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  • huge steam engine

    In the summer of 1960 I attended summer school in Oslo. I crossed the Atlantic on the S/S Stavangerfjord, a 13,000 ton ocean liner. The crossing took ten days from New York, and I explored the ship from top to bottom. At various times I hung out in the engine room. I had just completed my Freshman year of mechanical engineering studies, and I was fascinated by the primary propulsion steam engines. The engine room gang never seemed to mind my presence.

    My memory was they were triple-expansion, but http://www.norwayheritage.com/p_ship.asp?sh=stafj indicates otherwise. They were quadruple expansion engines. Watching these reciprocating behemoth's was mesmerizing.

    The ship went to the scrap heap more than forty years ago. But what about the lathe that made those engines -- might it still exist, in some Glasgow factory? I really have no such plans, but if one were to make a faithful scale model of one of these engines, what kind of steel and cast iron would be closest to what they had to work with, in 1917 when the ship was built?
    Last edited by aostling; 03-24-2007, 01:02 AM.
    Allan Ostling

    Phoenix, Arizona

  • #2
    Recip, quad-expansion marine engines....

    Aostling;
    Lucky you to have been able to experience a piece of machinery like that. 1960 would have been the tail end of an eara for recip steam....Funny how, despite their size, recip. engines, steam loco's etc. seem more "human-scale" than a diesel loco or engine room, or a steam turbine....Fire, water, motion....
    Too bad I was too young to experience that era. I sorta feel the same way about slow-speed marine diesels. A quadruple-exp. engine was probably the most efficient, most fuel flexible & durable, low maint. marine prime mover built.
    As for the machine tools that made an engine that big....probably all gone from Glasgow now. Replaced by a shopping mall or apartments ? Capitalism marches on. Although there are a few misguided Scotsmen & Englishmen that have preserved a few huge heritage machine tools. Near Sheffield in Yorkshire, there is an "industrial enclave" that has some great museums & machines of the steam era. Rick Rowlands & some others over on the Practical Machinist board rescue/ restore huge machines like you are looking for. Lots of pics in their antuque machine forum. "Asquith" posts on here sometimes too. Worth checking out.
    As for the engines themselves, search for a kit. Even a triple-exp. that is faithful to the engineering aspects would be worthwhile. Try to find a copy of JW Southern's "Verbal Notes & Sketches for Marine Engineers" from the 1940's if you want to learn about the engineering that went into these beasts. It's unlike what you get in a Stuart-Turner kit (I built a mod. 5A once) or most models. Believe me, after travelling millions of miles for 60 or more years, those Victorian English & Scottish engine builders did what they did for a reason.....There are/ were several serious marine modellers showing off their stuff. Google comes up with links to some kits & plans....
    As a last thought, this sites own Charlie Coghill is an active steam boater here on the Pacific Coast. Ask him about marine steam, he even has his own ship.....
    Have fun.
    Rick

    Comment


    • #3
      In one of the popular UK drawing books for apprentices there are the complete plans for a 3 cylinder compound launch engine.
      One of the set examination pieces was to make a complete GA drawing in full size [ this engine is about 42" tall ]from the detail drawings.
      Presumably this was to be done in the set 2 to 3 hours for a set exam.

      I won't mention the book by name as there is currently only one copy on abebooks.com for $7.00 and I don't want to start a fist fight

      I do have a couple of copies of this book, at one time you could pick this up for just a couple of pounds in any secondhand book shop.

      .
      .

      Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



      Comment


      • #4
        how does a three cylinder compound work?, one independent and 2 connected?

        the Reeves engine with its box like angled columns looks to me more like what the giant engines looked like, the Stuart (which I'm building) a representation of a smaller, round column triple expansion that would have been in a launch. just based on every pic of a smaller expansion looks like mine and the large one usually have boxy columns

        the other 4 cylinder for is a double compound, there's one in the Segwun, a historic operating steam ship that operates near me. One day I'd love to measure that up and make a copy
        Last edited by Mcgyver; 03-24-2007, 04:16 PM.
        in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by dicks42000
          Aostling;
          Lucky you to have been able to experience a piece of machinery like that. 1960 would have been the tail end of an eara for recip steam.

          As for the engines themselves, search for a kit. Even a triple-exp. that is faithful to the engineering aspects would be worthwhile. Try to find a copy of JW Southern's "Verbal Notes & Sketches for Marine Engineers" from the 1940's if you want to learn about the engineering that went into these beasts. It's unlike what you get in a Stuart-Turner kit (I built a mod. 5A once) or most models.
          Rick
          Rick, and Sir John,

          I think I will look for a steam engine kit. Something small enough so that I can bore the castings on my 6" Atlas (which also has milling attachment).

          I will be travelling in Scotland and Ulster for three weeks in May. Glasgow and Belfast have a lot of shipbuilding history, which I hope to find traces of. I will haunt any antiquarian bookshops I can find, too.

          My last ocean voyage was on the P&O liner Iberia, when I emigrated to New Zealand in 1971. That too was a ten-day voyage, Honolulu to Auckland. The ship had steam turbines, which lacked "soul." After the oil embargo of 1974 there were no more ocean liners on regular passenger service. I wish that era would return.
          Allan Ostling

          Phoenix, Arizona

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mcgyver
            how does a three cylinder compound work?, one independent and 2 connected?
            By some definitions, anything more than single (simple) expansion is regarded as compound, so triple & quadruple expansion would be forms of compounding.

            Tim

            ('engineer' aka 'Macphail' for 4 years, nearly 30 years ago, on the VIC 32, see

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clyde_puffer)

            Comment


            • #7
              When I was a kid I would go with my father who was a Ch Engineer in the Merchant Marine to tune up the tripple expansion engines they were using at the time. I knew how to take indicator cards and even how to read them. Then I would ride the ship to the sea bouy and come in with the pilot, What a thrill !!! Modern gas turbine engines are great in their own way but not beautiful like an up and down steam engine.
              John R

              Comment


              • #8
                aostling, very interesting link, thank you.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mcgyver
                  how does a three cylinder compound work?, one independent and 2 connected?
                  McGyver,
                  The ones I have information on have one HP cylinder and two equal-size LP cylinders. This was pretty common in large engines before the coming of the triple expansion, say from the 1850's to the 1880's. Single LP cylinders were becoming too large and unbalanced, hence splitting the LP into two cylinders either side of the HP.

                  There were so many different variations though, for example there were three crank, three cylinder compounds as above (two LPs), but also one, two or three crank tandem compound engines, the latter having six cylinders, but still only a compound system (e.g."City of Rome").
                  There were other less common types as well, e.g. horizontal compounds driving screws, one example being the annular type, another type used horizontal and vertical cylinders (e.g. the Guion liners "Montana" and Dakota").

                  Two and three crank diagonal compounds were commonly used with paddle engines, I have a photo of an impressive 10,000 ihp three cylinder diagonal engine built by Fairfields in 1897 for "Empress Queen", a paddle steamer for the Isle of Man service (one central HP cylinder of 68in diameter exhausting to two 92in LP cylinders either side).

                  However the two crank, two cylinder compound is I guess the simple, reliable type commonly seen nowadays.

                  I am very interested in the Double Compound ("Segwun") you mention, I have only recently discovered this type of engine and I'm trying to figure out the reason behind them. It seems they were an early idea that came back into vogue in the latter years of steam. I first saw them mentioned as used on ferries on the East Coast of the US, but also came across a reference to them being built in Australia after WW2, these being described as "Lentz-type" with poppet valves. I think the double compound were of the Woolf type, not requiring a reciever between HP and LP, but requiring cranks at 180 degrees. I guess this is one reason why they needed to be double compound, i.e. for starting. Ajax may have been another builder of these. I have also read of single and double compounds exhausting into steam turbines, all coupled to drive a single screw, this being in the 1930's.

                  Any more info on these engines welcome!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dicks42000
                    Aostling;

                    As for the engines themselves, search for a kit. Even a triple-exp. that is faithful to the engineering aspects would be worthwhile. Try to find a copy of JW Southern's "Verbal Notes & Sketches for Marine Engineers" from the 1940's if you want to learn about the engineering that went into these beasts. It's unlike what you get in a Stuart-Turner kit (I built a mod. 5A once) or most models. Believe me, after travelling millions of miles for 60 or more years, those Victorian English & Scottish engine builders did what they did for a reason.....There are/ were several serious marine modellers showing off their stuff. Google comes up with links to some kits & plans....
                    As a last thought, this sites own Charlie Coghill is an active steam boater here on the Pacific Coast. Ask him about marine steam, he even has his own ship.....
                    Have fun.
                    Rick
                    Rick,

                    The Stuart 5A which you built looks like a beaut http://www.stuartmodels.com/inprod_d...ting/mod_id/56 . Apparently it is big enough to do some useful work. Have you harnessed its power?

                    I wonder if these models have a US distributor.
                    Allan Ostling

                    Phoenix, Arizona

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Stuart has a triple expansion engine available also. It is an ambitious project, but a beautuful engine when completerd

                      http://www.stuartmodels.com/inprod_d...ting/mod_id/70

                      Stuart Models are available from Morrison Miniature Machines.

                      www.enginemodels.com

                      Have a firm grip on your wallet before opening the link.
                      Last edited by JCHannum; 03-25-2007, 12:01 AM.
                      Jim H.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have to confess , that I have bought the book john mentioned .

                        Do i see a steam engine in my future ? ..........

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Actually I made a mistake in searching and there are more that one, probably about 50 odd but some are too expensive, many are around $10 and some are in the US.
                          Thistle bought one in the US, probably the best value one and a guy in OZ has bought an OZ copy.

                          I'm still no naming it as Abebooks can't remove a copy if bought and their may be duplicate sales.
                          PM me if you want the list and I'll tell you what numbers are spoken for and then tell me if you have ordered it.
                          .

                          Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



                          Comment


                          • #14
                            YEP, lots more up there ,at $10 to $20 so dont any one get jealous, and by the looks of things there should be one near you where ever you are.
                            now to wait and see if it arrives .

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by John Stevenson

                              I'm still no naming it as Abebooks can't remove a copy if bought and their may be duplicate sales.
                              I think that must depend on whether their bookseller is awake/open on Sunday/logged on etc.

                              I ordered a copy an hour ago, it's disappeared from the abe site now.
                              Curious thing, I ordered another book on Friday through them, if I log on now both come up as 'sold, search for another', no suggestion they're sold to me.
                              I've been asked for extra postage for the one I ordered on Fri., so I guess they're sold to me & it's a bit of a glitch with the site but I'm not going to stake my life on it.


                              Thanks John

                              Not many cheap copies showing up now, I wonder why

                              Tim

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