305. Q.—What should be the pitch or numerical distribution of the stays?
A.—The stays, where the sides of the boiler are flat, and the pressure of the steam is from 20 to 30 lbs., should be pitched about a foot or 18 inches asunder; and in the wake of the tubes, where stays cannot be carried across to connect the boiler sides, angle iron ribs, like the ribs of a ship, should be riveted to the interior of the boiler, and stays of greater strength than the rest should pass across, above, and below the tubes, to which the angle irons would communicate the strain. The whole of the long stays within a boiler should be firmly riveted to the shell, as if built with and forming a part of it; as, by the common method of fixing them in by means of cutters, the decay or accidental detachment of a pin or cutter may endanger the safety of the boiler. Wherever a large perforation in the shell of any circular boiler occurs, a sufficient number of stays should be put across it to maintain the original strength; and where stays are intercepted by the root of the funnel, short stays in continuation of them should be placed inside.
306. Q.—What is the chief cause of boiler explosions?
A.—The chief cause of boiler explosions is, undoubtedly, too great a pressure of steam, or an insufficient strength of boiler; but many explosions have also arisen from the flues having been suffered to become red hot. If the safety valve of a boiler be accidentally jammed, or if the plates or stays be much worn by corrosion, while a high pressure of steam is nevertheless maintained, the boiler necessarily bursts; and if, from an insufficiency of water in the boiler, or from any other cause, the flues become highly heated, they may be forced down by the pressure