A Happy New Year to All!

Monday, December 31, 2012 0 comments

Happy New Year!
Every year the Chief Engineer of the Pratt Institute in New York City, Conrad Milster, sets up steam whistles from all kinds of things like ships, factories and vehicles and connects them to the steam pipes of the power plant at the institute. A midnight on New Years Eve he blows in the New Year in fine style.
You can see and hear lots of the whistles at this site:
New Years Steam Whistles

Here is a Steam Calliope giving a rousing entry to the new year.

It is a beautiful piece of machinery.


Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

The Gurney "Steam Carriage"

Sunday, December 30, 2012 0 comments

This is another of the great "What Ifs" of Steampunk.
In 1827 an English inventor, Sir Goldsworthy Gurney, perfected a workable "Steam Carriage". Inspired by advances in steam engines and boilers, and the early railway successes of Stephenson et al , he created a self mobile carriage that could carry passengers and cargo along the post road routes in England.
Unfortunately the railway lobby was rapidly gaining power and soon the British government began levying taxes and creating regulations which eventually stifled the nascent  steam road carriage business.
In 1827 however the prospects for the new invention looked very bright and this write up in "The Mirror of literature, Amusement, and Instruction" had a frontpage description complete with diagram.
Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

From Project Gutenberg


VOL. X, NO. 287.]                   SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 1827.                 [PRICE 2d.


Explanation of the References.
1. The Guide and Engineer, to whom the whole management of the machinery and conduct of the carriage is intrusted. Besides this man, a guard will be employed.
2. The handle which guides the Pole and Pilot Wheels.
3. The Pilot Wheels.
4. The Pole.
5. The Fore Boot, for luggage.
6. The "Throttle Valve" of the main steam-pipe, which, by means of the handle, is opened or closed at pleasure, the power of the steam and the progress of the carriage being thereby regulated from 1 to 10 or 20 miles per hour.
7. The Tank for Water, running from end to end, and the full breadth of the carriage; it will contain 60 gallons of water.
8. The Carriage, capable of holding six inside-passengers.
9. Outside Passengers, of which the present carriage will carry 15.
10. The Hind Boot, containing the Boiler and Furnace. The Boiler is incased with sheet-iron, and between the pipes the coke and charcoal are put, the front being closed in the ordinary way with an iron door. The pipes extend from the cylindrical reservoir of water at the bottom to the cylindrical chamber for steam at the top, forming a succession of lines something like a horse-shoe, turned edgeways. The steam enters the "separators" through large pipes, which are observable on the Plan, and is thence conducted to its proper destination.
11. "Separators," in which the steam is separated from the water, the water descending and returning to the boiler, while the steam ascends, and is forced into the steam-pipes or main arteries of the machine.
12. The Pump, by which the water is pumped from the tank, by means of a flexible hose, to the reservoir, communicating with the boiler.
13. The Main Steam Pipe, descending from the "separators," and proceeding in a direct line under the body of the coach to the "throttle valve" (No. 6,) and thence, under the tank, to the cylinders from which the pistons work.
14. Flues of the Furnace, from which there is no smoke, coke and charcoal being used.
15. The Perches, of which there are three, conjoined, to support the machinery.
16. The Cylinders. There is one between each perch.
17. Valve Motion, admitting steam alternately to each side of the pistons.
18. Cranks, operating on the axle: at the ends of the axle are crotches (No. 21,) which, as the axle turns round, catch projecting pieces of iron on the boxes of the wheels, and give them the rotatory motion. The hind wheels only are thus operated upon.
19. Propellers, which, as the carriage ascends a hill, are set in motion, and move like the hind legs of a horse, catching the ground, and then forcing the machine forward, increasing the rapidity of its motion, and assisting the steam power.
20. The Drag, which is applied to increase the friction on the wheel in going down a hill. This is also assisted by diminishing the pressure of the steam—or, if necessary, inverting the motion of the wheels.
21. The Clutch, by which the wheel is sent round.
22. The Safety Valve, which regulates the proper pressure of the steam in the pipe.
23. The Orifice for filling the Tank. This is done by means of a flexible hose and a funnel, and occupies but a few seconds.

Mr. Goldsworthy Gurney, whose name is already familiar to most of our readers, after a variety of experiments, during the last two years, has completed a STEAM CARRIAGE on a new principle; or, as a wag said the other day, he has at length brought his plan to bear. We have, accordingly, procured a drawing of this extraordinary invention, which we shall proceed to describe generally, since the letters, introduced in the annexed Engraving, with the accompanying references, will enable our readers to enter into the details of the machinery:—First, as to its safety, upon which point the public are most sceptical. In the present invention, it is stated, that, even from the bursting of the boiler, there is not the most distant chance of mischief to the passengers. This boiler is tubular, constructed upon philosophical principles, and upon a plan totally distinct from any thing previously in use. Instead of being, as in ordinary cases, a large vessel closed on all sides, with the exception of the valves and steam conductors, which a high pressure or accidental defect may burst, it is composed of a succession of welded iron pipes, perhaps forty in number, screwed together in the manner of the common gas-pipes, at given distances, extending in a direct line, and in a row, at equal distances from a small reservoir of water, to the distance of about a yard and a half, and then curving over in a semi-circle of about half a yard in diameter, returning in parallel lines to the pipes beneath, to a reservoir above, thus forming a sort of inverted horse-shoe. This horse-shoe of pipes, in fact, forms the boiler, and the space between is the furnace; the whole being enclosed with sheet-iron. The advantage of this arrangement is obvious; for, while more than a sufficient quantity of steam is generated for the purposes requited, the only possible accident that could happen would be, the bursting of one of these barrels, and a temporary diminution of the steam-power of one-fortieth part. The effects of the accident could, of course, only be felt within its own enclosure; and the Engineer could, in ten minutes, repair the injury, by extracting the wounded barrel, and plugging up the holes at each end; but the fact is, that such are the proofs to which these barrels are subjected, before they are used, by the application of a steam-pressure five hundred times more than can ever be required, that the accident, trifling as it is, is scarcely possible.

Steampunk Badness

Saturday, December 29, 2012 0 comments

Have to love the Horrible Histories series.
Enjoy this fun look at  Victorian criminal slang.
Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed, but keep your eyes open for Fawney dropping Dollymops!

Travel the world of the 1890-1910s, in colour!


This is a fabulous collection of over 6500 photochrom prints, at the Library of Congress, from the 1890s and early 20th c. The photos are available in up to 1024 x 765 resolution, at which size the detail is fantastic. Flikr has over 1300 with more being added all the time.

Photochrom Travel Views 1890-1910

Published primarily from the 1890s to 1910s, these prints were created by the Photoglob Company in Zürich, Switzerland, and the Detroit Publishing Company in Michigan. The richly colored images look like photographs but are actually ink-based photolithographs, usually 6.5 x 9 inches. Plenty more info at the Library of Congress Photochrom Prints.

Like postcards, the photochroms feature subjects that appeal to travelers, including landscapes, architecture, street scenes, and daily life and culture. The prints were sold as souvenirs and often collected in albums or framed for display.

The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division assembled its collection from two sources that provided prints in mint condition. In 1985, the prints of Europe and the Middle East were purchased from the Galerie Muriset in Switzerland. In 2004, Howard L. Gottlieb generously donated the North American views.

Some possibly familiar examples:

Banff and Cascade Mountain 1902

Moraine Lake 1903

Just clicking through the hundreds of pictures from all over the world, locations mundane and exotic, really gives one a flavour for the Victorian scene.  Some places haven't changed much, but others are almost unrecognizable now.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

Of Green Faeries...

Thursday, December 27, 2012 0 comments

Ahhh... The inspiration of poets, artists and writers.

Nothing like spending an evening of good discussion, with great friends, over a cloudy glass or two of Absinthe.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

Green Fairy: The symbol of liberté

From: Absinthe Fever a fantastic online site dedicated to the enjoyment and history of Absinthe

Fairy In Green By Derek Brewster

The Green Fairy is the English translation of La Fee Verte, the affectionate French nickname given to the celebrated absinthe drink in the nineteenth century. The nickname stuck, and over a century later, "absinthe" and "Green Fairy" continue to be used interchangeably by devotees of the potent green alcohol. Mind you, absinthe earned other nicknames, too: poets and artists were inspired by the "Green Muse"; Aleister Crowley, the British occultist, worshipped the "Green Goddess". But no other nickname stuck as well as the original, and many drinkers of absinthe refer to the green liquor simply as La Fee - the Fairy.

The symbol of transformation

But Green Fairy isn't just another name for absinthe: she is a metaphorical concept of artistic enlightenment and exploration, of poetic inspiration, of a freer state of mind, of new ideas, of a changing social order. To the ignorant drunk, absinthe will forever remain but potent alcohol, perhaps with a bit of thujone "high" thrown in. To the original bohemians of 1890s Paris, the Fairy was a welcomed symbol of transformation. She was the trusted guide en-route to artistic innovativation; she was the symbol of thirst (for life) to Arthur Rimbaud, the first "punk poet": it was the Fairy who guided him -- and his fellow poet and partner Paul Verlaine -- on their quest to escape the conventional reality of their time into the sanctuary of the surreal.
Transformation has always been the fundamental essence of the Green Fairy, for transformation is what she provides on several parallels. During the magical ritual of la louche, the drink itself first transforms from the concentrated, alcohol-rich, deep emerald green liquor into an alluring opalescent, cloudy greenish-white mixture. This, of course, is symbolic of the subsequent transformation that shall take place in the drinker's mind. As the cool water liberates the power of wormwood oil and the other herbal ingredients from the green concentrate, so will new ideas, concepts and notions be set free in the mind of the drinker -- be he a poet, an artist, a scientist, or the common man on the street.
Apparently so, anyway.

The goddess of artistic rebellion

Is the above a fanciful, perhaps absinthe-induced :-) description of the powers of the Fairy? Let the reader -- or perhaps the drinker -- decide for himself. Let there be no doubt, however, that the turn of the last two centuries produced art, poetry and ideas that were, for their time, shockingly original, rebellious and challenging to the extreme. This was the time of Rimbaud and Verlaine, who pursued their quest of challenging convention whenever they came across it. Their antics caused outrage across Europe at the time, but their ingenious poetry -- a reflection of their search for the true meaning of life -- remains with us to this day.
Inspiring and liberating, the Green Fairy was a powerful symbol of the avant-garde elite that gathered in Parisian cafes at the turn of the last two centuries. In this sense, the Fairy was what pot later became to the hippie subculture of the 1960s. In her company -- or under her influence -- Belle Epoque writers and artists became lucid commentators on an emerging new world. With the stroke of a brush or a pen, they experimented, they rebelled, they provoked, and so they successfully subverted the stuffy conventions of the time.

A Steampunk Mac Classic


From http://dvice.com/arch...

Wozniak's Conundrum — a fully functional Mac with a Remington typewriter keyboard from 1897 wired up to its brains and a mouse built from an old Morse Code telegraph key.

Steve La Riccia owns one special Mac. While Apple's been busy tooting its new thin and light MacBooks, iMacs and iPads, Steve bunkered down for over three months and built himself a steampunk Mac.

Parts used include a 1991 Mac running Mac OS 7.5, the 114-year-old Remington typewriter keyboard, the telegraph key mouse, a 56K modem built from old phone parts and a floppy drive.

Because typewriters didn't have a "return/enter" key, Steve had to use a workaround. Instead of a key button, Steve repurposed the typewriter's cartridge release lever (the part that lifts the ink off and lets you roll the paper up to go to the next line) into a "hard return/enter" button. Neato.

Steve's steampunk Mac is currently on display at The Mac Store in Eugene, Oregon. If you're around there, we'd say it's worth peep. Steampunk never gets old, if it's done right.

Hear hear I say!

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

Photos of Yachts from the 1880s and 90s

Wednesday, December 26, 2012 0 comments

These were the status symbols and playthings of the super wealthy of the US in 1880s and 90s.

The Yacht Photography of J.S. Johnston

This website is a library of antique yacht photographs taken by maritime photographer John S. Johnston (c.1839 - 1899) of New York City, in the late 1880s and 1890s, including America's Cup participants, Herreshoff yachts, and sail and steam yachts of all kinds.

Some examples:

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and all that teak varnished!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012 0 comments

A Christmas tree for you all!
With a little help from Nikola Tesla cool

May your holidays be merry and your new years be safe and joyous!
Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

Messing with gears..."Repairing Old Clocks and Watches"

Sunday, December 23, 2012 0 comments

This wonderful volume by Anthony J. Whiten is filled with 276 pages of practical information and techniques for repairing clockwork of all sizes from wristwatches to grandfather clocks and, by extension, clocks worthy of Hugo Cabret!

Well illustrated with clear line drawings which help to make the practical text very clear. These illustrations are a wonderful source of gear and tool illustrations for other things too cool

One of the most interesting parts of this book for me, was how simple the tools are! Most of them can be made very easily and the instructions for doing so are included in the text.

If you ever wanted to take a clockwork mechanism apart (pretty much all of us I bet!) and THEN PUT IT BACK TOGETHER AGAIN and get it to actually WORK(!?!), this is the book for you.

It also brings the skill and craftsmanship of the watchmaker and designer of yore into perspective with our modern mass produced gadgets.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

Repairing Old Clocks and Watches

Anthony J. Whiten

Van Nostrand Reinhold Company



From the introduction:
"You can buy watches today on which the time is displayed redly, as seen through the eyes of an overhung (sic) wrestler; or you can buy clocks on which the figures march past on horizontal display with relentless precision. These devices are probably manufactured for the use of those who, for reasons known only to themselves, want to know the exact time. The watches and clocks described in this book, were made for such people in their day. Now, however, they provide a leisure time interest, and will still tell us the time as near as most of us want to know it."

An example of the clear warnings in the text:
"All these specimens, of which you are looking at just one, have a mainspring. This may be wound up. Any attempt to dismantle without doing something about this will be either hilarious, disappointing, crippling or even fatal. The timepiece may be harmed, and so may you. Therefore let down the power of the mainspring now." Followed by clear instructions on just how to go about that safely.

The Golden Age of the Great Passenger Airships

Friday, December 21, 2012 0 comments

The Graf Zeppelin and Hindenburg

Written in the 1985 by Harold G. Dick and Douglas H. Robinson, this book is a real gem.

Harold Dick was an American engineer assigned as a technical liaison to the Zeppelin Company in Germany. Harold worked for the Goodyear-Zeppelin Company in Akron Ohio. His 5 years working in Germany during the turbulent 30s saw the rise of the greatest of all airships, the Graf Zeppelin and the Hindenburg. Despite the rising militarism and despotism of the NAZIs he had access to every aspect of the Zeppelin operation and flew on nearly every flight of the great airships. Keeping meticulous records of every aspect of their operation.

This book is a goldmine of information on how these vast machines were designed, maintained and actually operated.

Narrowly missing the fateful last flight of the Hindenburg, he describes the reaction to this tragedy technically as well as socially and politically. He also describes the changes made to the successor to the Hindenburg, the Graf Zeppelin II, which unfortunately was never flown commercially and was broken up to be turned into fighters during the war.

The book is illustrated with lots of photographs and diagrams, many taken by the author himself and never before published. There are also translations of original documents, maps and diagram aplenty.

While not really being Steampunk smile this book does give the reader a real taste for what might have been in the best tradition of our favourite "what ifs".

I've tagged this post "Flight Engineer" because it has lots of good information useful as reference for the design.

The Golden Age of the Great Passenger Airships
Graf Zeppelin and Hindenburg
Harold G. Dick
Douglas H. Robinson
Smithsonian Institute Press


Keep your sight glass full and your firebox trimmed.

Quote of the day from "AEtheric or Wireless Telegraphy"

Thursday, December 20, 2012 0 comments

Found this old book from the late 1890s as a PDF at the Internet Archive

AEtheric or Wireless Telegraphy

An interesting look at the very early days of wireless.

These quotes are very interesting:

Scientific men are often accused of being too optimistic, of dreaming-dreams which are never likely to be realised. Some listeners, no doubt, characterised as of this nature Prof. Ayrton's memorable statement made in 1897 (when speaking of telephony):
"There is no doubt the day will come maybe when you and I are forgotten when copper wires, guttapercha coverings, and iron sheathings will be relegated to the museum of antiquities."
" ... In that day when a man wants to telegraph to a friend he knows not where, he will call in an electromagnetic voice which shall be heard loud by him who has the electro-magnetic ear, but will be silent to everyone else. He will call 'Where are you?' and the reply will come, 'I am at the bottom of a coalmine,' 'I am crossing the Andes,' 'I am in the middle of the Pacific,' or perhaps no reply will come, and he may conclude his friend is dead."

This one embodies all the hubris of empire!
"There is no doubt that many oriental and even some savage peoples are able to convey information for considerable distances, in some unknown way, with astonishing rapidity. Many stories regarding this are related by travellers and others. One is to the effect our officers in Afghanistan were greatly puzzled as to how the intended military movements of the British could be so clearly known to the enemy in distant places so shortly after they were determined upon.
Not the swiftest horses in the British lines could have covered half the distance in the given time, and a strict watch failed to detect any heliographic or beacon-light signals. The offer of bribes was ineffective, money could not purchase the secret, nor could the fear of death extort it, it remains in the possession of the natives till this day.
It is said that on the day on which that good man General Gordon was murdered in Khartoum the event was known in the bazaars of Cairo. This may not be true, for his murderers had probably few sympathisers in Cairo ; but, if true, it is a mystery how the news travelled so quickly, seeing that there was then no railway and no telegraph to Khartoum, and even had there been a railway, a train running at 60 miles an hour would have taken some- thing like 16 hours to accomplish the journey.
It may be that the sensitive oriental nervous organisation is susceptible to etheric influences which we cannot detect, and that in this way two similarly endowed persons are affected so as to be able to emit and receive impressions more or less tangible.
That this power of rapid communication is shared to some extent by the Kaffirs is shown by a recent writer (Mr. D. Blackburn on "Kaffir Telegraphy" in the Spectator], and the Matabele have often astonished our officers in the same way. These stories have really little interest for Us to-day, except to excite wonder and speculation, since modern science has furnished us with surer and swifter, if more expensive, methods. Messages have been transmitted without the intervention of a metallic conductor for a distance of over 2,500 miles, and greater wonders are said to be in store for us."
Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your antenna tuned!

On "Gentlemen's Clubs" from 1859

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 0 comments

I love the richness of the language here!
Check out the whole book available online at:
Dictionary of Victorian London

Keep your sightglass full and your firebox trimmed

Twice Round the Clock, or The Hours of the Day and Night in London,
by George Augustus Sala, 1859


THE English are the only "Clubable" people on the face of the earth. Considering the vast number of clubs which are more or less understood to flourish all over the Continent, and in the other hemisphere, it is within possibility that I shall be accused of having uttered something like a paradox; but I adhere to my dictum, and will approve it Truth. Not but that, concerning paradoxes themselves, I may be of the opinion of Don Basilio in the "Barber of Seville," expressed with regard to calumny. "Calumniate, calumniate," says that learned casuist; "calumniate, and still calumniate, something will always come of it." So, in a long course of paradoxes, it is hard but that you shall find a refreshing admixture of veracity.

Do you think you can call the French a "clubable nation," because in their revolutions of '89 and '48 they burst into a mushroom crop of clubs? Do you think that the gentleman whom a late complication of political events brought into connection with a committee of Taste, consisting of twelve honest men assembled in a jury-box, and whom, the penny-a-liners were kind enough to inform us, was in his own country known as "Bernard le Clubbiste," could be by any means considered as what we called a "club-man?" Could he be compared with Jawkins or Borekins, Sir Thomas de Boots, Major Pendennis, or any of the Pall Mall and St. James's Street bow-window loungers, whom the great master of club life has so inimitably delineated? No more than we could parallelise the dingy, garlic- reeking, revolutionary club-room on a three-pair back at the bottom of a Paris court-yard, with its "tribune," and its quarrelsome patriots, to the palatial Polyanthus, the Podasokus or the Poluphlosboion. French clubs ever have been - and will be again, I suppose, when the next political smash affords an opportunity for the re-establishment of such institutions - mere screeching, yelling, vapouring "pig-and-whistle" symposia; full of rodomontading stump orators, splitting the silly groundlings' ears with denunciations of the infamous oppressors of society ...

In Imperial Paris there are yet clubs of another sort existing, though jealously watched by a police that would be Argus-eyed if its members were not endowed with a centuple power of squinting. There are clubs - the "Jockey," the "Chemin de Fer," and establishments with great gilded saloons, and many servitors in plush and silk stockings; but they are no more like our frank English clubs than I am like Antinous. Mere gambling shops and arenas for foolish wagers; mere lounging-places for spendthrifts, sham gentlemen, gilt-fustian senators, and Imperialist patricians, with dubious titles, who [-202-] haunt club-rooms, sit up late, and intoxicate themselves with alcoholic mixtures -so aping the hardy sons of Britain, when they would be ten times more at home in their own pleasant, frivolous Boulevard cafés, with a box of dominoes, a glass of sugar-and-water, and Alphonso the garçon to bring it to them. Such pseudo-aristocratic clubs you may find, too, at Berlin and Vienna, scattered up and down north Italy, and in Russia, even, at Petersburg and Moscow, where they have "English" clubs, into which Englishmen are seldom, if ever, admitted. Some English secretaries of legation and long-legged attachés, have indeed an ex-officio entry to these continental clubs, or "cercles," where they come to lounge and yawn in the true Pall Mall fashion; but they soon grow tired of the hybrid places; and the foreigners who come to stare and wonder at them, go away more tired still, and, with droll shrugs, say, "Que c'est triste!." The proper club for a Frenchman in his café; for, without a woman to admire him or to admire, your Monsieur cannot exist; and in the slowest provincial town in France there is a dame de comptoir to ogle or be ogled. The Russian has more of the clubable element in him; but clubs will never flourish in Muscovy till a man can be morally certain that the anecdote he is telling his neighbour will not be carried, with notes and emendations, in half an hour, to the Grand Master of Police. As for the German, put him in a beer-shop, and give him a long pipe with his mawkish draught, and - be he prince, professor, or peasant - he will desire no better club; save, indeed, on high convivial occasions, when you had best prepare him a cellar, where he and his blond-bearded, spectacled fellows may sit round a wine-cask, and play cards on the top thereof.

I don't exactly know how far the English club-shoot has been grafted on the trunk of American society, but I can't believe that the club-proper flourishes there to any great extent. I like the Americans much, recognising in them many noble, generous, upright, manly qualities; but I am afraid they are too fond of asking questions - too ignorant or unmindful of the great art of sitting half an hour in the company of a man whom you know intimately, without saying a word to him, to be completely clubable. Moreover, they are a people who drink standing, delighting much to "liquor up" in crowded barrooms, and seldom sitting down to their potations - a most unclubable characteristic. All sorts of convivial and political reunions exist, I am aware, in the United States, to a high degree of organisation; and I have heard glowing accounts of the comfortable, club-[-203-]like guard-rooms and stations of the New York volunteers and firemen; but I can't exactly consider these in the light of clubs. They are not exclusive enough - not concrete enough-not subject to the rigid but salutary discipline of that Imperium in Imperio, or rather, Rempublicam in Republica, the committee of a club.

I daresay that you would very much like to know the name of the particular club, the tableau of which adorns this sheet, and would feel obliged if I would point out the portraits of individual members you would be very much pleased to be told whether it is the Carlton, the Reform, the Travellers', the Athenaeum, the Union, the United Service Senior or Junior, the Guards, the Oriental, the Oxford and Cambridge, the Parthenon, the Erectheum, the Wyndham, Whyte's, Boodle's, or the Army and Navy. No, Fatima; no, Sister Anne. You shall not be told. Clubbism is a great mystery, and its adepts must be cautious how they explain its shibboleth to the outer barbarians. Men have been expelled from clubs ere now for talking or writing about another member's whiskers, about the cut of his coat, and the manner in which he eats asparagus. I have no desire for [-214-] such club-ostracism; for though, Heaven help me, I am not of Pall Mall or St. James's, I, too, have a club whose institutes I revere. "Non me tua fercida terrent, dicta, Ferox :" I fear not Jawkins, nor all the Borekins in Borekindom; but "Dii me terrent, et Jupiter hostis:" I fear the awful committee that, with a dread complacency, can unclub a man for a few idle words inadvertently spoken, and blast his social position for an act of harmless indiscretion.

Things that happened of note...

Sunday, December 16, 2012 0 comments

During the reign of her Imperial British Majesty Queen Victoria... Huzzah!
A series of entries for every year.

The Victorian Era at angelpig.net

Some examples...

27 January - Birth - Edward Smith, Captain of the Titanic (d. 1912)
23 April - Death - William Wordsworth, poet (b. 1770)
1 May - Birth - Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, member of the Royal Family (d. 1942)
2 July - Death - Robert Peel, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1788)
13 November - Birth - Robert Louis Stevenson, writer (d. 1894)
-- In Memoriam AHH published: Tennyson's long poem cycle, inspired by premature grief at the death of his friend Arthur Hallam. Tennyson went on to become Poet Laureate and one of the central literary figures of the age. He was photographed on numerous occasions by his friend, Julia Margaret Cameron.
-- First bowler hat worn: Invented for James Coke, the bowler hat was midway between the formality of a top hat and the soft felt hat worn by the lower middle classes. The hat was hard, to protect the head. It became the traditional accessory of every City gent and only went out of everyday use in the 1960s.
-- Publication - Elizabeth Barrett Browning publishes her sonnet cycle, Sonnets From The Portuguese. A celebration of the love between herself and fellow poet Robert Browning, it contains this famous poem, often read at weddings; which begins "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." The true-life story of their secret love, elopement and happy marriage in Italy is as romantic as the poems themselves.

28 March - United Kingdom declares war on Russia - Crimean War begins.
01 August - Cholera outbreak in Broad Street Some 500 people died in only ten days from drinking infected water from the Broad Street pump in London - but nobody knew it was the drinking water that was spreading the disease until Dr John Snow began to investigate and realised it was a water- rather than an air-born infection. He had the pump sealed up and the deaths ceased. This was a break-through in medicine and was influential on later Public Health legislation; and forming the starting point for epidemiology. 2,000 people died during one week of the cholera epidemic.

6 October - The great fire of Newcastle and Gateshead is ignited by a spectacular explosion.
16 October - Birth - Oscar Wilde, writer (d. 1900)
21 October - Florence Nightingale leaves for Crimea with 38 other nurses.
04 Nov - Ms Nightingale arrives in Scutari: Florence Nightingale takes over the running of the military hospital at Scutari and transforms the conditions there. Her pioneering attitude to hygiene and dedication to nursing transformed the profession.
-- Publication - Alfred Tennyson's poem The Charge of the Light Brigade
-- Publication - Charles Dickens' novel Hard Times
-- Publication - William Makepeace Thackeray's novel The Rose and the Ring

Lots more at the link.

Keep your sight glass full and your firebox trimmed.


"How to be Handsome" beauty tips for women, 1889

Saturday, December 15, 2012 0 comments

Found this delightful collection of  "beauty tips" at Mental Floss.
And you thought corsets were a tough fashion requirement!
You can find the original chapter of Burroughs book here:
Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

 How to Be Handsome: 11 Really Terrible 19th-Century Beauty Tips 
  A lot of things have changed since the 19th century. When Barkham Burroughs wrote his Encyclopaedia of Astounding Facts and Useful Information in 1889, he devoted a full chapter to the “secrets of beauty,” and for good reason. To quote Burroughs, “If women are to govern, control, manage, influence and retain the adoration of husbands, fathers, brothers, lovers or even cousins, they must look their prettiest at all times.” Here are 11 of his tips for doing just that.

1. Bathe often(ish)…

At least once a week, but if possible, a lady should “take a plunge or sponge bath three times a week.”

2. … in a household cleaning solution.

What’s better than soap? Ammonia. “Any lady who has once learned its value will never be without it.” Just a capful or so in the bath works as well as soap and cleans the pores “as well as a bleach will do.”

3. Wash your eyes…

Nothing is as attractive as a sparkling eye. The best way to achieve this is by “dashing soapsuds into them.” If that’s not your style, perfume dropped into the eyes is a reasonable alternative. For the same bright-eyed look without the burn, “half a dozen drops of whisky and the same quantity of Eau de Cologne, eaten on a lump of sugar, is quite as effective.”

4. … but don’t wash your hair.

Water is “injurious” to the hair. Instead, wipe “the dust of the previous day” away on a towel. You can also brush your hair during any long, idle breaks in the day. 30 minutes is a good hair-brushing session.

5. And never, ever wash your face.

Simply rub the skin with “an ointment of glycerine” and “dry with a chamois-skin or cotton flannel.” One “beautiful lady” is admired who had “not washed her face for three years, yet it is always clean, rosy, sweet and kissable.”

6. And try not to wash your hands, either.

A well kept hand is soft, pale, and really, really dirty. Red hands can be relieved “by soaking the feet in hot water as often as possible,” but don’t dare touch water with your hands. As with the face, a regimen of ointment and cotton flannel should be used, and gloves worn for bathing. (Burroughs notes here that “dozens of women” with gorgeous hands “do not put them in water once a month.”)

7. Hang out naked by the window every day.

This is also called vapor-bathing, which is a different kind of vapor than the aforementioned ammonia soak, and one more likely to bring the attention of unwanted suitors. To take a proper vapor bath, “the lady denudes herself, takes a seat near the window, and takes in the warm rays of the sun.” If you’re a lady of the restless sort, dancing is advised. A good vapor bath is at least an hour long.

8. Go heavy-metal on the eyes.

Nothing says “handsome lady” like a lined lid. The proper solution is “two drachms of nitric oxid of mercury mixed with one of leaf lard.” Lacking these components, a woman may just as easily produce a nice effect with “a hairpin steeped in lampblack.”

9. Say goodbye to that fringe.

In your great-grandmother’s day, lashes had a tendency to become “unruly.” They were therefore “slightly trimmed every other day” with sharp, tiny scissors, because who wants eyelashes, anyway.

10. Suction!

Nice lips are essential to a woman’s prettiness. As early as possible, a girl should begin thinking about the shape of her lips and how it might be improved. Thin lips “are easily modified by suction,” which “draws the blood to the surfaces” and over time provides a “permanent inflation.” Thick lips “may be reduced by compression.” There are no instructions for this procedure.

11. And try not to be single.

The author’s female acquaintance, after disclosing to her favorite suitor that she had gone those three long years without using soap, found herself back on the market. A note from the gentleman read, “I can not reconcile my heart and my manhood to a woman who can get along without washing her face.”
So remember, ladies: Whatever methods are used, “it would be just as well to keep the knowledge of it from the gentlemen.” Because being married is better than ammonia-water for the complexion.

Watch for this one! "The Wars of Other Men"

Thursday, December 13, 2012 0 comments

A very interesting movie coming soon hopefully.
Set in a Steampunk/Dieselpunk 1920s this trailer gives a good feel for the film:

Trailer for the ultimate indie guerilla short film, "The Wars of Other Men". Written by Mike Zawacki & Nancy Nall Derringer and directed by Mike Zawacki.

From YouTube

Published on Dec 11, 2012

Set in a 1920s-like world at war, "The Wars of Other Men" tells the story of a nameless Lieutenant fighting for an army on the verge of defeat. The enemy has begun to dominate the battlefield with their new chemical super weapon, known only as "the Fog." When his superiors learn the location of the facility that manufactures the Fog, the Lieutenant is ordered to lead a squad through the war torn city to capture the scientist responsible for its creation... at a terrible cost to soldier and civilian alike. With the lives of his men and the fate of the war hanging in the balance the Lieutenant must make a choice -- will he be a good soldier or will he be a good man?

Filmed in Detroit with next to no budget and a gifted, passionate, dedicated volunteer crew "The Wars of Other Men" takes indie guerilla film making to the bleeding edge of what's possible - an immersive alternate earth period war film set in a city torn apart by war. With lush diselpunk and steampunk inspired production design, jaw dropping locations, high grade visual effect elements, and (most importantly!) a solid story built around compelling characters, "The Wars of Other Men" exists far outside the normal limits of indie film making. The film runs at approximately 26 minutes.
Our endless thanks to all of the people who worked to make this film a reality!

Music: "Nevermore" copyright 2008 Kevin Wilt (kevinwilt.com)


Keep you sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

"The Carrington Event" September 1859


In September 1859 there was the largest Geomagnetic disturbance ever recorded.

The solar superstorm of 1859 was the fiercest ever recorded. Auroras filled the sky as far south as the Caribbean, magnetic compasses went haywire and telegraph systems failed.

If such a storm occurred now it could be catastrophic on multiple levels.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed, your water iced, and your Faraday cage well grounded cool

Solar storm of 1859

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sunspots of September 1, 1859, as sketched by Richard Carrington A and B mark the initial positions of an intensely bright event, which moved over the course of 5 minutes to C and D before disappearing.

The solar storm of 1859, also known as the Solar Superstorm,[1] or the Carrington Event,[2] which occurred during solar cycle 10, was the most powerful solar storm in recorded history, and the largest flare, observed by Richard Christopher Carrington, became known as the Carrington Super Flare.


From August 28, 1859, until September 2, numerous sunspots and solar flares were observed on the sun. Just before noon on September 1, the British astronomer Richard Carrington observed the largest flare,[3] which caused a massive coronal mass ejection (CME) to travel directly toward Earth, taking 17 hours. This is remarkable because such a journey normally takes three to four days. This second CME moved so quickly because the first one had cleared the way of the ambient solar wind plasma.[3]

On 1 September 1859, Carrington and Richard Hodgson, another English amateur astronomer, independently made the first observations of a solar flare. Because of a simultaneous "crochet" observed in the Kew Observatory magnetometer record by Balfour Stewart and a geomagnetic storm observed the following day, Carrington suspected a solar-terrestrial connection. World wide reports on the effects of the geomagnetic storm of 1859 were compiled and published by Elias Loomis which support the observations of Carrington and Balfour Stewart.

On September 1–2, 1859, the largest recorded geomagnetic storm occurred. Aurorae were seen around the world, most notably over the Caribbean; also noteworthy were those over the Rocky Mountains that were so bright that their glow awoke gold miners, who began preparing breakfast because they thought it was morning.[3] People who happened to be awake in the northeastern US could read a newspaper by the aurora's light.[4]

Telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed, in some cases even shocking telegraph operators.[5] Telegraph pylons threw sparks and telegraph paper spontaneously caught fire.[6] Some telegraph systems appeared to continue to send and receive messages despite having been disconnected from their power supplies.[7]

On September 3, 1859, the Baltimore American and Commercial Advertiser reported, "Those who happened to be out late on Thursday night had an opportunity of witnessing another magnificent display of the auroral lights. The phenomenon was very similar to the display on Sunday night, though at times the light was, if possible, more brilliant, and the prismatic hues more varied and gorgeous. The light appeared to cover the whole firmament, apparently like a luminous cloud, through which the stars of the larger magnitude indistinctly shone. The light was greater than that of the moon at its full, but had an indescribable softness and delicacy that seemed to envelop everything upon which it rested. Between 12 and 1 o'clock, when the display was at its full brilliancy, the quiet streets of the city resting under this strange light, presented a beautiful as well as singular appearance."[8]

Ice cores contain thin nitrate-rich layers that can be used to reconstruct a history of past events before reliable observations. These show evidence that events of this magnitude—as measured by high-energy proton radiation, not geomagnetic effect—occur approximately once per 500 years, with events at least one-fifth as large occurring several times per century.[9] Less severe storms have occurred in 1921 and 1960, when widespread radio disruption was reported. Another severe solar storm occurred in March 2012, with major disruption possibly limited only to a spacecraft closer to the Sun than Earth.[10]

Scientific American Slideshow on the 1859 event


Tuesday, December 11, 2012 0 comments

Why Gears?

Of all the archetypal symbols of Steampunk the gear is probably second only to goggles in prominence.
Immortalized in the parody song "Just glue some gears on it and call it Steampunk", these bits of machinery festoon our gadgets, our hats and our clothes. We print them on our business cards, display them proudly on our banners and website backgrounds, and even include them in our tattoos.

But why gears?

What is it about these round, spiky, bits of brass and steel that conjure up the essence of Steampunk?

There is something about the utility of them that attracts the eye. They embody purposeful design in their shapes. When built into working machines they spin, transforming energy into useful motion, shifting speeds into power and vice verse. Whether it is the tiny gears of a finely crafted watch or the massive bull gears of a powerhouse. Each one holds a mystery of purpose that can only be determined when it is in place in the machine for which it was designed.

Even when a gear is isolated from its place it still has an essence of purpose about it.

At a recent event I attended, the host's son received a Christmas present, the wrapping of which included a home made ornament on which were glued tiny real gears made of brass. It was a very neat bauble. But glue doesn't stick to brass very well so some of the gears fell off and we had to find then. Each little brass sparkle shone like a star against the floor. There was no mistaking them, they stood out like snowflakes made of gold.

As I picked one of these gears up I marveled at the intricacy of the mechanism it would originally have been a part of. Probably a watch of some kind I suppose, but sitting there in the palm of my hand the gear could have been a part of anything. Maybe it had been designed as part of a control mechanism for a much larger machine, an automaton, or a power plant. Maybe it was the critical gear from the control of some fearful weapon. Or maybe it had been part of a miniature Babbage engine used to calculate the navigational equations used on an airship.

Gears are quintessentially human artifacts, they are mathematical constructions frozen in brass and steel.  They fit together with others of their kind to make things happen. Without them mechanical systems cannot work efficiently. Even in the digital world of today, gears still spin at the heart of the smallest and largest machines. They may be hidden inside cases of plastic and steel, but they spin along in the darkness as they have for hundreds of years.

Perhaps there are gears spinning inside the very foundations of the Universe itself.

In the Steampunk world, we celebrate these creations of art and science. We display them proudly in visible mechanisms and in symbolic form, for they are the means by which magic happens.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.


Monday, December 10, 2012 0 comments

Of all the industrial creations of the Victorian world,
the great steel battleships were probably the most impressive, expensive, and popular of all.

HMS Majestic in an artist's conception, heading out to take over as flagship of the British Mediterranean Fleet, 1899. The artist has accurately depicted the standard Victorian colour scheme approved by the Queen herself

THE savage can fasten only a dozen pounds on his back and swim the river. When he makes an axe, fells a tree, and builds a raft,  he can carry many times a dozen pounds.  As soon as he learns to rip logs into boards and build a boat, he multiplies his power a hundredfold; and when to this he adds modern sciences he can produce the monster steel leviathans that defy wind, storm and distance, and bear to the uttermost parts of the earth burdens a millionfold greater than the savage could carry across the narrow river."
--Horace Mann
Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

New Airship Nearly Ready

Friday, December 7, 2012 0 comments

Now this is sweet!
An article from Gizmag discussing the progress of a new airship being built in California.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

Aeroscraft dirigible airship prototype approaches completion

She is the first "rigid" type airship built in over 40 years.

The dirigible airship, the oddball aircraft of another era, is making a comeback. California-based Aeros Corporation has created a prototype of its new breed of variable buoyancy aircraft and expects the vehicle to be finished before the end of 2012. With its new cargo handling technology, minimum fuel consumption, vertical take-off and landing features and point to point delivery, the Aeroscraft platform promises to revolutionize airship technology.
The Aeroscraft ship uses a suite of new mechanical and aerospace technologies. It operates off a buoyancy management system which controls and adjusts the buoyancy of the vehicle, making it light or heavy for any stages of ground and flight operation. Automatic flight control systems give it equilibrium in all flight modes and allow it to adjust helium pressurized envelopes depending on the buoyancy requirements. It just needs one pilot and has an internal ballast control system, which allows it to offload cargo, without using ballast. Built with a rigid structure, the Aeroscraft can control lift at all stages with its Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) capabilities and carry maximum payload while in hover. What makes it different from other vehicles is that it does not need a runway or ground infrastructure.

SteamPed Moped Conversion

Thursday, December 6, 2012 0 comments


Something to add to my holiday wish list!

Here is a project where a Moped, powered by a conventional two stroke gasoline engine, has been converted to run with steam.  The project not only converted the existing engine but also added a compact boiler and controls.
The engine was converted to a unaflow steam engine. 

A very cool project, lots of possible uses for similar conversions!

The Steam Car Club of Great Britain website has lots of good information on historic and modern steam powered vehicles.


Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

The SteamPed in all her glory! 
 a Steam project by Roger Ulsky

My SteamPed started life as a Motobecane Moped which I obtained in a non running condition but with all the parts intact. I eventually want to build a steam car and decided this would be a good way to get my feet "dry" with steam land vehicles.
Continued at the link above...

"Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan" 1898

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 0 comments

Strange this...

From Wikipedia


Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan is an 1898 novella written by Morgan Robertson. The story features the ocean liner Titan, which sinks in the North Atlantic after striking an iceberg. The Titan and its sinking have been noted to be very similar to the real-life passenger ship RMS Titanic, which sank fourteen years later. Following the wreck the novel was reissued with some changes, particularly in the ship's gross tonnage, to make it closer to the Titanic.

Similarities to the Titanic

Although the novel was written before the Olympic-class Titanic had even been designed, there are some remarkable similarities between the fictional and real-life counterparts. Like the Titanic, the fictional ship sank in April in the North Atlantic, and there were not enough lifeboats for the passengers. There are also similarities between the size (800 ft long for Titan versus 882 ft 9 in long for the Titanic), speed (25 knots for Titan, 22.5 knots for Titanic) and life-saving equipment.

Beyond the name, the similarities between the Titanic and the fictional Titan include:

Both were triple screw

Both described as "unsinkable"
The Titanic was the world's largest luxury liner (882 feet, displacing 63,000 long tons), and was once described as being practically "unsinkable".
The Titan was the largest craft afloat and the greatest of the works of men (800 feet, displacing 75,000 tons, up from 45,000 in the 1898 edition), and was considered "unsinkable".
Shortage of lifeboats
The Titanic carried only 16 lifeboats, plus 4 Engelhardt folding lifeboats,[4] less than half the number required for her passenger and crew capacity of 3000.
The Titan carried "as few as the law allowed", 24 lifeboats, less than half needed for her 3000 capacity.
Struck an iceberg
Moving at 22½ knots, the Titanic struck an iceberg on the starboard side on the night of April 14, 1912 in the North Atlantic 400 miles away from Newfoundland.
Also on an April night, in the North Atlantic 400 miles from Newfoundland (Terranova), the Titan hit an iceberg while traveling at 25 knots, also on the starboard side.
The unsinkable Titanic sank, and more than half of her 2200 passengers and crew died.
The indestructible Titan also sank, more than half of her 2500 passengers drowning.
Went down bow first, the Titan actually capsizing before it sank.
Interesting and a bit creepy.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your...
Never mind about the water and ice bit confused

The Graf Zeppelin in Action

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 0 comments

Oh the wonder of real airships!
This video is a compilation of clips from the flights of the Graf Zeppelin, including some from her circumnavigation in 1929. She carried thousands of passengers in almost 300 flights without any issues at all.

"What ifs" abound here.
What would the world be like if this had been the preferred mode of civilian transport?

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

Practical Airship Design Part 5

Saturday, December 1, 2012 0 comments

Engines Tanks and Bulkheads Oh My!

Having described last time  how we are able to generate the steam needed to both lift and power our globe circling airship, it is time to attempt a layout of the system so that we can see how it would fit into the hull. Since in my position as Flight Engineer I will be spending most of my role play time here I admit that it is a subject close to my heart smile

What would such an airship look like if it must include such a novel power and lift source?
I would like to say she would look like this...

Thunderer by *Voitv
But alas the "practical" bit gets in the way, sigh.

Unlike a vessel that floats on water, an airship is way more delicate in her balance and weight restrictions. The system I described last time is relatively heavy! My back of envelope calculations suggest that it would be the equivalent of all the engines, fuel and ballast water that the Hindenburg carried and then some. This weight is concentrated into a small area which has implications for where it is positioned in the hull.

The main propulsion engine in the stern with its large counter rotating props, powered by Tesla's wireless electrical system, is also fairly weighty for its power output. One other design idea I had was to use a larger number of smaller engines spread around the hull to avoid this concentration of weight, but it doesn't look quite so cool. (The "Splendid" requirement remember.) In this system these two weights, the power plant and main propulsion system, are at least small in area which simplifies the gross layout somewhat. By placing the power plant appropriately in the design we can balance the ship. The crew accommodations, cargo holds, and bridge are relatively light by comparison.

One other significant weight that needs to be accounted for is the steam condenser. This condenser is needed to recover the water from the high pressure steam used for power, plus the steam vented from the lift system when trimming the ship and any excess steam generated when the core is operating. Remember that our power core is either on or off, and when on must be cooled by steam generation constantly.

When I was originally doodling around with my design I had thought to give our airship a hull that was a shell of a light metal, like duraluminum, rather than the truss and fabric type structure the traditional rigid airships used. The condenser in that design was simply the upper surface of the hull itself. Alas, a quick calculation showed that a hull the size of the Hindenburg would be way too heavy built that way. In fact even using a light metal such as duraluminum the condenser becomes a significant weight in its own right, the third largest weight after the power core and main propulsion engine in fact.

Interestingly, if our airship was buoyed aloft by hydrogen, instead of steam, such a hull would work, and wouldn't need the weight of a condenser. This has some implications for a modern airship design using composite materials like modern graphite fibres etc.

Since we want our airship to be mostly appropriate to Victorian times, and use steam as its lifting gas, our airship will have a more or less conventional hull structure of duraluminum trusses with a fabric cover for the majority of the hull. The three primary weight blocks of power, propulsion, and condenser are laid out in such a way that the airship is in balance. The simplest way to visualize her is something like the Hindenburg with a pair of counter rotating props at the stern aft of the fins, a pair of funnels just forward of amidships, and what looks like a shell of metal on her upper hull just aft of the funnels.

I think that is pretty "splendid" really so our Captain should be happy.

Now let's get into the engine room and get our hands greasy, what would it look like?  How do you arrange all the bits that are the core systems that support our airship in flight?  As mentioned above the power core and its water tank are the heaviest parts and so must be the lowest in the hull. Water is a good shield for radiation so the rest of the engine room can be close to the core without problems. From an aerodynamic standpoint we don't want to disrupt the hulls smooth contour more than necessary so as much as possible we should keep everything inside the hull along the keel structure.

Here is my proposed gross layout. I would draw a picture but "Dammit Jim, I'm a Flight Engineer not an artist!" smile

At the lowest point, close to amidships, is the core and its tank. There is really no pressure in the tank so it doesn't have to be cylindrical like a railway engine boiler. However, a cylinder does minimize the weight of the tank relative to its volume. A sphere would be the best of course, but would be harder to fit into the hull. Above the tank is the main low pressure distribution header. This header leads low pressure steam direct from the core to the lift bags inside the hull. Valves in the header control this distribution. A low pressure channel also connects the header with the condenser on the upper surface of the hull. This channel is controlled by a valve and is the primary means to regulate the flow of low pressure steam between the lift bags and/or dumping the excess to the condenser.

Alongside the main distribution header is the main condensate header. This header's main purpose is to connect to the condenser on the hull and direct the condensed steam back to the main tank. This header also collects steam condensed from within the lift bags, as well as from the condensation collected from the inside of the hull itself that results from lift bag leakage.

Forward of the main tank is the engine room proper. Integrated into the forward bulkhead of the main tank is the high pressure boiler. Inside is the steel coil, filled with high pressure mineral oil, that leads directly into the heart of the power core. (Note: I've changed this slightly see the next article for the reasons why) Water from the main tank is pumped into this boiler where it is flashed into steam. The production of steam is regulated by the pump rate, if the pumps stop so does the steam production. This is similar to the way a water tube steam boiler worked on the more advanced steam cars of the period.

The heart of the engine room is the main turbine that takes the high pressure steam from the boiler and converts the energy to electrical power, by the use of an attached Tesla high voltage AC generator. This turbine is a special light weight version of that employed in high speed torpedo boats. Exhaust steam from the turbine is directed to an exhaust header. This header is connected to the main condenser.

A valve also connects the exhaust header directly to the funnels. When activated all the exhaust steam goes directly to the atmosphere, via the funnels instead of the condenser. This is used for two purposes, in case of a problem with the condenser that produces an unacceptable back pressure on the exhaust, and for when the Captain orders "flank" or emergency speeds and the flow of steam from the turbine would overwhelm the ability of the condenser to handle it. Doing so would rapidly deplete the water in the main tank of course, as none of it would be recovered by the condenser. We are a military ship, as well as an exploratory one, so such speeds may sometimes be necessary. Of course we could only run the ship flat out like this for a limited amount of time before we would be forced to shutdown the core. (Hmmm... I foresee some interesting role play possibilities with that, "Sorry Captain I canna push her much longer or she's goin ta blow!")

Ranged along the walls of the engine room are the auxiliary systems needed to support the primary one. I imagine this to look pretty similar to the engine room of a high speed destroyer of the period. Lots of brass gauges, pipes, pumps, and sparking, glowing, electrical devices of a mysterious and dangerous look.
I'll try to describe these systems in more detail in my next article.

Forward of the engine room is the domestic cargo hold, which carries the baggage and supplies for the crew. Aft of the main tank is a larger general purpose cargo hold.

So that will be my domain on this ship. How large a crew would be needed to man the engine room?  Not many really. If we used a three watch system similar to that used by commercial surface ships and the great rigid airships, a crew of 6, 3 in each watch, including myself would be sufficient for normal operation.

Please join me next time as I continue to flesh out the mechanical side of this airship.
Don't worry, I haven't forgotten the crew's comforts, that's coming soon as well.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

Click here for the next article in this series.

You can follow the full design thread by clicking on the tag "Flight Engineer".

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