Ships Nostalgia banner

1 - 20 of 83 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,034 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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 ac***ulator.

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.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
21 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,762 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
842 Posts
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.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,573 Posts
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.
 

·
Bilge Rat
Joined
·
36,005 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,034 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
John Rogers said:
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,034 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
634 Posts
London Bridge ?.

thunderd said:
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 ac***ulator.

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.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,620 Posts
KenLin39 said:
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)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,034 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,034 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Malcolm for putting me out of my misery, the other rotten so and sos left me hanging out to dry LOL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,573 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,034 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
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.
 
1 - 20 of 83 Posts
Top