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-   -   Steam, steam and more steam (https://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=2897)

thunderd 22nd September 2005 07:09

Steam, steam and more steam
 
In the last few days the Discovery channel on satellite TV has had a couple of fascinating shows. Firstly let me confess I am not an engineer so don't shoot me down if my terminology is not correct.

The first one was about the old steam mechanism that used to lift the two halves of London Bridge. They have thankfully restored and preserved it and it is a massive and impressive piece of machinery. It is all gleaming steel rods and (I think brass bushes) they have painted parts of it in heritage red and green colours.

Apparently in its day it was very state of the art and was one of the first major steam engines to re-use the steam in a device called an accumulator.

The second show I saw was again all about steam engines in ships and explained the basics of things like triple expansion engines. They also showed the engine (not steam) in what was then the worlds biggest container ship, it was called the Shen**** something and weighed in at some 80-odd thousand tons, a very impressive ship.

I guess to those of you who worked these engines all your working life its all a bit boring but I must admit I find it fascinating just to see the raw power that steam can generate. I very much admire the people whose hobby is restoring old steam driven tugs, locomotives etc.

Santos 22nd September 2005 21:19

Steam, Steam and more steam
 
Hi Derek,

My maternal grandfather was a Chief Engineer in Steam, a Lt Commander Engineering RNR in WW1 on destroyers and in peace time and WW2 he was a Chief Engineer with Elders and Fyffes.

The stories he told me about those engines and how they were the best in the world. How they tested the temperatures of bearings and other bits of machinery by touch, knowing exactly where and when to touch a moving part.
No temperature gauges just personal judgement and sound knowledge.

You are right, those men earned their money in pretty awful conditions. He was torpedoed in WW2 on a Fyffes ship, was down below and got washed out of a hole in the ships side, tearing his leg open from knee to ankle on the broken steel. It never healed properly and he was in and out of hospital all the time when I was a kid with ulcers from the fuel oil that had got in the wound.

He never tired of telling his little grandson ( me ) about the sea and his engines and his little grandson never tired of listening to him and went to sea too when he was old enough. However I went on deck, because I wanted to drive. Lazy or what ?

Chris.

lakercapt 22nd September 2005 22:02

When I was on steamers they had to test between the webs to find out if the oil was going in. Had to time it with the rotation of the engine and put their hand in,palm vertical, and see if their fingers came out with a coating of oil. I was asked to try but declined. Like many sea going things it had a mystique and an acquired art.
Course the triple expansion was only! doing 65 revs/min flat out.

michael james 22nd September 2005 22:53

3 Attachment(s)
I was on Deck but always had a significant interest in what went on down below (on ships with boilers and turbines) though was never lucky enough to sail on a up and downer.
Whilst on leave, and later, after I left the sea, I made model steam engines although I didnt consider my skill sufficient to tackle a triple expansion engine
- I still have the old Myford lathe and lots of tools.

John Rogers 22nd September 2005 23:34

I felt many a bottom end in my watch below,and yes you can get your hand slapped hard if you don't hold it right. We are talking about steam engines are we not.
John.

billyboy 22nd September 2005 23:52

Yes the timing was very important. My late grandfather was an engineer on a trawler out of Aberdeen. on one trip some cotton waste fell into the sump. as he thrust his hand down to retrieve it the trawler gave a violent roll and he miss timed it. engine took the back of his head off. My Father who was a stoker on a sister trawler got his orders from his mother to get out of engine rooms. hence he worked on deck and eventualy got his ticket there. Steam is fascinating, but, must be treated with respect.

thunderd 23rd September 2005 00:04

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Rogers
I felt many a bottom end in my watch below,and yes you can get your hand slapped hard if you don't hold it right. We are talking about steam engines are we not.
John.

We have to get to the BOTTOM of this John I'm getting worried about how you are going to END up.

Kenneth Morley 23rd September 2005 00:40

Steam, I started in 1945 as trimmer (aged17) after leaving the Pamir, why because the money was better 14pound 10 shillings plus 10 pounds war risk, firsttrip Newzealand to England from there on the next 20 years spent at sea both on deck and below, however I prefferd down below. I used Marrseille as my home port. I was happy shovelling coal. Great memories .Kenneth

thunderd 23rd September 2005 06:25

Some great stories there and hopefully more to come.

Kenneth there is a very good thread called Stokers & Trimmers in the members notice board, some excellent stories well worth a read.

KenLin39 24th September 2005 18:47

London Bridge ?.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by thunderd
In the last few days the Discovery channel on satellite TV has had a couple of fascinating shows. Firstly let me confess I am not an engineer so don't shoot me down if my terminology is not correct.

The first one was about the old steam mechanism that used to lift the two halves of London Bridge. They have thankfully restored and preserved it and it is a massive and impressive piece of machinery. It is all gleaming steel rods and (I think brass bushes) they have painted parts of it in heritage red and green colours.

Apparently in its day it was very state of the art and was one of the first major steam engines to re-use the steam in a device called an accumulator.

The second show I saw was again all about steam engines in ships and explained the basics of things like triple expansion engines. They also showed the engine (not steam) in what was then the worlds biggest container ship, it was called the Shen**** something and weighed in at some 80-odd thousand tons, a very impressive ship.

I guess to those of you who worked these engines all your working life its all a bit boring but I must admit I find it fascinating just to see the raw power that steam can generate. I very much admire the people whose hobby is restoring old steam driven tugs, locomotives etc.

A bit lost here Derek, what London bridge are we talking about. Ken.

fred henderson 24th September 2005 19:09

Quote:

Originally Posted by KenLin39
A bit lost here Derek, what London bridge are we talking about. Ken.

When the present London Bridge was built the previous one was bought by some town in western USA (In Arizona?). It was dismantled in London, all the stones were marked and it was re-erected in the US. The buyers were very disappointed. They thought that they had bought Tower Bridge. Do you think that we can repeat the trick Down Under, Derek?
Fred (Thumb)

thunderd 24th September 2005 23:23

Sorry folks another senior moment perhaps, anyway it was some bridge, somewhere that opened in the middle. I'm just going to have to listen more closely as my wife always tells me LOL

thunderd 25th September 2005 10:24

Thanks Malcolm for putting me out of my misery, the other rotten so and sos left me hanging out to dry LOL

Doug Rogers 25th September 2005 10:57

We did, we did, but we made sure the pegs had more than sufficient tolerance to support the strain.

John Rogers 25th September 2005 19:47

One time a Scotsman was asked "If Scotland was such a good place why is it that Scotsmen always leave" The answer was 'Well somebody had to go out in the world to educate the others."
Remembered that saying from way back when sailing on Donaldson's of Glasgow.
John.

thunderd 25th September 2005 23:02

Malcolm & John I don't know why you think you had to trumpet the qualities of Scotsmen, it goes without saying that everybody knows they are a superior race.

billyboy 25th September 2005 23:23

Hear Hear Derek. well said!

John Rogers 26th September 2005 00:07

All I was doing was sucking up to a "SUPER MODERATOR"
John

Kenneth Morley 26th September 2005 04:00

12/4 watch below. HI all are there any ex Aldinga or Aroona Fireman or Greasers out there. ex Australian coast, I joined in Port Kembla, in those days we New zealanders were pig islanders to the aussies great times were had on the coast Kenneth

neil maclachlan 26th September 2005 22:07

Hi Thunderd,
Can't agree more with your comments--re Scotsmen. I am an old steam engineer having served my apprenticeship building old up and downers,alas when I went to sea I was assigned to motor ships and latterly steam turbines,I think I was good at wealding Monday Hammers?I sailed on one triple expansion steam engine,and boy, it was like a sewing machine---what nostalgic memories?
Neil Mac.

thunderd 27th September 2005 00:18

Quote:

Originally Posted by neil maclachlan
Hi Thunderd,
Can't agree more with your comments--re Scotsmen. I am an old steam engineer having served my apprenticeship building old up and downers,alas when I went to sea I was assigned to motor ships and latterly steam turbines,I think I was good at wealding Monday Hammers?I sailed on one triple expansion steam engine,and boy, it was like a sewing machine---what nostalgic memories?
Neil Mac.

Neil, I didn't understand tha "Monday Hammers" could you enlighten me please?

Also talking about Scotsmen is it true that all the best steam engineers, regardless what the steam was powering, came from Scotland?

John Rogers 27th September 2005 00:54

I bet Neil is talking about the big sledge hammer we used to hit the spanner wrench with to loosen the big nuts that held the bottom end together. Between shoveling coal and swinging that hammer thats how I developed my arms to look like Charles Atlas.
And with a hangover, working with that hammer was no fun.
John

thunderd 27th September 2005 04:40

Thanks for that little Johnny but I can't understand how you got hangovers from attending church services, did you perhaps take too big a sip of the wine?

neil maclachlan 27th September 2005 17:22

Hi John,
You are right, a Monday hammer was 28lb sledge uded to persuade the massive star spanners used to loosen up the big end bolt at the bottom of the connecting rod connecting the rod to the journal of the crankshaft. When I sailed on the "Australia Star" I was about the only engineer apart from some of the engine room ratings who was used to methods like this,the old Chief (out of John Browns,Clydebank,) would say let young Mac at it ,he'll move it. We also used to swing a ram on a chain block to do the same job.
Neil Mac.

lakercapt 27th September 2005 18:43

Steam up and downers still exist and work well.
On Lake Muskoka there is the old Royal Mail Steamer "RMS Segwin".
She was shipped over from Scotland in sections and assembled on the lake. She has two small triple expansion steam engines that run like the proverbial sewing machines.
Does cruises all summer round the lake and a great day out for enineers and old sailors.
The engines were built in Goderich Ontario Canada.
If ever you have a chance its worth the trip.


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