SS United States Steam Plant - Ships Nostalgia
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SS United States Steam Plant

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  #1  
Old 27th December 2019, 07:03
blueprint2002 blueprint2002 is offline  
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SS United States Steam Plant

The SS United States, probably the fastest and most powerful passenger ship ever, never seems to have received the sort of detailed coverage by the professional media that was given to other ships of a similar nature, before and since, such as the RMS Queen Mary, SS Queen Elizabeth 2, SS Rotterdam and so on. The reason appears to have been secrecy imposed by the US Government, sometimes attributed to the fact that the ship was built for easy conversion to a fast troopship, in the aftermath of WW2, and during the Korean war. In a 1977 SNAME paper, 25 years later, it was revealed that the propulsion plant operated at 925psi and 975F, without any further description, these figures being exceptionally high when compared with contemporary practice when the ship was built.
The US Navy has a long history of testing new machinery developments on board naval auxiliary ships of various types, before they are deemed ready for use in front-line warships. An example of this practice was the “Cyclops” class of colliers built around 1910-1913: Cyclops with the then well-proved steam engines, Neptune with geared steam turbines, and Jupiter with steam turbo-electric drive. A year or two later, presumably after comparing service experience, orders were placed for a class each of turbo-electric battleships and turbo-electric battle cruisers.
With this in mind, it seems reasonable to speculate that the “United States”, apart from her auxiliary role, also doubled as the testbed for the then very advanced and high-powered machinery that was soon to be installed on board the “Forrestal” class aircraft carriers, which represented a major increase in size and performance as compared with earlier carriers. (Certainly both had four shafts, and figures sometimes quoted for SHP are in the same range, 240,000 vs 280,000). These ships, at the time, were at the heart of the US sea power, and as such, secrecy of a very high order naturally applied to everything concerning them, which might explain the secrecy surrounding the SS United States.
Or am I completely wrong, and has someone come across an in-depth description of the ship’s steam plant?
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  #2  
Old 27th December 2019, 22:28
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When I was sailing the Great Lakes one of our engineers and his wife went to Europe one winter on SS United States. Carrying his license with him he was given a tour of one of her engine rooms. The first thing he did was look at the turbines where he found that there were no manufacturer nameplates. The engineer showing him around just stood there and grinned.

Greg Hayden
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  #3  
Old 27th December 2019, 23:48
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I went through the engine rooms... about 2005. No steam on them engines since about 1970. No lighting, lagging missing etc. Very, very sad spaces. I am away at the moment but I remember some of the information on a book by Frank Braynard. I'll dig it out.

Stephen
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  #4  
Old 28th December 2019, 02:18
blueprint2002 blueprint2002 is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen J. Card View Post
I went through the engine rooms... about 2005. No steam on them engines since about 1970. No lighting, lagging missing etc. Very, very sad spaces. I am away at the moment but I remember some of the information on a book by Frank Braynard. I'll dig it out.

Stephen
Look forward to that, when you can find the time!
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  #5  
Old 28th December 2019, 02:33
dannic dannic is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kewl dude View Post
When I was sailing the Great Lakes one of our engineers and his wife went to Europe one winter on SS United States. Carrying his license with him he was given a tour of one of her engine rooms. The first thing he did was look at the turbines where he found that there were no manufacturer nameplates. The engineer showing him around just stood there and grinned.

Greg Hayden
Did repairs in Newport News with shore squad, foreman had been 3rd engineer on United States, told me it had more new spares than anything else....if a pump could be repaired shipping company paid, but if it was decided it needed renewing the government paid! So everything was deemed to need replacement!

Was same at US airforce bases here, couple of aquaintances had a very good trade in white goods from accommodation.
Dannic
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  #6  
Old 28th December 2019, 03:56
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_United_States

Attached: SS-United-States.jpg (183.6 KB)

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  #7  
Old 28th December 2019, 10:11
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A lot of the secrecy about the ship involved design of the hull and propellers. Two shafts had four bladed propellers and the other two were five bladed. Photos were never allowed. That is the story and might be true because there were very photos about.
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  #8  
Old 28th December 2019, 12:11
NINJA NINJA is offline  
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A good book on the SS United States I read recently.
'A Man and his Ship' by Steven Ujifusa.
Relates the story of William Francis Gibbs, Naval Architect, and his quest to build the United States.
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  #9  
Old 28th December 2019, 16:32
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Not sure when or where I picked up the information, but have for years believed the engines came from or were intended for a carrier/battleship.
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  #10  
Old 28th December 2019, 23:49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Wilcockson View Post
Not sure when or where I picked up the information, but have for years believed the engines came from or were intended for a carrier/battleship.
I have the same impression but, again, no idea of when or where from.
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  #11  
Old 29th December 2019, 04:37
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This:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_United_States_(CVA-58)

MAY be why?

Attached: USS-United-States.jpg (126.5 KB)

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  #12  
Old 3rd January 2020, 07:12
TexasNavy TexasNavy is offline  
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I saw the SS United States in Philadelphia in 2009 which sparked my interest and later found this article in 2012. Some interesting pictures, may not answer the questions in this thread, but interesting I hope.

http://maritimematters.com/2012/09/s...a-look-inside/


Regards
Paul
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  #13  
Old 3rd January 2020, 12:19
skilly57 skilly57 is offline  
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When in Boston in December 2014 I visited the USS Constitution Museum and purchased the book mentioned by Ninja in Post#8.

A very good read, and also in there is the statement that all of William Francis Gibb's design details, drawings, and the USS 'United States' data was declassified in 1978, and is now available for general public perusal at The William Francis Gibbs Collection held in the Mariner's Museum, Newport News, Virginia. She had 4 x Westinghouse turbines, capable of developing 247, 785 hp.
Also in the book are drydock photos of her hull, props, & rudders. Interestingly, stabilisers were never fitted to the ship, but chair straps were rapidly fitted after her first meeting with an Atlantic storm! Thought they would have been original fitment!
Skilly
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  #14  
Old 4th January 2020, 08:31
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Just pre-war, ;the Queen Mary held the Blue Riband of the Atlantic record at 3 days 21 hours. I believe Cunard wanted Queen Elizabeth to be faster but the war intervened. By the end of the war, the QEs engines were used and older - too much risk of damage to try.

Then the U.S. got in on the act and the "United States" was designed to take the trophy, which she accomplished in 1952 with 3 days and 12 hours. My memory is that word was out at the time that "United States" had worn the engines from going flat out in the attempt and was never allowed to take another run at it. The prestige of the trophy seems to have died so no other liner has attempted it since.

Last edited by searover; 4th January 2020 at 08:33..
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  #15  
Old 4th January 2020, 11:41
Ian860B Ian860B is offline  
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Well I heard different from an ex Cunard engineer, when the U. S. did her blue ribbon run when she returned to America she went straight into dry dock for a new propellers the originals being worn out. Also before the Q. Mary was sold to Long Beach the ships staff wanted to have a run at the ribbon they felt that even at that age it was still possible the company of course declined.
Jock

Last edited by Ian860B; 5th January 2020 at 00:13..
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  #16  
Old 8th January 2020, 02:09
blueprint2002 blueprint2002 is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skilly57 View Post
When in Boston in December 2014 I visited the USS Constitution Museum and purchased the book mentioned by Ninja in Post#8.

A very good read, and also in there is the statement that all of William Francis Gibb's design details, drawings, and the USS 'United States' data was declassified in 1978, and is now available for general public perusal at The William Francis Gibbs Collection held in the Mariner's Museum, Newport News, Virginia. She had 4 x Westinghouse turbines, capable of developing 247, 785 hp.
Also in the book are drydock photos of her hull, props, & rudders. Interestingly, stabilisers were never fitted to the ship, but chair straps were rapidly fitted after her first meeting with an Atlantic storm! Thought they would have been original fitment!
Skilly
Many Thanks, Skilly.
Tried their website, and found hundreds of artefacts from the ship, but only a single drawing: outboard profile.
Could be there's more, but so far I haven't found it.
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  #17  
Old 8th January 2020, 02:28
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I was told that when they did their record run, they knackered the engines.
I saw her laid up,(Newport News?). We weren't allowed to go aboard her.
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  #18  
Old 8th January 2020, 15:39
skilly57 skilly57 is offline  
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On YouTube is a series of video clips taken on/in the SS United States.
I'll try and post this link to the engine rooms/boiler rooms clip.

Click on the link below.

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haNpjK0e4cU]

Grab your torch, put on your hard hat, and follow the camera person!

Skilly

Last edited by skilly57; 8th January 2020 at 15:45..
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  #19  
Old 8th January 2020, 16:39
rogd rogd is offline
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Blimey!!
What a cramped space.
I would'nt have enjoyed working down there.
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  #20  
Old 8th January 2020, 18:12
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Looks more like a naval vessel ER.
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  #21  
Old 8th January 2020, 19:32
rogd rogd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Basil View Post
Looks more like a naval vessel ER.
Yes. That crossed my mind as well.
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  #22  
Old 8th January 2020, 22:10
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Whoever filmed that black and white video sure seemed to be in a hurry? Also, it appears that this was filmed AFTER the asbestos was removed? There are obvious steam pipes devoid of asbestos lagging.

And, yes, it looked more like a military ship than commercial.

Considering we now know that SS United States had 280,000 horsepower installed, that was what US Navy Aircraft carriers had in that era? That and the US Navy had a large part in the design and building of the Big U?

Greg Hayden
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  #23  
Old 8th January 2020, 23:46
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The ship would have completed a trans-Atlantic crossing before I had learned my way around the engine room, never mind remember the location of the equipment and its use. I wonder how long an engineer had to serve on board before he was deemed competent to take charge of the watch.
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  #24  
Old 9th January 2020, 04:57
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In The poor light it reminds me of the control and engine rooms of a submarine,

Bob
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  #25  
Old 10th February 2020, 06:24
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I ran across this today:

<https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0033EZNMA/ref=sspa_dk_detail_5?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B0033EZNMA&pd_r d_w=lBsHP&pf_rd_p=45a72588-80f7-4414-9851-786f6c16d42b&pd_rd_wg=8Q0EB&pf_rd_r=MS1M3EZX1YCC85 8WSWJW&pd_rd_r=4448c413-4b63-4e62-b5b6-b34fff52b61f&smid=A30TE2L8QUH42K&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVk UXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzR1lSQkQzVzlBMDQ1JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPU EwODA5MDc1MzZRSTlVSDIzQVVXMiZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEw NzU1MjU2UTVDT01XOVFNUEdaJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfZGV0YW lsJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9 dHJ1ZQ==>

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