Google Earth used to update the Antarctica photos annually, on 31 Dec each year. BUT NOT SINCE 2016.
What is going on down there?
Google Earth used to update the Antarctica photos annually, on 31 Dec each year. BUT NOT SINCE 2016.
What is going on down there?
I was not planning any more major projects for 2019, instead intending to finish the triple expansion engine, the beam engine, the vertical boiler, and the CNC rotary table.
But… my hand has been forced.
The Y axis on my CNC mill has been a bit unpredictable for some months, and on my return from UK, it has totally stopped working. It seems to be the encoder on the Y axis servo. I could just repair or replace the encoder, but after discussing the situation with my expert advisor Stuart, I have decided to replace all of the electronics in the mill. New axis motors, new breakout board, new drivers etc. It is a 1997 model, and this is the second electronic failure this year. Plus, it is only a 2.5 axis mill. It will move in only 2 directions per move…. XY or XZ or YZ, never XYZ in a single move. Plus I would like to add a rotary axis, making it a 4 axis machine.
The in built computer in the mill has a 7k memory. That’s correct, 7000 bits. I have an external computer linked to it, which makes it a bit more useful, but the Fagor controller is clunky and idiosyncratic, and I would like to switch to Mach 3.
So, I will document the upgrade as it happens. The mill is a good solid machine, with big ball screws, and 1000mm of x travel, 450mm Z and 450mm Y. It is worth spending some money on it. There are a lot of big, old, CNC machines with obsolete electronics out there for sale. It will be a project which might just be worth watching.
The only surviving Trevithick dredger engine, in the London Science Museum, shows no signs of ever having been lagged. I know this, because I examined it closely, recently, during my UK trip.
No lagging, no marks in the paintwork, which would indicate wooden lagging strips ever having been attached.
But, we know that Trevithick readily adopted ANY improvements to his designs, and lagging was appearing on engines at about the epoch of the dredger engine design. Plus, his engines were in use as late as mid 19th century, and lagging was well established as a normal feature by that time.
And, my model definitely needs some efficiency improvement. Using a 40kW burner to power an engine of this size is ridiculous. So I Have added some lagging.
I used about 48 strips of wood with some spares. These were cut and sanded in advance. 5mm x12mm x 130mm.
The Super glue is used to hold the wood strips in place temporarily, until the brass boiler bands are installed.
I started at the top, and worked my way down on both sides. Most effort is made in fitting around pipes and boiler bosses. Unsatisfactory strips are levered off and scrapped.
Super glue does not provide a permanent bond to copper for some reason. And it certainly will not survive the heat from steaming. But it is fine for a quick and temporary bond.
I chose olive oil to seal the grain openings of the jarrah. I know from previous firings that the temperature of the boiler shell does not exceed 100ºc. Olive oil will not smoke or flame until the temperature exceeds 200ºc, which is higher than any other common oil. Also, as a failed olive farmer, I have plenty of old olive oil. At worst, my engine steamings might smell like a fish and chip shop. And refreshing the oily surface will be quick, cheap and easy. And the olive oil will not form a skin which might peel or flake. Anyway, this is “model and experimental” engineering. If it does not work, I will make some new lagging, alright!.
And I took some more photos with my Panasonic Lumix 100-2 camera…….
Even SWMBO has relented… “It can go with the other engines”. It will, when it is finished. Still requires more painting.
I received 2 more books from Pen & Sword for review, and these are both directed squarely at modellers. They both contain interesting information about their use in WW2, but are mainly about the external appearances, and configurations. Not much information about manufacture, strategic importance, or mechanical aspects.
Second World War
by Lance Cole
This large format, 64 page book is written for Jeep enthusiasts, Jeep modellers, and Jeep restorers.
This reviewer is an experienced 4×4 driver and owner, and interested in WW2 vintage Jeeps from an historical perspective, and for technical comparisons.
The book will have enormous appeal to its target audience, but less so to the casually interested reader like me. It does include some general historical notes and comments, but these seem incidental to the main subject matter, which is about modelling of the body work and weapons.
There are many photographs of Jeeps in wartime configurations, and mounting various weapons. Also lots of photographs of model Jeeps.
Modelers and restorers will love it.
TIGER 1 AND TIGER 11 TANKS
German Army and Waffen-SS
The Last Battles in the West 1945
by Dennis Oliver
This is another of the series of Tank Craft books which aims to provide model-makers and enthusiasts with photographs and line drawings of battle tanks which are popular subjects for modelling.
The 64 page , large format book has many such images, as well as notes about the military actions, as far as is known, of the German Tiger tanks in 1945.
The illustrations are of the tank exteriors only. They are detailed, colour and of high quality.
A 15 page section lists and assesses commercially available kits from various countries.
Tiger Tank modellers and illustrators will love it.
LARGE SCALE WARSHIP MODELS
From Kits to Scratch Building by Kerry Jang
This 110 page, hard cover book is aimed squarely at the model ship builder. The title is slightly misleading because the book is more about methods of modelling, rather than models, per se.
The author, an expert and award winning modeller, describes the methods he uses to make superb, large scale ship models. The methods include up to date techniques including 3d part printing, rubber mold making, and use of modern adhesives, paints, materials etc. There is a very interesting section on the why’s and wherefores of large scale ship modelling, including intriguing references to Zen and Nirvana.
The book is lavishly illustrated with many photographs of works in progress and techniques. The text is clear and concise.
Although I am entranced by ship models in museums, my own interest in modelling is with stationary steam engines. I found much of the advice and techniques in the book to be of interest and relevant to my own modelling efforts, particularly the sections on assembly, painting and finishing.
A handsome, useful book, which I am pleased to add to my library.
I am back in oz as of a few hours ago. Freezing and wet. Was 26c in London today.
On my last afternoon in London I had a few hours spare. So I caught the tube to have a final farewell to the Trevithick dredger engine and to reshoot some photos which I had messed up at my visit 3 weeks earlier.
…and I spent a very pleasant hour photographing the engines in the Energy Hall again.
And on wandering further into the building I discovered that on the previous visit I had totally missed about 2/3 of the entire museum, including the model of the Trevithick road vehicle which had been made as a concept model by Trevithick’s brother in law, a clock maker.
Unfortunately it was bottom lit and behind glass, so very difficult to get good photos.
This really was the finale of my adventures in the UK.
First, I was avoiding posting photos because I was at 99.9% of my allowed storage at WordPress. So I have deleted a lot of old videos, and now have some headspace. If you search my old posts you will find some blanks. If they are crucial, message me and I will get them to you some other way.
Today was my final day of sightseeing. Beautiful sunny weather in Portsmouth. I am mentally gearing up for home and family, who I have missed. But frankly, this tour of museums and engines and mines and ships could not have been done with wife/family in tow. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have been able to do just what I felt like, for the past 3 weeks. And I have enjoyed making these posts in the evenings.
So today, I visited 2 more museums in Portsmouth, on the Gosport side of the harbour. Smaller, specialist museums. Not for everyone, but I thought that both were terrific. They were 1. The Explosion Museum and 2. The Royal Navy Museum of Submarines.
The explosion museum was quite close to my BNB. A walk along the waterfront, past many, many leisure yachts, and the odd hulk.
There were many more exhibits, mainly of WW1 and WW2 vintage. But a few more frightening, modern ones too.
I noticed this as I walked back.
I have to protect my knees these days, so I drove the 2 miles to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum.
The guide’s final comment was that this 1980-90’s technology is obsolete. It is all about nuclear submarines these days.
Then into the actual museum, where there was a mini sub, and the first submarine in the Royal Navy. And a lot of simulation games to amuse the kids.
So, tomorrow a drive to London to drop off the rental car, and fly out the day after. I am planning another quick visit to Fort Nelson, where I am hoping to use a tape measure on one or two aspects of the Ottoman Bombard. Maybe a model bronze version of the bombard in my future, hey?
So, I hope that you have found some of these posts of interest. My usual workshop posts will reappear soon. And maybe an occasional one about UFO’s and Antarctica. See ya.
Not strictly museums. Ships actually, but displayed as museum pieces. Both incredibly interesting. And I am not including Nelson’s “Victory”. I had seen it 40 years ago, and after 5 hours of walking, my knees told me that enough was enough.
My main targets today were “Warrior” and the “Mary Rose”.
Warrior was built in 1860. The age of steam was well underway. But to date, warships were still sailing ships. However the French were rebuilding their navy after their humiliating defeat at Trafalgar, and they had built the first propeller driven, steam powered, iron clad (wooden ship with steel plate cladding). The Brits were not going to stand for that, so they built “Warrior”. The most powerful, fastest battleship afloat, and more than a match for anything else in the world. By the time it was built, the French and the Brits were allies, for a while. Warrior was destined to never fire a shot in anger.
Today it sits moored at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, and is a fascinating mixture of steam and sail, muzzle loaders and breech loading guns, Steel and wood. It is a big ship, 127.5m (418′) long, and 9210 tons. It looks a little odd to our eyes because it has no superstructure, except 2 funnels, and the foremast and mainmast are widely separated.
This ship could make 14.4 knots (27.7kph) under steam, 13 knots (24kph) under sail, and 17.2 knots (31.9 kph) with sail plus steam. Not as fast as a clipper, but much faster than any other warship.
But the main armament was of course the big guns.
I have many more photos of Warrior, but I am down to my last few megs of storage, and I want to show some pics of the Mary Rose, which is probably the most stunning museum display I have ever seen. I know that I keep saying that, but this really is…..
Mary Rose was a 35 year old warship which sank in 1545 during the battle of the Solent, against a huge French invasion fleet, while Henry 8 was watching. No-one really knows why it sank, but the most popular theory is that bigger cannons had been installed, requiring low gun-ports to be cut into the the hull, and that after firing a broadside the ship had turned and the open gun-ports shipped a lot of water, which sank the ship. Whatever, the ship was unable to be raised. Most of the hull gradually rotted and broke away. But the parts which were under silt did not rot, and were still there when discovered over 3 centuries later. In 1985 the remains were raised, and painstakingly preserved. A museum to house the remains was specially built. And it is stunning! No other word for it. Here are a few pics from today.
A most remarkable museum. Add it to your bucket list. Allow at least 2 hours.
Just to refresh your memory, if you are a long term reader of johnsmachines.com, this is the model of the Ottoman Bombard which I made several years ago …
…but it is not finished. I could not find a picture or drawing of the touch hole anywhere. Requests to the museum drew no response.
Plus, I had some questions about how the square holes were made. These were designed for levers to be inserted so the cannon segments could be screwed together. But were the round pegs cast with the barrel and breech, or were they somehow added later?
Also, I wanted to take a close look at the huge V threads to see if I could work out how they made them.
And frankly, I just wanted to touch it.
It is currently on display at The Fort Nelson Royal Armories Museum near Portsmouth UK. And I visited it today. I allowed an hour to inspect the bombard and have a quick look around the rest. 4 hours later I staggered out. This museum is another fantastic place to visit. I will do a more complete report in another post. For the moment I will deal with the bombard.
Firstly the touch hole. Save these photos. They do not appear anywhere else!
Next, the bombard as it was today..and I touched it!
And the huge threads…
I really enjoyed this visit. If I have any WordPress storage remaining I will post some photos of some of theother artillery pieces later.
When I finally run out of space, I am afraid that will be the end of my posts. Thankyou all for following. It has been great fun posting, and answering comments.
Just in case this is the last post, I have to post these pics of the WW1 British rail gun. It is truly awesome.
Before Trevithick were Savery, Newcomen and Watt. And way before them, Hero of Alexandria (1st century AD)
Thomas Savery, a military engineer from Devon, took out a patent in 1698 for a steam operated pump. It had no moving parts, except some valves.
It had 2 low pressure boilers. Steam from one boiler was introduced into one chamber, and water was then introduced which condensed the steam, forming a partial vacuum, which sucked up water from below. Steam from the other boiler was then introduced, which pushed the water upwards. As a pump it was a failure, and it is not known if any were made. Modern reconstructions have also been unable to pump water successfully. But the patent lasted, and forced Newcomen to involve Savery with his invention in 1712.
Thomas Newcomen was an ironmonger and Baptist lay-preacher from Dartmouth, Devon, and he is the reason that I am currently in this pretty Devon town. There is an original Newcomen “atmospheric engine” in Dartmouth.
The Newcomen pump, (for pumping water from the mines was its purpose) also used the condensation of steam creating a partial vacuum, as its principle of action, and it was quite successful. So successful in fact, that more than 600 of them were built, and they continued to be built well after the improvements of Watt and Trevithick, into the nineteenth century. In the diagram above, the 22″ power cylinder is on the right, and the pump cylinder is on the left. The genius of this design is that the pump can operate in the depths of the mine (or canal or military trench) while the engine remains above ground.
It is incredibly inefficient in thermal terms, converting only 1:200 of the energy from burning coal into the mechanical energy of the pump, but it was by far, more powerful than any pumps driven by man, horse, wind or water at that time.
The room in which the Dartmouth engine is housed is just bigger than the 15′ high engine, so pictures are difficult.
The Newcomen engines were simple, and effective. Their main problem was that they consumed vast quantities of coal. They were widely used, but there was/are no coal deposits in Cornwall, and transporting coal from Wales was costly, and taxed.
James Watt‘s big contribution to steam engines was to add a condenser to the engine, which was separated from the power cylinder. That doubled the efficiency. He also sealed the top of the cylinder, so both strokes of the piston rather than just the down stroke, were power strokes. But it was still a vacuum powered engine, and therefore had an absolute limit of working pressure of something less than atmospheric pressure (15psi).
Richard Trevithick‘s main contribution in 1800 was to increase the steam pressure available, by inventing the “Cornish boiler” which produced steam at 50psi, and even up to 145psi. This more than doubled again the thermal efficiency of the steam engine, and made it much more compact, leading to his applications of steam engines in road vehicles, railway locomotives, ship engines, and industrial stationary engines (like my model dredger engine).
Tomorrow I am driving to Portsmouth. So I will leave the west country inventors of steam engines. It has been a fascinating journey.
First stop, Fort Nelson. To renew my acquaintance with the Ottoman bombard, which was the subject of my blogs several years ago.
One of the essential discoveries by our ancestors, in taking us from being hunter gatherers to “civilised” sapiens, was how to make metal implements, weapons, instruments and engines. Copper was the earliest. Probably found by lighting a camp fire over a rock containing copper, and seeing it run. It could be moulded into useful implements, but it was soft, and maleable.
Copper and tin often are found close to each other, so it is possible that the ancient camp fire melted both tin and copper to form bronze, which is much harder, and still used in the space epoch, as a hard, good conducting, mouldable metal. Or more likely, that some copper which was melted and cast into something useful, was contaminated with tin, and the accidentally resulting bronze was found to be much harder and more durable than copper.
The problem is that tin is a relatively rare metal in earth’s crust, and its most common occurrence is in the form of crystals of cassiterite, which are inclusions in granite. There is evidence that tin has been used since ~2000BCE. Ancient man probably mined surface deposits of cassiterite in various locations, most particularly what is now Cornwall, UK. Tin was traded from Cornwall long before the Romans arrived, and by then, was obtained by deeper mining. Mining continued even though iron was available. Bronze lasts much longer than iron. Indeed, many more bronze implements and weapons have been discovered from antiquity, because the iron ones have rusted away to nothing, and the bronze items often are in close to perfect condition.
Tin and copper mining continued in Cornwall until very recently. I am not aware of any commercial mines currently operating. But the evidence of mining in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries is everywhere to be seen in the form of smoke stacks, and engine houses, which once housed mighty steam engines. In the past 2 days I have visited 3 mines, which have differing approaches to tourists. They were The “King Edward Mine Museum”, “Geevor”, and “The Levant”. I did photograph Ding Dong from a distance, because that was the mine of which Richard Trevithick was the captain.
King Edward Mine Museum. Although the site of a mine, this is a museum of mine engines, boilers, and machines to separate the tin ore from the parent granite.
Geevor Mine closed later than King Edward, and the ore processing machines are substantially intact, and date from early 20th centuery. It is on the coastline of Cornwall.
The final part of this tour, was a walk undergound, through a 350 year old mine, later used as an access tunnel. They issued us with a helmet and raincoat, and both were absolutely necessary. The tunnel was about 5′ to 5’6″‘ tall, so the helmet took a battering. The walls were wet, and the roof constantly dripped and ran. Sometimes the walls were not vertical, but sloped markedly. Our guide used to be a tin miner, and he told us that they disliked the irregular access, because after placing a charge of black powder, they had approximately 30 seconds to clear the area. Falling over, or being too slow was a bad option. And it was pitch black when the lights were out. This tour is not for everyone.
Prior to pneumatic drills, water fed tools, the charge holes had to chiselled by hand. One person holding and rotating the drill (chisel), and one or two miners swinging heavy sledge hammers. Typically it would take 2-3 hours to chisel the 6-8″ hole to take the charge of powder. They made their own fuses using goose quills end to end, and filled with black powder. This was granite containing the tin ore. Very hard stone. Very few timber props were required once the mine was well undergound.
The final mine which I toured was the richest. The Levant mine. It is of great antiquity.. 3000 to 600 BCE and intermittently mined until 1930. It never really recovered from the Man Engine disaster of 1919. It is now a National Trust site, and the tour was one of the best I have experienced anywhere. Again the tour guide was an ex tin miner. He looked the part, with missing teeth, west country brogue, and built like a T34 tank. He was a superb raconteur, with a wealth of stories and knowledge, and answered every question with assurance. We visited many parts of the complex, including a trip into a mine, with a huge vertical shaft at the end. Counted the tourists in and out, and radioed the manager in and out. The tour ended with a visit to the steam driven whim engine. It was the only engine saved after the closure. The rest were scrapped.
I have not touched on the topic of women and children working in the mines. It happened until well into the 20th century. Look up “Bal maidens” for information on women in the mining industry. They were a strong lot.
Another highly recommended place to visit.
In 1802 a Richard Trevithick designed engine was made by the Coalbrookdale company. Not much is known about it, but is recorded that the steam pressure reached 145psi! Trevithick had previously operated his road steam locomotive up the Camborne Hill, but this was the first one to run on rails.
The next one was made for the steelworks at Merthyr Tidfil, Wales. It was a Trevithick engine which ran on rails. The owner made a 500 guinea bet with a rival (an astronomical figure. Somewhere I read that it would be equivalent to a million dollars these days), and in Feb 1803 the engine towed 5 wagons, loaded with 10 tons of iron ore (or coal, not sure), and 70 odd bods, a distance of 10 miles. There was dispute about whether the bet had been won due to some technicalities, and no record of it being paid, but it was a moral victory. The age of steam had really begun.
The biggest problem was not the locomotive, but the rails. They were not strong enough, and frequently broke. It took the genius of George Stephenson to solve that problem, by using forged iron in preference to cast iron. And his son Robert to increase the efficiency of the engine and boiler in the form of “Rocket”. But that is another story, for 30 years later.
Unfortunately the original of the Merthyr Tidfil loco has not survived, but several replicas have been made, based on original drawings. I saw one of them at Swansea, Wales, not far from Merthyr Tidfil. Not a steaming day. It does run.
And I have now arrived in Camborne, Cornwall, Trevithick’s home, and the site of his famous trial of the steam road loco.
I made a pilgrimage to Fore St (“Camborne hill”), then to his statue, to pay homage.
I was a bit unsure about visiting this one. A smaller museum, and I knew from the web site that it was not a steaming day. But it was only a half hour drive, so off I went. I arrived at the address, and there was a supermarket, but in a corner of the supermarket block there was a tall, old, sizeable red brick building with no windows. And a sign… “Bolton Steam Museum”.
In I wandered, and a gentleman in overalls approached. This was a volunteer working day. But Ian (apologies if I got the name wrong), stopped his task and spent over an hour showing me around, explaining the finer points of his babies, starting some of them on electric motors to demonstrate the movements, then invited me to a cuppa with his mates, where there was further discussion, mainly about rope drives and stone engine bases.
No parking or entry fee on a non steaming day, (but a donation was appreciated).
The machines were not the monsters of Kewbridge or Kempton pumping stations. They were mostly from the industrial age of the midlands 1840-1930, powering textile mills, sawmills, and factories. Some were quite big. All were beautifully restored and presented, and for once, the descriptive labels had lots of information about the physical characteristics and histories of the engines. A nice aspect was the elevated walkway down the centre of the room, allowing a good view above the engines.
Some photos follow. Not as many as the museum deserves, because I am nudging my Wordpress limits.
This museum is another gem. I have described only a few of the 24 major items on display. There are many more, including engine lubricators, gauges, and valves. It was well worth the stay in Manchester, and more than made up for my disappointment at the Museum of Science and Industry. Try to see it on a steaming day. The dates are published on the website http://www.nmes.org
Also, the 36 page “Souvenir Museum Guide” is the best guide of its type I have encountered and contains detailed descriptions and colour photographs of the major exhibits. It is a steal for £2. The History of the Bolton Steam Museum is 64 pages, crammed with photos, and after a quick browse I am looking forward to reading it. Also IMO, a steal at £3.
Sincere thanks to the volunteers who shared their enthusiasm for steam engines with me today. I do hope to return one day to see the engines running on steam.
I visited the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry today.
As I entered I had to remove my hearing aids. The noise was deafening. It sounded like a rock concert with someone screaming into a microphone, as they do.
At the same time, I could see in front of me, Stephenson’s “Rocket”, and that was exciting. Better still, there were only 1 or 2 people looking at it, so it was possible to get up close or more distantly, to examine it and take photos.
But there was a large crowd on the other side of the room, where the noise was originating. I was informed that it was “a history of industry in Manchester” lecture, with sound effects and a live performance directed at kids. Fair enough I suppose. That sort of presentation might introduce kids to science and museums. But I am skeptical. More likely it is an introduction to entertainment, and not much to do with science or industry.
So, I made the most of it and spent quite a while examining Rocket and taking photographs from every angle. Photos later.
Then I changed buildings to see the Power Hall exhibition of industrial steam engines. This was the second major reason for my visit to Manchester. But the Power Hall was closed! “Temporary” said the sign. “For one year” said the attendant. Bummer.
Had a look in the “Air and Space Hall” and was impressed by the size of the twin rotor helicopter, and some other interesting old string and rag airplanes, but that is not really my thing.
Anyway, back to “Rocket”, which you know was the winner of the 1829 Rainhill trial, to pick a locomotive design which would be used to power a railway line between Manchester and Liverpool. I had seen a replica of Rocket at York. But this is the real one. It is almost 200 years old, and it looks the part. The timber bumper slab has partially disintegrated, and it is likely that some parts have been upgraded. But those changes are now part of history.
The only other steam engine on display, (because the Power Hall was closed), was this very elegant beam engine.
Catherine Howard, Henry VIII’s 5th wife was beheaded in 1542 because she had an affair with Thomas Culpepper in this castle.
The castle, the second strongest in England, after the Tower of London, and considered impregnable, because it is built on rock at the top of a hill, was actually captured during the civil war by the roundheads. The roundheads had learned that officers of the castle garrison were trying to buy beds. So some of the roundheads got access to the castle by pretending to be bed merchants, and the castle was taken.
After that the castle was demolished, encouraged by the locals who were fed up with being the target of many armies.
Pontefract is mainly infamous because Richard 2 was murdered here. A red hot poker allegedly.
Then, after this cheery history lesson, I drove on through the beautiful country of the Derbyshire Dales. Winding roads. Deep rocky gorges. Open fields with stone fences. To my destination of The Anson Machinery Museum. This is a smallish museum, recommended by a Melbourne colleague (thanks Ian, if you are reading this), but containing some absolute machinery gems. Many photos, but I will show just a few.
There were many more engines, including a huge atmospheric engine, a very large compound twin horizontal mill engine, which was difficult to adequately photograph, many oilers, diesels, a steam driven workshop, a steam driven hammer. A really interesting smaller museum in a beautiful country location.
Excluding nuclear powered steam turbines and some others. But 12,000hp is not to be sneezed at.
At Sheffield’s Kelham Island Museum we (Jennifer Edwards, a blog reader of johnsmachines.com, and I), saw a steam engine which was big, but not as big as the triples at Kempton. So how can it be “the most powerful etc”.
Well, it is a triple, but not a compound triple. It is a simple triple. Double acting. so each cylinder puts out power like it is the HP cylinder of a triple expansion engine. It must be a prodigious consumer of fuel and energy.
Why so much power requirement? Well this engine was used to power a rolling mill, to curve the armour plating of battleships. Plates up to 16″ (400mm) thick. The steel was red hot while this was being done, and the plate was rolled back and forth until the desired curve was reached. Several re-heatings of the plate was required until the desired curve was achieved, so it was important that as many passes as possible were done in the shortest time. So this engine is capable of full power reversals, very quickly. Unfortunately there was insufficient room in the museum to fit the rolling mill.
And we saw that happening today. It was very impressive, and apart from some clanking of the huge spur gears, very quiet.
The demonstration lasted only 3 minutes, before the large gas fired boiler ran out of steam at 100psi. And they had been heating the boiler since yesterday. Under industrial use, 160psi was used.
Jennifer is trying to obtain some plans to model the engine. Hmm…I might have discovered my next model too…
I saw Cutty Sark for the first time 40 years ago, and was transfixed by its beautiful lines and fine workmanship of construction .
Like most people I was devastated when it was severely damaged by fire in 2002 (or was 2007? I can’t remember. Anyway, they spent a lot of money and time repairing the damage. And I revisited it today.
What the Cutty Sark Trust has achieved is nothing short of remarkable.
Today, when I first saw it again, I thought “what is that strange glass structure around the hull? Are they trying to do something modern and arty?” The masts, rigging and hull otherwise appeared to be unchanged.
Then when I paid my money and went through the entrance… 1. I felt poorer. The entrance fee was $AUD 54 for Cutty Sark and the Greenwich Observatory. 2. I was astounded to see that the entire ship has been lifted off the ground by ~2.5 meters, and is supported by 24 large steel props.
It really is spectacular. The fine lines of the hull are absolutely stunning from beneath. And it has removed pressure from the ageing hull structure, which was sagging from its own weight. The metal sheathing is Muntz metal, an alloy of copper, used to prevent barnacles and algae from attaching to the hull and slowing the ship speed. I am unsure whether it has been renewed, or just polished, but as you can see it is gleamingly beautiful.
And speed was what this tea carrying cargo ship was all about. Each ship load of tea was worth about 6 million pounds, and there was huge competition between the clipper ship captains to be the first home to England with the precious cargo, to get the best prices.
This greyhound of the seas regularly hit 20 knots, and on one voyage from China, averaged 17 knots. (20 knots = 23 mph = 37 kph). Remember, this is a sailing ship. Many modern cargo ships would struggle to reach that speed.
The intricate woodwork in the captain’s cabin and officers areas, the precisely made steering mechanism, the brass fittings are all as I remember. This really is a beautiful machine.