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Old 02-06-2016, 01:50 PM
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 153
Default Our last resort

Here's a seldom seen piece in the Belle's engine room: the "Hancock Inspirator." This is the last in line of our means of getting feedwater into the boiler. We've taken it out to give it some much needed tlc, so these photos show the housing without all of the valves, lever, and linkage. For those unfamiliar with this, it is simply a steam siphon that injects feedwater into the boiler via the mud drum. This is the safest route to take without the feedwater heater. The design of this allows for some pre-heating before going into the boiler, but not nearly to the degree the feedwater can. This piece is normally tucked under the boiler ledge on the stbd. side. Unfortunately, I don't have the origins of this piece, but it does date to 1898. I also included an old schematic of this particular piece. For some boats and locomotives a piece like this (and their were many different designs) was the main-stay for supplying feedwater and were very reliable if maintained. Of course, in those cases where it was the primary means of supplying feedwater it would be routed through a feedwater heater.
Along the subject of siphons, the Belle once relied on a system of steam siphons to pump out her bilges--most of which were removed after her sinking in 1997. While I remember the system and all of the valves scattered around the main deck, I never had an occasion to use them (thankfully). We still carry two siphons--one in the capstan compartment and one in the forepeak.
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