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Looking for photos of Western River Steamboat Boilers from 1800's

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    Looking for photos of Western River Steamboat Boilers from 1800's

    Hello to all. I am a boiler inspector who teaches a course on boilers for students studying to become stationary engineers. As part of my course I discuss the history of boilers and talk about the boilers that were on the western river steamboats in the 1800's. I discuss the Sultana explosion and others and how these accidents lead to boiler safety laws & licensing. The one thing I have been looking for for the last several years are actual pictures of coal fired steamboat boilers from the 1800's. I have brought several books off ebay and amazon but have not been able to find anything. If anyone has a pictures of actual boilers I would appricate it if you can email me and I would be happy to pay you to get a copy. I believe there are some pictures of the SS Brown boilers and a few other ships so I am looking for copies that I can scan and put into my course powerpoint so my students can see what a western river steamboat boiler looked like. It helps to show them what these looked liked and then I can better explain how they worked and what happened when these blew up. Any thing that is sent to me will never be sold or published. This is for the educational training of stationary engineers so that they become responsible engineers when they complete the course. Any help from anyone out there is greatly appricated. My email is BOILERINSPNYC@AOL.COM.

    #2
    Mike, here are a few views of the partial remains of typical mid-nineteenth century hand fired coal, steamboat boilers, these pictures from the U.S.S Cairo, a Northern civil war ironclad, that sank and was raised, currently for view in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Note the rigid steamdrum on the top back of the watertube barrels and the lack of any compensation for changes in expansion. And the weighted relief valve where addional weights could be added "illegally" for more power and in doing so ended the career of many a fine steamboat. The second picture shows a partial bit of hardware and firebox doors to fuel the boilers with hand shoveled coal.
    Attached Files

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      #3
      And here is two pretty good sectional views through boilers of that time period.
      Attached Files

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        #4
        Bruno, Thanks this will help. Much appricated.

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          #5
          Hello
          I have some black and white pictures and drawings of an 1819 boiler. there were three in the boat Missouri Packet, the flue arrangement is unusual. there is one flue in each boiler the smoke and heat enter from the bottom of the boiler and exits at the top it is 16 inches in diameter, in a 34 inch boiler. max pressure would have been about 120 pounds as she had copper pipes from the boiler to the engine. There were two petcocks to check the water level. The feed was at the back of the boiler and the two petcocks at the front She was a return flue boiler. I believe she was built in the Louisville area and lost 5 May 1820 near Franklin Missouri. She was taking salt pork and flour to Fort Atkinson located above Omaha. She is the first Steamboat that sank on the Missouri River.
          Carl Jones.

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            #6
            Bruno there are a lot of stories about moving the pea on the lever or hanging a few grate bars on it to raise the pressure. Chet Foster, a very fine engineer, told me once that it was better to jam a post between the lever and the ceiling so that the valve could not possibly open and cause a loss of water. He said that the boat was usually using the steam as fast as it was produced so there was little danger - YEAH! The real problem was cooling her down to ordinary pressure when the need for high pressure was passed. That took careful closing of the throttle and cautious pumping or injecting more water. Those lever safety valves were legally "grandfathered" into the 1930's.

            There was no reason to doubt Chet. He was Kenny Howe's mentor and Kenny is the best today.

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              #7
              Carl,

              Is is possible for you to scan those pictures and send me a copy? I would love to show my students. I am trying to teach them the inportance about safe engineering so I discuss the accidents that occured in the 1800's and how this lead to the boiler laws today. If you can scan them just email them to me at boilerinspnyc@aol.com.

              Mike

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