STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 03 Jul 2015, 04:18

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The gas engine was closely related to the steam engine and some were big engines. The Powell Duffryn Coal Company in South Wales favoured them for electricity generation. Here's the impressive engine at Bargoed power station.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 04 Jul 2015, 05:46

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One of the things that fascinated me when I was running the engine was the way I could take pics on long exposures which captured the motion. In this case this is a view of the LP pedestal you couldn't see any other way. Notice how the banjo on the oiler looks stationary as well.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Travis » 04 Jul 2015, 19:22

The engine in Malta Mill in Middleton Junction.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 05 Jul 2015, 03:43

Malta Mill, Middleton. 1200hp vertical triple expansion engines by Buckley and Taylor, 1904. HP Cylinder, Intermediate 32" and LP 52" X 4ft stroke. 169psi. 72rpm, flywheel 22ft diameter, 32 ropes. Corliss valves on all cylinders. Air pump driven from LP crosshead, Eight bearing crankshaft. Stopped 1963.
[From Steam Engine Research Resources by SCG. Published by Lulu.com.]
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 06 Jul 2015, 05:41

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John Burlison pic Nov 2014 of the key handing over ceremony in Leigh Spinners engine room, accepting the keys from Leigh Spinners Ltd, are from left-right Trevor Barton M.B.E. chairman of the Leigh Preservation trust charity, and Andy Burnham M.P. one of its trustee's, Peter Horrocks, managing director of Leigh Spinners Ltd, is handing over the keys.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 07 Jul 2015, 03:54

The thing that always struck me about Yates and Thom engines was the fact that wherever possible they used the lathe rather than the planing machine. All guides were bored..... When Yates were on their own before the amalgamation they used flat crosshead guides..... (The Leigh engine is possibly the last Yates and Thom, The Jubilee is a Yates)
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 09 Jul 2015, 06:03

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John Burlison has sent me this pic of Dan Adamson's boiler works at Dukinfield in 1932. They were very important boiler makers ranking with the best in the country. It was Adamson's who introduced the Adamson ring, the solid ring inserted in the joint between furnace tubes in Lancashire boilers which was a great improvement rapidly taken up by other manufacturers because it made the tubes more durable under expansion and contraction.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 10 Jul 2015, 04:26

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Another pic from John Burlison. Rolling boiler shell plates at Dan Adamson's boiler works at Dukinfield in the 1930s.
[click any of these pics to enlarge....]
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 11 Jul 2015, 06:08

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Click to enlarge this lovely pic sent by John Burlison of completed boilers leaving Dan Adamson's in the 1930s. Old fashioned British industry.... Lovely.
[Note the London and North Eastern Railway name on the loco, so it's definitely after the re-organisation of rail in 1923]
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 12 Jul 2015, 04:54

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Click to enlarge. Another pic from John, an aerial view of the works in 1938.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 13 Jul 2015, 05:24

Lovely pics from John and they got me to thinking about the boiler-making trade. They made other things of course and I once worked on a range of Kiers which are large spherical vessels mounted on trunnions which were loaded with cloth and dye from the floor above and then rotated while live steam entered through a hollow trunnion. They ran at about 80psi and were very heavily built. We were replacing some rivets round the trunnion and they were 10" long. What fascinated me was how they made the spherical curve on the 3/4" boiler plate and I asked an old boiler maker who used to visit us at REW. He said that in latter days they were made under presses by specialist firms but the early ones were made by hammering the red hot plate on formers with 14lb hammers! The mind boggles at this being even possible.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 14 Jul 2015, 04:32

Mick the Shed examined the donkey engine yesterday and found it good.... Nice!
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 16 Jul 2015, 05:44

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I have no doubt that visitors to the engine house went away with the impression that I had a very easy job, just sit in the chair watching the engine and walk round checking the oil;s very ten minutes... Oh, and a bit of light cleaning thrown in.
Dream on Kids! They never saw me fighting with things like the air pump in the cellar, essential for economy and without doubt the worst air pump in the world. Roberts designed their own pump and incorporated air chambers in the side of the chamber that were supposed to fill with air and give a cushion on the start of the pressure stroke. They were useless... No matter what I did I never got better than 25" vacuum out of the pump and often a lot lower than that. If I had had an Edward's pump I would have been running on 28" and saved a lot of coal. Pity the management couldn't see that. I suggested the change but 'It would cost too much'.....
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 17 Jul 2015, 04:47

Coincidentally, John sent me this pic of the air pump at Bancroft in 2010. It's still got the old fault! The water level shouldn't be that high. The large box like lumps on the outside are the air chambers that never worked as intended.

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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Tizer » 18 Jul 2015, 10:07

Stanley wrote:Click to enlarge this lovely pic sent by John Burlison of completed boilers leaving Dan Adamson's in the 1930s. Old fashioned British industry.... Lovely. [Note the London and North Eastern Railway name on the loco, so it's definitely after the re-organisation of rail in 1923]
There's another old photo of the Adamson factory with railway loco and boilers on bogie wagons, but taken earlier, on this web page: LINK

I've sent a web link to John Burlison's photo on Stanley's above post to the Railway Modeller magazine suggesting the Daniel Adamson factory and its railway traffic would make a great modelling project for the magazine's readers.

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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 19 Jul 2015, 04:04

Dan Adamson was very active in boiler improvements and particularly in starting the original Boiler Insurance scheme in Manchester in association with Fairbairn.
All heavy engineering factories had to have a rail connection until the 1930s when long distance heavy haulage using specialised internal combustion engined tractors became available.

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A Landing Craft Minor leaving General Gas Appliances in Audenshaw, Manchester in 1943.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 20 Jul 2015, 06:26

In Richard Ryley's diary for 1862 [On the site} he recounts how on March 22nd he went to Gill Brow to watch the new boiler for Butts Mill being brought in from Sandbeds at Keighley where it was made. It weighed about 20 tons and extra horses were added to get up the hill, 21 in all. In addition 50 or sixty men helped push the load. Not long after traction engines became common but his account gives a glimpse of the effort needed to move large objects before the days of modern transport and good roads. As transport improved the size of boilers went up. This would be a fairly light Cornish boiler with a single flue. The larger Lancashire boilers on the train at Adamson's weighed around 35 tons.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 21 Jul 2015, 04:38

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Another pic from John. An Adamson boiler on its setting and having the brickwork built round it. This is the back end of course, they are working on the downtake and explosion box.....
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 22 Jul 2015, 04:14

I'm always struck by the fact that when visiting steaming engines most visitors pay little attention to the 'dirty' side of the job, the boiler. There is more to boiler setting than meets the aye and when I was doing Ellenroad I completely reset the remaining Lancashire boiler and built the integral wall between the boiler house and the exhibition space. I incorporated some ideas of my own and it is a very efficient setting. If you look at the outside walls of boiler settings almost all have expansion cracks. As far as I know the high wall into the exhibition space has never moved. That's a bit of a miracle but I wonder how many people ever realise.... Must go to Ellenroad and have a look at it.....
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 23 Jul 2015, 05:14

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When we reset the boiler at Ellenroad we didn't skimp on anything. Here's the structure of the top of the side flue. It was finished off with the original stone flags. A lovely job, the lads did well even though none of them had any experience, simply good supervision by skilled bricklayers....
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 24 Jul 2015, 04:36

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John Burlison sent me this image this morning. He wrote.....

MESSRS. W. POULTON AND SON, READING
From January 4th 1908, a Lancashire boiler (attached photo) seated on the Poulton principle shows the cirvilinear shape of the blocks that wherever they come in contact with the boiler plates, which gives increased heating surface where the heating surface is most valuable.
My reply to John...
Thanks for the pic John/ That's the front of the boiler and all I can see that is different is the curved firebrick blocks used under the front of the boiler for the enclosure round the swan neck of the blowdown and the fact that they have used seating blocks, like the ones at the bottom of the side flue which take the weight of the boiler, as cover tiles for the top of the side flue.

If you look at my picture yesterday of the top of the side flue at Ellenroad you'll see that I used the standard, lighter, flue tiles for the top of the flue. Nothing wrong with using seating blocks of course.
Just one point about the levels of the flue tops, it should be below the low water level so that there is never any possibility of hot flue gases having access to plate not protected on the inside by water. I have seen at least one boiler where this rule was ignored. Very bad practice.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 25 Jul 2015, 04:22

Have a look at this LINK for a good example of how important boiler settings were.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 26 Jul 2015, 06:05

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A little known feature of a well set Lancashire boiler is the explosion box over the downtake at the back of the boiler. Only twin flued boilers needed them and they weren't always fitted as they were expensive. The explosions they were meant to protect against were caused by the recommended practice of firing one furnace while the other was burning clear and bright. The intention was that as the hot gas off the good fire met the unconsumed volatiles [smoke] at the back of the boiler the former would ignite the latter giving greater efficiency and less smoke. This worked but it was found that this explosive burning happened in the downtake at the back of the boiler where the two streams of gas mingled before passing forward through the sole flue and then splitting into two again for the side flues.
This succession of small explosions created a vibration which was bad for the complicated brickwork at the back of the boiler and so a mid-feather was installed, a vertical wall of brickwork that kept the two flows separate until they entered the sole flue which was much stronger and could easily withstand the vibrations.
However, occasionally, under extreme conditions you could still get a damaging ignition in the downtake and the cure was this heavy iron casting forming the roof of the downtake which had a loose cast iron lid over each chamber. If there was an explosion the lid lifted and relieved the pressure. Hence the name 'Explosion Box'.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 27 Jul 2015, 04:58

I never experienced explosions in the downtake but occasionally noted a vibration at the back of the boiler which I think was caused by multiple small ignitions as the gas flows mixed.
One interesting use of the explosion box was pointed out to me by my flueing man, Charlie Sutton. He said that more than one nagging wife had gone into the downtake and been completely consumed by the hot gases. He said that he had occasionally found small nuggets of gold there and he reckoned they were from gold teeth and wedding rings. Once, at Burnley General Hospital he and Jack found a human arm. Evidently the incinerator had failed and it had been put in the downtake to get rid of it. Another thing that happened frequently was people bring a dead dog or cat the be burned. Charlie said that if this was less than a fortnight before flueing you could still smell them in the flues. I was once told that a farmer took a pig to Long Ing Shed to be burned but as they were putting it through the furnace door it swelled up and jammed. I don't know if this is true but it sounds feasible.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 28 Jul 2015, 04:47

One of the major sources of loss of efficiency in boilers was air leakage into the flues though cracked brickwork caused by expansion and contraction. Time spent with the 'magic wand, a piece of 1/2" pipe with a rope threaded through, soaked in paraffin and lit, was well spent. Leaks sucked the flame in and a rendering with fireclay plugged them up. Johnny Pickles always said that a medium sized leak lost a barrow load of coal a week. I'm sure he was guessing but the principle was right.
That's reminded me of the derogatory way our managing director used to treat me when I was telling him how we could save coal. He said he would only be interested if I could guarantee to send coal back to the colliery. It was attitudes like this in management that held efficiency back for so long. When I was pressing for renewal of the stokers and told him I could see ten pound notes fluttering out of the chimney and floating off down Barlick he still couldn't get it. It was that attitude that closed us down when we were still making a profit.....
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