March 7, 2020

Serendipity & Curiosity – #7

Now we had engine and boiler, and then curiosity visited the shop.

Now we had engine and boiler, and then curiosity visited the shop. Serendipity and curiosity are uncontrollable pals. 

What are we missing? How do we tie boiler and engine together?

So some research, first into archives of the Museum’s Yachting symposium where we found articles on “Vapor” a Herreshoff steam launch restoration with engine and boiler like ours: then to our microfilm of Herreshoff plans: and then to sources of steam enthusiasts.

Vapor lead us to a New Zealander who was building a Herreshoff replica with Herreshoff engine and boiler etc.

Herreshoff steam systems are “closed” loop systems with condenser, again unlike railroad engines where steam goes out the stack and water tanks are necessarily spaced out along the track.

Our research identified key components; engine, boiler, feed pump, condenser, water tanks, and plumbing.

Of these, the plumbing is the great unknown. So we set Steve, our nuclear powered submarine mechanical engineer, to the task. What could be more difficult than a nuclear steam generator? (Yes, modern SSN’s are steam powered!)
And we found a “Marsh AB feed pump” in New Zealand, our NZ contact had two and offered us his spare. He’d found this pump in New Hampshire and we acquired our around-the-world traveller. And best of all, it is the same pump called out for our boiler and engine system!

Now we had all the major mechanical parts. But Steve where are your plumbing drawings? This ain’t nuclear science!