Letter to the Secretary of the Treasury: On the History and Causes of Steamboat Explosions, and the Means of Prevention (Google eBook)

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W. Osborn, 1839 - Steam-boiler explosions - 39 pages
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Page 37 - In regard to the supply of water and its indications, good pumps of proper construction, with the ordinary gauge-cocks, glass tubes, and good attendance, constitute the safe-guards most to be relied on. A thermometrical instrument might be added to the boiler, without detriment. Water-floats and their fixtures, I consider as objectionable in marine boilers, and will not be found practically useful. In the present state of the art, new inventions of apparatus do not appear to be required, but only...
Page 38 - ... returning flues should be cylindrical, and of smaller diameter. The water-sides water-bottoms, bridge-walls, and all other flat surfaces, should, however, be brace-bolted at intervals of six inches; and the arches, shell, and all other portions, secured in a proportionate manner. If a steam chimney is used, even of the circular form, it should be bracebolted at smaller intervals than any part of the flat surfaces which are covered by water.
Page 39 - ... exceed those of an iron boiler of the same general construction. In specifying these methods of construction, no new or untried plans have been suggested; but only those of known advantage and efficiency, such as have fallen within my own observation or practice. In the use of muddy or salt water, the blow-off cock should be frequently and freely used. Condensation in a multiplicity of pipes, and the use of the distilled water thus obtained, on the plan which Mr. Hall has introduced in England,...
Page 13 - ... and better suited to the pressure of sixteen or eighteen inches which their engine required ; and during the remaining years of her service, this boat was run without injury to her boilers. It may be noticed that this disaster was more fatal in its results than all the explosions or disruptions of iron boilers which had then occurred on the northern and eastern routes from this city. Had this boiler been constructed of iron and secured in the same manner, it is not probable that it would have...
Page 14 - A, where the water-legs joined to the boiler ; * and whatever influence the large perforations in the shell may have had in weakening the structure, it is certain that the riveted joints on the line of disruption showed several preliminary fractures, of considerable extent, of the same character as those already pointed out in the boilers of the Etna and the Oliver Ellsworth, and one of these was * Under this point also, the planks were started from the bottom of th« boat, -which caused her to sink.
Page 25 - ... in Great Britain, both on land and in navigation. It is a fact, also, which may not be generally known, that there has been a greater loss of life by the explosion of steamboat boilers, during the present year, (1838,) on the river Thames alone, than has occurred in all the numerous and crowded steamboats which have run to and from our principal commercial city during the last five years !* And notwithstanding the contrary impressions made on the public mind by the shipwreck of the Home, and...
Page 22 - ... depth. Of the various disasters of our steam navigation, I can recollect but a single case in which the explosion of a boiler could reasonably be referred to racing; and even in this case, it is probable that the disaster only occurred a few days or weeks sooner than it might otherwise have done.* I would by no means become the apologist of misconduct in this or any other matter; but it is time that the indiscriminate and sickly outcry which is so often raised on this subject should cease ; for...
Page 31 - This list presents the number of 141 individuals who are known to have been on board the Rothsay Castle at the period of her wreck; and if the moderate calculation be admitted that nine only were lost, of whom nothing has been heard, it will realize the estimate I have hazarded at page 289, namely: that 150 persons were on board, of which number one hundred and twenty-seven perished!
Page 31 - Thursday morning, about four o'clock, the boiler became leaky, but it was partially repaired ; and the steamer proceeded on her voyage, till she arrived at the mouth of the Frith of Forth, about ten o'clock in the evening. It then blew a heavy gale from the northward. The boiler, it would appear, had now become useless, and the machinery stopped. The vessel was got about, in the hope to get her before the wind, but she soon became unmanageable. It rained heavily, accompanied by a violent gale, with...
Page 32 - ... both of whom died immediately after ; the rest fell into the sea. The water from the boiler was thrown nearly to the west end of the Steamboat Quay, over the shed ; the rope, which fastened the steamer's stern to the quay, was blown on the top of the shed, also camp stools, large pieces of wood, &c. A part of the boiler, six or eight feet square, was driven by the force of the steam a distance of 100 feet and upwards. A great number of persons standing on the quay were much injured by the scalding...

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