STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Bodger » 01 Nov 2015, 16:41

Now thats what i call a steam engine !!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qa3luVe ... e=youtu.be

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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 02 Nov 2015, 05:48

Bodge... Interesting. No wonder they never wore out, the bloody thing is hardly moving! I was wanting to see it pick it's feet up and get going!
This was something that Johnny and Newton often commented on, the extreme conservatism of the original designers who often set the maximum speed of their engine to what they saw as a safe and economical level, at the same time sacrificing power and often smoothness of operation. Most engine in the mills ran at a normal speed of about 75rpm. Newtons favourite engine was the little Burnley Ironworks at Clough which did 96rpm. Newton called it 'ticky tocketty'.

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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Travis » 02 Nov 2015, 20:23

Not sure where this came from but I reckon it went with a bang.


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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 03 Nov 2015, 04:30

It asked me to sign in, no thanks!
There were two slow running engines in Barlick the big horizontal that Clough put in to replace the beam and the Musgrave at Butts. Both reckoned by both Newton and his dad to be wastrels. The Americans were more adventurous than us, they made smaller, lighter engines that ran faster.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 04 Nov 2015, 07:16

One thing about engine speeds that I was aware of because I had read Henry Corliss' account of running an engine at high speed with slack crank and crosshead bearings is that the faster you run the less the bearings knock. As Newton said when it happened to us was that they hadn't got time to knock, they just floated in the bearings. Our experience with this was when we ran the Ellenroad engine under steam for the first time for many years and it over-speeded because I was experimenting to see how much effect the vacuum had when stopping, We agreed that instead of doing it's normal 55rpm it was around 100rpm and the funny thing is that it ran beautifully even though we knew there was play in the crosshead and probably the crank as well. Not to be recommended!

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Newton oiling the pedestal bearings at Ellenroad in 1985 when we first ran the engine for about twenty minutes at normal speed. Many of the lubricators were missing including the aquarium oilers on the pedestals so we had to oil where we could while we were running.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by plaques » 04 Nov 2015, 20:06

See this for a bit of old time equipment. Link. Somehow I don't think our HSE. would let this thing run. But give the operator his due he did wear ear defenders.

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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 05 Nov 2015, 03:37

Interesting. They did everything right except when the old bloke took the filter out of the cylinder lubricator when he filled it.... A bit of attention to gland packings wouldn't go amiss! Useful planer, just goes to show how long these old machines can go on when plenty of meat was used in the construction. All it needed for HSE was a guard on the belts but they allowed Bancroft to run without them.....
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Whyperion » 05 Nov 2015, 23:02

Stanley wrote:Looking at that picture reminds me of how hot it was on the boiler top and of course, bone dry. The boiler house was a dusty place and once a week I used to sweep the boiler top to keep it somewhere near clean. The insulation was asbestos and so while I was breathing in the clouds of dust (no face masks then!) i was taking in significant amounts of asbestos. That was forty years ago and I am coming up to 80 years old. have I got away with it? If so, how come I have not succumbed to the dreaded asbestosis and emphysema like so many of my mates? The thought never leaves me and so while you may admire the engineering, never forget that there was a human cost.
I am thinking that in this instance, the fibres still have an amount of binding material around them, making them too large to breakdown into the microscopically small fibres that cause the scarring and cancer-type reactions in the smallest parts of the lungs. It appears the greater proportion of disease affected those whom worked the raw materials or the admixes applying in-situ brushed, sprayed or applied insulation. There might also be a relationship with what one smokes as well, research is unclear (probably because not enough statistical evidence on direct single causes and those multiple risk factors in exposures ).

Meanwhile , a couple of slightly old video links, one for sewage pumping ( Crossness, London(Thamesmead) ), one for Water - Metropolitan Surrey (Kempton).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ORy9JAMTlI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuHJBIMj_rs

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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 06 Nov 2015, 04:16

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Newton tending the fire we lit in the main flue two days before we steamed the engine. Worked like a charm. This door into the flue was at the point where the original connies got their flue gas when they were functioning. We found out much later that this whole space was loaded with asbestos......
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Whyperion » 06 Nov 2015, 10:30

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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 07 Nov 2015, 05:05

My biggest problem when I first steamed Ellenroad was the fact that the feed water main from the pump house to the boiler had been left full of water and was badly cracked in the old economiser house, the frost must have got to it. So I had no way of putting water in the boiler once I got any pressure up. I filled the boiler almost to the lid using a fire hose, popped the lid on and started firing. It took two days to get a head of steam up and by the time we had got about 120psi various odd leaks had dropped the level to just below the top of the glass. I burned the fires off, closed all the dampers and that's how we ran the engine with what was virtually an accumulator of steam. No problem if we dropped to below optimum levels as there were no fires. I was used to running like this from my days at Bancroft when my feed pumps were useless. I knew we needed a fair head of steam to break the seals in the bores and as it turned out, we had sufficient. In case you're wondering, I had thoroughly inspected the boiler which on the last insurance had been passed for 180psi and so I knew it was safe.
Incidentally, when we completed the boiler renovation we did a ten year test and hydraulicly tested it to 50% above the 180psi insurance pressure and it passed with no problem at all.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 09 Nov 2015, 06:20

Modern economic tubed boiler are so fast steaming that if you don't need steam during the night you can simply switch the boiler off. With the older shell boilers like Lancashires you had to bank them overnight because if you didn't it took so long to get up to pressure in the morning. Properly handled, that is filled with water, brought up to full pressure and banked with coal so that a slow fire burned all night, the boiler would be at the same pressure the following morning with plenty of water in it. This meant that you could easily get to full fire and full head of steam in less than half an hour when you came in in the morning. It was also good for the boilers because there was no contraction during the night and consequent expansion when you regained pressure in the morning. Lancashires and other shell boilers love constant pressure 24 X 7 and this is the reason why a boiler that had been powering an engine all its life and had been properly handled was much more durable than the same design used in a brewery or dye works for process steam where the main characteristic of the demand was varying loads all day as vats were heated from cold. They were constantly contracting and expanding and it wasn't good for them. A good Lancashire boiler on an engine could easily be insurable at the same pressure over 100 years after installation.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 11 Nov 2015, 06:43

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This is the boiler from Facit Mill which Robert bought for the Jubilee engine because it was in perfect condition after almost 100 years service on the engine. That is until a scrap man sent in a sub-contractor and started cutting it up on the grounds he had bought it for £300 off a man called Murphy in a pub in Padiham.... It was a long battle but it ended up costing him a lot of money!
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 12 Nov 2015, 06:35

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Bankfield boilers going down the road to the scrap yard but this was legal!
Time to repeat an old story. Charlie Sutton and his dad Jim were walking down the road in Brierfield one day. They had a flueing and boiler =maintenance business. Jim grabbed Charlie's arm and made him stand on the kerb edge as a wagon loaded with bits of cut up boiler was passing. The wagon pulled up and the driver shouted "Don't worry Jim, it isn't one of thine!" Jim replied, "They're all my childer!"
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 13 Nov 2015, 05:45

Lancashire boilers were a well tried and universal design with very few variations. They were long-lived, low maintenance if treated well and were only improved after about 1950 when firms like John Thompson innovated and started to introduce fully welded construction, domed or 'German' ends forged out of one piece of steel and needing no reinforcing gussets and corrugated tubes instead of the old ones which were sectional and joined by Adamson rings. I saw two of these later boilers in the Old Exide works in Death Valley to the north of Manchester (Swinton). They were designed for I think it was 250psi working pressure and were never used beyond low pressure for heating. They were wonderful boilers but unfortunately, due to their position in a factory riddled with asbestos removal would have been too expensive. I suppose that eventually they would be scrapped, such a shame.....
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 14 Nov 2015, 07:28

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The boiler house at Masson Mill, Matlock Bath. The two boilers nearest the camera are the original Lancashire boilers which, as at Durban Mill, have been converted into black oil tanks to feed the burners on the two more modern German Ended boilers further down the house. This was a common method for modernising a boiler house in the mid 20th century. Later the replacement boilers would be economic type tubed boilers. This was an economic way of steam raising until oil prices rose sharply. At that point the usual course was to put the boilers on gas firing but many a time retain the capability to burn oil using dual fuel burners. The advantage of this was that you got your gas at a lower price if you gave the gas supplier the option of asking you to go onto oil in times of shortage of gas.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 15 Nov 2015, 06:52

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Another of my responsibilities as engineer was to look after the bearings on the shafting system in the shed. The big lineshaft from the engine was no problem, it was a weekly job to top up the oilers on the big bearings and occasionally put a dab of grease on the bevels that drove the cross shafts. The cross shaft bearings were a different matter. In the old days in a well run shed a specialist contractor was brought in once a year to go through all the hundreds of bearings cleaning them out and renewing the lubricant pads. We weren't well run, there was no money for fripperies like regular maintenance! What I used to do was shut the engine down from full speed at night and run into the shed so I could be there just before the shafting stopped, the inertia kept everything moving for a minute or two. As the shafts slowed down, any dry bearings would start to squeal just before they stopped and you could run to the location and recognise the hot neck by the fact that the cotton dawn on the cast iron casing was toasted brown. A quick chalk mark on the pillar and first thing next morning before starting I popped in and attended to it. Occasionally a weaver would report a squealer and I treated them the same way. You probably got two or three some weeks and then a lull before the next crop.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 16 Nov 2015, 06:56

The cross shaft bearings on the pillars and hangers were all a standard CI casting shaped to take a half bronze shell in the bottom with the shaft resting in it. The lubrication was standard as well. At each end of the case there was a wrapping of wool waste soaked in grease to form a seal ans stop oil dripping out of the case. There was a pad of what was called shaft waste, clean wool shoddy soaked in grease, on top of the shaft and on top of that a pad of 'hot neck' high temperature grease, all protected by a small, loose CI lid. The theory was that if the bottom pad dried out and the bearing ran hot the hot neck melted and dropped lubricant down on the bearing. This worked well until the hot neck pad itself dried out and then you got a 'squealer'. In really bad cases the bottom bearing shell could be dragged round on the shaft leaving it running on the casting which was even worse.
In later years roller bearings were tried in modern sheds but Newton told me they were a constant source of trouble and they used to get contracts to convert all the cross shaft bearings to the ordinary, well-proven. bronze half bearings.
Many a time on a Saturday I'd go in the shed with my ladder and the grease buckets and walk round looking for castings where the dawn was changing colour as it toasted. That way you could catch a lot of potential squealers before they actually dried out.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 17 Nov 2015, 05:03

As well as normal maintenance there were statutory duties as well. The engineer was responsible for testing the sprinkler system alarm once a week and keeping a log. You had to open a bypass valve on the main which lowered the pressure in the wet sprinkler system, exactly what would happen in the event of a fire. The inflow of water from the main spun a turbine which drove the clapper on a large bell mounted on the outside of the building. I can still hear it ringing as I write. Vera told me you could hear it clearly at Hey Farm a quarter of a mile away. You also had to record the mains pressure and the pressure drop in the system. We were lucky at Bancroft as there was enough pressure on the water main from Whitemoor to serve the highest point in the system. This meant we didn't need to have a separate water tank on the highest part of the building. If you did have a tank you also had to have an 'underwriter', the Worthington Simpson trade name for the big steam powered or electric pump that kicked in automatically to draw water from the main and top the sprinkler tank up if there was a fire.
An engineer in Hebden Bridge once told me that in the Valley there was enough pressure on the mains to force feed water into the boiler without the assistance of a pump. That must have been handy!
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 18 Nov 2015, 04:37

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The Mather and Platt 'Underwriter' pump at Ellenroad. Always in good nick because they were so infrequently used. Like the other two pumps in the house it drew water directly form the River Beal via one of the three jack well outside connected to the river via a 6" pipe. A very powerful pump and in excellent condition. Note the connections for fire hoses. I used this pump to complete the topping up of the boiler before we steamed the engine for the first time.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 19 Nov 2015, 07:18

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There was a later improvement at Ellenroad, a very powerful electric pump that started automatically as soon as there was a drop in pressure in the internal sprinkler mains when a fire broke out.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 20 Nov 2015, 07:34

Worth mentioning I think that many modern sprinkler installations were 'dry risers', The network of internal pipes to the sprinklers was not water filled, the powerful sprinkler pump was triggered by the alarms and supplied water only when needed. This did away with the danger of frost damage to an installation in very cold weather and reduced internal deterioration due to corrosion in the pipework.
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Tripps » 20 Nov 2015, 10:46

Well - that's another little mystery solved. I've seen buildings with 'dry risers' all my life. Often wondered what they were. :smile:
Born to be mild. . .

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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 21 Nov 2015, 04:33

Glad to have helped David!

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When the Water Board came to cut off the supply to Bancroft in December 1979 I had to point out to them that there was more than one tapping into the main as there was a separate supply for the sprinkler system, they hadn't been told this, it wasn't on the plans. I have always suspected that this was a deliberate evasion by the mill-builders between 1914 and 1920 as I had reason to suspect that the mains water services in the mill were drawn from the sprinkler connection which was not metered. The old manufacturers were well on top of their game. In case you're wondering, I never raised this with the management on the grounds it could only cause trouble!
Incidentally, it did occur to me at the time that this was probably the first time these valves had been operated for 60 years.... They must have been high quality!
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Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 22 Nov 2015, 06:23

As I've mentioned before I was responsible for the shed temperature. I think the regulations demanded 50F at start of work and 55F after an hour. On a very cold morning this was impossible and was a continuous stick to beat me with.
However, high temperatures were more difficult. The main route in for the cold was the enormous expanse of the North Light shed roof. What many don't realise is that this was also a source of heat in hot sunny weather. Being a true North Light shed, the grey slate parts of the roof faced directly into the sun and were a perfect solar panel. The radiated heat off the slates came in through the opposing glass lights and every June we used to whitewash all the glass to alleviate this problem. I used to gather a gang together, me, John Plummer and a few of the tacklers. It was very pleasant on the roof first thing on a hot summer day sloshing thin whitewash on the glass.....

Image

Ernie Roberts and Roy Wellock on the roof. The only drawback was the fact that the cast iron gutters almost always had standing water in them and the sharp edge of the slate roof was a constant danger to your ankles!
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