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Boiler Room vs. Engine Room Questions

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Old 10-28-2011, 01:41 PM
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 4
Default Boiler Room vs. Engine Room Questions

Hi everyone,

Iím working on an historical novel (set in 1890), and one of my characters is a steamboat engineer. Iíve read through all of the threads (lots of writers have gotten great help on these boards!), so I donít think Iím asking repeat questions. Any facts you could share would be greatly appreciated. Here are my questions:

The steamboat in the novel is a packet working on the Snake River, based in Lewiston, Idaho. Itís a 65-foot boat, so quite small compared to the big Western river steamers (which are the focus of most historical information). In previous threads, many people mentioned that the boiler room and engine room would be separate. But on such a small boat, would they possibly be combined?

Secondly, if the engines and boilers were situated together on the lower deck, would there be forward-facing fire doors (to funnel in a draft), or would the front of that deck just be open to the air? (I assume, based on previous information shared here, that the boiler would be positioned farther forward than the engines to benefit from the draft.)

Finally, would an 1890 Scotch boiler (for a small boat) have an external furnace, or just the one furnace built into the bottom? Iím confused about this because it seems impractical that the engineer would oversee the engines as well as the boiler/furnace when there were separate engine rooms and furnace rooms (indicating detached furnaces?) on some boats.

Thank you so much! ☺
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