A Catechism of the Steam Engine eBook

John Bourne
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 507 pages of information about A Catechism of the Steam Engine.
improvement, which therefore it is important should be universally applied.  One of these expedients consists in heating the feed water by the waste steam; and the feed water should in every case be sent into the boiler boiling hot, instead of being quite cold, as is at present generally the case.  The ports of the cylinders should be as large as possible; the expansion of the steam should be carried to a greater extent; and in the case of engines with outside cylinders, the waste steam should circulate entirely round the cylinders before escaping by the blast pipe.  The escape of heat from the boiler should be more carefully prevented; and the engine should be balanced by weights on the wheels to obviate a waste of power by yawing on the rails.  The most important expedient of all, however, lies in the establishment of a system of registering the performance of all new engines, in order that competition may stimulate the different constructors to the attainment of the utmost possible economy; and under the stimulus of comparison and notoriety, a large measure of improvement would speedily ensue.  The benefits consequent on public competition are abundantly illustrated by the rapid diminution of the consumption of fuel in the case of agricultural engines, when this stimulus was presented.



In the English edition of this work, the first part of this chapter is devoted to examples of Portable and fixed Agricultural engines, of different makers and styles of workmanship, but not in sufficient detail, nor illustrated on large enough scale to be of practical value as models, forming rather in fact an illustrated catalogue of the manufacturer, than a study for the mechanic.  On this account, they have been entirely omitted, and their place supplied by a few illustrations from American workmanship, not only of Steam Engines, of various forms and applications, but also of various machines, or appliances, connected with the working of engines, as for the determination, or regulation of pressure, of the boilers; for the supply or feed of the boilers, the regulation of the speed of the engine, and the like.

The Gauges used in this country to show the pressures of steam in boilers are of various constructions, but perhaps the most common is the Bourdon, or, as it is known here, the Ashcroft gauge, from the party introducing it, and holding the patent.  Fig. 59 represents its interior construction.  It consists of a thin metallic tube, a, bent into nearly a complete circle closed at one end, the steam being introduced at the other, at b.  The effect of the pressure of the steam on the interior of the tube is to expand the circle, more or less according to the pressure, the elasticity of the metal returning the circle to its original position, when the pressure is removed.  The free or closed end of the tube is connected by a link c with a lever d, at the opposite end of which is segmental gear, in gear with a pinion, on which is a hand, which marks the pressure on a dial.  The dial and hand are not shown on the cut, but are on the exterior case removed to show the construction.

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A Catechism of the Steam Engine from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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