The Stationary Steam Engine
|Fri, 5 Mar 2010 08:20
|One of the books that helped to shape my life outside work was The Stationary Steam Engine by George Watkins (1968), David & Charles.
When I first became interested in these wonderful machines, this book was my introduction and the information I learnt from it back in 1976 has stayed with me ever since.
Put simply, the meat of the book is 52 full page photographs of different types of stationary steam engine with accompanying explanatory notes. My intention is to follow the original layout but I will not be able to illustrate every type as some are, sadly, extinct. I will also try to include examples that you can easily go and see for yourself whenever possible.
I have also added some extra types from the little illustrated book on steam power with text by George Watkins and illustrations by the late Frank Wightman. These follow on after the 52 entries for the original book.
The earliest engines were pumps for mine drainage and operated on the atmospheric principle, using steam to create a vacuum below a piston in an open topped cylinder. The weight of the atmosphere then depressed the piston and raised the pumps via a centrally pivoted beam overhead. The first successful engine is credited to Thomas Newcomen and worked near Dudley castle. Watkins illustrated the Hawkesbury canal pumping engine that was initially used in a mine and later used to pump water for the Coventry Canal.
Both the house and the engine survive. The engine is preserved in the home town of Thomas Newcomen - Dartmouth .
The only surviving in situ Newcomen type engine is at Elsecar near Barnsley .
2. HOUSE-BUILT SIMPLE BEAM
The earliest rotative engines for driving machinery were beam engines largely supported on wooden frames but it very soon became the norm to effectively build the support structure in to the engine house - hence the term house-built. Such engines were the main stay of many early factories, either along with water power or as the sole prime mover.
Watkins's example was c1840 or earlier and used at Carrs Lower Mill, Bath alongside water power. The mill was a woollen mill. This example is long since gone.
An equivalent machine may be easily seen at the Museum of science & Industry, Manchester and is of 1830-1840 vintage and drove the workshops at Haydock Colliery. Scottish viewers may see this example at Garlogie.
3. McNAUGHTED SINGLE BEAM
As the load on the early engines grew it became necessary to either build and install bigger engines or find a way of squeezing more out of an existing beam engine. In 1845 William McNaught of Glasgow took out a patent for a method of doing the latter. This consisted of fitting a new high pressure cylinder (new boilers usually being fitted at the same time) between the crank and the beam centre. This then exhausted to the original cylinder that then acted as a low pressure cylinder. This method equalised the strains around the beam centre and approximately doubled the power of the engine. This was usually a retrofit but some engines were built as McNaught compounds from the off.
Watkins's example was a conversion of an existing engine at the Ebley Mill of Messrs Marling & Co. The original engine was thought to be c1840 and it was compounded in 1875. It was replaced by electric drives in 1936 and no longer survives, although the magnificent mill does .
There is only one re-erected and workable converted McNaught Compound engine in Great Britain and it is at the Bolton Steam Museum . This is of a later and more modern design than the one illustrated by Watkins with a Corliss valve high pressure cylinder and a sophisticated Lumb governor.
4. McNAUGHTED DOUBLE BEAM
This was the same technique applied to a double beam engine and resulted in some monstrous beam engines of 1000 or more horsepower. Watkins illustrated a splendid engine at Ashfield Mills, Bradford. This was built as a double engine with two cylinders in 1870 and was McNaughted some 25 years later with Corliss valve high pressure cylinders. As rebuilt it developed over 1000 horsepower, at least three times its original output.
Unfortunately this engine does not survive and there are no other engines that fully qualify for this description. For the nearest example see No. 9. This engine is a double six column McNaught compound but has been dismantled in store for many years and is incomplete. It was also built as a McNaught compound rather than being a conversion.
5. WOOLF COMPOUND
This is a beam engine type that is compounded with both cylinders at one end of the beam, the high pressure being invariably closer to the centre and having the shorter stroke. It is named for the engineer Arthur Woolf but Hornblower had also made engines to this pattern in the 1780s. It was a type that found favour in waterworks and sewage works but was less popular for driving machinery as the concentration of stresses at the beam ends limited its size.
Watkins's example is a very pretty example with tank bed and A-frames, built about 1838-40 by J & E Hall of Dartford. It does survive and is displayed at the Science Museum, London, but there is no Geograph image yet.
Therefore, I am illustrating the type with this example built 1845 by Wentworth & Son of Wandsworth and disued since 1875. It is at Beeleigh Mill near Maldon, Essex . There are plans to make this publicly accessible.
|Sat, 6 Mar 2010 16:41
|6. PUSHER COMPOUNDED BEAM
An alternative approach to boosting the power of a beam engine was to add an horizontal high pressure cylinder to the opposite end of the crankshaft by various means. Watkins's example was at Hall's Bobbin Shop, Oldham with an 1863 beam engine that had a pusher added in the 1880s. This is long gone.
There is only one surviving pusher compound beam engine in Great Britain. These two views show the beam engine and this is the later pusher that drove on to a crank attached to the main driving gear on the opposite side of the wall to the beam engine. This fine engine was at Ledgard Bridge Mills, Mirfield and is now stored in the bramble bushes at Wortley Top Forge.
7. SINGLE COLUMN BEAM
This was a self contained machine with a single column carrying the beam centre bearings. It was only suitable for relatively low powers. Watkins's example was at a London hospital and drove well pumps via gearing.
My example is an 1872 built engine by John Fowler that is on display at the Anson Museum, Higher Poynton.
8. FOUR-COLUMN BEAM
Another self contained design that was made mainly from 1820 to 1875 and found favour in smaller mills and water works. Watkins's example is at Combe Sawmill on the Blenheim Estate in Oxfordshire. This is believed to have been built by Piggott in Birmingham in 1852, along with the adjoining Cornish boiler. The engine still survives , as does the boiler although this is currently out of use.
9. SIX-COLUMN BEAM
Another self contained design for relatively small powers. There was a rectangular entablature supporting the beam and parallel motion pick-up points and supported in turn on six columns. It was popoular in water works and smaller mills. Watkins's example was a somewhat atypical example as it was a double McNaught compound for Lean's Muslin mills, Glasgow. It survives in store in Glasgow but lacks its flywheel. However, its crankshaft is currently displayed on a roundabout near to Bogside, North Lanarkshire .
The surviving example that is closest to Watkins example (i.e. an engine for machinery drive rather than pumping) is preserved at the Midleton Distillery in Eire . This example is from a London waterworks and was built by James Watt & Co. It is at Loughborough University. A much better double six-column beam engine from Dancers End Waterworks is preserved at Kew Bridge Steam Museum and can be seen running regularly.
10 GRASSHOPPER BEAM
In a conventional beam engine the lever is pivoted centrally and is of the first order. In a grasshopper engine the beam is pivoted at one end, receives the piston rod at the other and drives the crank from a point between, thus being a lever of the second order. In order to keep the piston rod straight, the parallel motion includes a swing link to support the far end of the beam and as its motion is said to resemble the hind legs of a grasshopper, we thus get this type's name. It is claimed that the germ of the idea originated with William Murdock and his steam carriage of 1785 . The first english patent was to William Fremantle in 1803, while the American Oliver Evans used it in 1804. This tended to be a low power type of around 20 horsepower or so.
Watkins's example is at Wrotham Park Estate and is still in situ . This was built by Easton & Amos around 1850-60 and drove pumps. It is fitted with an air governor, which found some favour with its makers but is an otherwise rare survivor.
This is not freely available to the public. A similar example used to be at the Science Museum in London (now abroad) and one is in store at the Granton store of the National Museum of Scotland but it is possible to see a working example at the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester .
Although usually confined to lower powers, a few very large examples were made for shaft pumping and one - 'The Giant Grasshopper' survives at Shore Road, Birkenhead where it was used to drain the Mersey Rail Tunnel.
|Mon, 8 Mar 2010 18:41
|11 SIDE LEVER
This was a form of beam engine with a pair of beams mounted low down at the sides and driving up to the crankshaft. The beams could be conventionally centre pivoted or of the grasshopper form. The low centre of gravity made it popular for paddle steamer propulsion but some were used for stationary applications, including in a London distillery, a fen pumping station, textile mills and at least one waterworks. This latter was suppplied by Boulton, Watt & Co in 1845 for the Hampstead Road Well in London and later moved to Turnford Pumping Station . This is the example illustrated by Watkins and is a happy survivor . It is not easily accessible to the public though.
Two marine survivors may be seen in Scotland. One is conventional and the other is a double grasshopper .
12 BELL CRANK
A compact design with a vertical cylinder driving through triangular bell cranks to the crankshaft. Watkins's example at the Nicholsons Gin Distillery is preserved at the Science Museum in London and can be visited there .
Anybody familiar with the popular Mamod steam models will know this type. It was invented by Murdock in 1785 and had a swinging (oscillating) cylinder with the piston rod connected directly to the crank. It was compact and simple on the face of it, but required a valve gear adapted to the swing and steam tight trunnions to let the steam in and conduct it away. Stationary examples were quite small but marine examples driving paddle wheels could be very large with 100" cylinders or thereabouts.
Watkins's example was at Nicholsons Distillery in Bow and drove the workshop. This sadly no longer survives. An 1870 example, also used to drive a workshop and by Harvey & Co of Hayle is preserved in the Science Museum, London . A marine example by John Penn of Greenwich is preserved at the Southampton Maritime Museum.
This design was patented by Maudslay in 1807. It consists of a vertical cylinder sat on a table. The piston drives vertically to a long, guided crosshead and twin side rods descend, through slots in the table's top, to cranks on the crankshaft below. The design is both compact and decorative. Watkins illustrates an example at the Canal Depot at Norbury Junction, Shropshire. To the best of my knbowledge this no longer survives.
The Science Museum has a very fine example by Maudslay. Other examples may be seen at Sarehole Mill, Birmingham (of a slightly different design with the connecting rods outside the table), the Bygones Museum, Claydon and Leeds Industrial Museum.
This design met the demand for an engine that was simpler than the beam engine yet retained the vertical cylinder. It was popular for small factories and also in the mechanised farms that were especially popular in the north and Scotland. In the smaller sizes they were virtually self contained, while Watkins chose to illustrate a slightly larger housebuilt version at the Sheepbridge Coal & Iron Co where it drove fodder preparation plant for pit ponies. This example no longer exists.
A smaller example was used at the windmill at Woolpit, Suffolk and is preserved at the Crofton Pumping Station .
Watkins refers to larger examples being used in the woollen mills of Yorkshire and one such compound example is preserved at Wortley Top Forge .
Watkins also refers to the vertical Durham winding engines to Crowther's 1800 patent. These were the largest of vertical engines and one has been preserved at Beamish .
|Tue, 9 Mar 2010 20:34
This design was patented by M I Brunel (Isambard's father) in 1823 and consisted of one or more cylinders driving upward at an angle of 45 degrees or so to a crankshaft above. In stationary use this was mainly used for low powers and was popular for driving textile finishing and rubber calendering machines. The exhaust steam was typically used for process. Watkins illustrates two double diagonal engines in the Lancashire textile trade. These are, of course, long gone.
The last example to work in the UK textile trades was a Robey at Barracks Fabrics Finishing in Macclesfield and this is now preserved by the Robey Trust in Tavistock. A publicly accessible engine is at the Burrs Country Park, Bury .
Further examples may be seen at the Bolton Steam Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester.
17. HORIZONTAL SINGLE CYLINDER
Horizontal cylinders were initially not used because of concerns that the weight of the piston would wear the bottom. This was found to be largely groundless. There were a few examples at the beginning of the 19th century but it was to be the 1850s and beyond before the type became really popular. A large percentage of engines from then on had various configurations of horizontal cylinders, although all designs showed considerable overlap.
Watkins's illustration is of a simple engine with slide valve, probably from the late 1850s that was used at the brewey of Messrs Nichols in Hertford. This is long gone.
It is possible to see a simple engine in a brewery at the Southwick Brewhouse . A slightly larger example may be seen on the brewery tour at Wadworths in Devizes .
There were some larger single cylinder engines with more sophisticated valve gears and these could typically be up to 100 or so horsepower. A good example that has just come on public display is the 1907 Marsdens Engines Ltd Corliss valve engine that is now at Ellenroad Engine House but was formerly at Barker's tannery, Otley .
18. CROSS COMPOUND
George does, of course, mean the horizontal cross compound with cylinders either side of the flywheel and cranks at 90 degrees to each other. This was a compact design with a very even turning moment. Watkins states that they were made from 12 to 4000 horsepower and served every industry.
Watkins chose a very large and long since scrapped 2,000 horsepower example by Urmson & Thompson of Oldham. This truly awesome beast drove by 42 cotton ropes and was on occasion overloaded by 25%. It was at the Ace Mill, Chadderton and was housed in a prominent projecting engine house.
I too will choose a large engine to illustrate this class, indeed the largest surviving cross compound in the UK. This was built by Yates & Thom of Blackburn in 1925 and is of 1800 horsepower . It is at the No. 2 Mill of Leigh Spinners .
The Leigh Spinners engine is not available for public viewing. The Science Museum has a nice Burnley Ironworks example . Good in steam examples may be seen at Coldharbour Mill, Uffculme, Devon and Bancroft Mill engine house, Barnoldswick
19. SINGLE TANDEM COMPOUND
This was an alternative way of arranging two cylinders for compound expansion by placing one behind the other on a common piston rod and with a single crank. Believe it or not, the single crank tandem was smoother and placed less strain on the crank pin than a single cylinder engine of the same power. Compared to the cross compound it required a long and narrow engine house and Watkins claimed that this reduced the cost of the house and engine foundations. This was a popular design and was possibly more popular in the Yorkshire textile mills. Watkins's example was a Pollit & Wigzell patent 'three rod' tandem with a Rider expansion valve on the high pressure. The three rod design placed the low pressure cylinder directly behind the high pressure and with two piston rods straddling the high pressure cylinder. This eliminated the glands between the cylinders and shortened the engine. The example shown was in Bradford but no longer survives.
A similar but larger example is preserved at Nortonthorpe Mills, Scissett . This is no longer regularly open to the public.
Publicly accessible engines may be seen at Bolton Steam Museum , Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester and Leeds Industrial Museum, Armley Mills .
20. DOUBLE TANDEM COMPOUND
This consisted of two horizontal tandem compound engines coupled to one crank shaft that carried the flywheel in the middle. This was a high power type and much favoured in cotton spinning mills and the larger weaving sheds. They were predominantly found in Lancashire and the textile area of Cheshire. Typically they were of 1000 to 2000 horsepower but they could be as small as 2-300 horsepower and up to 3000 horsepower. The illustrated example was built in 1902 by George Saxon and rated at 1600 horsepower. It was supplied to the Dawn Mill, Shaw but was scrapped in the 1960s. The mill has now been demolished and replaced by an ASDA .
A near neighbour was the Dee Mill but this and its magnificent engine are also just memories. Fortunately, there is one large in situ example that can still be seen running under steam and that is at Ellenroad Engine House, only a few miles up the road from Shaw .
|Sat, 13 Mar 2010 22:45
|21. FOUR CYLINDER TRIPLE EXPANSION
Economy was paramount as large engines developed and a big mill could use 100 tons of coal per week. Therefore the triple expansion design was developed and the steam was expanded in three separate stages (high, intermediate and low pressure). The big horizontal engines usually had two low pressure cylinders to cope with the much greater volume of low pressure steam. The engine would be arranged as a twin tandem with the high pressure and one low pressure driving one crank and the intermediate pressure and other low pressure driving the other crank. These used high pressure steam (for thermodynamic reasons) and the usual range was between 180 and 200 pounds per square inch for this type. The illustrated example was a beautiful 1750 horsepower engine built in 1906 for the Durban Mill in Hollinwood and is long since gone.
The only surviving example of this type is the J & E Wood engine of 2100 horsepower built in 1907 for Trencherfield Mill, Wigan .
22. SINGLE-CRANK TANDEM TRIPLE EXPANSION - EXTINCT TYPE
This used three cylinders of increasing size in tandem and driving on to a single crank. It was not a popualr type and rarely exceeded 600 horsepower. The illustrated example was at Railway St Mills, Colne and is no more.
There are no surviving examples to show.
23. SIDE-BY-SIDE COMPOUND
In this type the cylinders were placed closed together, parallel to each other (ie side-by-side) with the flywheel to one side. They were usually a relatively low power design, below 350 horsepower, although some larger examples were made to comply with special space requirements in textile mills. This was a less popular design and there are relatively few survivors.
Watkins's example dated from 1879 and was at Youngs Brewery, King Street, Norwich. The engine is long gone and the brewery was replaced by a brewery depot that is also due for replacement .
The closest surviving example that was used for machinery drive is a very nice Tangyes at St Mary's Mill, Chalford . This site is open occasionally. A Marshall example from a furniture factory at Piddington is now demonstrated in steam at Preston Court . There are also some surviving waterworks pump examples.
This was a very efficient machine from the thermodynamic viewpoint with steam being admitted at the ends of the cylinder and exhausted from the middle (uniflow - unidirectional flow). This allowed a single cylinder machine to be as efficient as a triple expansion engine. However the apparent simplicity hid substantial technical difficulties and although the design was mooted in the first half of the nineteenth century, it was to be 1908 before Professor Stumpf unleashed the machine in its successful form.
Watkins illustrated a pair of Sulzer engines built in Switzerland in 1912 and 1914 and installed at the Carsons chocolate factory near Bristol. The works closed about 1961 and the engines were scrapped.
A good example built in 1921 may be seen at the Bradford Industrial Museum and came from linton Mills in the Yorkshire Dales. Another example is at Leeds Industrial Museum and a third at Thinktank in Birmingham .
25. SUPERPOSED - EXTINCT TYPE
This was a very compact compound engine built by W & J Galloway of Manchester. The low pressure was horizontal with the high pressure on top and inclined downwards so the axes converged. Each had its own connecting rod and the drove onto a single crank. Over 200 were sold and none survive as far as I know. The example chosen was of 420 horsepower and drove the cold rolls at a tinplate works in Pontardulais.
There are no surviving examples to show.
|Tue, 16 Mar 2010 00:21
|26. HORIZONTAL NON-DEAD-CENTRE - EXTINCT TYPE
H J H King of Nailsworth patented this type in 1885. The example illustrated was compound with the high pressure above the low pressure and with the axes parallel. Both pistons drove to a triangular connecting rod driving to a single crank (not the same geometry as No. 25). The motion was such that the engine effectively did not have a dead centre as such. The example shown worked at Brimscombe near Stroud and is no more.
There are no surviving examples to show.
27. INVERTED VERTICAL CROSS COMPOUND
This was a compact design that had a small footprint, required smaller foundations and a smaller, albeit tall house. This reduced capital outlay. The design usually ran faster than the equivalent horizontal, requiring a smaller flywheel and generally weighing less for the same power output. It was especially popular in Lancashire and the chosen example was built by George Saxon in 1906 and supplied to the now demolished Monton Mill, Eccles. It was a fair sized machine developing 1650 horsepower and driving by 30 ropes from the 22' diameter flywheel.
The closest surviving example (in appearance) was built by Scott & Hodgson of Guide Bridge in 1896 to develop 500 horsepower ] and installed secondhand at Waterloo Mills, Silsden . This site is listed II*.
Another significant example is preserved at the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester and was built by Ferranti to drive an alternator . As far as I know these are the only two surviving examples of the type in the UK.
28 INVERTED VERTICAL TRIPLE EXPANSION - EXTINCT TYPE
This refers to the engine as used for powering mills rather than as used in waterworks, where several examples survive.
This design usually had three cylinders and three cranks with the flywheel at one end. This was probably first used for mill driving about 1900 and several of the Lancashire builders built them. Watkins chosen example was a brutish machine 0f 1600 horsepower built by Buckley & Taylor of Oldham in 1904 for the Cromer ring spinning mill at Middleton. It was replaced by electric drive in 1963-4.
I was fortunate to see the last example of this type in situ in the late 1970s, spent one day on the working party removing it and was very disappointed when it was scrapped in 2008 after many years of open storage. The engine in question was built by Wood Bros of Sowerby Bridge and installed 3rd hand in 1939 at Shepley New Mills . it was a relatively small example of 600 horsepower but was still an imposing hunk of metal.
29 VERTICAL NON-DEAD-CENTRE
This is the inverted vertical counterpart of No. 26. There were two separate designs by H J H King of Nailsworth and Fleming & Ferguson of Paisley. Musgrave of Bolton built engines of the Fleming & Ferguson type with a triangular connecting rod having its apex pointing away from the cylinders (the King type had the apex towards the cylinders). J Musgrave & Son built many fine examples with both single and double cranks, the latter often being quadruple expansion.
The illustrated example was one of two single crank machines of 1000 horsepower supplied in 1902 to Victoria Mill, Miles Platting .
The Science Museum in London has a very small example that is little more than a model but there is a small full size engine of 150 horsepower preserved at the Bolton Steam Museum and built by J Musgrave & Son for Park Street Mill, Radcliffe. This can be run on steam.
30. MANHATTAN - EXTINCT TYPE
The tramway power stations of New York were virtual black holes for energy and were home to some truly awesome reciprocating steam engines of around 12,000 horsepower. A special design was developed for these stations and that is where the name Manhattan originated. These were engines with both horizontal and inverted vertical cylinders driving onto one crankpin and could be made as single or double engines. They were powerful and smooth with some very fine examples being built by George Saxon for the textile trade. The illustrated example was built in 1909 by George Saxon for the Fox Mill at Hollinwood and was good for 1800 horsepower.
Although none of these survive, we are fortunate to have the engine house that housed a veritable monster - a double Manhattan by George Saxon in 1913 and designed for 4000 horsepower. However, the projected second half of the mill was never built and only one half of the engine actually ran. The flywheel had grooves for 73 ropes, was 24' diameter and 15' wide. This was at the Pear New Mill, Bredbury .
|Wed, 17 Mar 2010 23:44
The types described above were slow speed types and rarely exceeded, say, 120 revolutions per minute. The electricity industry demanded dynamos and alternators to turn faster than this. Initially this was accomplished by belts running from large to small pulleys or off the flywheel rim but there was a clear need for compact high speed engines that could be coupled directly to the generator. Peter W Willans was the inventor of one such machine with his central valve engine. This could be single, compound, or triple expansion with the cylinders in tandem and duplicated on to two or three cranks. The cylinders were single acting to avoid thrust reversal and knocking of the big ends. The piston valves operated up the centre of the hollow piston rods. The crankcase was fully enclosed and lubrication was by splash.
The illustrated example was a very pretty two crank triple expansion set at the Avonbank Power Station of Bristol Corporation and is long since gone.
To the very best of my knowledge there are no in situ Willans engines in the UK (quite possibly in the world) but there are several preserved in museums or in museum stores. The most obvious and accessible is at the Science Museum in South Kensington where there is a sectioned single crank triple expansion engine and an intact twin crank double compound . A similar but larger and sectioned example used to be on display in the Guiness Storehouse in Dublin but is believed to be in store .
In my opinion this was a brilliant concept that helped make better use of the steam engine thermodynamically. Put simply, it was a compound condensing engine, often with a uniflow low pressure, arranged to have steam abstracted for process work from the intermediate receiver. This meant that the steam that was extracted could be put to a use that recovered its latent heat, rather than using it to warm the condensing water, and improved the overall cycle efficiency. These were complicated beasts with both speed and extraction pressure governors that performed an intricate, intertwined dance to keep it all together as the demands for power and process steam varied.
The illustrated example was a Musgrave horizontal tandem compound with uniflow low pressure, built in 1924, developing 500 horsepower and installed at Crimble Mills, Heywood. The engine is gone but the Mills still stand, although this engine's house is no more .
The best surviving example is a W & J Galloway horizontal cross compound with uniflow low pressure . This was built in 1926 for Elm Street Mill, Burnley and is on display at the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester .
For some purposes it was useful to have a boiler and engine ensemble that could if neccesary be moved from location to location. The overtype had the engine mounted on the top of the boiler and if it was wheeled it was termed a portable engine and if not wheeled it was semi-portable. Of course it was only a short step to connect engine and wheels and you had a protoptype traction engine - however, we won't even go there.
Watkins chose a single cylinder overtype semi-portable by Wm Allchin that drove a sawmill at Southam. It was built in 1901 but retired with a worn firebox in 1956. There is no evidence of its continued survival.
Wheeled portables are often to be seen at rallies around the country and a large example drives the sawmill at the Landmark Herritage Centre, Carrbridge . To turn to semi-portable engines - one was to be seen at Renishaw Park sawmill but this has now been moved and re-wheeled. The best example that has never had wheels is possibly that on display at the Long Shop Museum, Leiston while one is out of public sight on Longlands Farm on the Holkham Estate .
Another semi-portable type with a steam engine mounted beneath a locomotive type boiler. This was widely used in sawmills and for pumping and winding at small mines. The illustrated example was used at a sawmill in the docks at King's Lynn. It was a duplex (twin cylinder high pressure) example by Marshall Sons & Co Ltd of Gainsborough built c1893. It was latterly supplied with steam from a Lancashire boiler as the engine was on occasion loaded beyond its own boiler's capacity.
This engine survives and is at Fengate Farm, Weeting, where it is demonstrated at the annual rally . There are a few other survivors but they are either ruinous or not seen in public at the moment.
35. RIVER PASSENGER BOAT
To say this is a book dedicated to the stationary steam engine, Watkins demonstrated his love of matters marine by meandering into engines from inland waterways. The smaller river passenger steamers were often propelled by delightful fast running, lightly built compound and triple expansion engines. Many were built by Wm Sisson & Co of Gloucester and he chose to illustrate one of these that was on dry land out of the vessel. This example was c1901 and had been used in SS River Queen and was of about 80 horsepower at 300-350 rpm.
The National Waterways Museum at Gloucester displays an excellent 130 horsepower engine by T & A Savery of Birmingham from the river steamer King . In recent years, several excellent Thames steamers have been re-engined and these include Nuneham , Windsor Belle , Streatley and Alaska .
|Sun, 21 Mar 2010 17:57
|36. CANAL BARGE
Although horses long held sway for hauling barges on the canals, there was a period when steam propulsion was used. Given the limited space in a barge, very compact power plants were preferred and they were often single crank to keep the length right down. Watkins shows an inverted vee duplex that is non-condensing, while Fellows, Morton and Clayton favoured inverted vertical tandem compounds with condensers. The illustrated engine was on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and although on a pump boat it was typical of barge engines. This example does not survive.
An excellent, genuine narrowboat engine is preserved at the National Waterways Museum, Gloucester and is a single cylinder built in 1890 . At the Black Country Museum is preserved the 1909 steam narrowboat President which no longer has its original engine and is on its second engine as a preserved steamer .
37. CORNISH WATERWORKS PUMP
This was a design based on the very efficient Cornish mine drainage engines that in themselves were a development of the Boulton & Watt single acting beam pump. The steam raised the pump rods, or a weight in lieu of them, and the return stroke, on which the pumping was performed, was under the influence of gravity. These engines were, in their day, the zenith of beam pumping engines and they reached enormous proportions, with one at Battersea having a cylinder 112" diameter.
Watkins illustrated the 1871 Harvey & Co 100" engine at Kew Bridge Pumping Station. This is now preserved in its original house but is not workable. Kew does have three other Cornish beam pumps and the oldest is a converted Boulton & Watt engine from 1820 . Other waterworks examples survive at Springhead, Hull , Sandfields, Lichfield and Dalton, Cold Hesledon .
38. BULL WATERWORKS PUMP
This is an inverted Cornish cycle machine but without the interposition of the beam. The cylinder is over the pump and they are coupled together directly. There is a light beam that just drives the air pump, plug rod, feed pole and cataracts etc. The design is attributed to Edward Bullwho was a competitor to Boulton and Watt and one of the 'pirates' they took a suit against for patent infringement. The design did enjoy a 20 year period of popularity in waterworks in and around London. The illustrated example was by Harvey of Hayle and used at Shortlands Pumping Station, Kent. It is gone but its ornate house survives as a dwelling .
There is only one surviving Bull waterworks pump and that is also by Harvey built 1856-7 and at Kew Bridge Steam Museum . There are in store non-waterwork examples at Wroughton, Nant Garw and Birmingham but the one above is the only intact one.
39. FOUR-COLUMN WATERWORKS BEAM
This is similar to the industrial equipment with the addition of pumps driven by rods from the beam, a piston tail rod or both. Watkins chose a nicely proportioned and detailed Woolf compound example built by Bevington, Topham & Cortauld of Bermondsey for Dorchester Waterworks in 1866. This is alas no more.
A rather plain example was in a car park at the Bedford College, formerly Mander College . This was built in 1878 and used at Clapham Road Pumping Station, Bedford. It is now at the Markham Grange Steam Museum, Brodsworth and will be restored to steam operation.
40. DAVEY DIFFERENTIAL PUMP
This was a very elegant design that, like the Cornish engine, was non-rotative with pistons unrestrained by a crank and connecting rod but, unlike the Cornish engine, had a built-in safeguard against sudden changes in load (like a main bursting). This was achieved by operating the valve gear using the diffferential motion between a variable input derived from the engine's motion and a constant motion derived from a steam/water cataract 'differential' engine. If the main engine moved too fast it out-ran the differential engine and shut off steam, or potentially even admitted steam against the pistons to slow them. The designer was Henry Davey and they were built by Hathorn, Davey of Leeds.
Watkins's example was a double diagonal version at Weston-super-Mare waterworks built in 1889 and long since gone. A similar set, now scrapped, were at the Cosford Pumping Station .
The only surviving workable examples are at the Cambridge Museum of Technology in the former Cheddars Lane sewage pumping station where there is a pair of horizontal tandem compound engines from 1894.
A mine pumping example is preserved at Cwm and was used at Marine Colliery .
|Sat, 27 Mar 2010 13:20
|41. WORTHINGTON TRIPLE-EXPANSION PUMP
Henry Rossiter Worthington of New York developed his eponymous non-rotative pump in the 1840s. The classic design was a duplex with side by side lines of steam and pump cylinders so that the piston rod of one line operated the valves of the opposite line. This ensured smooth, alternating action. Most of these engines were relatively small and simple expansion but there were compound and triple expansion examples, the latter having no less than six cylinders. The large examples were used in locations such as water works, sewage works and oil fuel depots.
The chosen example was of five horizontal triple expansion sets at a pumping station in Staines. These could pump up to 82.5 million gallons of water per day from the Thames to supply London with drinking water. The engines were scrapped about 1958 but I believe the house still stands .
A relatively accessible waterworks triple expansion type is at Brede Pumping Station and was originally at Upper Cherry Garden Waterworks, Folkestone .
For those wishing to travel further afield, there are three well-preserved examples at the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre near to Lyness, Orkney Islands, Great Britain and these are very similar in appearance to these scrapped examples at Thanckes Oil Fuel Depot .
42. TRIPLE-EXPANSION ENGINE AND CENTRIFUGAL PUMP
This plant was adapted to pumping very large volumes to a relatively low head, as for example in abstracting river water. For high head pumping it was more usual to use reciprocating force pumps, although modern high-head centrifugal pumps now do the duty. Watkins illustrated the Metropolitan Water Board plant at Walton-on-Thames with four Thames Ironworks inverted vertical triple expansion engines driving Gwynnes two stage cenrifugal pumps. The engines ran at 135 rpm, each developing 600 horsepower and together they pumped 100 million gallons per day. Fortunately, one of these engines has been preserved in its impressive building .
43. GEARED THREE-THROW PUMP
Watkins has chosen to illustrate a relatively small, simple, low economy engine of the sort that would have been used in applications where expensive high efficiency waterworks units would not be needed. The examples that he gives are in water dependent industries such as brewing, dyeing, bleaching, etc. The illustrated engine is a vertical single cylinder driving a three throw pump by reduction gearing. This was made by George Adlam of Bristol and used in the Bristol United Breweries. It was about 9" bore x 1' stroke. This engine is no more.
I can think of no examples that are quite like Watkins's but have chosen a larger single cylinder horizontal example that is on display at Enginuity in Coalbrookdale . This is a slightly more efficient engine than George's example, with an expansion slide valve and condenser. It was used at Appleton Pumping Station on the Sandringham Estate .
44. INVERTED VERTICAL SIMPLE WELL PUMP
This was an unusual type in waterworks in later years, lacking the efficiency of the more complex variants, but could be justified for smaller capacities or intermittent use. Watkins has chosen a very nice example by James Simpson of Pimlico that drove an Ashley 'concertina' pump with a capacity of 1.5 million gallons per day. This was at Broadmead Pumping Station near Ware and although the engine is gone, its attractive house and 65' chimney survive .
There is nothing quite like this surviving but a pretty pair of inverted vertical single cylinder well pumping engines survive at the steam museum at Straffan near Dublin and came from Jamesons' Distillery at Smithfield in Dublin .
45. INVERTED VERTICAL TRIPLE-EXPANSION PUMP
In later years this high-efficiency design, originating from the USA, came to largely dominate waterworks pumping practice. George refers to the very impressive engines at Kempton Park pumping station that were over 60' high and fortunately still survive in a most impressive building .
Watkins chose to illustrate three Lilleshall engines in a row at Cricklewood . These were built in 1901 and rated at 275 horsepower and together pumping 22.5 million gallons per day. They have long since gone but their impressive engine house survives .
There are several examples that can be seen publicly and these include the Waterworks Museum, Hereford , Brede Waterworks near Hastings and Twyford Waterworks near Winchester .
|Mon, 12 Apr 2010 22:56
|46. HORIZONTAL CROSS COMPOUND PUMP
George states that horizontal waterworks pumps were less widely used than vertical types but did have some advantages such as accessibility and keeping stresses close to the cylinders (less convinced personally). He does refer to there also being tandem examples with the steam cylinders, force pumps and well pump drives all in one long line.
The chosen example is a pair built in 1910 by James Simpson and 1920 by Worthington-Simpson Ltd. The cylinders have expansion slide valves and are 21" & 42" x 36". The high pressure tail rod operated the double acting force pump and the low pressure tail rod operated the well pumps via an inverted tee bob. This plant was at Waddon Pumping Station and ran until 1982, being officially retired in 1983.
Although the station has been demolished, both engines survive. One is at Strumpshaw Hall Steam Museum and the other is at Kew Bridge steam Museum .
Viewers wishing to see the horizontal tandem compound equivalent are directed to Mill Meece Pumping Station in Staffordshire where there are a pair .
47. BEAM ENGINE AND SCOOP WHEEL
This was a type used for land drainage where a large quantity of water must be lifted through a small height. The scoop wheel is a waterwheel in reverse and they were originally driven by windmills. Following the advent of steam power, this old technology continued to be used until the development of centrifugal pumps in the 1850s and later.
The illustrated example was one of two at Pode Hole in Lincolnshire and was named Holland. It was of 80 nominal horse power and ran at 16 rpm. The scoopwheel was originally 28' diameter but as the land shrank and sank it had to be increased to 31'. The engine is long gone but the boiler house survives and the land is now drained by diesel and electric pumps .
The largest surviving example and the one with greatest resemblance to the Pode Hole engines is the 1831 Butterley engine and scoop wheel at Stretham . The complex includes the boilers with stand-pipe feed and an elderly air-blast diesel engine .
The other two surviving examples are not house-built beam engines but are smaller A-frame beam engines with smaller scoop wheels. These are at Dogdyke Pumping Station and Pinchbeck Pumping station , both in Lincolnshire.
48. SINGLE ROLLING-MILL BEAM - EXTINCT TYPE
The metal trades required high powered engines and the beam rolling mill engine was an early example of these. Rollings mills are used to make lumps of hot metal longer and thinner, as well as imparting shape - for example rails and RSJs are two examples of rolled products. Watkins's example was built in 1867 and worked at a Dudley ironworks for over 80 years. It is now a distant memory and as far as I know there are no beam rolling mill engines left.
49. REVERSING ROLLING MILL
The smaller rolling mills were non-reversing and the workpiece could be passed "dead" back over the top rollers prior to the next pass; this being done by "hand" with long tongs (see here and . As the work-piece became heavier (up to several tons), it became necessary to reverse the rolls and make the return pass through them "live". This rquired a reversing steam engine and this was done by using valve gears as on marine engines or colliery winders, whether they be lnk motion gears or radial gears.
The chosen example was a thoroughly brutish horizontal three cylinder reversing engine built in about 1914 by Galloways of Manchester for Grovesend Steel & Tinplate Co, Gorseinon. This plant was scrapped in about 1958.
My example is regularly demonstrated in its new home at Kelham Island Sheffield . This was built by Davy Bros, Sheffield in 1905 and is a 12,000 horssepower example that drove an armour plate mill via reduction gears. Very quick reverse was achieved by Joy valve gear with steam servo assistance. A single lever operated reversing gear and throttle valves and this is regularly demonstrated in steam. It was latterly used at the River Don Works where Forgemasters is .
I was lucky to see a much smaller example at Workington, which was the last engine of its type at work in the UK .
50. GEAR REVERSE ROLLING MILL
Using a gearbox with forward and reverse gear trains would allow a non-reversing engine to drive a reversing rolling mill. Watkin's example is of a relatively simple engine in a Bristol lead rolling mill. The engine was built in 1880 by J Mowle & Co of Chester and was a non-condensing slide valve engine. This engine was replaced in about 1956.
Although I originally thought there was no suitable surviving example of this type, I remembered a comment about the very derelict engine at Landore Works near Swansea having driven its copper plate rolling mill via a reversing mechanism incorporating a steam operated clutch . The engine is a very deteriorated 600 horsepower uniflow built 1910 by J Musgrave of Bolton and the oldest example of the type in the UK. Peak load, utilising two heavy flywheels, was claimed to be 2000 horsepower.