Proceedings Institution of Mechanical Engineers 1860-9
key file

Volume 11 (1860)

Ryder, John N.
On the application of superheated steam. 22-9. Disc.: 29-38 + Plates 3 and 4. 4 diagrs.
Mainly in marine boilers. Charles Markham (29-30) noted that the low evaporative rates on locomotives did not favour superheating. H. Maudsley considered that the superheating was little understood.

Robinson, John
On Giffard's injector for feeding steam boilers. 39-47; 74-7 (Supplementary paper). Disc.: 48-51; 77-82.
Lowe noted that Sharp Stewart obtained sole rights to the injector in 1860. Mainly application to stationary boilers. Charles Markham contributed to discussion p. 49 (on stationary boilers)

Markham, Charles
On the burning of coal instead of coke in locomotive engines. 147-71. Disc.: 172-5 + Plates 31-5. 18 diagrs.
Development of the brick arch, the deflector plate inside the firedoor and appropriate firedoors. Argued that combustion of coal led to considerable economic savings, in spite of its lower evaporative duty: Derbyshire hard coals could heat 6.7 lbs of water per lb of coal as against 7.9 lbs of water per lb of Durham coke (the best in Britain). 18% more coal was required. South Wales coal could heat 8.1 lbs of water per lb. Durham coke cost 8 to 9 shillings per ton at the ovens, but this increased to 15 shillings by the time it reached Normanton. Markham noted that the Stockton & Darlington Railway had always burnt coal and used large flues to achieve this. Noted work by Samuel Hall ("about 17 or 18 years ago") where holes were cut into the firebox immediately above the surface of the fire, but that this caused excessive heat in the smokebox. Markham acknowledged the work of McConnell and Beattie. In the discussions which followed, Mr. B. Fothergill stated (page 172): "the results in this paper were thoroughly confirmed by those obtained in a series of experiments.. made on the Lancashire and East Lancashire Railways, which were so strongly in favour of coal that there are now no coke burning engines on those lines.". On the other hand, D. Adamson (174-5) questioned the need for long tubes and brick arches! B. Fothergill (p. 175) noted risk of excessive heat in smokebox.

Lloyd, Sampson
Description of Aert's water axlebox. 178-91. Disc.: 182-7 + Plates 36-7. 6 diagrs.
W.A. Adams (p. 184) was critical of the excessive cost and the risk of the water freezing. Aerts replied (pp. 184-5) that there had been no problem with freezing during experiments on the ECR and GNR.

Markham, Charles
Description of a new safety coupling for railway wagons. 277-82. Disc.: 282-3 + Plates 59-60. 6 diagrs.
The invention was due to Thomas Osborne, who had been employed as a fitter on the Midland Railway. A model of the coupling was shown to the writer by him about two years ago, and with the assistance of Harland, chief foreman of the Midland Railway carriage shops at Derby, the coupling was developed and had been successfully employed in a trial which showed that nearly the whole of the wagon stock on the Midland Railway, including upwards of 17,000 wagons belonging to colliery proprietors and others connected with the coal trade, could be couipled or uncoupled with the greatest facility by means of the new coupling. The variation in length of the buffers of the different wagons now in ordinary use and running in coonnetion with the Midland Railway did not exceed 6 inches, as shown in Table

Projection of Bufers beyond Drawhooks: (dimensions in inches).

Projection. Variation
Midland Railway 8, 5, 2


Manchester Sheffield and Lincolnshire 8, 3½, 2


London and North Western 5, 5½, 4, 2½, 2

North Staffordshire 5, 3


North Eastern 3½, 2½


West Hartlepool 3


South Staffordshire


West Midland . 4


Peacock, Richard
Description of a light steam hammer for light forgings. 284-7. Disc.: 287-92. Plates 61-5. 22 diagrs.
The hammer installed at the Gorton Foundry was worked by hand, and was either single or double acting: that is it could either be lifted by steam and allowed to fall by gravity alone; or after being lifted, steam could be used above the piston to increase the force of the blow.

Volume 12 (1861)

Ramsbottom, John.
Description of a method of supplying water to locomotive tenders whilst running. 43-50. Disc.: 50-2. Plates 10-13.
The length of trough laid on the Chester and Holyhead Railway near Conway was 441 yards in the level. The trough contained water 5 in deep, and the scoop dipped 2 in. into the water, leaving a clearance of 3 in. at the bottom of the trough for any deposit of ashes or stones. The maximum amount of water was raised at a speed of about 35 miles/hour, when the quantity raised amounts to as much as the above theoretical total. Charles Markham contributed pp. 51-2.

Williamson, Alexander W. and Perkins, Loftus
On a boiler, engine, and surface condenser, for very high pressure steam with great expansion. 94-108

Armstrong, William George
Address of the President. 110-20.
"As in the case of steam navigation, the propulsion of carriages by steam power on land had its origin in very small beginnings. From the days of Watt, who first suggested the application of the steam engine for this purpose, up to the time when George Stephenson, the illustrions first President of this Institntion, devoted with wonderful perseverance the inventive powers of his mind to its perfection, the Locomotive Engine had attained no practical value. But in the hands of Stephenson it took as great a stride as did the condensiiig engine in the hands of Watt. The ever memorahle ‘Rocket,” which carried off the prize at the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, became the type of all succeeding locomotives, just as the condensing engine as left by the original master has remained the standard of that class of engines. Of all the achievements of mechanical engineers the locomotive engine is the greatest. As a work of skill it presents the most remarkable instance of strength and power, combined with lightness, that can be found in the whole field of mechanical engineering ; while in point of utility it has served more than any other invention to develop the resources of every country in which it has been employed.".

Kennedy, J.P.
On the construction and erection of iron piers and superstructures for railway bridges in alluvial districts. 171-82. Disc.: 182-92 + Plates 38-43. 29 diagrs.
Bombay and Baroda Railway in India: special construction adopted for the bridge piers and superstructures to meet difficulties of the alluvial district through which the railway passes, and achieve rapidity of erection combined with economy in total cost. Such construction was perceived as aiding the export of British manufactures to its Colonies/

Volume 13 (1861)

Allan, Alexander
Description of a feed-pipe connexion for locomotive engines. 88-90. Disc.: 90-1. + Plates 30-1.
A simple brass or copper tube elliptical in section. The connexion had been fitted to several locomotives on the Scottish Central Railway, including some large goods engines, and had been subjected to severe tests over twelve months, and had given satisfactory service. In the engines on this railway the plan of coupling between the engine and tender, drawing as well as buffing on a heavy laminated spring, allowed more movement than is usual, amounting to a play of 2 in. between engine and tender. The connecting tube was 6 in. out of centre; but even under these conditions no failure had occurred. The dimensions of the engine were cylinder diameter 16 in., stroke 20 in., driving wheel 6 ft diameter, boiler pressure 130 psi supplied by one No. 9 injector. The connecting tube had now been continuously working upon this engine for nearly twelve months with complete success, the engine having run about 20,000 miles during the time. This tube had been taken off the engine and was exhibited to the meeting : it was of circular section and simply secured with soft solder, and there was not the slightest sign of its giving way, showing that it was fully equal to its work. A specimen was also exhibited of a connecting tube of oval section, used on large coupled engines: in its manufacture the tube is swaged oval in proper cresses, and is then filled with resin and coiled to the required circle round the cast iron blocks used for blocking tyres.
Discussion: Sampson Lloyd (90) believed a similar coupling had been tried on the South Western Railway..D. Joy (90) thought the new coupling was the best connexion he had seen, and superior to either the ball-and-socket coupling or flexible hose pipes. At the behest of the Chairman Joy related that flexible hose pipes (canvas and india-rubber) were the simplest connexion, cost only about 7s. 6d. each; but their durability was very uncertain (they lasted twelve months with proper care if made of good material, but sometimes failed in a single month).. The coupling shown seemed as good in simplicity and was far superior in durability ; and it had an advantage in being placed close up under the footplate, where it would be out of the way of injury if the engine got off the rails. J. Murphy suggested that an iron tube might be used, as cheaper than brass or copper, but. D..Joy thought the extra cost of the brass or copper tube would be saved in the manufacture, from the greater ease of manipulation compared with iron, the total weight of metal being so small; an iron tube would also be more rigid, while the greater elasticity of brass or copper would increase the durability of the coupling.

Miller, George M.
On a packing for pistons of steam engines and pumps. 315-19. Disc.: 320-7 + Plates 80-3. 14 diagrs.
Packing consisted of two rings, pressed outwards against the cylinder by the pressure of the steam as it acted on the alternate faces of the piston, without the use of any springs. The costruction of the piston shown in Figs. 1, 2, and 3, Plate 80, was used in the locomotives on the Great Southern and Western Railway of Ireland. The piston was cast iron, 2 inches thick and 15 inches diameter. Two square grooves were turned in the edge of the piston, 8 inch in width and 3 inch apart, and a corresponding steel ring was fitted into each groove, the rings being divided at one part with a plain butt joint, and sprung over the piston into their places. Two small holes 1/8 inch diameter, opened from each face of the piston to the bottom of the nearest groove, whereby steam was admitted behind the packing ring and pressed it out against the cylinder so long as the steam was acting upon that face of the piston, The alternate action of the two rings was continued as long as the steam was acting on the piston, one of them being always pressed steam-tight against the cylinder
Discussion:. J. Fernie (321-2) said they had tried some pistons on the Midland Railway on this principle of packing by the pressure of the steam behind the rings; they were wrought iron pistons forged solid on the piston rods, and the packing rings were of brass inch square in section. A very long mileage was got out of these rings, but it was found that with solid pistons there was a great deal of trouble from the necessity of getting the crossheads off to draw the piston out, whenever it was wanted to do anything to the piston to look at the packing rings ; and they had therefore now gone back to the old fashioned piston with a junk ring bolted on the face for getting at the packing rings. The bearing surface was now reduced to 1 inch in the pistons; there were two ½ inch packing rings, and these gave a longer mileage than used to be got out of two 1¼ inch rings.

Volume 14 (1863)

Clark, D.K.
On the locomotive engines in the International Exhibition of 1862. 78-111 + Plates 21-31
Twenty engines were exhibited, of which eleven were contributed from the United Kingdom, three from France, one from Belgium, two from Austria, and one each from Prussia, Saxony, and Italy. Of the above twenty engines, fourteen had outside cylinders, and six had inside cylinders; and of the eleven English engines seven had outside cylinders, and four had inside cylinders. Most of the engines were specially constructed for burning coal: a feature which has been introduced entirely since the former Exhibition of 1851, on account of the lower cost of coal for fuel compared with coke. The principal particulars of the locomotive engines exhibited, both English and Foreign, are tabulated.
English Locomotives. Amongst the English locomotives may be noticed first, as specimens of the largest class of Express engines, two exhibited and manufactured by the LNWR, one with inside cylinders (McConnell 2-2-2) and the other with outside cylinders (Ramsbottom Problem class of 2-2-2), but both with 7 ft. 6 ins. driving wheels, and designed with special regard to the running of the express trains on that line.
A Passenger Express engine, for the South Eastern Railway of Portugal, 5 feet 5¾ in gauge, exhibited and manufactured by . Beycr Peacock and Co., whose design is characterised by elegance, thoroughness, and finish, in form, arrangement, and detail. This engine is a type of the prevalent style of English inside cylinder express engines. The framing was composed of two pairs of longitudinal bars or slabs running straight from end to end, cross-braced by the cylinders, the footplate, and various cross plates. The extension alongside the firebox of the two inside longitudinal slabs, which stopped short in front of it in the earlier examples of this description of frame, is a great improvement in practice, as it connects the steam cylinders, driving axle, and drawplate directly and immovably together, and bears the entire strain of the steam in the cylinders and transmits the tractive force to the train. The boiler is thus relieved of all strain from the working parts, from which formerly it was not free and then suffered accordingly. The driving axle is made with only two bearings, inside the wheels, for which the guards are forged on the inside frame plate, and the leading and trailing wheels have their bearings outside the wheels; an arrangement originated by the late Mr. John Gray, and now generally adopted for its simplicity, and for the greater firmness of the frame and the increased duration of the crank axle.

Volume 15 (1864)

Ramsbottom, John
On the improved traversing cranes at Crewe Locomotive Works. 44-58.

Ramsbottom, John
On the distribution of weight on the axles of locomotives. 92-119

Volume 17 (1866)

Kirtley, William.
On the corrosion of locomotive boilers, and the means of prevention. 56-78.

Ramsbottom, John
On an improved mode of manufacture of steel tyres. 186-92. Disc.: 192-8 + Plates 59-67. 19 diagrs.
The object was to reduce the waste of material in the process to so small an amount as to leave its effect insignificant upon the cost of production, and upon the calculation of the weight of ingot required for producing a tyre of given dimensions. Another object was to reduce the time of manufacture, thereby reducing the proportionate cost of plant by turning out more work in the same time
Discussion: . J.L. Ashbury (192-3)arked that it appeared from the paper that attention had hitherto been confined to locomotive tyres, as no reference was made to carriage tyres ; and the applicability of the steel tyres for railway carriages and wagons must of course depend upon their relative cost as compared with the present carriage and wagon tyres of Porkshire iron weighing about 39 cwts. each and costing $22 per ton. At the present time there was no doubt whatever that a strong feeling prevailed among engineers in favour of steel tyres, more particularly for locomotive engines and tenders ; but in the case of a large stock of as many as 15,000 or 20,000 railway carriages and vagons, there must of couwe be great MANUFACTURE OF STEEL TYRES. 193 hesitation in adopting the Bessemer steel tyres if the cost were anything like as much as that of the cast steel tyres made of crucible steel, costing about $35 per ton. It was not any question of the quality of the steel tyres which retarded their adoption for railway carriages and wagons, but solely a matter of reduction of cost, as there appeared no reason to doubt that the steel tyres would have an advantage in durability over the present iron tyres. At the present time however, both in this and other countries, it was the exception and not the rule to have steel tyres; and a very considerable reduction in cost must take place before steel tyres could be generally introduced. There seemed some reason to anticipate such a reduction in the course of a few years’ time, as far as could be inferred from the case of the Bessemer steel rails, the cost of which had originally been as much as $218 per ton, but was now reduced to only $12 per ton. The actual mileage of the steel tyres in comparison with iron tyres was another point upon which the general adoption of the steel tyres would depend, and this required to be very thoroughly ascertained. He suggested that the adoption of steel tyres for carriages and wagons would be very materially accelerated if it were possible to combine a steel face with e scrap-iron back in the tyres, whereby the cost would be greatly reduced below the present amount of $35 per ton for steel tyres, and would more nea.

Webb, Francis W.
Description of a curvilinear shaping machine. 280-7.

Volume 18 (1867)

Everitt, George A. 
On the composition and durability of locomotive boiler tubes in reference to coal-burning. 46-52. Disc.: 52-7.
Coal-burning in locomotives and its action upon copper fireboxes and brass tubes has drawn attention to the importance of ascertaining the best brass alloy for the tubes, and the need to overcome difficulties experienced from the copper plates of fireboxes being hard or brittle. The opinion was extensively held that the durability of brass tubes and copper plates had been lessened since the general adoption of coal-burning in locomotives.
The brass tubes in most general use then for locomotive and marine boilers were solid-drawn tubes, consisting of two parts of copper to one part of zinc, which proportion becomes a little changed during manufacture, due to zinc volatility when melted: and on analysis it was found the composition varied: copper 69% or 68%. and zinc 31% or 32%. The question arose whether this was the best alloy and whether increased copper would increase tube durability, especially in resisting the action of sulphur from poor coal. French railways adopted a standard composition containing at least 70% copper for all locomotive tubes. In Britain the same conclusion was reached on the North Eastern Railway, where Mr. Fletcher found after more than twenty years’ experience with tubes of this composition that they were more durable than those containing a lower proportion of copper: consequently all tubes for that railway contained 70% best selected copper and 30%. of best Silesian spelter. Results from working on that line, where the water is unusually bad, had been that 15 sets of tubes containing 70%. of copper or upwards lasted an average of 87,808 miles each; while the average of 54 sets containing a lower proportion of copper was 81,665 miles. It is difficult however to arrive at any reliable statistical information respecting the duration of tubes, as it is materially affected by the quality of the water used in the boilers, and also by the quality of the coal as regards sulphur content; their average duration throughout the railways of this country may be taken a t from 100,000 to 150,000 miles.
The 70% proportion of copper had been adopted as the composition for locomotive tubes mauufactured by Everitt. Formerly, the composition of locomotive tubes had extended down to the proportion known as Muntz’s metal, which is ductile when worked hot and contains 60% copper and 40% zinc.
The best metal thickness for tubes was one of importance, yet one on which great diversity of practice existed upon railways. With an increased percentage of copper and greater ductility some reduction in tube thickness might be achieved without diminishing durability. The thicknesses of tubes ranged from as much as 9 and 13 wire-gauge (0.150 and 0.095 inch) at the thick and thin ends respectively, down to as little as 13 and 15 wire-gauge (0.095 and 0.070 inch); the most general practice of the leading English lines being about 10 and 13 wire-gauge (0.135 and 0.095 inch). The thickest tubes, of 9 and 13 wire-gauge (0.150 and 0.095 inch), had only been used regularly on one or two railways; and a, serious difficulty having been experienced in keeping these thick tubes tight with very long fireboxes, a, trial has been made of thin tubes of 13 and 15 wire-gauge for that purpose, whereby the previous difficulty of keeping the tubes tight had been obviated. The relative durability of the thinner tubes had not yet been proved; but an important saving in first cost was effected, the thick tubes having weighed 26 lbs. each for 11 feet length, while the thin tnbes weighed only 21 lbs. each.
Discussion: S. Crosby (54-5) remarked that when manufacture of Green’s solid-drawn tubes started in 1841 the only copper used was that obtained from Sims Willyams and Co., the best procurable then and considerably more expensive than others. But more recently some very inferior material had been made as "best selected copper", which had produced a serious difference in the quality of tubes manufactured from it, although no alteration had been made in the proportions originally adopted by Green of 2 parts copper to 1 part zinc.
With respect to the thickness of metal in locomotive boiler tubes, the original dimensions adopted by Green, by whom the plan was introduced of making the tubes taper in thickness, had been No. 12 wire-gauge (0.110 inch) at one end, tapering to No. 14 (0.085 inch) at the other. Previous to that time all locomotive tubes had been parallel in thickness throughout the entire length, the thickness being No. 14 or thicker. Subsequently on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway a thickness tapering from Nos. 10 to 13 (0.135 to 0.095 inch) had been adopted by Dewrance, after going carefully into the matter; and he believed this section had continued to the present time to be the one in general use upon most railways. On the Bristol and Exeter line Nos. 9 to 13 were the dimensions used "until recently"; but in that district also the belief had lately been gaining ground that thinner tubes would answer the purpose equally well, particularly where the coal employed was of such an excellent description as that obtained from South Wales.
The President (John Penn?) observed that marine boiler tubes after standing idle for a length of time tended to fail, he had also met with an instance of the  same sort, where the tubes had become very brittle after being left for a considerable time without getting up steam in the boiler ; and the reason appeared to be that, as the boiler was covered with felt, there was always a slight dampncss remaining inside around the tubes, although they were not actually surrounded with water. He enquired whether it was anticipated that the use of a higher percentage of copper would obviate this liability to rusting in marine boiler tubes when standing idle. In locomotive boilers the tubcs were worked so much more severely than in marine boilers that any means of increasing their durability was of great importance, eren if it involved some increase in first cost of tubes.

Ramsbottom, John
Description of a 30-ton horizontal duplex hammer. 218-31. + Plates 64-75. 29 diagrs.

Volume 19 (1868)

Armstrong, Sir William G.
On the transmission of power by water pressure, with the application to railway goods stations, forge and foundry cranes, and blast-furnace hoists. 21-30. Disc.: 30-41 + Plates 1-8. 14 diagrs.
It seems strange that the term "hydraulic" was not used in the title, although liberal use is made of the term within the text. F.W. Webb enquired with regard to the hydraulic lift for blast furnaces, whether there was any communication between the two hydraulic cylinders working the hoist, in order to make them always work simultaneously, to avoid any risk of disarranging the wire rope connecting the two cages of the hoist, by starting one cylinder before the other. Hutchinson explained that both cylinders were controlled in conjunction by a single handle, which worked an ordinary three-port slide-valve, like the slide-valve of a steam engine; so that when the pressure was admitted to one of the cylinders, the other was at the same time opened to the exhaust.

Porter, Charles T.
On the Allen engine and governor. 50-66. Disc.: 66-80 + Plates 9-20. 20 diagrs.
The Allen engine was capable of being worked at a very high speed, much higher than is usual in stationary engines; maintaining complete steadiness of motion at this high speed, combined with a great uniformity in the driving power throughout each revolution, although the steam is admitted at an unusually high pressure at the commencement of the stroke. There were obvious similarities with locomotive engines, and these similarities were discussed. Discussion: F.W. Webb (68) concurred in the opinion that the most useful criterion of the economy of the Allen engine would be the actual consumption of fuel per horse power; and from his own experience of high speeds he agreed in thinking there would be a difficulty in maintaining the bearing surfaces of the slide-valves and cylinder, to keep them steam-tight in continued working.

Fernie, John
Description of a travelling crane worked by clip drum and wire rope. 164-8. Disc.: 168-75 + Plates 82-7.  11 disgrs.

Inglis, William
On the Corliss expansion valve-gear for stationary engines. 177-85. Disc.: 185-94 + Plates 88-97.  16 diagrs.

Weston, Thomas A.
On an improved friction coupling and break, and its application to hoists, windlasses, and shafting, &c. 214-32. Disc.: 232-7. + Plates 105-117. 28 diagrs.

Volume 20 (1869)

Armstrong, Sir William G.
Description of the hydraulic swing bridge for the North Eastern Railway over the River Ouse near Goole. 121-7. Disc.: 127-32 + Plates 17-24. 16 diagrs.

Daglish, John.
On the mechanical firing of steam boilers. 155-71. Disc.: 172-82. + Plates 36-43. 19 diagrs. 8 tables.
Experiments with mechanical firing in colliery boilers at Seaham, Rainton and Silsworth. Discussion: T.R. Crampton (175-9) noted that a trial had been made at Longhedge Works of blowing coal dust into a reverberatory furnace: this was claimed to enhance productivity..

Armstrong, Sir William G.
Address by the President. 183-200.
Noted the significance of James Watt and made observations on the armaments industry.

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