456. _Q._--Where is the delivery valve usually situated?

_A._--Some delivery valve seats are bolted into the mouth of the air pump,
whereby access to the pump bucket is rendered difficult: but more commonly
the delivery valve is a flap valve exterior to the pump. If delivery valve
seats be put in the mouth of the air pump at all, the best mode of fixing
them appears to be that adopted by Messrs. Maudslay. The top of the pump
barrel is made quite fair across, and upon this flat surface a plate
containing the delivery valve is set, there being a small ledge all round
to keep it steady. Between the bottom of the stuffing box of the pump cover
and the eye of the valve seat a short pipe extends encircling the pump rod,
its lower end checked into the eye of the valve seat, and its upper end
widening out to form the bottom of the stuffing box of the pump cover. Upon
the top of this pipe some screws press, which are accessible from the top
of the stuffing box gland, and the packing also aids in keeping down the
pipe, the function of which is to retain the valve seat in its place. When
the pump bucket has to be examined the valve seat may be slung with the
cover, so as to come up with the same purchase. For the bucket valves of
such pumps Messrs. Maudslay employ two or more concentric ring valves with
a small lift. These valves have given a good deal of trouble in some cases,
in consequence of the frequent fracture of the bolts which guide and
confine the rings; but this is only a fault of detail which is easily
remedied, and the principle appears to be superior to that of any of the
other metallic air pump valves at present in common use.

[Illustration: Fig. 41. TRUNK AIR PUMP. Scale 3/4 inch to 1 foot.]

457. _Q._--Are not air pump valves now very generally made of india rubber?

_A._--They are almost invariably so made if the engines are travelling
fast, as in the case of direct acting screw engines, and they are very
often made of large discs or rings of india rubber, even when the engines
travel slowly. A very usual and eligible arrangement for many purposes is
that shown in fig. 41, where both foot and delivery valves are situated in
the ends of the pump, and they, as well as the valve in the bucket are made
of india rubber rings closing on a grating. The trunk in the air pump
enables guide rods to be dispensed with.

[Illustration: Fig. 42. PENN'S DISK VALVE FOR AIR PUMP. Section.]

[Illustration: Fig. 43. PENN'S DISK VALVE FOR AIR PUMP. Ground Plan.]

[Illustration: Fig. 44. MAUDSLAY'S DISC VALVE FOR AIR PUMP. Section.]

458. _Q._--The air pump, when double acting, has of course inlet and outlet
valves at each end?

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