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Date: January 18, 2003 at 21:43:29
From: Ted Guillaum, [dsc01-nvl-tn-5-174.rasserver.net]
Subject: MQ Steam Engine Press Release-1976


The following is another MQ Press Release from 1976. This one is on the subject of how the steam engines were built.

ENGINE FOR THE MISSISSIPPI QUEEN BEGAN AS PINE TREES
(Brunswick, Maine) That 2,000 hp steam engine that will power the Mississippi Queen, The Delta Queen Steamboat Co.’s new sternwheeler, had its beginning as pine trees. And, it’s more than a coincidence that the name of the company building the engine is Pine Tree Engineering, a subsidiary of Rice-Barton Corp. Pine trees, the great natural resource of this area, are fundamental to the building of the engine because each of the 556 castings in the engine is made from patterns that first were carved from wood, the wood of the pine trees. Original designs for the engine were found at the Point Pleasant manufacturing Co., Point Pleasant, W. Va. The company built the engines for the towboats Jason and Alexander MacKenzie. At the time, that company was known as the Marietta Manufacturing Co. And, while the engine of the boat is a replica of those in the Jason and Alexander MacKenzie built in the 1930’s, the patterns, unfortunately, were burned as firewood. Patterns for the engine for the Delta Queen’s sistership were cut by Paul Berry and Blair Bailey who operate their own pattern shop in Brunswick, Maine.
As an example of the differences in size and shapes of the 556 patterns, consider that the largest casting, the low pressure cylinder, weighs six tons and the smallest, a link, weighs but eight ounces. After each engine part is first cut into a wood pattern, the pattern is placed into wet sand to form an impression. Then, molten iron or steel is poured into the impression to form a casting.
What the Delta Queen Steamboat Co. needed for its new sistership was an engine powerful enough to drive the paddlewheel of a steamboat 387 feet long with a breadth of 67 feet and a net weight of 3,500 tons. The tandem compound engine has two pistons and cylinders in line of a single shaft. The steam goes first into the smaller, high-pressure cylinder and is exhausted into the larger, low-pressure cylinder. The Delta Queen’s engine consists of a high-pressure cylinder with a 26 inch bore by 10 foot stroke and a low-pressure cylinder of a 52 inch bore by 10 foot stroke. The bore of the high-pressure cylinder of the new boat is 32 inches while the bore of the high-pressure cylinder is 16 inches. The stroke is 10 feet. The steam pressure acting on the pistons produces the fore and aft motion of the engine shaft. This notion is transmitted through 45 foot pitman arms to the cranks on each side of the paddlewheel. The narrower cylinders mean more steam pressure on the new boat engine. And, that’s the power that will turn the paddlewheel of the Delta Queen’s sistership at speeds up to 12 miles per hour when she goes into service in 1976. Total weight of the engine is 82,152 pounds, which indicates that those pine trees have come a long way from the woods of Maine.


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