I wish, before quitting this section of my subject, to call your attention to two very interesting but very different kinds of marine engines. One is the high-speed torpedo vessel, or steam launch, of which Messrs. Thornycroft’s firm have furnished so many examples. In these, owing to the rate at which the piston runs to the initial pressure of 120 lb. and to very great skill in the design, Messrs. Thornycroft have succeeded in obtaining a gross indicated horse-power for as small a weight as half a cwt., including the boiler, the water in the boiler, the engine, the propeller shaft, and the propeller itself.
To obtain the needed steam from the small and light boiler, recourse has to be made to the aid of a fan blast driven into the stoke-hole. From the use of a blast in this way advantages accrue. One is, as already stated, that from a small boiler a large amount of steam is produced. Another is that the stoke-hole is kept cool; and the third is that artificial blasts thus applied are unaccompanied by the dangers which arise, when under ordinary circumstances the blast is supplied only to the ash-pit itself.
The second marine engine to which I wish to call your attention is one that has been made with a view to great economy. The principles followed in its construction are among those suggested by the President (Sir W.G. Armstrong) in his address. He (you will remember) pointed out that the direction in which economy in the steam engine was to be looked for was that of increasing the initial pressure; although at the same time he said that there were drawbacks in the shape of greater loss, by radiation, and by the higher temperature at which the products of combustion will escape. We must admit the fact of the latter source of loss, when using very high steam, it being inevitable that temperature of the products of combustion escaping from a boiler under these conditions must be higher than those which need be allowed to escape when lower steam is employed; although I regret to say that in practice in marine boilers working at comparatively low pressures the products are ordinarily suffered to pass into the funnel at above the temperature of melted lead. But with respect to the loss by radiation in the particular engine I am about to mention—that of Perkins—there is not as much loss as that which prevails in the ordinary marine boilers, because the Perkins boiler is completely inclosed, with the result that while there is within the case a boiler containing steam of 400 lb. on the square inch, and the fire to generate that steam, the hand may be applied to the casting itself, which contains the whole of the boiler, without receiving any unpleasant sensation of warmth. By Mr. Perkins’s arrangement, using steam of 400 lb. in the boiler, it was found, as the result of very severe trials, conducted by Mr. Rich, of Messrs. Easton and Anderson’s firm, and myself—trials