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Old 03-10-2017, 11:32 AM
R. Dale Flick R. Dale Flick is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,584

*Oldest steamboat boilers/DQ boilers.*
Steamboating colleagues:
Great question and follow discussion above RE: BELLE OF LOUISVILLE's boilers/DELTA QUEEN boilers with Dan Lewis providing his concise, professional experience and knowledge. I wondered also about the boilers installed on the AVALON taken from the retired GORDON C. GREENE with, no doubt, more information from those who know like Jim Reising, Kenny Howe, Don Sanders, Bob Reynolds and others. Again, we go with those in the know who were there then with us all here now. Steamboat history shows many engines, pumps etc. passed from one boat down to another.

Years back, when I hosted John Burns, son of old Jim Burns who built the DK/DQ and Stan Garvey author of 'KING & QUEEN of the River' in my home, we pumped John for his first-hand memories and his dad. John himself licensed in boilers under his dad for the 'California Transportation Co.' on the Sacramento serving as a young man as " dad's legs during the building" as Jim Burns had a 'gimpy leg.' The first discussions and plans building the new DK/DQ commenced around 1922. Jim Burns was charged with the project in spite of his thinking and misgivings building two boats like them at the time thinking they were not needed, other company boats still in fine condition along with changing times. Capt. Anderson and stockholders went ahead with the "Two million dollar babies" as Capt. Fred Way wrote.

Once Jim placed the initial orders for the two hulls etc. with DENNY BROS., Dumbarton, Scotland, he sleuthed the U.S. Navy surplus depots in California up around Suisin Bay finding the U.S. Navy destroyer boilers of 'water tube design' unlike, as Dan reports, Western River boilers with "tubes" along with other equipment, bric a brack. These boilers intended in World War I for the 'Wickes-class' destroyers used 1917 to 1919 for "The war to end all wars" rated at 300 lbs. steam pressure with double turbines. Stan Garvey wrote in his book the DK/DQ ran at 225 lbs. pressure. Both DK/DQ had big tanks aboard to store fresh non-salt water from the Sacramento River to avoid brine from San Francisco Bay as they ran in two water mediums--salt and fresh. The fresh water was 'condensed' and used again, in part. John said these tanks often "...sucked up fish which I saw when they opened to clean the tanks. DK/DQ had 'side intake pipes' for fresh water that could be clogged with debris with careful observation of their water level gages."

Steamboat engine builder CHARLES EVANS & CO. mounted the engines etc. also being the 'agent' for getting the other DK/DQ components from DENNY BROS. into the United States. I have all the letters/cables between Jim Burns and DENNY with Jim cautioning, "Remember, we have the Steamboat Inspection Service here to contend with." What's that tell you? From the get go the DELTA KING was marked as the "flagship of the line."

Years ago I watched Marion Frommel, from BUCKEYE BOAT & BOILER CO. here, along with the DQ engineering gang working to replace those bad boiler tubes. Once the supplier sent the wrong tubes [Metal factor?] with them failing when heated by the oil fire with pressure. There was no end to the cussing, grousing, 'kicking the can' over that. So, the DQ boilers close to being now 100 years old with all that implies. Who alive now other than me remembers this in 2017? Again, what do I know?

R. Dale Flick
Old coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.
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