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Old 09-03-2008, 05:04 PM
Frank X. Prudent Frank X. Prudent is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,066

Bagged boilers were the bane of the Chief Engineer. It wasn't so much low water in the boiler that would cause one to bag, but the unequal distribution of heat at the bottom of the boiler above the fires. Low water in the boiler still needs to be avoided, but that is more likely to cause a catastrophic explosion than a bagged boiler. If an engineer didn't blow down his boilers and keep them free from accumulating sediment, any scale that would form could keep the fire's heat from being equally distributed. A hot spot could develop where the sediment and scale accumulated and that area overheat and bag. The last steamboat to bag a boiler, to my knowledge, was the Str. PRESIDENT during her last trip as a steamboat.

There were a couple of remedies to a bagged boiler. First of all, pull your fires and wait for her to cool down. Then inspect the magnitude of the situation and where you are with your bagged boiler. The engineer could decide to build a fire brick casing around the bag, raise enough steam to get to a boiler yard and have repairs done or get new boilers. Another option was to go to the boiler yard and have the bag heated to cherry red and then hammered back into place. Chances are that the U.S. Steamboat Inspection Service's boiler inspector, whom was probably a licensed chief himself, would be overseeing the whole boiler yard operation, check things over, and give a yea or nay to the repairs.

Dad would always say that he could tell whom was steering by listening to the way they rang bells. He'd love to say that some pilots couldn't make any more noise if they put marbles in a tin pail and shook the pail around. Also on the old boats, and on the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE today, the striker usually handles the engines while over seen by the engineer. When bells ring though both will come a running to the foot box. Neither of them want a delay in answering bells.

I've also seen that a pilot rang to go from a half bell to a slow bell, or slow to half, and the engineer told me to answer back on the telegraph, and that was the extent that that bell was answered. NO, my father wasn't the engineer and it was a long time ago, but the pilot ringing would have had to have been Cappy Louden or C.S.Ware!
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