The Stationary Steam Engine
|Mon, 19 Apr 2010 18:01
|51. BEAM WINDER
Second only to the need to pump mine workings was the need to wind the product (coal or ore) out of the pit. As a result, beam winding engines were hard on the heels of pumping engines and enjoyed a century or so of popularity until ousted by more modern types (see No. 52). These were usually single cylinder machines and could be either all inside the house or arranged with the beam on a bob wall forming the front ofthe house, with the drum in the open air. Very few of this type survived into the modern era.
George chose a single cylinder engine with the drums in the open that was at the Stafford Pit of Lilleshall Iron & Coal Co in the Shropshire coalfield. This probably dated from the 1840s and is long gone.
There are two surviving beam winding engines (or whims) preserved in Cornwall. The older and smaller was built by Harvey & Co of Hayle in 1840 and is at Levant Mine . This is regularly demonstrated running in steam. The other was built in 1887 by Holman Bros of Camborne and is known as Michell's whim . This is at East Pool and preserved by the National Trust. It is turned by an electric motor.
A small colliery beam winding engine is now preserved at the Scottish Mining Museum and was formerly displayed at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh .
52. HORIZONTAL TWIN WINDER
This was very largely the standard colliery winder following its introduction in the 1850s. With two equal sized cylinders and cranks at 90 degrees either side of the drum it was powerful and would start from any position. They were made from small to very large and equipped with all types of valve and reversing gears. They were manually operated, although they later had various safety devices fitted. At the peak of the industry some 70 millions winds were made per annum in the UK and with remarkably few mishaps.
The chosen example is believed to have been one of the last major winding engines built in the UK and was built in 1943 by Worsley Mesnes for Sandholes Colliery, Walkden. It was about 30" bore by 5' stroke with a 14' parallel drum. The pit was closed about 1958 and nothing remains.
In the 1980s there were about 20 steam winding engines at work but now very few remain to be seen. Possibly the oldest and smallest on display is the 1876 slide valve example by Davy Bros of Sheffield that is at the National Mining Museum at Caphouse Colliery . A larger and more modern version, built in 1927 by Worsley Mesnes with drop steam valves and Corliss exhaust valves is at Cefn Coed Colliery, now a museum
|Tue, 20 Apr 2010 20:44
|I have now completed the typologies as laid out in this seminal work. There are, however, a few gaps in his coverage and I am giving consideration to covering some of these in due course; perhaps with reference to the earlier Watkins/Wightman guide to steam power.|
|Sat, 31 Jul 2010 22:25
|George Watkins and the late Frank Wightman, an excellent draughtsman, produced an illustrated article in the quarterly journal Industrial archaeology and this was also published as a booklet by David & Charles with one impression (the one I own) being published in 1982. The illustrations largely conform to the types shown in The Stationary Steam Engine but there are one or two different examples and the booklet is broader in its remit and includes boilers, drive systems and self propelled engines, to name a few differences.
In the following sections I will attempt to illustrate as many of these extra subjects as I am able and will add in new material as it becomes available.
I will use the index numbers from the booklet, but only those that show something different to that already illustrated (hope this is all clear).
Let us begin: -
6. THE ANNULAR COMPOUND ENGINE
A design with the high and low pressure cylinders concentric and the LP piston resembling a well known mint and surrounding the HP cylinder. There was the added complication of the LP piston needing internal and external sealing arrangements. Only a limited number were made but they were applied to a variety of uses, including pumping engines and marine engines.
The largest cylinders made, of 144" bore, were the LP cylinders of three annular compound Cornish (Sims) cycle machines supplied to drain the Haarlemmermeer in Holland. One of these survives but cannot be illustrated on Geograph UK.
Thomas Middleton of London built an annular compound beam engine in 1866 and this was used at Southwark gas works. The cylinder assembly only of this engine was saved for the national collection and is in The Science Museum store at Wroughton air field . Unfortunately I do not have a photograph of this and would be grateful if one could be posted.
19. THE INVERTED VERTICAL SIMPLE ENGINE
Surprisingly, Watkins omited the single cylinder inverted vertical engine from The Stationary Steam Engine. This is the equivalent of the simple horizontal single cylinder engine and was latterly very popular for smaller powers as it took up little floor-space. It is 'inverted' to distinguish it from the earlier 'true vertical' with the crank above the cylinder. The design is credited to Nasmyth in the 1840s and is clearly a modification of the steam hammer that he invented.
There are quite a few of these small and simple engines around and one is to be seen at Coldharbour Mill, Uffculme . Another example may be seen at Stamford Brewery and there is a twin cylinder simple expansion variant (apparently a converted marine engine) on display at Milestones in Basingstoke .
25. THE QUICK-REVOLUTION FORCED-LUBRICATION ENGINE
Although the Willans engine (see No. 31 above) had an enclosed crankcase and a high rotational speed, it was lubricated by drip and splash and was by necessity single-acting as the bearings would have pounded if it was double-acting. In 1890 Pain of Belliss and Morcom patented a system of forced lubrication which remains the norm in all modern reciprocating internal combustion engines. This allowed the high speed enclosed engine to be double-acting and effectively doubled its pound for pound power. Geograph has many pictures of this type of engine, such as , and .
The type was well suited to direct driving of alternators, dynamos and centrifugal pumps, to name a few and was built in the UK into the 1970s. The type is stil being made by Spilling of Hamburg and is potentially of use for low power applications requiring process steam at exhaust pressure - ie combined heat and power (CHP).
There are a few on public display. The Science Museum in London has the prototype Belliss & Morcom engine. This Browett, Lindley is at Ellenroad Engine House. Ashley Dace has provided this example at Bressingham and a pair at Forncett Industrial Steam Museum .
It is my long term aim to produce a gallery of these engines.
26. THE STEAM TURBINE
This is the ultimate steam prime mover and from its invention in 1884 has grown to be one of the major prime movers of the modern world. The principle is simple with steam jets passing through fixed and moving blades while expanding. The realities are somewhat more complex.
Two nice example may be seen at Kempton Park Pumping Station and a small municipal turbine is the Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester in this building .
Big steam turbines, upto 660 MW , provide the majority of the UK's electrical power, whether they be driven by nuclear power , fossil fuel , renewables or as part of a combined cycle gas turbine plant .
A couple of historic shots illustrate Cliff Quay Power Station, Ipswich and Lots Road Power Station, London .
27. THE COMBINED VERTICAL BOILER AND ENGINE
Described as a portable design for low powers. The engine could be mounted on the boiler or even in the boiler, or both could be mounted on a wheeled trolley or on a frame that could be moved by other means. This was a classically simple design and could be operated by relatively unskilled workers.
There are surprisingly few examples of this type left and some of these are in poor condition.
Perhaps the best is this by an unknown maker that is on display at The Disappearing Village, Blackgang Chine, Isle of wight.
|Tue, 10 Aug 2010 22:53
|29. THE LOCOMOBILE ENGINE
This is a more modern version of the overtype semi-portable engine that is described at 33 above and is influenced by continental, especially German, practice.
Unlike the more traditional design, these had circular boiler barrels with concentric fireboxes that did not need a myriad of stays and could be withdrawn for maintenance. They were usually of the most efficient design with compounding, superheating and condensing all being standard practice.
An excellent working example by Robey of Lincoln can be seen at Hollycombe in Hampshire . An equally sophisticated Garrett was to be found in a sawmill at High Ongar and is now on display at the Longshop Museum, Leiston .
30. THE PORTABLE ENGINE
This was effectively a wheeled overtype engine and could be easily moved by horses, tractor or steam waggon, etc. The sizes ranged from about 2 to 80 horsepower and the engines were classically simple with the exhaust steam passing to a blast-pipe at the base of the chimney. They were often used in timber and agricultural trades and could be toured around by contractors as needed - eg for threshing. The book illustrated an electric lighting set for a fairground. This was a less common use but there are at least two surviving examples in the UK.
Portable engines are still relatively common and can be seen at practically all steam rallies driving a variety of devices - threshing machines, saws, stone crushers and even a cider press - .
31. TOOTHED GEAR DRIVING
The earlier driving engines were coupled to the driven machines by gearing from either the flywheel rim or a separate gear wheel on the crankshaft or mounted on the flywheel spokes. The drive would then pass horizontally or vertically as required using spur or bevel wheels as required. One of the last mills to use this was the Nile Mill, Oldham in 1898 . With gear driving it was usual to have the engine room integrated in the mill or at one the end of the mill .
There are several gear drive engines left to see. This is a big example that is being re-erected at Masson Mill, Matlock Bath. This seldom seen engine at Ashgrove Works, Blairgowrie is gear drive and the spur gear drive to the second motion shaft is clearly visible. A very pretty gear drive engine is preserved at Nortonthorpe mills.
Pictures of the actual shafting beyond the engine are less common but here are two pictures of gearing and this shows a bracket that once supported a vertical shaft driving a textile mill.
32. ROPE DRIVE
This used ropes up to 2" diameter and usually of cotton that ran in vee-shaped grooves. These were usually round the flywheel rim and drove to one or more driven pulleys on lineshafting. This system was popular in cotton mills, especially from the 1890s on and some of the largest engines transmitted up to 3000 hp via ropes with a single rope capable of transmitting up to 50 horsepower. The need to obtain a sufficient distance between the centres of driving and driven wheels led to projecting engine houses with the ropes passing into a slot like rope race across the width of the mill.
Although there are several rope drive engines survivng, there are very few with ropes left on. There is no doubt that ropes fanning up a rope race enhance the spectacle.
Here are a few relevant photographs: -
Coldharbour Mill in Devon has the projecting engine house containing a 1910 horizontal cross compound engine by Pollitt and Wigzell and this does actually retain ropes that still drive several pulleys at different levels in the rope race .
The Diamond Ropworks engine at Royton retained its rope race and this shows the view looking towards the engine . This view shows the rope race to the right of the engine house with a blind end wall and a sloping glazed roof. The engine is now preserved at Bolton but without the context of its ropes and rope race .
Trencherfield Mill, Wigan is an example of the higher power rope drive with a very large projecting engine house that contains a 2100 horsepower horizontal four cylinder triple expansion engine . The flywheel consists of two separate wheels mounted edge to edge, 26' diameter and grooved for 54 ropes. A few ropes are retained and the engine is regularly demonstrated running on steam at about half the service speed.
Ellenroad Engine House is the surviving part of a large spinning mill and the engine again has a twin flywheel that weighs 80 tons . The rope race contains a large illustration of how it would have been set up .
Waterloo Mills, Silsden still retains a few ropes in its rope race but is not easily accesible.
33. FLAT BELTS
This was a common driving method, usually for the lower power range with flat belts of leather or other fabric running either on the flywheel rim or on an adjoining belt pulley. The rim of flywheel or pulley would be 'crowned' rather than flat, to keep the belt in place. It was also very common to have a veritable forest of flat belt in workshops or weaving sheds driving the individual machines from the engine driven lineshafting.
David Stowell's picture of the Hook Norton Brewery engine illustrates a typical belt drive set-up . The weaving shed at Queen Street Mill well demonstrated a forest of belts . Claymills Pumping Station workshop is a good example of a belt driven workshop .
|Fri, 13 Aug 2010 22:46
|34. DIRECT DRIVE
George and Frank have chosen to illustrate a layout for which I can think of no exact current matching example. They describe and illustrate a vertical duplex engine directly mounted to the wall of a workshop and directly coupled to the main drive shaft. The heavy machine tools were directly driven from this shaft and it also drove a multiplicity of belt drives to other machines.
To my mind they are describing two separate entities that happen to be linked in the example chosen. The wall engine was always of relatively low powers and there is one by Gimson on display at the Museum of Technology in Leicester. Crossness Pumping Station also has an example that drove the overhead crane at Addington Pumping Station but this is not yet shown on Geograph.
Some mill engines were directly coupled to the main mill shaft with subsidiary shafts driven by bevel gears. A good example is at Queen Street Mill, Harle Syke . Providence Mill, Earlsheaton also had the engine directly driving the main shaft without the interposition of gears or ropes .
35. THE HAYSTACK
This was just about the earliest practical boiler type and was effectively a modified brewer's copper. It was made of copper and lead plates, also wrought iron, set in brickwork and externally fired with the gases passing round the outside of the plating (wheel draught). The boiler worked at or a little above atmospheric pressure and was used for the early beam engine types (Newcomen, Watt and Heslop). A nice example is seen here at Snibston Discovery Park. There is another example at the Black Country Museum and the foundations for a pair that supplied a Heslop engine are preserved at the top of the Hay Inclined Plane at Blists Hill .
At the Black country Museum there is a workable example, albeit modern and built in welded steel that supplies steam to the replica of the 1712 Newcomen engine .
The Haystack was superseded by other externally fired boilers such as the Waggon boiler and the egg-ended boiler, one of each being seen here at Armley Mills, Leeds. The egg-ended boiler was suited to considerably higher pressures than the others and some remained at work into the middle of the twentieth century.
36. THE LANCASHIRE BOILER
Introduced by Fairbairn and Hetherington in 1844 this was to become the mainstay of British industry for a century or more. It consisted of a circular shell 6' to 9' diameter by up to 30' long with two furnace tubes 2' to 3' diameter passing from end to end below the centreline. The fires were in the first 6' or so of these tubes and the hot gases passed through them and then through brickwork flues under the shell and along the sides. They were good for up to 200 psi and could be fired by coal, oil, gas or even pulverised fuel (coal). Although there are possibly none now in commercial use, there are several to be seen at work in museum settings and here are a few - .
Watkins does mention that the Lancashire was effectively a development of the principle introduced by Trevithick with the Cornish boiler that only had a single internal furnace tube. Again, there are a few still to see - .
37. THE VERTICAL BOILER
The vertical boiler was self contained and popular for smaller powers. They are quite popular with steam preservation sites but keeping them in a fit state is not easy. They are all cylindrical with a vertical axis and are usually taller than their diameter. The fire is at the bottom and the internal arrangements between fire and flue were varied with anything from one large flue tube to a bank of small smoke tubes. Fire engine and steam wagon boilers were a completely different topic and were designed for fast steam raising and very free steaming.
The site does show a few of these and Ashley Dace has provided these of Cochrane boilers at the Forncett Industrial Steam Museum and this at Bressingham . In 2010, at least, this boiler remains in workable condition at the Southwick Brew House.
38. THE SCOTCH OR ECONOMIC BOILER
The Scotch boiler was a marine boiler arising in the Scottish shipbuilding industry and comprised a cylindrical shell with large diameter furnace tubes leading to a combustion chamber at the rear with small bore smoke tubes passing forward to the uptake leading to the funnel. The combustion chamber was surrounded by water and steam (wet-backed) and the furnaces and uptakes were both at the same end. The Scotch boiler was the mainstay for marine propulsion, especially in the smaller sizes, for in excess of 60 years and were certainly being made into the 1960s in small numbers. An occasional one is still made for preserved ships. They were good for at least 200 psi and exceptionally for up to about 250 psi (much as for a locomotive boiler).
Here is Ashley Dace's photograph of the boiler on the preserved drifter Lydia Eva . This is a coal burning example on the 250 Ton Crane at Runcorn - it is not known whether this is still in use. The large, double-ended version from the Paddle Steamer Waverley was seen at the Scottish Maritime Musem . At the Manchester Dry Docks the boiler house resembled a ship's engine room and contained two large Scotch boilers that were in situ but out of use in 2009.
The economic boiler is a land-based design with some similarities to the Scotch but with a brick lined (dry-back) combustion chamber. This is also closely allied to the package boiler that can have three passes for the flue gases and is usually a completely self-contained skid mounted package with feed pumps and control panel included. The package boiler is still very common in industry although not for supplying steam to engines. Here are a couple of boiler houses with package boilers .
Steam and boilers are not dead. steam is still a very effective heat transfer medium for heating and process. Large works may also use turbines to generate power. Steam is still paramount in electrical generation - see steam turbines above.
|Mon, 16 Aug 2010 23:26
|40. THE COLLIERY FAN
The Colliery winding engine was covered in the original book The Stationary Steam Engine - see No. 52 above, but the colliery fan was omitted. This was essentiall to coliery operations and the earlier examples has had a pair of engines on a single long bed plate but only one worked at a time. In the event of a failure the connecting rod of the standby engine was coupled onto the crankpin and the whole was working with minimal delay. An excellent example was this by the Waddle Patent Fan & Engineering Co that drove a very large Waddle fan at the Deep Duffryn Colliery, Mountain Ash. This engine is now at the Big Pit Museum at Blaenavon . I do not know if it is on display yet. the fan was beyond redemption.
Although the earlier engines were simple, rugged and inefficient, in later years more efficient compound and triple expansion fan engines were used. A good example was at Sutton Manor Colliery where this Walker Bros horizontal cross compound Corliss valve engine drove a Walker 'Indestructible Fan' now on display at Trencherfield Mill. The engine was on display but is now in store.
The more modern, high speed fans were often driven by high speed enclosed examples, as exemplified by this Belliss & Morcom triple expansion at Walton Colliery .
43. THE PULSOMETER STEAM PUMP
This was effectively a modern version of Savery's original 'miner's friend' patented in 1698. It used the vacuum produced by condensing steam to draw water in and steam pressure to force it out. The only moving parts were the water suction and discharge valves and a ball valve that directed steam alternately to the two operating chambers. It could pump fluids with included solids and was of great value in civil engineering, ship salvage and clearing flooded mines.
There are several surviving examples scattered around various preservation sites but there is a workable example at the Etruria Industrial Museum near Stoke-on-Trent .
44. THE ROTATIVE PUMP
Watkins and Wightman have described and illustrated an inverted vertical duplex 'banjo pump' of the type often known as a Pearn or Cameron pump, after two common builders of these. These were commonly used for a variety duties, usually in relatively small capacities, although a few did get into smaller waterworks. They were typically used as fire pumps, boiler feed pumps and for other general purposes.
Inverted vertical examples include this steam fire pump at Coldharbour Mill and this example now on display at Astley Green Colliery.
There are also horizontal examples preserved around the country. Many Evans pumps were saved from the Thomas Ness tar distillery in Caerphilly .
47. THE TRAVELLING STEAM CRANE
The illustrated examples include a rail mounted self-propelled example and a travelling overhead crane with the boiler plant and engine mounted on the travelling carriage. There is only one known example of the latter and this came from Stockton-on-Tees and is stored in the open at Preston Hall. There are no pictures of this on the site and meaningful photographs are very difficult to obtain.
The rail mounted examples are quite common, both self propelled and towed. Examples are to be seen at Gloucester Docks , Amberley Chalkpits Museum and Chatham Historic Dockyard .
There are stationary examples at Bristol Docks and Thwaite Mills, Hunslet, Leeds .
48. THE STEAM PILE DRIVER - EXTINCT TYPE
This was a variant of the steam crane and could be land based or floating. As far as I know there are no extant versions in the UK. I have seen a preserved East German example built in the 1970s but that would have to be for the German Geograph site.
|Sun, 19 Sep 2010 23:28
|49. THE STEAM HAMMER
This was invented by J Nasmyth in the 1840s to forge the increasing size of shaft needed in marine engineering. It consists of an inverted vertical cylinder with a hammer head or tup attached to the piston rod and working onto an anvil. Steam was admitted above and below the piston and the hammer could be controlled so as to give blows from the most powerful to being able to be lowered onto an egg without cracking it. The smaller hammers were often overhung, like this example , while double frames were used for hammers ranging from this 1851 Nasmyth example to some large examples, such as , and .
Some types of work required more room around the work-piece and there were designs that dispensed with the crosshead or tup guides and used a long piston rod gland with a flat on the rod to prevent rotation. These included arch designs and hammers with horizontal girders as seen here at Beamish.
50. THE STEAM FIRE ENGINE
This was a specialist type with a boiler capable of producing steam very quickly supplying a high capacity pumping engine. The whole ensemble was usually horse-drawn and the ancillary equipment and firemen all travelled together on the engine. The early ones had horizontal single cylinder pumps, both rotative and non-rotative types but the later ones were inverted vertical designs, with one to three simple cylinders. The two major British manufacturers were Merryweather and Shand Mason.
Although the Geograph site is relativley light on this type, a couple are to be seen at rallies - . Many more are to be found in various museums and on the rally field.
Although not mentioned by Watkins, there were also stationary examples in mills, factories and the odd stately home .
|Mon, 15 Nov 2010 21:10
|51. THE TRACTION ENGINE
A self propelling unit that was incapable of carrying a load (unlike a wagon) but was used for towing loads behind and for driving machinery when on station. This could be via a generator as for a showman's engine or via a belt from the flywheel rim. It was usual to have a winch on the rear axle, especially useful for timber work and some were built as crane engines.
The following pictures illustrate some of these points: -
General traction engine views - .
Engines hauling loads - .
Engines driving machinery - .
The steam roller was a development of the traction engine and used to flatten the surface of metalled roads -
Showman's engines - .
|Sat, 27 Nov 2010 15:35
|52. THE STEAM WAGON
The steam wagon had a load carrying platform (or tipping body or tank, etc) and as such could carry a payload, just like a modern internal combustion engined lorry - which did for it.
The overtype was much like a traction engine at the front with an engine atop a loco type boiler. The undertype had the engine under the floor and often a tubular type vertical boiler. The engines were often very sophisticated and bore some resemblance to internal combustion engines.
They could typically carry 6-10 tons, increased with a trailer.
Here are a few pictures: - .
53. THE LOCOMOTIVE
I have to confess that this is really not my area. A superb article on the site is to be found here - http://www.geograph.org.uk/discuss/index.php?&action=vthread&forum=6&t opic=12736
Watkins describes the locomotive as the least adaptable and most powerful of the self-propelling units with its perambulations limited by specially laid steel tracks.
Wightman's drawing is of an industrial type 0-6-0 tank engine similar to the type seen here - .
|Sat, 18 Dec 2010 16:50
|54. THE CABLE PLOUGHING ENGINE
This was an adaptation of the traction engine with a drum to store the cable and haul the plough. The later standard design had the drum mounted with a vertical axis below the belly of the boiler and driven by a vertical shaft from the motion above the boiler. These engines could be large and powerful and worked in pairs hauling the balance plough across the field and advancing one furrow at a time.
This type is well illustrated on the site and here are a few examples - .