A Catechism of the Steam Engine
by John Bourne
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479. Q.—Are there several lengths of screw shaft?

A.—There are.

480. Q.—How then are these secured to one another?

A.—The best mode of securing the several lengths of shaft together is by forging the shafts with flanges at the ends, which are connected together by bolts, say six strong bolts in each, accurately fitted to the holes.

481. Q.—How is the thrust of the shaft usually received?

A.—In some cases it is received on a number of metal discs set in a box containing oil; and should one of these discs stick fast from friction, the others will be free to revolve. This arrangement, which is represented in fig. 44, is used pretty extensively and answers the purpose perfectly. It is of course necessary that the box in which the discs A are set, shall be strong enough to withstand the thrust which the screw occasions. Another arrangement still more generally used, is that represented in figs. 55 and 56, p. 331. It is a good practice to make the thrust plummer block with a very long sole in the direction of the shaft, so as to obviate any risk of canting or springing forward when the strain is applied, as such a circumstance, if occurring even to a slight extent, would be very likely to cause the bearing to heat.

482. Q.—Are there not arrangements existing in some vessels for enabling the screw to be lifted out of the water while the vessel is at sea?

A.—There are; but such arrangements are not usual in merchant vessels. In one form of apparatus the screw is set on a short shaft in the middle of a sliding frame, which can be raised or lowered in grooves like a window and the screw shaft within the ship can be protruded or withdrawn by appropriate mechanism, so as to engage or leave free this short shaft as may be required. When the screw has to be lifted, the screw shaft is drawn into the vessel, leaving the short shaft free to be raised up by the sliding frame, and the frame is raised by long screws turned round by a winch purchase on deck. A chain or rope, however, is better for the purpose of raising this frame, than long screws; but the frame should in such case be provided with pall catches like those of a windlass, which, if the rope should break, will prevent the screw from falling.


483. Q.—What are the most important details of the construction of paddle wheels?

A.—The structure of the feathering wheel will be hereafter described in connection with an account of the oscillating engine; and it will be expedient now to restrict any account of the details to the common radial paddle, as applied to ocean steamers. The best plan of making the paddle centres is with square eyes, and each centre should be secured in its place by means of eight thick keys. The shaft should be burred up against the head of these keys with a chisel, so as to prevent the keys from coming back of their own accord. If the keys are wanted to be driven back, this burr must be cut off, and if made thick, and of the right taper, they may then be started without difficulty. The shaft must of course be forged with square projections on it, so as to be suitable for the application of centres with square eyes. Messrs. Maudslay & Co. bore out their paddle centres, and turn a seat for them on the shaft, afterward fixing them on the shaft with a single key. This plan is objectionable for the two reasons, that it is insecure when new, and when old is irremovable. The general practice among the London engineers is to fix the paddle arms at the centre to a plate by means of bolts, a projection being placed upon the plates on each side of the arm, to prevent lateral motion; but this method is inferior in durability to that adopted in the Clyde, in which each arm is fitted into a socket by means of a cutter—a small hole being left opposite to the end of each arm, whereby the arm may be forced back by a drift.

484. Q.—How are the arms attached to the outside rings?

A.—Some engineers join the paddle arms to the outer ring by means of bolts; but unless very carefully fitted, those bolts after a time become slack sideways, and a constant working of the parts of the wheel goes on in consequence. Sometimes the part of the other ring opposite the arm is formed into a mortise, and the arms are wedged tight in these holes by wedges driven in on each side; but the plan is an expensive one, and not satisfactory, as the wedges work loose even though riveted over at the point. The best mode of making a secure attachment of the arms to the ring, consists in making the arms with long T heads, and riveting the cross piece to the outer ring with a number of rivets, not of the largest size, which would weaken the outer ring too much. The best way of securing the inner rings to the arms is by means of lugs welded on the arms, and to which the rings are riveted.

485. Q.—What are the scantlings of the paddle floats?

A.—The paddle floats are usually made either of elm or pine; if of the former, the common thickness for large sea-going vessels is about 2-1/2 inches; if of the latter, 3 inches. The floats should have plates on both sides, else the paddle arms will be very liable to cut into the wood, and the iron of the arms will be very rapidly wasted. When the floats have been fresh put on they must be screwed up several times before they come to a bearing. If this be not done, the bolts will be sure to get slack at sea, and all the floats on the weather side may be washed off. The bolts for holding on the paddle floats are made extra strong, on account of the corrosion to which they are subject; and the nuts should be made large, and should be square, so that they may be effectually tightened up, even though their corners be worn away by corrosion. It is a good plan to give the thread of the paddle bolts a nick with a chisel, after the nut has been screwed up, which will prevent the nut from turning back. Paddle floats, when consisting of more than one board, should be bolted together edgeways, by means of bolts running through their whole breadth. The floats should not be notched to allow of their projection beyond the outer ring, as, if the sides of the notch be in contact with the outer ring, the ring is soon eaten away in that part, and the projecting part of the float, being unsupported, is liable to be broken off.

486. Q.—Do not the wheels jolt sideways when the vessel rolls?

A.—It is usual to put a steel plate at each end of the paddle shafts tightened with a key, to prevent end play when the vessel rolls, but the arrangement is precarious and insufficient. Messrs. Maudslay make their paddle shaft bearings with very large fillets in the corner, with the view of diminishing the evil; but it would be preferable to make the bearings of the crank shafts spheroidal; and, indeed, it would probably be an improvement if most of the bearings about the engine were to be made in the same fashion. The loose end of the crank pin should be made not spheroidal, but consisting of a portion of a sphere; and a brass bush might then be fitted into the crank eye, that would completely encase the ball of the pin, and yet permit the outer end of the paddle shaft to fall without straining the pin, the bush being at the same time susceptible of a slight end motion. The paddle shaft, where it passes through the vessel's side, is usually surrounded by a lead stuffing box, which will yield if the end of the shaft falls; this stuffing box prevents leakage into the ship from the paddle wheels: but it is expedient, as a further precaution, to have a small tank on the ship's side immediately beneath the stuffing box, with a pipe leading down to the bilge to catch and conduct away any water that may enter around the shaft.

487. Q.—How is the outer bearing of the paddle wheels supplied with tallow?

A.—The bearing at the outer end of the paddle shaft is sometimes supplied with tallow, forced into a hole in the plummer block cover, as in the case of water wheels; but for vessels intended to perform long voyages, it is preferable to have a pipe leading down to the oil cup above the journal from the top of the paddle box, through which pipe oil may at any time be supplied.

488. Q.—Will you explain the method of putting engines into a steam vessel?

A.—As an illustration of this operation it may be advisable to take the case of a side lever engine, and the method of proceeding is as follows:— First measure across from the inside of paddle bearers to the centre of the ship, to make sure that the central line, running in a fore and aft direction on the deck or beams, usually drawn by the carpenter, is really in the centre. Stretch a line across between the paddle bearers in the direction of the shaft; to this line, in the centre of the ship where the fore and aft mark has been made, apply a square with arms six or eight feet long, and bring a line stretched perpendicularly from the deck to the keelson, accurately to the edge of the square: the lower point of the line where it touches the keelson will be immediately beneath the marks made upon the deck. If this point does not come in the centre of the keelson, it will be better to shift it a little, so as to bring it to the centre, altering the mark upon the deck correspondingly, provided either paddle shaft will admit of this being done—one of the paddle brackets being packed behind with wood, to give it an additional projection from the side of the paddle bearer. Continue the line fore and aft upon the keelson as nearly as can be judged in the centre of the ship; stretch another line fore and aft through the mark upon the deck, and look it out of winding with the line upon the keelson. Fix upon any two points equally distant from the centre, in the line stretched transversely in the direction of the shaft; and from those points, as centres, and with any convenient radius, sweep across the fore and aft line to see that the two are at right angles; and, if not, shift the transverse line a little to make them so. From the transverse line next let fall a line upon each outside keelson, bringing the edge of the square to the line, the other edge resting on the keelson. A point will thus be got on each outside keelson, perpendicularly beneath the transverse line running in the direction of the shaft, and a line drawn between those two points will be directly below the shaft. To this line the line of the shaft marked on the sole plate has to be brought, care being taken, at the same time, that the right distance is preserved between the fore and aft line upon the sole plate, and the fore and aft line upon the central keelson.

489. Q.—Of course the keelsons have first to be properly prepared?

A.—In a wooden vessel, before any part of the machinery is put in, the keelsons should be dubbed fair and straight, and be looked out of winding by means of two straight edges. The art of placing engines in a ship is more a piece of plain common sense than any other feat in engineering, and every man of intelligence may easily settle a method of procedure for himself. Plumb lines and spirit levels, it is obvious, cannot be employed on board a vessel, and the problem consists in so placing the sole plates, without these aids, that the paddle shaft will not stand awry across the vessel, nor be carried forward beyond its place by the framing shouldering up more than was expected. As a plumb line cannot be used, recourse must be had to a square; and it will signify nothing at what angle with the deck the keelsons run, so long as the line of the shaft across the keelsons is square down from the shaft centre. The sole plates being fixed, there is no difficulty in setting the other parts of the engine in their proper places upon them. The paddle wheels must be hung from the top of the paddle box to enable the shaft to be rove through them, and the cross stays between the engines should be fixed in when the vessel is afloat. To try whether the shafts are in a line, turn the paddle wheels, and try if the distance between the cranks is the same at the upper and under, and the two horizontal centres; if not, move the end of the paddle shaft up or down, backward or forward, until the distance between the cranks at all the four centres is the same.

490. Q.—In what manner are the engines of a steam vessel secured to the hull?

A.—The engines of a steamer are secured to the hull by means of bolts called holding down bolts, and in wooden vessels a good deal of trouble is caused by these bolts, which are generally made of iron. Sometimes they go through the bottom of the ship, and at other times they merely go through the keelson,—a recess being made in the floor or timbers to admit of the introduction of a nut. The iron, however, wears rapidly away in both cases, even though the bolts are tinned; and it has been found the preferable method to make such of the bolts as pass through the bottom, or enter the bilge, of Muntz's metal, or of copper. In a side lever engine, four Muntz's metal bolts may be put through the bottom at the crank end of the framing of each engine, four more at the main centre, and four more at the cylinder, making twelve through bolts to each engine; and it is more convenient to make these bolts with a nut at each end, as in that case the bolts may be dropped down from the inside, and the necessity is obviated of putting the vessel on very high blocks in the dock, in order to give room to put the bolts up from the bottom. The remainder of the holding down bolts may be of iron, and may, by means of a square neck, be screwed into the timber of the keelsons as wood screws—the upper part being furnished with a nut which may be screwed down upon the sole plate, so soon as the wood screw portion is in its place. If the cylinder be a fixed one it should be bolted down to the sole plate by as many bolts as are employed to attach the cylinder cover, and they should be of copper or brass, in any situation that is not easily accessible.

491. Q.—If the engines become loose, how do you refix them?

A.—It is difficult to fix engines effectually which have once begun to work in the ship, for in time the surface of the keelsons on which the engines bear becomes worn uneven, and the engines necessarily rock upon it. As a general rule, the bolts attaching the engines to the keelsons are too few and of too large a diameter: it would be preferable to have smaller bolts, and a greater number of them. In addition to the bolts going through the keelsons or the vessel's bottom, there should be a large number of wood screws securing the sole plate to the keelson, and a large number of bolts securing the various parts of the engine to the sole plate. In iron vessels, holding down bolts passing through the bottom are not expedient; and there the engine has merely to be secured to the iron plate of the keelsons, which are made hollow to admit of a more effectual attachment.

492. Q.—What are the proper proportions of bolts?

A.—In well formed bolts, the spiral groove penetrates about one twelfth of the diameter of the cylinder round which it winds, so that the diameter of the solid cylinder which remains is five sixths of the diameter over the thread. If the strain to which iron may be safely subjected in machinery is one fifteenth of its utmost strength, or 4,000 lbs. on the square inch, then 2,180 lbs. may be sustained by a screw an inch in diameter, at the outside of the threads. The strength of the holding down bolts may easily be computed, when the elevating force of the piston or main centre is known; but it is expedient very much to exceed this strength in practice, on account of the elasticity of the keelsons, the liability to corrosion, and other causes.


493. Q.—What is the amount of tractive force requisite to draw carriages on railways?

A.—Upon well formed railways with carriages of good construction, the average tractive force required for low speeds is about 7-1/2 lbs. per ton, or 1/300th of the load, though in some experimental cases, where particular care was taken to obtain a favorable result, the tractive force has been reduced as low as 1/500th of the load. At low speeds the whole of the tractive force is expended in overcoming the friction, which is made up partly of the friction of attrition in the axles, and partly of the rolling friction, or the obstruction to the rolling of the wheels upon the rail. The rolling friction is very small when the surfaces are smooth, and in the case of railway carriages does not exceed 1/1000th. of the load; whereas the draught on common roads of good construction, which is chiefly made up of the rolling friction, is as much as 1/36th of the load.

494.Q.—In reference to friction you have already stated that the friction of iron sliding upon brass, which has been oiled and then wiped dry, so that no film of oil is interposed, is about 1/11th of the pressure, but that in machines in actual operation, where there is a film of oil between the rubbing surfaces, the friction is only about one third of this amount, or 1/33d of the weight. How then can the tractive resistance of locomotives at low speeds, which you say is entirely made up of friction, be so little as 1/500th. of the weight?

A.—I did not state that the resistance to traction was 1/500th of the weight upon an average—to which condition the answer given to a previous question must be understood to apply—but I stated that the average traction was about 1/300th of the load, which nearly agrees with my former statement. If the total friction be 1/300th of the load, and the rolling friction be 1/1000th of the load, then the friction of attrition must be 1/429th of the load; and if the diameter of the wheels be 36 in., and the diameter of the axles be 3 in., which are common proportions, the friction of attrition must be increased in the proportion of 36 to 3, or 12 times, to represent the friction of the rubbing surface when moving with the velocity of the carriage, 12/429ths are about 1/35th of the load, which does not differ much from the proportion of 1/33d as previously determined.

495. Q.—What is the amount of adhesion of the wheels upon the rails?

A.—The adhesion of the wheels upon the rails is about 1/5th of the weight when the rails are clean, or either perfectly wet or perfectly dry; but when the rails are half wet or greasy, the adhesion is not more than 1/10th or 1/12th of the weight or pressure upon the wheels. The weight of a locomotive of modern construction varies from 20 to 25 tons.

496. Q.—And what is its cost and average performance?

A.—The cost of a common narrow gauge locomotive, of average power, varies from L1,900 to L2,200; it will run on an average 130 miles per day, at a cost for repairs of 2-1/2d. per mile; and the cost of locomotive power, including repairs, wages, oil, and coke, does not much exceed 6d. per mile run, on economically managed railways. This does not include a sinking fund for the renewal of the engines when worn out, which may be taken as equivalent to 10 per cent. on their original cost.

497. Q.—Does the expense of traction increase much with an increased speed?

A.—Yes; it increases very rapidly, partly from the undulation of the earth when a heavy train passes over it at a high velocity, but chiefly from the resistance of the atmosphere and blast pipe, which constitute the greatest of the impediments to motion at high speeds. At a speed of 30 miles an hour, the atmospheric resistance has been found in some cases to amount to about 12 lbs. a ton; and in side winds the resistance even exceeds this amount, partly in consequence of the additional friction caused from the flanges of the wheels being forced against the rails, and partly because the wind catches to a certain extent the front of every carriage, whereby the efficient breadth of each carriage, in giving motion to the air in the direction of the train, is very much increased. At a speed of 30 miles an hour, an engine evaporating 200 cubic feet of water in the hour, and therefore exerting about 200 horses power, will draw a load of 110 tons. Taking the friction of the train at 7-1/2 lbs. per ton, or 825 lbs. operating at the circumference of the driving wheel—which, with 5 ft. 6 in. wheels, and 18 in. stroke, is equivalent to 4,757 lbs. upon the piston—and taking the resistance of the blast pipe at 6 lbs. per square inch of the pistons, and the friction of the engine unloaded at 1 lb. per square inch, which, with pistons 12 in. in diameter, amount together to 1,582 lbs., and reckoning the increased friction of the engine due to the load at 1/7th of the load, as in some cases it has been found experimentally to be, though a much less proportion than this would probably be a nearer average, we have 7018.4 lbs. for the total load upon the pistons. At 30 miles an hour the speed of the pistons will be 457.8 feet per minute, and 7018.4 lbs. multiplied by 457.8 ft. per minute, are equal to 3213023.5 lbs. raised one foot high in the minute, which, divided by 33,000, gives 97.3 horses power as the power which would draw 110 tons upon a railway at a speed of 30 miles an hour, if there were no atmospheric resistance. The atmospheric resistance is at the rate of 12 lbs. a ton, with a load of 110 tons, equal to 1,320 lbs., moving at a speed of 30 miles an hour, which, when reduced, becomes 105.8 horses power, and this, added to 97.3, makes 203.1, instead of 200 horses power, as ascertained by a reference to the evaporative power of the boiler. This amount of atmospheric resistance, however, exceeds the average, and in some of the experiments for ascertaining the atmospheric resistance, a part of the resistance due to the curves and irregularities of the line has been counted as part of the atmospheric resistance.

498. Q.—Is the resistance per ton of the engine the same as the resistance per ton of the train?

A.—No; it is more, since the engine has not merely the resistance of the atmosphere and of the wheels to encounter, but the resistance of the machinery besides. According to Mr. Gooch's experiments upon a train weighing 100 tons, the resistance of the engine and tender at 13.1 miles per hour was found by the indicator to be 12.38 lbs.; the resistance per ton of the train, as ascertained by the dynamometer, was at the same speed 7.58 lbs., and the average resistance of locomotive and train was 9.04 lbs. At 20.2 miles per hour these resistances respectively became 19.0, 8.19, and 12.2 lbs. At 441 miles per hour the resistances became 34.0, 21.10, and 25.5 lbs., and at 57.4 miles an hour they became 35.5, 17.81, and 23.8 lbs.

499. Q.—Is it not maintained that the resistance of the atmosphere to the progress of railway trains increases as the square of the velocity?

A.—The atmospheric resistance, no doubt, increases as the square of the velocity, and the power, therefore, necessary to overcome it will increase as the cube of the velocity, since in doubling the speed four times, the power must be expended in overcoming the atmospheric resistance in half the time. At low speeds, the resistance does not increase very rapidly; but at high speeds, as the rapid increase in the atmospheric resistance causes the main resistance to be that arising from the atmosphere, the total resistance will vary nearly as the square of the velocity. Thus the resistance of a train, including locomotive and tender, will, at 15 miles an hour, be about 9.3 lbs. per ton; at 30 miles an hour it will be 13.2 lbs. per ton; and at 60 miles an hour, 29 lbs. per ton. If we suppose the same law of progression to continue up to 120 miles an hour, the resistance at that speed will be 92.2 lbs. per ton, and at 240 miles an hour the resistance will be 344.8 lbs. per ton. Thus, in doubling the speed from 60 to 120 miles per hour, the resistance does not fall much short of being increased fourfold, and the same remark applies to the increase of the speed from 120 to 240 miles an hour. These deductions and other deductions from Mr. Gooch's experiments on the resistance of railway trains, are fully discussed by Mr. Clark, in his Treatise on railway machinery, who gives the following rule for ascertaining the resistance of a train, supposing the line to be in good order, and free from curves:—To find the total resistance of the engine, tender, and train in pounds per ton, at any given speed. Square the speed in miles per hour; divide it by 171, and add 8 to the quotient. The result is the total resistance at the rails in lbs. per ton.

500.Q.—How comes it, that the resistance of fluids increases as the square of the velocity, instead of the velocity simply?

A.—Because the height necessary to generate the velocity with which the moving object strikes the fluid, or the fluid strikes the object, increases as the square of the velocity, and the resistance or the weight of a column of any fluid varies as the height. A falling body, as has been already explained, to have acquired twice the velocity, must have fallen through four times the height; the velocity generated by a column of any fluid is equal to that acquired by a body falling through the height of the column; and it is therefore clear, that the pressure due to any given velocity must be as the square of that velocity, the pressure being in every case as twice the altitude of the column. The work done, however, by a stream of air or other fluid in a given time, will vary as the cube of the velocity; for if the velocity of a stream of air be doubled, there will not only be four times the pressure exerted per square foot, but twice the quantity of air will be employed; and in windmills, accordingly, it is found, that the work done varies nearly as the cube of the velocity of the wind. If, however, the work done by a given quantity of air moving at different speeds be considered, it will vary as the squares of the speeds.

501. Q.—But in a case where there is no work done, and the resistance varies as the square of the speed, should not the power requisite to overcome that resistance vary as the square of the speed?

A.—It should if you consider the resistance over a given distance, and not the resistance during a given time. Supposing the resistance of a railway train to increase as the square of the speed, it would take four times the power, so far as atmospheric resistance is concerned, to accomplish a mile at the rate of 60 miles an hour, that it would take to accomplish a mile at 30 miles an hour; but in the former case there would be twice the number of miles accomplished in the same time, so that when the velocity of the train was doubled, we should require an engine that was capable of overcoming four times the resistance at twice the speed, or in other words, that was capable of exerting eight times the power, so far as regards the element of atmospheric resistance. We know by experience, however, that it is easier to attain high speeds on railways than in steam vessels, where the resistance does increase nearly as the square of the speed.

502. Q.—Will you describe generally the arrangement of a locomotive engine?

A.—The boiler and engine are hung upon a framework set on wheels, and, together with this frame or carriage, constitute what is commonly called the locomotive. Behind the locomotive runs another carriage, called the tender, for holding coke and water. A common mode of connecting the engine and tender is by means of a rigid bar, with an eye at each end through which pins are passed. Between the engine and tender, however, buffers should always be interposed, as their pressure contributes greatly to prevent oscillation and other irregular motions of the engine.

503. Q.—How is the framing of a locomotive usually constructed?

A.—All locomotives are now made with the framing which supports the machinery situated within the wheels; but for some years a vehement controversy was maintained respecting the relative merits of outside and inside framing, which has terminated, however, in the universal adoption of the inside framing. It is difficult, in engines intended for the narrow gauge, to get cylinders within the framing of sufficient diameter to meet the exigencies of railway locomotion; by casting both cylinders in a piece, however, a considerable amount of room may be made available to increase their diameters. It is very desirable that the cylinders of locomotives should be as large as possible, so that expansion may be adopted to a large extent; and with any given speed of piston, the power of an engine either to draw heavy loads, or achieve high velocities, will be increased with every increase of the dimensions of the cylinder. The framing of locomotives, to which the boiler and machinery are attached, and which rests upon the springs situated above the axles, is formed generally of malleable iron, but in some engines the side frames consist of oak with iron plates riveted on each side. The guard plates are in these cases generally of equal length, the frames being curved upward to pass over the driving axle. Hard cast iron blocks are riveted between the guard plates to serve as guides for the axle bushes. The side frames are connected across the ends, and cross stays are introduced beneath the boiler to stiffen the frame sideways, and prevent the ends of the connecting or eccentric rods from falling down if they should be broken.

504. Q.—What is the nature and arrangement of the springs of locomotives?

A.—The springs are of the ordinary carriage kind, with plates connected at the centre, and allowed to slide on each other at their ends. The upper plate terminates in two eyes, through each of which passes a pin, which also passes through the jaws of the bridle, connected by a double threaded screw to another bridle, which is jointed to the framing; the centre of the spring rests upon the axle box. Sometimes the springs are placed between the guard plates, and below the framing which rests upon their extremities. One species of springs which has gained a considerable introduction, consists of a number of flat steel plates with a piece of metal or other substance interposed between them at the centre, leaving the ends standing apart. It would be preferable, perhaps, to make the plates of a common spring with different curves, so that the leaves, though in contact at the centre, would not be in contact with the ends with light loads, but would be brought into contact gradually, as the strain conies on: a spring would thus be obtained that was suitable for all loads.

505. Q.—What is the difference between inside and outside cylinder engines?

A.—Outside cylinders are so designated when placed upon the outside of the framing, with their connecting rods operating upon pins in the driving wheels; while the inside cylinders are situated within the framing, and the connecting rods attach themselves to cranks in the driving axle.

506. Q.—Whether are inside or outside cylinder engines to be preferred?

A.—A diversity of opinion obtains as to the relative merits of outside and inside cylinders. The chief objection to outside cylinders is, that they occasion a sinuous motion in the engine which is apt to send the train off the rails; but this action may be made less perceptible or be remedied altogether, by placing a weight upon one side of the wheels, the momentum of which will just balance the momentum of the piston and its connections. The sinuous or rocking motion of locomotives is traceable to the arrested momentum of the piston and its attachments at every stroke of the engine, and the effect of the pressure thus created will be more operative in inducing oscillation the farther it is exerted from the central line of the engine. If both cylinders were set at right angles in the centre of the carriage, and the pistons were both attached to a central crank, there would be no oscillation produced; or the same effect would be realized by placing one cylinder in the centre of the carriage, and two at the sides— the pistons of the side cylinders moving simultaneously: but it is impossible to couple the piston of an upright cylinder direct to the axle of a locomotive, without causing the springs to work up and down with every stroke of the engine: and the use of three cylinders, though adopted in some of Stephenson's engines, involves too much complication to be a beneficial innovation.

507. Q.—Whether are four-wheeled or six-wheeled engines preferable?

A.—Much controversial ingenuity has been expended upon the question of the relative merits of the four and six-wheeled engines; one party maintaining that four-wheeled engines are most unsafe, and the other that six-wheeled engines are unmechanical, and are more likely to occasion accidents. The four-wheeled engines, however, appear to have been charged with faults that do not really attach to them when properly constructed; for it by no means follows that if the axle of a four-wheeled engine breaks, or even altogether comes away, that the engine must fall down or run off the line; inasmuch as, if the engine be properly coupled with the tender, it has the tender to sustain it. It is obvious enough, that such a connection may be made between the tender and the engine, that either the fore or hind axle of the engine may be taken away, and yet the engine will not fall down, but will be kept up by the support which the tender affords; and the arguments hitherto paraded against the four-wheeled engines are, so far as regards the question of safety, nothing more than arguments against the existence of the suggested connection. It is no doubt the fact, that locomotive engines are now becoming too heavy to be capable of being borne on four wheels at high speeds without injury to the rails; but the objection of damage to the rails applies with at least equal force to most of the six-wheeled engines hitherto constructed, as in those engines the engineer has the power of putting nearly all the weight upon the driving wheels; and if the rail be wet or greasy, there is a great temptation to increase the bite of those wheels by screwing them down more firmly upon the rails. A greater strain is thus thrown upon the rail than can exist in the case of any equally heavy four-wheeled engine; and the engine is made very unsafe, as a pitching motion will inevitably be induced at high speeds, when an engine is thus poised upon the central driving wheels, and there will also be more of the rocking or sinuous motion. Locomotives, however, intended to achieve high speeds or to draw heavy loads, are now generally made with eight wheels, and in some cases the driving wheels are placed at the end of the engine instead of in the middle.

508. Q.—As the question of the locomotive boiler has been already disposed of in discussing the question of boilers in general, it now only remains to inquire into the subject of the engine, and we may commence with the cylinders. Will you state the arrangement and construction of the cylinders of a locomotive and their connections?

A.—The cylinders are placed in the same horizontal plane as the axle of the driving wheels, and the connecting rod which is attached to the piston rod engages either a crank in the driving axle or a pin in the driving wheel, according as the cylinders are inside or outside of the framework. The cylinders are generally made an inch longer than the stroke, or there is half an inch of clearance at each end of the cylinder, to permit the springs of the vehicle to act without causing the piston to strike the top or bottom of the cylinder. The thickness of metal of the cylinder ends is usually about a third more than the thickness of the cylinder itself, and both ends are generally made removable. The priming of the boiler, when it occurs, is very injurious to the cylinders and valves of locomotives, especially if the water be sandy, as the grit carried over by the steam wears the rubbing surfaces rapidly away. The face of the cylinder on which the valve works is raised a little above the metal around it, both to facilitate the operation of forming the face and with the view of enabling any foreign substance deposited on the face to be pushed aside by the valve into the less elevated part, where it may lie without occasioning any further disturbance. The valve casing is sometimes cast upon the cylinder, and it is generally covered with a door which may be removed to permit the inspection of the faces. In some valve casings the top as well as the back is removable, which admits of the valve and valve bridle being removed with greater facility. A cock is placed at each end of locomotive cylinders, to allow the water to be discharged which accumulates in the cylinder from priming or condensation; and the four cocks of the two cylinders are usually connected together, so that by turning a handle the whole are opened at once. In Stephenson's engines, however, with variable expansion, there is but one cock provided for this purpose, which is on the bottom of the valve chest.

509. Q.—What kind of piston is used in locomotives?

A.—The variety of pistons employed in locomotives is very great, and sometimes even the more complicated kinds are found to work very satisfactorily; but, in general, those pistons which consist of a single ring and tongue piece, or of two single rings set one above the other, so as to break joint, are preferable to those which consist of many pieces. In Stephenson's pistons the screws were at one time liable to work slack, and the springs to break.

510. Q.—Will you explain the connection of the piston rod with the connecting rod?

A.—The piston rods of all engines are now generally either case hardened very deeply, or are made of steel; and in locomotive engines the diameter of the piston rod is about one seventh of the diameter of the cylinder, and it is formed of tilted steel. The cone of the piston rod, by which it is attached to the piston, is turned the reverse way to that which is adopted in common engines, with the view of making the cutter more accessible from the bottom of the cylinder, which is made to come off like a door. The top of the piston rod is secured with a cutter into a socket with jaws, through the holes of which a cross head passes, which is embraced between the jaws by the small end of the connecting rod, while the ends of the cross head move in guides. Between the piston rod clutch and the guide blocks, the feed pump rod joins the cross head in some engines.

511. Q.—What kind of guides is employed for the end of the piston rod?

A.—The guides are formed of steel plates attached to the framing, between which work the guide blocks, fixed on the ends of the cross head, which have flanges bearing against the inner edges of the guides. Steel or brass guides are better than iron ones: Stephenson and Hawthorn attach their guides at one end to a cross stay, at the other to lugs on the cylinder cover; and they are made stronger in the middle than at the ends. Stout guide rods of steel, encircled by stuffing boxes on the ends of the cross head, would probably be found superior to any other arrangement. The stuffing boxes might contain conical bushes, cut spirally, in addition to the packing, and a ring, cut spirally, might be sprung upon the rod and fixed in advance of the stuffing box, with lateral play to wipe the rod before entering the stuffing box, to prevent it from being scratched by the adhesion of dust.

512. Q.—Is any provision made for keeping the connecting rod always of the same length?

A.—In every kind of locomotive it is very desirable that the length of the connecting rod should remain invariable, in spite of the wear of the brasses, for there is a danger of the piston striking against the cover of the cylinder if it be shortened, as the clearance is left as small as possible in order to economize steam. In some engines the strap encircling the crank pin is fixed immovably to the connecting rod by dovetailed keys, and a bolt passes through the keys, rod, and strap, to prevent the dovetailed keys from working out. The brass is tightened by a gib and cutter, which is kept from working loose by three pinching screws and a cross pin or cutter through the point. The effect of this arrangement is to lengthen the rod, but at the cross head end of the rod the elongation is neutralized by making the strap loose, so that in tightening the brass the rod is shortened by an amount equal to its elongation at the crank pin end. The tightening here is also effected by a gib and cutter, which is kept from working loose by two pinching screws pressing on the side of the cutter. Both journals of the connecting rod are furnished with oil cups, having a small tube in the centre with siphon wicks. The connecting rod is a thick flat bar, with its edges rounded.

513. Q.—How is the cranked axle of locomotives constructed?

A.—The cranked axle of locomotives is always made of wrought iron, with two cranks forged upon it toward the middle of its length, at a distance from each other answerable to the distance between the cylinders. Bosses are made on the axle for the wheels to be keyed upon, and bearings for the support of the framing. The axle is usually forged in two pieces, which are afterward welded together. Sometimes the pieces for the cranks are put on separately, but the cranks so made are liable to give way. In engines with outside cylinders the axles are made straight-the crank pins being inserted in the naves of the wheels. The bearings to which the connecting rods are attached are made with very large fillets in the corners, so as to strengthen the axle in that part, and to obviate side play in the connecting rod. In engines which, have been in use for some time, however, there is generally a good deal of end play in the bearings of the axles themselves, and this slackness contributes to make the oscillation of the engine more violent; but this evil may be remedied by making the bearings spheroidal, whereby end play becomes impossible.

514. Q.—How are the bearings of the axles arranged?

A.—The axles bear only against the top of the axle boxes, which are generally of brass; but a plate extends underneath the bearing, to prevent sand from being thrown upon it. The upper part of the box in most engines has a reservoir of oil, which is supplied to the journal by tubes with siphon wicks. Stephenson uses cast iron axle boxes with brasses, and grease instead of oil; and the grease is fed upon the journal by the heat of the bearing melting it, whereby it is made to flow down through a hole in the brass. Any engines constructed with outside bearings have inside bearings also, which are supported by longitudinal bars, which serve also in some cases to support the piston guides; these bearings are sometimes made so as not to touch the shafts unless they break.

515. Q.—How are the eccentrics of a locomotive constructed?

A.—In locomotives the body of the eccentric is of cast iron, in inside cylinder engines the eccentrics are set on the axle between the cranks, and they are put on in two pieces held together by bolts; but in straight axle engines the eccentrics are cast in a piece, and are secured on the shaft by means of a key. The eccentric, when in two pieces, is retained at its proper angle on the shaft by a pinching screw, which is provided with a jam nut to prevent it from working loose. A piece is left out of the eccentric in casting it to allow of the screw being inserted, and the void is afterward filled by inserting a dovetailed piece of metal. Stephenson and Hawthorn leave holes in their eccentrics on each side of the central arm, and they apply pinching screws in each of these holes. The method of fixing the eccentric to the shaft by a pinching screw is scarcely sufficiently substantial; and cases are perpetually occurring, when this method of attachment is adopted, of eccentrics shifting from their place. In the modern engines the eccentrics are forged on the axles.

516. Q.—How are the eccentric straps constructed?

A.—The eccentric hoops are generally of wrought iron, as brass hoops are found liable to break. When formed of malleable iron, one half of the strap is forged with the rod, the other half being secured to it by bolts, nuts, and jam nuts. Pieces of brass are, in some cases, pinned within the malleable iron hoop; but it appears to be preferable to put brasses within the hoop to encircle the eccentric, as in the case of any other bearing. When the brass straps are used, the lugs have generally nuts on both sides, so that the length of the eccentric rod may be adjusted by their means to the proper length; but it is better for the lugs of the hoops to abut against the necks of the screws, and, if any adjustment be necessary from the wear of the straps, washers can be interposed. In some engines the adjustment is effected by screwing the valve rod, and the cross head through which it passes has a nut on either side of it, by which its position upon the valve rod is determined.

517. Q.—Will you describe the eccentric rod and valve levers?

A.—In the engines in use before the introduction of the link motion, the forks of the eccentric rod were of steel, and the length of the eccentric rod was the distance between the centre of the crank axle and the centre of the valve shaft; but in modern engines the use of the link motion is universal. The valve lever in locomotives is usually longer than the eccentric lever, to increase the travel of the valve, if levers are employed; but it is better to connect the valve rod to the link of the link motion without the intervention of levers. The pins of the eccentric lever in the old engines used to wear quickly; Stephenson used to put a ferule of brass on these pins, which being loose, and acting like a roller, facilitated the throwing in and out of gear, and when worn could easily be replaced, so that there was no material derangement of the motion of the valve from play in this situation.

518. Q.—What is the arrangement of a starting lever?

A.—The starting lever travels between two iron segments, and can be fixed in any desired position. This is done by a small catch or bell crank, jointed to the bottom of the handle at the end of the lever, and coming up by the side of the handle, but pressed out from it by a spring. The smaller arm of this bell crank is jointed to a bolt, which shoots into notches, made in one of the segments between which the lever moves. By pressing the bell crank against the handle of the lever the bolt is withdrawn, and the lever may be shifted to any other point, when, the spring being released, the bolt flies into the nearest notch.

519. Q.—In what way does the starting handle act on the machinery of the engine to set it in motion?

A.—Its whole action lies in raising or depressing the link of the link motion relatively with the valve rod. If the valve rod be attached to the middle of the link, the valve will derive no motion from, it at all, and the engine will stop. If the attachment be slipped to one end of the link the engine will go ahead, and if slipped to the other end it will go astern. The starting handle merely achieves this change of position.

520. Q.—Will you explain the operation of setting the valve of a locomotive?

A.—In setting the valves of locomotives, place the crank in the position answerable to the end of the stroke of the piston, and draw a straight line, representing the centre line of the cylinder, through the centres of the crank shaft and crank pin. From the centre of the shaft describe a circle with the diameter equal to the throw of the valve; another circle to represent the crank shaft; and a third circle to represent the path of the crank pin. From the centre of the crank shaft, draw a line perpendicular to the centre line of the cylinder and crank shaft, and draw another perpendicular at a distance from the first equal to the amount of the lap and the lead of the valve: the points in which this line intersects the circle of the eccentric are the points in which the centre of the eccentric should be placed for the forward and reverse motions. When the eccentric rod is attached directly to the valve, the radius of the eccentric, which precedes the crank in its revolution, forms with the crank an obtuse angle; but when, by the intervention of levers, the valve has a motion, opposed to that of the eccentric rod, the angle contained by the crank and the radius of the eccentric must be acute, and the eccentric must follow the crank: in other words, with a direct attachment to the valve the eccentric is set more than one fourth of a revolution in advance of the crank, and with an indirect attachment the eccentric is set less than one fourth of a circle behind the crank. If the valve were without lead or lap the eccentric would be exactly one fourth of a circle in advance of the crank or behind the crank, according to the nature of the valve connection; but as the valve would thus cover the port by the amount of the lap and lead, the eccentric must be set forward so as to open the port to the extent of the lap and lead, and this is effected by the plan just described.

521. Q.—In the event of the eccentrics slipping round upon the shaft, which you stated sometimes happens, is it necessary to perform the operation of setting the valve as you have just described it?

A.—If the eccentrics shift upon the shaft, they may be easily refixed by setting the valve open the amount of the lead, setting the crank at the end of the stroke, and bringing round the eccentric upon the shaft till the eccentric rod gears with the valve. It would often be troublesome in practice to get access to the valve for the purpose of setting it, and this may be dispensed with if the amount of lap on the valve and the length of the eccentric rod be known. To this end draw upon a board two straight lines at right angles to one another, and from their point of intersection as a centre describe two circles, one representing the circle of the eccentric, the other the crank shaft; draw a straight line parallel to one of the diameters, and distant from it the amount of the lap and the lead: the points in which his parallel intersects the circle of the eccentric are the positions of the forward and backward eccentrics. Through these points draw straight lines from the centre of the circle, and mark the intersection of these lines with the circle of the crank shaft; measure with a pair of compasses the chord of the arc intercepted between either of these points, and the diameter which is at right angles with the crank, and the diameters being first marked on the shaft itself, then by transferring with the compasses the distance found in the diagram, and marking the point, the eccentric may at any time be adjusted without difficulty.

522. Q.—Will you describe the structure and arrangement of the feed pumps of locomotive engines?

A.—The feed pumps of locomotives are generally made of brass, but the plungers are sometimes made of iron, and are generally attached to the piston, cross head, though in Stephenson's engines they are worked by rods attached to eyes on the eccentric hoops. There is a ball valve, fig. 45, between the pump and the tender, and two usually in the pipe leading from the pump to the boiler, besides a cock close to the boiler, by which the pump may be shut off from the boiler in case of any accident to the valves. The ball valves are guided by four branches, which rise vertically, and join together at the top in a hemispherical form. The shocks of the ball against this cap have in some cases broken it after one week's work, from the top of the cage having been flat, and the branches not having had their junction at the top properly filleted. These valve guards are attached in different ways to the pipes; when one occurs at the junction of two pieces of pipe it has a flange, which along with the flanges of the pipes and that of the valve seat are held together by a union joint. It is sometimes formed with a thread at the under end, and screwed into the pipe. The balls are cast hollow to lessen the shock, as well as to save the metal. In some cases where the feed pump plunger has been attached to the cross head, the piston rod has been bent by the strain; and that must in all cases occur, if the communication between the pump and boiler be closed when the engine is started, and there be no escape valve for the water.

523. Q.—Are none but ball valves used in the feed pump?

A.—Spindle valves have in some cases been used instead of ball valves, but they are more subject to derangement; but piston valves, so contrived as to shut a portion of water in the cage when about to close, might be adopted with a great diminution of the shock. Slide valves might be applied, and would probably be found preferable to any of the expedients at present in use. In all spindle valves opened and shut rapidly, it is advisable to have the lower surface conical, to take off the shock of the water; and a large lift of the valve should be prevented, else much of the water during the return stroke of the pump will flow out before the valve shuts.

524. Q.—At what part of the boiler is the feed water admitted?

A.—The feed pipe of most locomotive engines enters the boiler near the bottom and about the middle of its length. In Stephenson's engine the water is let in at the smoke box end of the boiler, a little below the water level; by this means the heat is more fully extracted from the escaping smoke, but the arrangement is of questionable applicability to engines of which the steam dome and steam pipe are at the smoke box end, as in that case the entering cold water would condense the steam.

525. Q.—How are the pipes connecting the tender and locomotive constructed, so as to allow of play between the engine and tender without leakage?

A.—The pipes connecting the tender with the pumps should allow access to the valves and free motion to the engine and tender. This end is attained by the use of ball and socket joints; and, to allow some end play, one piece of the pipe slides into the other like a telescope, and is kept tight by means of a stuffing box. Any pipe joint between the engine and tender must be made in this fashion.

526. Q.—Have you any suggestion to make respecting the arrangement of the feed pump?

A.—It would be a material improvement if a feed pump was to be set in the tender and worked by means of a small engine, such as that now used in steam vessels for feeding the boilers. The present action of the feed pumps of locomotives is precarious, as, if the valves leak in the slightest degree, the steam or boiling water from the boiler will prevent the pumps from drawing. It appears expedient, therefore, that at least one pump should be far from the boiler and should be set among the feed water, so that it will only have to force. If a pump was arranged in the manner suggested, the boiler could still be fed regularly, though the locomotive was standing still; but it would be prudent to have the existing pumps still wrought in the usual way by the engine, in case of derangement of the other, or in case the pump in the tender might freeze.

527. Q.—Will you explain the construction of locomotive wheels?

A.—The wheels of a locomotive are always made of malleable iron. The driving wheels are made larger to increase the speed; the bearing wheels also are easier on the road when large. In the goods engines the driving wheels are smaller than in the passenger engines, and are generally coupled together. Wheels are made with much variety in their constructive details: sometimes they are made with cast iron naves, with the spokes and rim of wrought iron; but in the best modern wheels the nave is formed of the ends of the spokes welded together at the centre. When cast iron naves are adopted, the spokes are forged out of flat bars with T-formed heads, and are arranged radially in the founder's mould, the cast iron, when fluid, being poured among them. The ends of the T heads are then welded together to constitute the periphery of the wheel or inner tire; and little wedge-form pieces are inserted where there is any deficiency of iron. In some cases the arms are hollow, though of wrought iron; the tire of wrought iron, and the nave of cast iron; and the spokes are turned where they are fitted into the nave, and are secured in their sockets by means of cutters. Hawthorn makes his wheels with cast iron naves and wrought iron rims and arms; but instead of welding the arms together, he makes palms on their outer end, which are attached by rivets to the rim. These rivets, however, unless very carefully formed, are apt to work loose; and it would probably be found an improvement if the palms were to be slightly indented into the rim, in cases in which the palms do not meet each other at the ends. When the rim is turned it is ready for the tire, which is now made of steel.

528. Q.—How do you find the length of bar necessary for forming a tire?

A.—To find the proper length of bar requisite for the formation of a hoop of any given diameter, add the thickness of the bar to the required diameter, and the corresponding circumference in the table of circumferences of circles is the length of the bar. If the iron be bent edgewise the breadth of the bar must be added to the diameter, for it is the thickness of the bar measured radially that is to be taken into consideration. In the tires of railway wheels, which have a flange on one edge, it is necessary to add not only the thickness of the tire, but also two thirds of the depth of the flange; generally, however, the tire bars are sent from the forge so curved that the plain edge of the tire is concave, and the flange edge convex, while the side which is afterward to be bent into contact with the cylindrical surface of the wheel is a plane. In this case the addition of the diameter of two thirds of the depth of the flange is unnecessary, for the curving of the flange edge has the effect of increasing the real length of the bar. When the tire is thus curved, it is only necessary to add the thickness of the hoop to the diameter, and then to find the circumference from a table; or the same result will be obtained by multiplying the diameter thus increased by the thickness of the hoop by 3.1416.

529. Q.—How are the tires attached to the wheels?

A.—The materials for wheel tires are first swaged separately, and then welded together under the heavy hammer at the steel works; after which they are bent to the circle, welded, and turned to certain gauges. The tire is now heated to redness in a circular furnace; during the time it is getting hot, the iron wheel, turned to the right diameter, is bolted down upon a face plate or surface; the tire expands with the heat, and when at a cherry red, it is dropped over the wheel, for which it was previously too small, and it is also hastily bolted down to the surface plate; the whole mass is then quickly immersed by a swing crane in a tank of water five feet deep, and hauled up and down till nearly cold; the tires are not afterward tempered. The tire is attached to the rim with rivets having countersunk heads, and the wheel is then fixed on its axle.

530. Q.—Is it necessary to have the whole tire of steel?

A.—It is not indispensable that the whole tire should be of steel; but a dovetail groove, turned out of the tire at the place where it bears most on the rail, and fitted with a band of steel, will suffice. This band may be put in in pieces, and the expedient appears to be the best way of repairing a worn tire; but particular care must be taken to attach these pieces very securely to the tire by rivets, else in the rapid revolution of the wheel the steel may be thrown out by the centrifugal force. In aid of such attachment the steel, after being introduced, is well hammered, which expands it sideways until it fills the dovetail groove.

531. Q.—Is any arrangement adopted to facilitate the passage of the locomotive round curves?

A.—The tire is turned somewhat conical, to facilitate the passage of the engine round curves—the diameter of the outer wheel being virtually increased by the centrifugal force of the engine, and that of the inner wheel being correspondingly diminished, whereby the curve is passed without the resistance which would otherwise arise from the inequality of the spaces passed over by wheels of the same diameter fixed upon the same axle. The rails, moreover, are not set quite upright, but are slightly inclined inward, in consequence of which the wheels must be either conical or slightly dished, to bear fairly upon the rails. One benefit of inclining the rails in this way, and coning the tires, is that the flange of the wheels is less liable to bear against the sides of the rail, and with the same view the flanges of all the wheels are made with large fillets in the corners. Wheels have been placed loose upon the axle, but they have less stability, and are not now much used. Nevertheless this plan appears to be a good one if properly worked out.

532. Q.—Are any precautions taken to prevent engines from being thrown off the rails by obstructions left upon the line?

A.—In most engines a bar is strongly attached to the front of the carriage on each side, and projects perpendicularly downward to within a short distance of the rail, to clear away stones or other obstructions that might occasion accidents if the engine ran over them.



* * * * *


533. Q.—How do you determine the resistance encountered by a vessel moving in water?

A.—The resistance experienced by vessels moving in water varies as the square of the velocity of their motion, or nearly so; and the power necessary to impart an increased velocity varies nearly as the cube of such increased velocity. To double the velocity of a steam vessel, therefore, will require four times the amount of tractive force, and as that quadrupled force must act through twice the distance in the same time, an engine capable of exerting eight times the original power will be required.[1]

534. Q.—In the case of a board moving in water in the manner of a paddle float, or in the case of moving water impinging on a stationary board, what will be the pressure produced by the impact?

A.—The pressure produced upon a flat board, by striking water at right angles to the surface of the board, will be equal to the weight of a column of water having the surface struck as a base, and for its altitude twice the height due to the velocity with which the board moves through the water. If the board strike the water obliquely, the resistance will be less, but no very reliable law has yet been discovered to determine its amount.

535. Q.—Will not the resistance of a vessel in moving through the water be much less than that of a flat board of the area of the cross section?

A.—It will be very much less, as is manifest from the comparatively small area of paddle board, and the small area of the circle described by the screw, relatively with the area of the immersed midship section of the vessel. The absolute speed of a vessel, with any given amount of power, will depend very much upon her shape.

536. Q.—In what way is it that the shape of a vessel influences her speed, since the vessels of the same sectional area must manifestly put in motion a column of water of the same magnitude, and with the same velocity?

A.—A vessel will not strike the water with the same velocity when the bow lines are sharp as when they are otherwise; for a very sharp bow has the effect of enabling the vessel to move through a great distance, while the particles of water are moved aside but a small distance, or in other words, it causes the velocity with which the water is moved to be very small relatively with the velocity of the vessel; and as the resistance increases as the square of the velocity with which the water is moved, it is conceivable enough in what way a sharp bow may diminish the resistance.

537. Q.—Is the whole power expended in the propulsion of a vessel consumed in moving aside the water to enable the vessel to pass?

A.—By no means; only a portion, and in well-formed vessels only a small portion, of the power is thus consumed. In the majority of cases, the greater part of the power is expended in overcoming the friction of the water upon the bottom of the vessel; and the problem chiefly claiming consideration is, in what way we may diminish the friction.

538. Q.—Does the resistance produced by this friction increase with the velocity?

A.—It increases nearly as the square of the velocity. At two nautical miles per hour, the thrust necessary to overcome the friction varies as the 1.823 power of the velocity; and at eight nautical miles per hour, the thrust necessary to overcome the friction varies as the 1.713 power of the velocity. It is hardly proper, perhaps, to call this resistance by the name of friction; it is partly, perhaps mainly, due to the viscidity or adhesion of the water.

539. Q.—Perhaps at high velocities this resistance may become less?

A.—That appears very probable. It may happen that at high velocities the adhesion is overcome, so that the water is dragged off the vessel, and the friction thereafter follows the law which obtains in the case of solid bodies. But any such conclusion is mere speculation, since no experiments illustrative of this question have yet been made.

540. Q.—Will a vessel experience more resistance in moving in salt water than in moving in fresh?

A.—If the immersion be the same in both cases a vessel will experience more resistance in moving in salt water than in moving in fresh, on account of the greater density of salt water; but as the notation is proportionably greater in the salt water the resistance will be the same with the same weight carried.

541. Q.—Discarding for the present the subject of friction, and looking merely to the question of bow and stern resistance, in what manner should the hull of a vessel be formed so as to make these resistances a minimum?

A.—The hull should be so formed that the water, instead of being away driven forcibly from the bow, is opened gradually, so that every particle of water may be moved aside slowly at first, and then faster, like the ball of a pendulum, until it reaches the position of the midship frame, at which point it will have come to a state of rest, and then again, like a returning pendulum, vibrate back in the same way, until it comes to rest at the stern. It is not difficult to describe mechanically the line which the water should pursue. If an endless web of paper be put into uniform motion, and a pendulum carrying a pencil or brush be hung in front of it, then such pendulum will trace on the paper the proper water line of the ship, or the line which the water should pursue in order that no power may be lost except that which is lost in friction. It is found, however, in practice, that vessels formed with water lines on this principle are not much superior to ordinary vessels in the facility with which they pass through the water: and this points to the conclusion that in ordinary vessels of good form, the amount of power consumed in overcoming the resistance due to the wave at the bow and the partial vacuity at the stern is not so great as has heretofore been supposed, and that, in fact, the main resistance is that due to the friction.

[1] This statement supposes that there is no difference of level between the water at the bow and the water at the stern. In the experiments on the steamer Pelican, the resistance was found to vary, as the 2.28th power of the velocity, but the deviation from the recognized law was imputed to a difference in the level of the water at the bow and stern.


542. Q.—Have experiments been made to determine the resistance which steam vessels experience in moving through the waters?

A.—Experiments have been made both to determine the relative resistance of different classes of vessels, and also the absolute resistance in pounds or tons. The first experiments made upon this subject were conducted by Messrs. Boulton and Watt, and they have been numerous, long continued, and carefully performed. These experiments were made upon paddle vessels.

543. Q.—Will you recount the chief results of these experiments?

A.—The purpose of the experiments was to establish a coefficient of performance, which with any given class of vessel would enable the speed, which would be obtained with any given power, to be readily predicted. This coefficient was obtained by multiplying the cube of the velocity of the vessels experimented upon, in miles per hour, by the sectional area of the immersed midship section in square feet, and dividing by the numbers of nominal horses power, and this coefficient will be large in the proportion of the goodness of the shape of the vessel.

544. Q.—How many experiments were made altogether?

A.—There were five different sets of experiments on five different classes of vessels. The first set of experiments was made in 1828, upon the vessels Caledonia, Diana, Eclipse, Kingshead, Moordyke, and Eagle-vessels of a similar form and all with square bilges and flat floors; and the result was to establish the number 925 as the coefficient of performance of such vessels. The second set of experiments was made upon the superior vessels Venus, Swiftsure, Dasher, Arrow, Spitfire, Fury, Albion, Queen, Dart, Hawk, Margaret, and Hero-all vessels having flat floors and round bilges, where the coefficient became 1160. The third set of experiments was made upon the vessels Lightning, Meteor, James Watt, Cinderella, Navy Meteor, Crocodile, Watersprite, Thetis, Dolphin, Wizard, Escape, and Dragon-all vessels with rising floors and round bilges, and the coefficient of performance was found to be 1430. The fourth set of experiments was made in 1834, upon the vessels Magnet, Dart, Eclipse, Flamer, Firefly, Ferret, and Monarch, when the coefficient of performance was found to be 1580. The fifth set of experiments was made upon the Red Rover, City of Canterbury, Herne, Queen, and Prince of Wales, and in the case of those vessels the coefficient rose to 2550. The velocity of any of these vessels, with any power or sectional area, may be ascertained by multiplying the coefficient of its class by the nominal horse power, dividing by the sectional area in square feet, and extracting the cube root of the quotient, which will be the velocity in miles per hour; or the number of nominal horse power requisite for the accomplishment of any required speed may be ascertained by multiplying the cube of the required velocity in miles per hour, by the sectional area in square feet, and dividing by the coefficient: the quotient is the number of nominal horse power requisite to realize the speed.

545. Q.—Seeing, however, that the nominal power does not represent an invariable amount of dynamical efficiency, would it not be better to make the comparison with reference to the actual power?

A.—In the whole of the experiments recited, except in the case of one or two of the last, the pressure of steam in the boiler varied between 2-3/4 lbs. and 4 lbs. per square inch, and the effective pressure on the piston varied between 11 lbs. and 13 lbs. per square inch, so that the average ratio of the nominal to the actual power may be easily computed; but it will be preferable to state the nominal power of some of the vessels, and their actual power as ascertained by experiment.

546. Q.—Then state this.

A.—Of the Eclipse, the nominal power was 76, and the actual power 144.4 horses; of the Arrow, the nominal power was 60, and the actual 119.5; Spitfire, nominal 40, actual 64; Fury, nominal 40, actual 65.6; Albion, nominal 80, actual 135.4; Dart, nominal 100, actual 152.4; Hawk, nominal 40, actual 73; Hero, nominal 100, actual 171.4; Meteor, nominal 100, actual 160; James Watt, nominal 120, actual 204; Watersprite, nominal 76, actual 157.6; Dolphin, nominal 140, actual 238; Dragon, nominal 80, actual 131; Magnet, nominal 140, actual 238; Dart, nominal 120, actual 237; Flamer, nominal 120, actual 234; Firefly, nominal 52, actual 86.6; Ferret, nominal 52, actual 88; Monarch, nominal 200, actual 378. In the case of swift vessels of modern construction, such as the Red Rover, Herne, Queen, and Prince of Wales, the coefficient appears to be about 2550; but in these vessels there is a still greater excess of the actual over the nominal power than in the case of the vessels previously enumerated, and the increase in the coefficient is consequent upon the increased pressure of the steam in the boiler, as well as the superior form of the ship. The nominal power of the Red Rover, Herne, and City of Canterbury is, in each case, 120 horses, but the actual power of the Red Rover is 294, of the Herne 354, and of the City of Canterbury 306, and in some vessels the excess is still greater; so that with such variations it becomes necessary to adopt a coefficient derived from the introduction of the actual instead of the nominal power.

547. Q.—What will be the average difference between the nominal and actual powers in the several classes of vessels you have mentioned and the respective coefficients when corrected for the actual power?

A.—In the first class of vessels experimented upon, the actual power was about 1.6 times greater than the nominal power; in the second class, 1.67 times greater; in the third class, 1.7 times greater; and in the fourth, 1.96 times greater; while in such vessels as the Red Rover and City of Canterbury, it is 2.65 times greater; so that if we adopt the actual instead of the nominal power in fixing the coefficients, we shall have 554 as the first coefficient, 694 as the second, 832 for the third, and 806 for the fourth, instead of 925, 1160, 1430, and 1580 as previously specified; while for such vessels as the Red Rover, Herne, Queen, and Prince of Wales, we shall have 962 instead of 2550. These smaller coefficients, then, express the relative merits of the different vessels without reference to any difference of efficacy in the engines, and it appears preferable, with such a variable excess of the actual over the nominal power, to employ them instead of those first referred to. From the circumstance of the third of the new coefficients being greater than the fourth, it appears that the superior result in the fourth set of experiments arose altogether from a greater excess of the actual over the nominal power.

548. Q.—These experiments, you have already stated, were all made on paddle vessels. Have similar coefficients of performance been obtained in the case of screw vessels?

A.—The coefficients of a greater number of screw vessels have been obtained and recorded, but it would occupy too much time to enumerate them here. The coefficient of performance of the Fairy is 464.8; of the Rattler 676.8; and of the Frankfort 792.3. This coefficient, however, refers to nautical and not to statute miles. If reduced to statute miles for the purpose of comparison with the previous experiments, the coefficients will respectively become 703, 1033, and 1212; which indicate that the performance of screw vessels is equal to the performance of paddle vessels, but some of the superiority of the result may be imputed to the superior size of the screw vessels.


549. Q.—Will large vessels attain a greater speed than small, supposing each to be furnished with the same proportionate power?

A.—It is well known that large vessels furnished with the same proportionate power, will attain a greater speed than small vessels, as appears from the rule usual in yacht races of allowing a certain part of the distance to be run to vessels which are of inferior size. The velocity attained by a large vessel will be greater than the velocity attained by a small vessel of the same mould and the same proportionate power, in the proportion of the square roots of the linear dimensions of the vessels. A vessel therefore with four times the sectional area and four times the power of a smaller symmetrical vessel, and consequently of twice the length, will have its speed increased in the proportion of the square root of 1 to the square root of 2, or 1.4 times.

550. Q.—Will you further illustrate this doctrine by an example?

A.—The screw steamer Fairy, if enlarged to three times the size while retaining the same form, would have twenty-seven times the capacity, nine times the sectional area, and nine times the power. The length of such a vessel would be 434 feet; her breadth 63 feet 4-1/2 inches; her draught of water 16-1/2 feet; her area of immersed section 729 square feet; and her nominal power 1080 horses. Now as the lengths of the Fairy and of the new vessel are in the proportion of 1 to 3, the speeds will be in the proportion of the square root of 1 to the square root of 3; or, in other words, the speed of the large vessel will be 1.73 times greater than the speed of the small vessel. If therefore the speed of the Fairy be 13 knots, the speed of the new vessel will be 22.49 knots, although the proportion of power to sectional area, which is supposed to be the measure of the resistance, is in both cases precisely the same. If the speed of the Fairy herself had to be increased to 22.29 knots, the power would have to be increased in the proportion of the cube of 13 to the cube of 22.49, or 5.2 times, which makes the power necessary to propel the Fairy at that speed equal to 624 nominal horses power.


551. Q.—Will you describe the configuration and mode of action of the paddle wheels in general use?

A.—There are two kinds of paddle wheels in extensive use, the one being the ordinary radial wheel, in which the floats are fixed on arms radiating from the centre; and the other the feathering wheel, in which each float is hung upon a centre, and is so governed by suitable mechanism as to be always kept in nearly the vertical position. In the radial wheel there is some loss of power from oblique action, whereas in the feathering wheel there is little or no loss from this cause; but in every kind of paddle there is a loss of power from the recession of the water from the float boards, or the slip as it is commonly called; and this loss is the necessary condition of the resistance for the propulsion of the vessel being created in a fluid. The slip is expressed by the difference between the speed of the wheel and the speed of the vessel, and the larger this difference is the greater the loss of power from slip must be—the consumption of steam in the engine being proportionate to the velocity of the wheel, and the useful effect being proportionate to the speed of the ship.

552. Q.—The resistance necessary for propulsion will not be situated at the circumference of the wheel?

A.—In the feathering wheel, where every part of any one immerged float moves forward with the same horizontal velocity, the pressure or resistance may be supposed to be concentrated in the centre of the float; whereas, in the common radial wheel this cannot be the case, for as the outer edge of the float moves more rapidly than the edge nearest the centre of the wheel, the outer part of the float is the most effectual in propulsion. The point at which the outer and inner portions of the float just balance one another in propelling effect, is called the centre of pressure; and if all the resistances were concentrated in this point, they would have the same effect as before in resisting the rotation of the wheel. The resistance upon any one moving float board totally immersed in the water will, when the vessel is at rest, obviously vary as the square of its distance from the centre of motion—the resistance of a fluid varying with the square of the velocity; but, except when the wheel is sunk to the axle or altogether immersed in the water, it is impossible, under ordinary circumstances, for one float to be totally immersed without others being immersed partially, whereby the arc described by the extremity of the paddle arm will become greater than the arc described by the inner edge of the float; and consequently the resistance upon any part of the float will increase in a higher ratio than the square of its distance from the centre of motion—the position of the centre of pressure being at the same time correspondingly affected. In the feathering wheel the position of the centre of pressure of the entering and emerging floats is continually changing from the lower edge of the float—where it is when the float is entering or leaving the water—to the centre of the float, which is its position when the float is wholly immerged; but in the radial wheel the centre of pressure can never rise so high as the centre of the float.

553. Q.—All this relates to the action of the paddle when the vessel is at rest: will you explain its action when the vessel is in motion?

A.—When the wheel of a coach rolls along the ground, any point of its periphery describes in the air a curve which is termed a cycloid; any point within the periphery traces a prolate or protracted cycloid, and any point exterior to the periphery traces a curtate or contracted cycloid—the prolate cycloid partaking more of the nature of a straight line, and the curtate cycloid more of the nature of a circle. The action of a paddle wheel in the water resembles in this respect that of the wheel of a carriage running along the ground: that point in the radius of the paddle of which the rotative speed is just equal to the velocity of the vessel will describe a cycloid; points nearer the centre, prolate cycloids, and points further from the centre, curtate cycloids. The circle described by the point whose velocity equals the velocity of the ship, is called the rolling circle, and the resistance due to the difference of velocity of the rolling circle and centre of pressure is that which operates in the propulsion of the vessel. The resistance upon any part of the float, therefore, will vary as the square of its distance from the rolling circle, supposing the float to be totally immerged; but, taking into account the greater length of time during which the extremity of the paddle acts, whereby the resistance will be made greater, we shall not err far in estimating the resistance upon any point at the third power of its distance from the rolling circle in the case of light immersions, and the 2.5 power in the case of deep immersions.

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