Incompetent Engineers.

Incompetent Engineers.

In the last number of the JOURNAL we printed the synopsis of a bill now pending before the Legislature relative to the inspection of boilers. The local engineers of stationary boilers are doing a good service in holding meetings and discussing the merits of the bill, and in calling public attention to the necessity which exists for some legislation calculated to secure the public against steam boiler disasters. It is a a lamentable fact that, notwithstanding all the investiga-i lions that have been made regarding the causes of boiler explosions, the public has gained nothing ; there is no greater immunity from disasters to-day than there was before all these scientific men brought their theoretical knowledge to bear on the subject. Some of the numerous explosions which have occurred recently have been accounted for, possibly correctly, by ascertaining that the boilets were faulty in construction ; that they were corroded, or incrusted with sediment from the water used that there was unequal expansion ; that the steam and the water gauges were out of order, or the safety-valve inoperative. No doubt all these causes are responsible, in greater or less degrees, for disasters. But we are of the opinion that the main cause has not been set forth, and this is, the employment of inexperienced, ignorant and careless persons as engineers. Under the present incompetent administration of the laws relating to steam boilers, it requires no familiarity with steam appliances, either practically or theoretically, to enable a person to secure an engineer’s certificate and hold a position as engineer, holding many lives and valuable property at the mercy of his incompetency. It is simply a question with the owners of the boilers as to how cheaply the man will work, and not as to his competency as an engineer. The question of wages being satisfactorily arranged, the proper certificate can be easily obtained. Almost every week we see advertisements in the daily papers for a man to “ run a steam boiler and make himself generally useful; wages $5 a week.” Or they are asked to take care of steam boilers, engine, and a variety of other machinery, for a similar beggarly pittance. Competent engineers cannot be employed for such wages, and it should be made a misdemeanor for anybody to employ any but a competent person as an engineer. All persons desiring such positions should be required to pass a rigid examination before a board of practical engineers, and the board should be held responsible for the men to whom they give certificates of competency. Give us good engineers, and boiler explosbecome a thing of the past With competent man in charge of boders, the faulty gauges are put in order; the safetyvalves made safe ; the water kept at its proper level; precautions are taken against incrustation, thereby avoiding the over-heating or burning of the boiler plates,—in short, every precaution calculated to secure safety is resorted to. A coinpetent engineer is the best insurance that can be obtained against boiler explosions. Whether the bill referred to is the best that can be devised to secure protection from steam boilers we do not pretend to say; but that some law is neces sary to compel boiler-owners to adopt proper safeguards against explosions. and to pre vent their employing ignorant and incompe tent PerSOns to do the vrk of intelligent, practical engineers, is a fact which is patent to every observer of passing events.

No posts to display