Construction of Houston Torpedo Boat, Spring 1865

georgew

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#61
The main noise ofa locomotive is from the exhaust steam going up the stack (minor) and the exhaust steam being released from the cylinders after its work was done. The cylinder exhaust could be sent off the boat under water, covering most of the sound. The exhaust up the stack was to help drawing the fire; I don't see how this could be done otherwise if you were going to get the best draw off the fire.
How about a blower?
 

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#62
Just for the heck of it - "choo-choo" trains of the era had a reputation for being really loud. Torpedo boats are supposed to be sort of stealthy. Is there any way of lowering the noise of a locomotive engine in operation?
David Ebaugh said this of David.
"Dr. Ravenel told me that a Torpedo had been made, that if a boat could be built to carry it and explode it under the Iron Sides we could clear Charles ton harbour of Blockcadors. He asked me if a boat could be built with a long pole in front to carry the Torpedo on and suggested to build a boat to be driven by man power. I told him it would be too slow and that two many men would be required and the danger to great. I suggested to build a Segar shaped boat and put in it a steam Engine to drive it. He remarked that a steam Engine was to big and it would make a noise. I replied saying that a steam Engine could be put in his hat and that I could deaden the exhaust by mechanical means."
 

rebelatsea

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#63
The main noise ofa locomotive is from the exhaust steam going up the stack (minor) and the exhaust steam being released from the cylinders after its work was done. The cylinder exhaust could be sent off the boat under water, covering most of the sound. The exhaust up the stack was to help drawing the fire; I don't see how this could be done otherwise if you were going to get the best draw off the fire.
The loudest sound is made by the exhaust from the each stroke of the pistons. it can be toned down by the shape of the funnel, but you can never eliminate it entirely. A greater danger at night with a small boat moving fast is that flames will appear at the funnel top, as was experienced much later with TBs and DDs.
I think the gent who did that calculation for Denbigh got his math in a muddle ! We'd be pleased if our one third size steam locos only burnt 4- 5lbs an hour !
 

georgew

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#64
David Ebaugh said this of David.
"Dr. Ravenel told me that a Torpedo had been made, that if a boat could be built to carry it and explode it under the Iron Sides we could clear Charles ton harbour of Blockcadors. He asked me if a boat could be built with a long pole in front to carry the Torpedo on and suggested to build a boat to be driven by man power. I told him it would be too slow and that two many men would be required and the danger to great. I suggested to build a Segar shaped boat and put in it a steam Engine to drive it. He remarked that a steam Engine was to big and it would make a noise. I replied saying that a steam Engine could be put in his hat and that I could deaden the exhaust by mechanical means."
I remember reading that the engine used in the David was actually a small yard engine, not a full blown locomotive type.
 

georgew

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#65
The loudest sound is made by the exhaust from the each stroke of the pistons. it can be toned down by the shape of the funnel, but you can never eliminate it entirely. A greater danger at night with a small boat moving fast is that flames will appear at the funnel top, as was experienced much later with TBs and DDs.
I think the gent who did that calculation for Denbigh got his math in a muddle ! We'd be pleased if our one third size steam locos only burnt 4- 5lbs an hour !
Hi John. ok, so how much coal do the smaller loco engines burn and under what conditions. I realize this must incorporate the issue of what the locomotive is towing, if it is on flat ground, the engine in good maintenance, etc. Let me put the question this way. If you were adapting a locomotive engine for marine use, with a constant drag on the hull proportionate to vessel speed, what would normally be the limiting factors in operation? I've always assumed boiler pressure was the main issue. Also, what kind of on-going maintenance is required on this kind of engine in operation? Oiling? Steamboat engines on inland water ways usually had a mud box and ash box. They drew ambient water up to keep the boilers filled, requiring some kind of filtering to separate out the junk in the water (silt, etc). I've never heard of a locomotive with a condenser. Another question would be what are the rpm limits of the engine? The Singer organization originally claimed they would be swinging a 6-foot propeller to a maximum of 120 rpm in a direct-drive mode. Does this make any sense or is a gearbox required? I also wonder about the requirement for a flywheel to dampen vibration from the reciprocating action of the piston(s). A steamboat would usually have a doctor engine and boiler to run the pump for the boiler initially and adaptable to drive a bilge pump, etc. Does a locomotive engine require something like this?
 

georgew

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#66
I remember reading that the engine used in the David was actually a small yard engine, not a full blown locomotive type.
Hmm. So based on your comment and Rebel's, when in operation you will hear the TB coming and at high engine outputs likely see visual signs (sparks from funnel). You wonder what kind of mechanical damping the David people had in mind. This is sort of confirmed by what happened at Head of Passes. Manassas used a reduced throttle and the current during its approach, then tossed in resin and other quick burnables. There was an immediate increase in smoke and sparks from her funnels. I think the Singer people were right in choosing an armored "low-rider" hull. Their weak points would have the funnel(s) and conning station.
 

DaveBrt

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#67
The loudest sound is made by the exhaust from the each stroke of the pistons. it can be toned down by the shape of the funnel, but you can never eliminate it entirely. A greater danger at night with a small boat moving fast is that flames will appear at the funnel top, as was experienced much later with TBs and DDs.
I think the gent who did that calculation for Denbigh got his math in a muddle ! We'd be pleased if our one third size steam locos only burnt 4- 5lbs an hour !
That is 4-5 lbs PER HORSEPOWER, so not quite so little as it appeared.
 

rebelatsea

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#70
Hi John. ok, so how much coal do the smaller loco engines burn and under what conditions. I realize this must incorporate the issue of what the locomotive is towing, if it is on flat ground, the engine in good maintenance, etc. Let me put the question this way. If you were adapting a locomotive engine for marine use, with a constant drag on the hull proportionate to vessel speed, what would normally be the limiting factors in operation? I've always assumed boiler pressure was the main issue. Also, what kind of on-going maintenance is required on this kind of engine in operation? Oiling? Steamboat engines on inland water ways usually had a mud box and ash box. They drew ambient water up to keep the boilers filled, requiring some kind of filtering to separate out the junk in the water (silt, etc). I've never heard of a locomotive with a condenser. Another question would be what are the rpm limits of the engine? The Singer organization originally claimed they would be swinging a 6-foot propeller to a maximum of 120 rpm in a direct-drive mode. Does this make any sense or is a gearbox required? I also wonder about the requirement for a flywheel to dampen vibration from the reciprocating action of the piston(s). A steamboat would usually have a doctor engine and boiler to run the pump for the boiler initially and adaptable to drive a bilge pump, etc. Does a locomotive engine require something like this?
It would be perfectly possible for a railroad engine ( what we call the bottom half) to be adapted to drive a smallish propeller directly, A larger one would probably require gearing down. There will be power loss due to propeller slip and the hull resistance. Lubrication in this period was done using natural fats and oils like tallow, requiring someone to be constantly greasing the moving parts which would all be running on plain bearings. I think a mud drum of some sort would certainly be required unless a constant source of fresh water was available, you can't really blow down a boiler on a ship afloat. Railroad locomotives at this time had water pumps mechanically driven off the crosshead in the valve gear, now movement no water flow, an effective live steam injector had yet to be invented.

The one third size locomotives that my son drives on the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway weigh approximately 11 tons fully loaded with coal and water, a standard consist fully loaded with about 200 passengers has been calculated to have a pulling weight including resistance of around 50 tons at 20mph on level ground. All axle and motion bearings are roller bearings. At this speed the locos burn 4 - 5lbs a mile and generate 90 -100 hp.
 

DaveBrt

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#71
It would be perfectly possible for a railroad engine ( what we call the bottom half) to be adapted to drive a smallish propeller directly, A larger one would probably require gearing down. There will be power loss due to propeller slip and the hull resistance. Lubrication in this period was done using natural fats and oils like tallow, requiring someone to be constantly greasing the moving parts which would all be running on plain bearings. I think a mud drum of some sort would certainly be required unless a constant source of fresh water was available, you can't really blow down a boiler on a ship afloat. Railroad locomotives at this time had water pumps mechanically driven off the crosshead in the valve gear, now movement no water flow, an effective live steam injector had yet to be invented.
John,

My WW2 destroyer and oiler definitely did blow downs. I don't know when this started on ships.

CW locomotives had manual water injection to keep from having to move the locomotive back and forth to keep the boiler up while idle. Water levels were determined by pit cocks. The two systems should have made use in a TB possible, but I personally think the boilers would have been too large (say 41" diameter and 15' length for the boiler itself) for TBs -- about right for ironclads.
 

DaveBrt

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#72
OK - so did locomotive manufacturers list output as horsepower @ ? rpm or ? I can't believe that they didn't use some type of performance number to help sell the darn things.
I have never seen a sales brochure from the period. I do know that the purchasing superintendent knew the desired loads for the locomotive he was about to buy and the profile of his road. Putting weight to be pulled and hills to be managed would yield him a required tractive power needed. He would also have various specifications that would need to be included: wood fuel, size of drive wheels, etc. He would then discuss with the manufacturer he wanted to do business with what they had to offer to meet his needs -- then they negotiated, to include cost and payment methods.

I have never seen hp discussed in practical discussions, its always tractive power, "suitability for the road," length of trains pulled on the road, etc. I am on vacation, so I cannot access some of my material, but hp was not discussed.
 

georgew

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#73
John,

My WW2 destroyer and oiler definitely did blow downs. I don't know when this started on ships.

CW locomotives had manual water injection to keep from having to move the locomotive back and forth to keep the boiler up while idle. Water levels were determined by pit cocks. The two systems should have made use in a TB possible, but I personally think the boilers would have been too large (say 41" diameter and 15' length for the boiler itself) for TBs -- about right for ironclads.
You know Dave, I'm not sure they would have been too big. I've been running some numbers trying to reverse engineer some of the features of these boats as they appeared in the correspondence of the era. The overall dimensions of these boats were listed as: length, 114 feet; beam, 14 feet. From a letter of Gen. Walker, Thos. Chubb was to use a dredger to create a passage from Goose Creek to Buffalo Bayou a minimum of 5 ft 9 inches in depth. Another letter states that the freeboard of the 160 ft types for Selma and Wilmington were to be 2 feet. I take this to mean that the overall hull depth of the Texas boats should have been 7 ft 9 inches including the same 2 foot free board. Minus framing, which I assume to be 8-12 inch timber and planking of perhaps 4 inches below the water line and 6 inches above, a tight squeeze, but possible. I'm assuming that the ironing on the hull begins 1 ft below the waterline to the deck with reversed T-rail and the deck of either 1 inch strap iron or boiler iron 1/2" to ? as available. The decks on these vessels were claimed to be clear, but I think it safe to say there would have to be a provision for a funnel, air intakes and a conning station. The weapons systems were supposed to be below the waterline, but the exact size and nature undisclosed. We don't know if they were one use or reloadable under way. The 160 ft Singers were to have offensive capability fore, aft, and to each side. So far haven't found any description of the number and orientation of mounts for the Texas boats, but I have difficulty envisioning a rear mount if they had the original 6 ft diameter propeller. The original design called for two cylinder oscillating engines. One thing I'm having difficulty coming to grips with is the length to beam ratio of 114/14 feet. If this number included a deployed spar torpedo forward, then it would bring the actual hull length down to about 80 feet or so. The problem is that there just doesn't seem to be enough beam for spar torpedoes to he sides and though the Texas boats were to have "tubes" for launching torpedoes (self propelled?) You would need outer and inner doors to load and discharge the weapon. There have been suggestions that the rounds might have been rocket propelled (challenging under water). It could equally have been some type of underwater gun or mortar firing a shaft of some type with a contact warhead, but I would have been nervous of the the thing going off in the tube from the shock of firing. In terms of crew, I think you're looking at 6 to 8 men. Commander, helmsman, engineer, fireman, oiler, coal hauler and two ordnance types. As stated in the correspondence, this is one long, skinny piece of machinery, and if built of green timber I suspect big problems in terms of leaks. Depending upon the distribution of the ironing, there could have been large bending moments which over time might cause the hull to "work". We don't know if they intended to compartment the interior. It would also have an absolute minimum of reserve buoyancy, so you wonder about escape routes for the crew in case of fire or battle damage. It is possible that the bow and stern areas could have been awash with light ironing (boiler iron), and the central portion of the hull carrying a limited 2 foot free board and heavier ironing. In any kind of chop they would have been wet boats so access hatches for personnel and coal, etc. would have to be water tight unless left open for ventilation. I'm trying to imagine retread cavalry assigned to these vessels and it isn't pretty. Oh, a final point - it is interesting that when one of the Singer big wigs was interviewed years after, he was willing to talk about Thos. Chubb's boat (after Chubb was deceased), but not a word about the boat he and Dunn were working on nearer Houston. Nothing about the Shreveport boats either and we're talking 15 to 20 years after the fact.
 
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#75
Hmm. So based on your comment and Rebel's, when in operation you will hear the TB coming and at high engine outputs likely see visual signs (sparks from funnel). You wonder what kind of mechanical damping the David people had in mind. This is sort of confirmed by what happened at Head of Passes. Manassas used a reduced throttle and the current during its approach, then tossed in resin and other quick burnables. There was an immediate increase in smoke and sparks from her funnels. I think the Singer people were right in choosing an armored "low-rider" hull. Their weak points would have the funnel(s) and conning station.
I can't speak of the specific dampening method(s) of exhaust sound, but we know two things:
1) there is little mention of hearing the vessel in reports of David boat activity and
2) sparks from exhaust were minimized by the use of expensive anthacite coal (a low spark coal)

Since the engine was small, the vessel was small and light weight, and sorties were very short time-wise, expensive coal could be used. Larger TBs would may not have been afforded that same luxury.
 

rebelatsea

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Messages
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#76
John,

My WW2 destroyer and oiler definitely did blow downs. I don't know when this started on ships.

CW locomotives had manual water injection to keep from having to move the locomotive back and forth to keep the boiler up while idle. Water levels were determined by pit cocks. The two systems should have made use in a TB possible, but I personally think the boilers would have been too large (say 41" diameter and 15' length for the boiler itself) for TBs -- about right for ironclads.
How was the blow down done - directly into the sea through one way valves ? I'd forgotten the manual pumps !
You aren't including the smokebox in that boiler length are you?
 

DaveBrt

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#77
How was the blow down done - directly into the sea through one way valves ? I'd forgotten the manual pumps !
You aren't including the smokebox in that boiler length are you?
I have forgotten the exact placement of the blow down discharge, but think it was above the waterline. In a mass of fine detail, no mention is made of the smoke box in the two descriptions I have with me.
 

georgew

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#78
It would be perfectly possible for a railroad engine ( what we call the bottom half) to be adapted to drive a smallish propeller directly, A larger one would probably require gearing down. There will be power loss due to propeller slip and the hull resistance. Lubrication in this period was done using natural fats and oils like tallow, requiring someone to be constantly greasing the moving parts which would all be running on plain bearings. I think a mud drum of some sort would certainly be required unless a constant source of fresh water was available, you can't really blow down a boiler on a ship afloat. Railroad locomotives at this time had water pumps mechanically driven off the crosshead in the valve gear, now movement no water flow, an effective live steam injector had yet to be invented.

The one third size locomotives that my son drives on the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway weigh approximately 11 tons fully loaded with coal and water, a standard consist fully loaded with about 200 passengers has been calculated to have a pulling weight including resistance of around 50 tons at 20mph on level ground. All axle and motion bearings are roller bearings. At this speed the locos burn 4 - 5lbs a mile and generate 90 -100 hp.
Hi John - I forgot to ask. How are you defining a "smallish" propeller?
 

georgew

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#79
I can't speak of the specific dampening method(s) of exhaust sound, but we know two things:
1) there is little mention of hearing the vessel in reports of David boat activity and
2) sparks from exhaust were minimized by the use of expensive anthacite coal (a low spark coal)

Since the engine was small, the vessel was small and light weight, and sorties were very short time-wise, expensive coal could be used. Larger TBs would may not have been afforded that same luxury.
Hi Litlefield - which explains why Gen. Magruder jumped to acquire the 200 tons of good coal that came in on the runner with the english engine. I doubt it was anthacite, more likely Welsh steamer coal.
 



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