Thread: Steam day

  1. #1
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Pee-Ayy!
    Posts
    7,427

    Default Steam day

    MENS DAY OUT: Chiefengineer11, FWDbuff and little FWDbuffs went to the Fire Museum of Maryland today for "STEAM DAY", their seasonal "grand opening" for the summer. The bring out their 1893 American Lafrance 500GPM steam powered piston pumper, and "light a fire to the kettle" and feed their 1905 Hale horse-drawn water tower. I wanted to cry as if I had witnesses a miracle.
    Attached Images Attached Images   
    Last edited by FWDbuff; 12-11-2010 at 09:46 PM.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Pee-Ayy!
    Posts
    7,427

    Default

    This is one of only (approx) 12 known **operational** steamers known in existence in the USA.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by FWDbuff; 12-11-2010 at 09:46 PM.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Greensboro, NC USA
    Posts
    1,318

    Default

    Wow.

    One of Greensboro Fire Dept's old steam engines is housed in the Greensboro Museum, but it's no where near to operational condition.
    The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism' they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened. --Norman Mattoon Thomas, 6 time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Pa Wilds
    Posts
    598

    Default Fuel ??

    Question ? Was this converted to propane? I don't see any smoke and cannel coal (traditional starting fuel) and all domestic coal will provide a smoke screen from the stack when being properly fired. Steam piston exhaust is channeled through an aspirating ring located beneath the stack and provides the forced draft for the coal fire. Just wondering.

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Pee-Ayy!
    Posts
    7,427

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KuhShise View Post
    Question ? Was this converted to propane? I don't see any smoke and cannel coal (traditional starting fuel) and all domestic coal will provide a smoke screen from the stack when being properly fired. Steam piston exhaust is channeled through an aspirating ring located beneath the stack and provides the forced draft for the coal fire. Just wondering.
    This particular steamer was originally designed and built to burn soft coal. However, they were burning hard coal in her (look carefully under her in the second picture and you can see a pile of ash...)

    There were some short delays throughout the morning while they had to wait for temperatures to build up due to the soft coal/hard coal thing, I don't know exactly what was happening, I am sure Chiefengineer11 will jump in here and explain it. But to answer your question, she was burning hard coal. I am guessing that combustion was so efficient that there was no smoke; occasionally she would belch out a little, but not much at all. I do have a picture of the Fireman tending the fire, I will post it tonight.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  6. #6
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Bryn Athyn, Pa.
    Posts
    1,625

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KuhShise View Post
    Question ? Was this converted to propane? I don't see any smoke and cannel coal (traditional starting fuel) and all domestic coal will provide a smoke screen from the stack when being properly fired. Steam piston exhaust is channeled through an aspirating ring located beneath the stack and provides the forced draft for the coal fire. Just wondering.
    As Buff says, they were burning anthracite. We were talking with the operators and observing what they do for quite some time. If you notice in a couple of Buff's pictures, the stream from the water tower wasn't particularly impressive.

    This, and I presume most steamers were designed to burn bituminous coal. The reason is that you can get more BTUs per however they measure. I presume it's per square inch of grate surface or pound of coal or whatever. Anthracite burns comparatively cleanly, but at a slower rate, ergo less BTUs to heat the water. In order to burn anthracite, a bigger firebox would be needed.

    If you are into steam locomotives at all and if you have paid attention to what they look like, I can offer this comparison. Most locomotives were also designed to burn soft coal. The Reading Railroad was built on moving hard coal. In fact, they owned many of the mines in the anthracite prong. Obviously they wanted to use their product. So if you look at a Reading loco, almost any from the late 1800s until they went away from steam, you will note a very wide (Wooten) firebox. The purpose of it was to provide enough grate surface area to produce enough BTUs of heat energy to the boilers while running on hard coal.

    The early Wooten fireboxes appeared on the Reading's "Camelback" locomotives, where the engineer's cab was in the middle, straddling the boiler. When they went away from camelbacks, the cabs were actually behind the firebox rather than wrapped around it. Nobody has ever told me yea or nay, but I have always presumed that the camelback design was used before the advent of automatic stokers. For the fireman to take a shovel full of coal from the tender to the firebox in a rear cab hard coal loco would have been quite a challenge whereas with a camelback it would be just a matter of getting a shovelful, then turning around and putting it in the firebox.

    In the case of this steamer, one of the engineers was telling me that normal steam pressure should be 80 psi. We noticed that with no water flowing (except through the relief valve, of course) they were getting about 70 psi and about 140 psi discharge pressure. But as soon as they opened up a line, the the steam pressure dropped to about 30 and the discharge wouldn't be much above 40. Enough to raise the tower and to produce a stream, weak as it was. Even so, it was a very exciting experience and one that I'm truly glad to have had the chance to see, especially with the grandsons. Hopefully, next year they'll have the right coal.

    If I remember correctly, Buff said it was his first time seeing a steamer in action. I've seen them a couple of times before, once during the '60s in Syracuse, N.Y. at draft, and once in Philadelphia on a hydrant. I have it on my list of road trips to go to Vancouver to see VanIsle's operating.

  7. #7
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2,802

    Default

    very cool pictures and informative write up. Ive always wanted to see a steamer in person.
    Last edited by nameless; 05-03-2010 at 04:14 PM.

  8. #8
    Forum Member
    Weruj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    7,857

    Default

    Kick *** !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    FIREMECH1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    HUSKER LAND
    Posts
    2,425

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nameless
    very cool pictures and informative write up. Ive always wanted to see a steamer in person.
    Add one more to the list.

    Sam, your knowledge and experience is duly noted. But damn, are you 70 something or 170 something. Thanks for the education.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

  10. #10
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Bryn Athyn, Pa.
    Posts
    1,625

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FIREMECH1 View Post
    Add one more to the list.

    Sam, your knowledge and experience is duly noted. But damn, are you 70 something or 170 something. Thanks for the education.

    FM1
    One of those things, Mech. Sometimes you start writing and the words come flowing out, much more than anyone really wanted. It should work that way when you have to write something.

    Actually, I grew up along one of the few commuter branches of the Reading that wasn't electrified. Watched, and occasionally rode on trains pulled by camelbacks. You can do the math. I just know that if the railroads were still on steam, I'd be in the right seat of a locomotive.

    In a computer crash sometime back I lost your e-mail address. Could you send it to me again, please? I have to make a couple of moves for Pa. Fire Expo. that should have me in Breda a few weeks from now. I don't know if they'll have something for me to take back or if I'll be flying out of Omaha. If I do go to Omaha it would be nice to look in on you.
    chiefengineer11@verizon.net

  11. #11
    Forum Member
    FIREMECH1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    HUSKER LAND
    Posts
    2,425

    Default

    Email sent.

    .
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

  12. #12
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Pee-Ayy!
    Posts
    7,427

    Default

    Here is a YouTube video that I posted. Sorry for the poor quality, I took it with my new I-Phone. And halfway through I must have put my hand over the mic as there is a loss of sound. But listen to the sound in the beginning- Yes, the steamer really is THAT quiet!!!!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KU_7Va7Oj38


    If you guys want to see more videos, post or PM me your email addresses. I have a good one of the steamer using pressure to hydraulically raise the water tower.

    And also, for those of you who are Facebook friends, I have a bunch more pix posted there.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  13. #13
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Roch
    Posts
    135

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    This is one of only (approx) 12 known **operational** steamers known in existence in the USA.
    FYI (especially nameless, you can't be that far away), the annual Smoke, Flames and Courage muster is held at Ontario Beach Park/Port of Rochester. Last year, modern and antique apparatus and equipment were displayed, explorers competed in drills, and a steamer was in operation.

    This year, the dates are (I'm pretty sure...) August 28th and 29th. I'm not associated with the show, other than going last year, but I thought I'd put the word out there. I don't know if there's an informational website, but I'm pretty sure they're on facebook.


    Edit: Yes they are, right here
    Last edited by upstater; 05-04-2010 at 02:17 PM.
    The opinions expressed in this post are well-reasoned and insightful. Needless to say, they are not the opinions of the government that I work for.

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Pa Wilds
    Posts
    598

    Default

    ChiefEng: It is hard to say for sure, but your description of a rapid drop in boiler pressure when the load is applied to the steam engine is sometimes an indication of "cut-off" set too late in the stroke. With railroad locomotives using "Walscherts" running gears, the position of the reversing lever allows the engineer to advance the "Cut-off" and thus allow the maximum use of the expansion property of the steam. There is a device called a "Steam Engine Indicator" devised by James Watt and his associate Green that can be used to measure the application timing of the admission and exhaust valves relative to the piston (cross head) position. While this might have been the problem, it seems unlikely because you did mention how quiet the pump was operating. A loud exhaust or "Barking" is usually caused by too long an application of the admission valve or too early opening of the exhaust valve. From the description it might have been caused by too light a firing of the firebox or an uneven fire. Holes or thin spots in the fire allow cooler air to pass through the boiler tubes without enough heat and if air is below 280 degrees (70 psi B.P.) will even cool the flues instead of helping to heat them. The steam engine indicator uses a cord connected to the cross head or connecting rod to move a cylindrical piece of paper under a pen that is driven by the steam pressure found at the cylinder bleeder ****s. This tracing can be analyzed and the valve timing adjusted to maximize the output or minimize the steam consumption.

  15. #15
    Forum Member
    FIREMECH1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    HUSKER LAND
    Posts
    2,425

    Default

    ^^^^ And here I am, thinking the flux capacitor needed to be refueled with U235.

    Guess not.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

  16. #16
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2,802

    Default

    now a days, the senior guys bust the probies's chops when he says he put gas in the engine, in the old days they would bust the probie's chops if he said he put hard coal into the steamer instead of soft coal. I guess it really is the same circus with different clowns.

  17. #17
    MembersZone Subscriber
    npfd801's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Somewhere in Illinois
    Posts
    2,223

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    I guess it really is the same circus with different clowns.
    I'm stealing this. After a completely crappy fire deptartment day (I'd love to vent, but this isn't the place), this made me smile. Thanks.
    "Share your knowledge - it's a way to achieve immortality." - Stolen from Chase Sargent's Buddy to Boss program

  18. #18
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2,802

    Default

    I stole it too. Its amazing the more old timers I meet, and the older the older timer is the more proof that statement gets.

  19. #19
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Bryn Athyn, Pa.
    Posts
    1,625

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KuhShise View Post
    ChiefEng: It is hard to say for sure, but your description of a rapid drop in boiler pressure when the load is applied to the steam engine is sometimes an indication of "cut-off" set too late in the stroke. With railroad locomotives using "Walscherts" running gears, the position of the reversing lever allows the engineer to advance the "Cut-off" and thus allow the maximum use of the expansion property of the steam. There is a device called a "Steam Engine Indicator" devised by James Watt and his associate Green that can be used to measure the application timing of the admission and exhaust valves relative to the piston (cross head) position. While this might have been the problem, it seems unlikely because you did mention how quiet the pump was operating. A loud exhaust or "Barking" is usually caused by too long an application of the admission valve or too early opening of the exhaust valve. From the description it might have been caused by too light a firing of the firebox or an uneven fire. Holes or thin spots in the fire allow cooler air to pass through the boiler tubes without enough heat and if air is below 280 degrees (70 psi B.P.) will even cool the flues instead of helping to heat them. The steam engine indicator uses a cord connected to the cross head or connecting rod to move a cylindrical piece of paper under a pen that is driven by the steam pressure found at the cylinder bleeder ****s. This tracing can be analyzed and the valve timing adjusted to maximize the output or minimize the steam consumption.
    Kuh - I may have been a bit misleading about the rate of pressure drop. It did indeed drop, but it wasn't an instant drop. Rather, it was spread over a minute or two. I did note that they were playing around with something and did, as a result, produce some "barking" of the exhaust. When that occurred they changed the settings to eliminate the barking.

    I did look up the Walschaerts valve gear in Wikipedia to try to understand it a bit better. They have a nice animation there, but it will take some study. I want to also look up the Baker and the Stephenson systems as well.

    Next year I hope to go back to observe again, hopefully with a better understanding of what's happening. But maybe next year they'll have found some bituminous.

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    So of Can. / N. of Mexico
    Posts
    869

    Talking

    [QUOTE=FIREMECH1;1172783]^^^^ And here I am, thinking the flux capacitor needed to be refueled with U235.

    I thought it was the "Spetzer Valve" that needed adjusting, but I forgot my "Spetzer Wrench" so I have to go with KuhShise on this one!

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Did you respond to WTC???
    By E40FDNYL35 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 197
    Last Post: 04-21-2011, 08:28 PM
  2. Take Our Daughters to Work Day
    By MalahatTwo7 in forum News Center
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-26-2007, 03:02 PM
  3. Happy International Firefighters Day!
    By MFDExplorer51 in forum The Off Duty Forums
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-04-2004, 07:36 PM
  4. World Of Fire Report: 01-01-03
    By PaulBrown in forum World of Fire Daily Report
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 01-05-2003, 11:29 PM
  5. Why not firefighters?
    By FireBabe in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 04-03-2001, 06:37 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register