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    Default OT: youtube of German cargo steamer

    I stumbled on a good youtube about a small German cargo steamship named "Tarpenbek". The name of the youtube is "Frachtdampfer Tarpenbek". The narrative with it is in German, but the photography & content are excellent. My German is marginal, but I got most of the narrative. The ship was built by Orenstein & Koppel. I thought they only made steam locomotives and got into construction machinery (surviving to the present times, I think). The ship is powered with a triple expansion steam engine. What makes it somewhat unique is that the engine uses poppet valves, and the valve cams are worked by a more typical marine valve gear (eccentrics and expansion links).

    Even more unique is the fact the engine's exhaust steam passes into a steam turbine which is coupled into the tailshafting with a hydraulic coupling. The narrative describes how this hydraulic coupling works automatically to bring the turbine in and out of engagement. My guess is the turbine worked in the ahead (forward) direction of rotation and declutched when the engine was working astern (reverse), with a bypass of exhaust steam to the condenser.


    The film goes into great detail around the engine room, showing and explaining the auxiliary machinery (feed pumps, condenser air pumps, fuel oil service pumps and generator). It also goes into the fire-room and explains the Scotch marine boilers. What is also interesting is that the lighting current on the ship is 110 volts DC. Nothing unusual about it being direct current, but in Europe, 220 volt lighting current seems to have been the standard.

    The film begins with the working of cargo, and shows the steam deck winches and explains them, along with the steam anchor windlass. The steam steering engine is also shown and explained.

    Sadly, the narrative related that this film was made in the last year of the Tarpenbek's operation, and that she was the last piston-engined steamship to be home-ported in Hamburg (1954, I think it was). It is a nice little youtube, and one does not need to understand German to appreciate the ship and its machinery.

    I could not find out much else about the "Tarpenbek". What little I did find out was that she and her sisters were sold to a Greek shipping company, and at least one of those ships was wrecked (driven aground during a storm).

    Another similar and equally good youtube is about the steamer "Welle" (German for "wave", but can also mean "shaft" as in a power transmission shaft), and is titled "Doppelschraub Dampfschiffe" (twin screw steam ship) if I remember right. Welle is coal fired, and the film goes into great detail with the raising of steam in Scotch marine boilers, as well as the details of the ship's engines and auxiliaries. "Welle" was a combination purpose vessel- auxiliary ice breaker, tug, and looks she might also have been used as a pilot boat, dating to 1915. Welle, went thru a series of iterations upon her retirement, the usual turn as a floating restaurant, sunk due to neglect of her hull, raised, and eventually given a full restoration. She is back in steam as a historic vessel.

    Both youtubes are well made films, made as educational films in Germany. My wife kids me that I almost never watch television, preferring instead to do "research" on the computer at night and stumbling on these sorts of youtubes. Given what the bulk of television programs are about, I do not see that I am missing anything.

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    Thanks for posting this, here is a link:
    YouTube

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    Thank you Joe for the interesting films.

    Brought back memories from working longshore 50 years ago. Some of the older ships still had wooden hatches and beams. We used ship's derricks and winches for shifting the beams just as in the "Tarpenbek" film although they were electric by then.

    Lars

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    And a rather handsome vessel. Looks much better than today's angular , lego looking ships.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Michaels View Post
    I stumbled on a good youtube about a small German cargo steamship named "Tarpenbek
    Joe,
    Thanks for that, although I can't understand a word, I too am impressed by the time spent in the engine and boiler rooms.

    The film is dated 1970, and presumably the Tarpenbek was built in 1954.

    Years ago you mentioned a type of engine I had never heard of - the double compound.

    Watching this film, I am wondering if the Tarpenbeck is a double compound engine. I think I can see four cylinders, and the view of the top possibly shows two LP's and two HP's ...but it is hard to be sure.

    Looking at the connecting rods in motion, it seems to me that the end two cranks are at 180 degrees to each other, as they would be at each end of a double compound engine. I think they were typically Woolf compounds (cranks at 180 degrees, no receiver needed), and the two compound engines were at 90 degrees to each other.

    Going by the sub-title of the film, the Tarpenbek has a Lentz engine which accounts for the oscillating cam and poppet valves. I have read that the Lentz marine engines were Woolf compounds.

    Interesting also to hear that the Tarpenbek had an exhaust steam turbine (I didn't spot that watching the film). I have done some reading about these in the past (and just a few days ago), they were among the last attempts at increasing reciprocating steam engine efficiency (I am sure you know all this, but others might be interested).

    The low pressure cylinder was the most thermodynamically inefficient part of a steam engine, so the addition of a turbine between the LP cylinder and condenser was an attempt at better using the high volume of low pressure steam.

    There were several systems invented which all used a turbine, but then varied as to how they returned power to the shaft.

    The German Bauer-Wach system (c. late 1920's) was mechanically connected to the prop shaft via an oil-filled coupling (e.g. Vulcan coupling) and reduction gearing. Parsons also manufactured a similar mechanical-coupled system, but with some type of friction clutch in the drive. The Brown, Boveri system exhaust steam turbine also had reduction gearing but with some type of spring coupling on the final drive.

    The Gotaverken System (c. early 1930's) used the turbine to drive a compressor, which re-compressed the steam in the receiver between HP and IP cylinders.

    British Thomson-Houston and Metropolitan-Vickers systems each had their turbine joined to a generator or alternator and then an electric motor connected to the propeller shaft.

    The White system used a high-speed double-compound engine driving through reduction gearing to the prop shaft. The exhaust steam turbine (with double reduction gearing) drove the same reduction gear on the prop shaft.

    So...what does the Tarpenbek use? I need to watch the film again, but I suppose the German Bauer-Wach seems most likely?

    I welcome correction on any of the above!

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    Hello Peter:

    I will watch the film again (and again and again...) and see what else I can learn. As I wrote, my German is marginal, learned in the machine shops when I was a kid from immigrant machinists. I pick up a lot of what the narrative says, and I will see if I can find subtitles or captions.

    I had also wondered if I was seeing Lenz valve gear/poppet valves. In the USA, during WWII, a class of Great Lakes vessels were built to the US Maritime Commission design. These vessels all had recip steam power and jet condensers (running on the Lakes on fresh water, they could use jet condensers). The Great Lakes vessels transported iron ore as the principal cargo, vital for the war effort. Using recip engines and jet condensers freed up turbine and surface condenser production for naval vessels or merchant vessels to be used on the oceans. Some of these Maritime Commission vessels got triple expansion engines- and these were the vessels I was aboard when they tied up at our jobsite. There were some of these same vessels that were built with steam engines having Lenz valve gear. I never saw those engines.
    The Lenz gear, from what I read and saw in text books, always impressed me. However, I never had to work with an engine having it, so never learned its actual shortcomings. The Maritime Commission design Lakers which got Lenz gear engines were, as I recall, double compounds. Possibly this was due to the better control of "cylinder events" that the Lenz gear offered vs the usual piston (HP & IP) or slide valves (LP).

    The double compound engines were an interesting design. These double compound engines were primarily used in vessels requiring quick maneuverability. For many years, the double compound engines were the "standard" used in NYC harbor ferries, with the last being in service into the early 1970's. The double compounds consisted of two fore-and-aft compound engines on a common crankshaft. Two High pressure cylinders, two low pressure cylinders. The HP cylinders were in the middle of the cylinder lineup. I got to ride in the engine rooms of some of the NYC ferries on the Staten Island run from the tip of lower Manhattan. I saw how quickly those double compound engines could be worked including going from ahead to astern in what seemed the blink of an eye. The last class of ferries built with the double compound engines was built in 1938, and used (4) Babcock & Wilcox watertube boilers, oil fired, producing something like 220 psig superheated steam. Those double compound engines were built for power as well as maneuverability, and were rated at 4000 HP, while a Liberty Ship's triple expansion engine, moving a lot more ship than a ferry engine, was rated at 2500 HP.

    The "Tarpenbek" engine may be a triple expansion engine, but may have two (2) low pressure cylinders. This was often done on larger marine engines to lower the reciprocating mass of the LP cylinders. By splitting the LP cylinder volume into two separate cylinders, the engine was more easily balanced, and the overall size of each of the LP cylinders was reduced- easier to manufacture, easier to keep warm, smoother running. Some of the old Lakers had what the crews called "four legged triples". The "Tarpenbek" has oil fired Scotch Marine Boilers, so probably used saturated steam. With the Lenz gear and poppet valves, her engine could well have used superheated steam, another decided advantage in efficiency, but from what I saw in the fire-room, it looked like they were running saturated steam. Putting superheaters on a Scotch marine boiler was not all that common. It could be done using "hairpin" style superheater elements as used on steam locomotives, but would have necessitated putting in some 5 or 6 inch diameter flues. The Scotch marine boilers usually used 2" diameter fire tubes, and plenty of them. The only place to locate the superheater headers (or manifolds) would have been in the smokeboxes, which were already compact. The Lakers with the Lenz gear engines used watertube boilers with superheated steam supplied to the engines. This probably accounted, in part, for why a double compound design was used vs a triple expansion design. I may be recalling incorrectly, but I believe Erie City Ironworks (Erie, PA), may have built those Lenz engines for the Maritime Commission vessels.

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    Pretty sure this is the second video Joe referenced:

    YouTube

    The title is not quite the same as written above...

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    Awander:

    You found the correct "second youtube". Quite an interesting sequence where the fireman (known in German as a "Heizer", or 'heater') comes aboard first to raise steam. With the coal fired boilers, the fires had been banked. The fireman has to draw the ash and clinker (and some live coals or live coke with it) onto the floorplates.

    I rode in the stoke hold and engine room on the old steam tug "Edna G" out of Two Harbors, MN, in 1979 when a buddy of mine was fireman on her. He got a call from the Duluth, Missabe, & Iron Range RR (the tug's owner's and ore dock operators) to have steam up by midnight that night as there was an ore boat needing to be turned outside the harbor's breakwall. We got to the Edna G at about 10 PM. She had one B & W watertube boiler in her, hand fired on soft coal. The drill was much the same as seen in the youtube about the "Welle". The difference was the "Edna G" had an "ash gun" to "jet" or "shoot" ashes overboard. The boiler was hot from a banked fire, with maybe 20 psig showing on the pressure gauge and good water level in the steam drum. After my buddy had broken the bank and cleaned the fire, we hung out waiting for steam to come up on natural draft. When we had maybe 100 psig steam pressure, my buddy asked me to go to the engine room (climb up out of the stoke hold and walk on the main deck to the engine room door), and start the ship's service water pump. I had never been on the Edna G before, but we both knew our way around engine rooms. The ship's service water pump was a duplex steam pump, and I lined things up for atmospheric exhaust, got the pump warmed and going, circulating raw water overboard. I started closing the overboard discharge valve and my buddy opened the valve in the stokehold for the ash gun. This was a cast iron hopper with a venturi at the bottom. An open jet of water was shot thru the throat of this venturi and the ashes and clinker dropped into it. The resulting slurry of ash, clinker, coke, and all else was blasted overboard. Even with immersion in cold raw water, there were usually red hot glowing chunks of coke and clinker that got shot out the side of the ships on the Lakes. It used to be something to see at night, and you'd see the arc of steam, water, and glowing red inside it. On the "Welle", my guess is the fireman had to haul the ashes up to the main deck and probably dump then overboard when away from their dock.

    There is something unique about being in the engine room of a ship powered with a reciprocating steam engine. Been there a few times with ships underway back in the 70's. The fact all the engine's working parts are generally in the open is something to see. I was taught by oilers and engineers on the old ore boats to make the rounds on open triple expansion engines, learning to feel moving "brasses" (bearings, even when babbitt lined, were usually referred to as "brasses" on steam engines) with the back of my hand, letting the moving brasses lightly slap the back of my hand. There was no instrumentation on those engines to detect if a bearing was running hot, so it was up to the people on watch in the engine rooms to use their senses and keep checking on the engines and other machinery. On a big triple expansion engine, you started at the top level, checked the lubricator reservoirs (horse-hair wicks dripped oil into gravity feed tubes that took it to some points on the engine). You walked around on the grating at cylinder level and checked for anything working loose, any leaks, and checked to be sure oil was feeding in the drip lubricators. You worked down to the next level of gratings and were in and around the crosshead guides, rod packings, and (usually) the double bar motion (Stephenson's link reverse gear). You looked at a kind of funnel on each side of the "small end" of the connecting rods and valve rods to be sure oil was dripping into them to lubricate the moving brasses and you let things slap the back of your hand to feel for hot brasses and you smelled the air for burnt oil. You felt the crosshead guides and looked to be sure the crosshead guides had plenty of oil, and you worked down to the crankshaft level. You leaned in past the engine's columns and let the big end brasses slap your hand as they went by and did the same with eccentric straps. You checked for oil coming down by gravity into the funnels on each of those moving parts, and as you went along, you were wiping, filling individual oil cups, and using your senses. The main bearings on those engines often had water cooling in the form of cored jacketing in the bearing cap and mainframe castings, and there were usually angle valves with flattened pipe nozzles to shoot raw water at the mains and big ends and eccentrics. If anything ran hot and the ship was maneuvering or in a condition where the main engine could not be stopped, you could turn raw water jets onto the hot brasses. Looking after a marine steam engine required a person to be in good physical shape with reasonably good reflexes and good ability to use their five senses. No annunciators on a panel in a soundproofed room, no progammable controller to handle startup or shutdown sequence, and no governor to control engine speed if the ship was in heavy seas where the screw (we called it "the wheel" on the old Lakers) broke water.

    Some of the older steam vessels, running saturated steam, used little, if any, cylinder lubrication. The belief was the condensation in the steam would provide enough lubrication. More commonly, cylinder lubrication was used, via multiple-feed mechanical lubricators. There were open condensate tanks (we called them "hot wells"), and a weir arrangement and a variety of things were used to try to capture the cylinder oil from the condensate. Loofa sponges was what the textbooks said, but most shipping lines used towelling and sometimes "excelsior" (shredded wood used as a shipping material to protect delicate items). The condensate would stratify in the open hot wells, and the steam cylinder oil could be skimmed off and collected on the towelling or sponges. I do not recall any effort ever being made to recover and re-use any of this oil. On the vessels with Skinner Unaflow marine steam engines, much higher temperature superheated steam was used along with watertube boilers. Oil in the condensate would have been a major problem if much got back to the boilers. Filters using "fuller's earth" or "diatomaceous earth" were used to remove tramp oil from the condensate on the Unaflow powered vessels. Life and plant operation was a lot simpler, in my opinion, on the vessels running triple expansion engines and using saturated steam.

    The thrust bearings on those older vessels were known as "horsecollar" bearings, multiple slotted babbitted thrust shoes resembling horse collars were used to transmit the thrust from the propellor/tail shaft into the ship's hull. The babbitted shoes usually were cast hollow and had cooling water running thru them on the larger ships. I do not recall whether the Maritime Commission vessels had the tilting pad type of thrust bearing (Kingsbury bearing in the USA, Michel bearing in the UK).

    Those open steam engines and open auxiliary machinery (pumps, generator engines, etc) all threw off a mixture of oil and water (condensate from around rod glands). This oil water wound up in the bilges. Into the early 1970's, the oily bilgewater used to be pumped overboard with no equipment for separating the tramp oil from it. Soft coal was still being used as a fuel on the Great Lakes, and seeing vessels trailing black coal smoke was a common sight. Most of the remaining coal fired vessels, by the 70's, had been converted to mechanical stokers. Similarly, ashes were "gunned" or "jetted" overboard. Sanitary waste also went directly overboard. Very different times, for sure. A spectacular sight was to see a coal fired ore boat with jet condenser come into the harbor in the dead of winter before the Lakes closed to navigation. The coal smoke really stood out against the gray skies, and the cold temperatures really made the steam plume from the jet condenser quite large. I lived across the street from the "Lower Harbor" in Marquette, Michigan. Plenty of ore boats used to go to anchorages in the Lower Harbor if the ore dock in the Upper Harbor (the Lake Superior and Ishpeming RR ore dock, where ore pellets from various Cleveland Cliffs mines and pelletizing plants was loaded out) was unable to receive those vessels. As it got late in the shipping season, it seemed like anything that could haul a cargo of iron ore pellets "down the lakes" to the mills was arriving 24/7 to stockpile ore at the steel mills to carry thru until spring. The powerplant project where I was working was right next to the L S & I ore dock, so seeing the old ore carriers come and go was a regular thing, and getting aboard them was no problem. I always figured the steam powered ore carriers would be on the Lakes a lot longer than they were, though many were over 60 years old at the time. All of a sudden, between the new 1000 foot diesel powered ore boats and a complete collapse of the steel industry in the USA, the old steam powered ore boats were all gone. A few of the old Maritime Commission vessels survive, but have been repowered with diesel engines. The old ore boats, like the "Tarpenbek", had classic lines to them. We used to call it a "Schooner stern", nice sweeping and flowing lines. I likened it, as did plenty of other men I knew, to the lines of a well built woman. When the diesel 1000 footers started appearing, we all called them ugly, big rounded bows and sterns that looked like they were formed with a giant meat axe. The "Tarpenbek" shows it all- a classically designed hull with the "counter" or "schooner stern", and a beautiful ship's engine room and fire room.

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    Interesting videos Joe. At 14:00 in the "Tarpenek" video is a walking beam type engine or pump. What was its purpose?

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    Brian:

    At 14:00, what you are seeing is a rocking beam and links driven off the crosshead of the main engine. Its purpose is to drive piston-type feed and "wet air" pumps (wet air pump pulls vacuum on the condenser and moves condensate from the condenser to the hot well). On reciprocating marine steam engines, it was quite common to have sets of piston pumps driven by rocking beams/links from the crossheads. When the ship is underway, the main engine driving these pumps, takes care of boiler feed and condenser air pumps. When the main engines are stopped, or when maneuvering with frequent stopping of the main engine, independent steam pumps are used for these functions.

    BTW: In the USA, on some paddle-type steam vessels such as river tow-boats, there was an independent walking beam type steam pump. It was known by the colloquial name of "the doctor" (don't ask me why). The "doctor" was a walking beam type of steam pump which incorporated a crank-and-flywheel, and had several different pumps driven off the walking beam (boiler feed, condenser circulating, wet air). The crank-and-flywheel allowed the use of an eccentric and a valve motion which allowed for more expansion of the steam than the usual direct-acting steam pumps.

    Peter S:

    You are correct: I watched the youtube again and also read the captions. The main engine is a double compound, and the Bauer-Wach system with the exhaust steam turbine/hydraulic coupling is used. I would imagine the double compound engine gave smoother running and better maneuverability, and the exhaust steam turbine provided better overall thermal efficiency instead of larger LP cylinders. The double compound engine provided a much smoother flow of exhaust steam having two LP cylinders, and the exhaust steam turbine allowed running a higher condenser vacuum, hence higher overall efficiency.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Michaels View Post
    Another similar and equally good youtube is about the steamer "Welle" (German for "wave", but can also mean "shaft" as in a power transmission shaft), and is titled "Doppelschraub Dampfschiffe" (twin screw steam ship) if I remember right. Welle is coal fired, and the film goes into great detail with the raising of steam in Scotch marine boilers, as well as the details of the ship's engines and auxiliaries. "Welle" was a combination purpose vessel- auxiliary ice breaker, tug, and looks she might also have been used as a pilot boat, dating to 1915. Welle, went thru a series of iterations upon her retirement, the usual turn as a floating restaurant, sunk due to neglect of her hull, raised, and eventually given a full restoration. She is back in steam as a historic vessel.
    I had a look at the Welle film, it's a good one too.

    To expand a little on what Joe has written - the two engines were built by Atlas-Werke, Bremen (maybe the ship too), they are triple expansion and 300 hp each. I was surprised to see them running so fast - apparently 175 rpm. Quite small, short stroke engines I suppose.

    In 1979, when the Welle was turned into a restaurant both engines (and everything else by the sound of it) were removed. The port engine was scrapped, the starboard engine preserved.

    In 2003 (after fire, sinking, dereliction etc.) a full restoration was begun.

    2008 - a new boiler made and the original starboard engine obtained. It was then rebuilt e.g. crankshaft ground and new bearings poured, not sure what else.

    2015 - new shafting and new thrust bearing made for the starboard engine.

    Nov 2018 - funding obtained for the manufacture of a new port engine and other parts. This sounds very interesting and a challenging undertaking. Surely the newest triple expansion marine engine built?

    It would be great to see a progress report of the casting, machining etc.

    Here is the ship website, I 'right clicked' for translation to English.

    Dampfer Welle e.V.

    There are some pictures showing the retrieval of the starboard engine and re-fitting it into the Welle.

    Ruckholung einer Hauptmaschine | Dampfer Welle

    Anlieferung einer Grundplatte | Dampfer Welle

    Timeline has photos of the new boiler, new condenser shells, engine work etc. Chronik | Dampfer Welle

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    One curious thing in the Welle film - regarding testing the water level and ensuring the cocks are clear.

    YouTube

    A question about German boiler gauge glasses.

    Boiler operators, see 0.40. The first thing he does is to check the boiler water level (but doesn't trust it) until he "blows through" each of the gauge glass cocks in turn (one cock closed, one cock open etc) to ensure they are not blocked. This is the first thing all boiler operators do when they go on watch.

    However...I can't figure out this boiler. On a NZ boiler, all the cock handles point downwards when in their working position. Gravity rules.

    On this boat the fireman or engineer, when finished, appears to leave the steam and water cocks closed and the drain cock open...this can't be correct, so on a German boat the cock handles are always in-line with their openings.

    In light of the above, it seems that when he arrives at 0.45, the gauge glass has been isolated overnight (steam and water cocks shut) and the drain cock open.

    That's something to watch when operating boilers, handles mean different things in different countries!

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    Peter:

    You are correct about blowing down the level glass. I was taught from the time I was a kid, that if I went near a boiler with a fire in it, first thing was to look at the level glass. When I teach Steam Power 101 at Hanford Mills, I tell the classes, the most important word around a boiler is "water", and the first thing to do when taking charge of a boiler is to check the water level by blowing down the glass, then checking the try-cocks.

    You are also correct about knowing which way the handle on a cock indicates, open vs. closed. I had to get used to the fact that on US Railroad airbrake systems, the handles on some of the cocks are made so that when the handle is seemingly in line with the flow thru the cock, the cock is actually closed. Confusing, to say the least.

    I recall a Marmaduke Surfaceblow story about a fire in some plant. The plant personnel attempted to use the hose stations to fight the fire, but when they attempted to open the valves at the hose stations by turning the handles counterclockwise, they could not get the hose valves to open. They put cheaters on the handwheels and broke the handwheels, then resorted to smashing the valves with sledge hammers to get some kind of water. The men got some of the hose station valves opened, but by that point, the smashed valves released too much water for the steam fire pump to keep up flow to the hose nozzles.

    The plant was a total loss. The finding was that the purchasing agent got a real bargain on some fire hose stations, but the angle valves in the hose stations opened "opposite hand". In the face of a fire, no one was bothering to look at the handwheels for any arrows showing opening direction.

    I am sure in the ensuing years, the fire underwriters and similar bodies have standardized not only hose threads but direction for opening/closing valves on fire protection systems.

    In the powerplants I worked in, the "status lights" on electrical switchgear and breakers took some getting used to as well. A red lamp lit means a switch or breaker is closed and line or circuit it feeds is energized. A green lamp lit means a switch or breaker is open, and the circuit or equipment it feeds is de-energized. The average person thinks in terms of traffic signals, where a green light means "go", and a red light means "stop". Around a powerplant, the status lamps are opposite, and it took some getting used to. When put in terms of safety: green meaning de-engergized/safe, and red meaning energized/potentially unsafe, it made sense immediately.

    In the US, we often use cocks with straight handles on pressure gauges, but boiler gauge cocks are usually made with threaded stems. Boiler gauge cocks in the USA use a multiple-lead stem thread, for quick opening and closing. Some gauge cocks use valves requiring a few turns on the handwheels to open or close. Similarly, boiler trycocks are made using threaded stems and need a few turns to open or close. We blow the level glasses down whenever we turn over the watch at Hanford Mills and a few times during each watch when the boiler is in steam. I explain that the water in the glass has to be "lively" when the glass is blown down and the water column reforms in the glass. If the water is sluggish in responding, the gauge cocks may be partially plugged with mud/scale. We use a simple round tube type gauge glass at Hanford Mills since the Mill management wanted things as they were ca 1890. My preference is for a flat or "reflex" type of level glass. Less chance of it being damaged or blowing out in service. On many steam locomotives in historic or tourist railroad service, the flat or reflex glasses are in use. In the USA, the US Federal RR Administration regulations require that round tubular type level glasses be fully enclosed in a guard or housing with a viewing window and illumination lamp. This guard or housing is fitted with a blowoff pipe that drops thru the cab floor. In the event a gauge glass were to fail in service, the steam blow and hot water are contained and directed out of the cab.

    I may be off-base in saying it, but I do not think there is any standard for level gauge cocks in the USA requiring them to be of a particular design. The piping between a boiler and the gauge cocks cannot have any valves in it, and the piping is also made up using crosses and tees with plugs instead of elbows. This is to allow inspection and rodding-out of the piping between the boiler and the level glass. Most level gauge cocks are "safety" or "automatic" in that they have a ball inside the valve body. In the event of a gauge glass blowing out or breaking, the sudden high flow thru the gauge cocks causes these balls to slam into their seats and stops further flow out of the gauge cocks. A plug type of cock cannot have this feature, and it is likely why we do not see them in the USA. When I see pictures or working drawings of boilers or locomotive backheads, or plant piping with level glasses, it is quite easy to determine where the picture was taken. European and British boiler fittings and level glass gauge cocks all seem to favor straight handles. On some of the "quick closing" gauge cocks used in the USA, the multiple-start stem thread allows operation in about 1/4 turn. If the gauge glass is located above the boiler room floor, these quick-closing gauge cocks are fitted with "tee" type handles having operating chains. A pull on the chains will open or close both the top and bottom gauge cock simultaneously, and the position of the tee handles will tell whether the cocks are open or closed. That is about as close to the straight-handled level gauge cocks as we get in the USA.

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