The Fireboat New Yorker.
In the issue of FIRE AND WATER for July 6, 1889, we gave an extended description of the plans for the proposed new fireboat for the New York Fire Department, and have noted from time to time the progress of its construction, also its going into commission a few weeks since. In view of the fact that this, the most powerful and perfectly equipped floating fire engine ever yet constructed, has now, as will be told later, shown its tremendous powers in actual service, the following details of her construction and equipment as completed, which are now published, are of interest.
The New Yorker is built of iron and steel throughout. The length over all is 125 feet 5 inches; on load water line, 115 feet. T he beam moulded is 26 feet; on load water line, 25 feet 2 inches. The depth moulded is 14 feet 6 inches, and the extreme draught is 10 feet. The displacement is 351 tons.
T he hull is laid upon a keel of bar iron 6 inches wide by 2)4 inches thick. The frames, spaced 20 inches from centre to centre, are steel angle iron 3 by 2½ by 6-16 inches for threefifths of the centre of the hull, and 3 by 2j£ by 5-16 at the ends. Each side of a frame is in one piece, scarfs being prohibited. The plating of the sides is laid “in and out,” with thick strakes out. The garboard and sheer strakes (extreme upper and lower rows of plating) are 30 inches wide and inch thick. T he intermediate strakes are 7-16 and C-16 thick respectively. The plates are all of steel. For the woodwork, where such is introduced, white oak and locust are generally used, except for the deck and joiner work. The deck is of 3-inch white pine and laid with the greatest care. Wherever cleats come a white oak bed is laid for them, and white oak partners surround the bitts. The bilges are coated with not less than one-half inch of Portland cement. This is brought up to the level of the limber holes, through which the bilge water finds its way to the pump well. Thus no water can lie stagnant between the frames.
The deckhouse, which rises only three feet above the deck, is built of iron frames and plates. The pilothouse rises 8 feet 9 inches from the top of the deckhouse and is 15 feet long and 15 feet 9 inches wide, with 7 feet height of ceiling. The boilers, two in number, are of the “Scotch” type, cylindrical,with corrugated furnaces. They are built for a working pressure of 148 pounds. Each is 12 feet diameter and 15 feet long, with 204 tubes of inches outside diameter. The outside sheets are thirteen-sixteenths inch thick, and other portions of reduced thickness. Artificial draught is provided, and the boilers can be worked together or independently.
The propelling engine is of the triple expansion direct inverted type, 24 inches stroke, with 15, 24, and 39 inch cylinders. The high pressure cylinder has a piston valve, the others have slide valves. It can work up to 135 revolutions per minute with 135 to 150 pounds boiler pressure. The propellers are two in number. The fixed or forward screw is 7 feet 9 inches diameter by 12 feet pitch. Aft of this comes the “Kunstadter” swiveled screw and gear. This is connected by a universal joint to the shaft, which joint comes in line with the axis of rotation of the rudder. Thus the screw is swung to starboard or port with the rudder and aids in manceuvering the boat.
One independent air pump and a circulating pump for the condenser are provided. The condenser is of the tubular pattern, with about 2000 square feet of condensing suiface. Steam steering gear and engine are provided in addition to the regular hand steering apparatus. For signaling, a steam chime whistle and a steam calliope are provided and make themselves heard, too !
The pumping machinery comprises two duplex vertical direct-acting pumps, each having two steam and two water cylinders. T he steam cylinders arc 16 inches diameter by 11 inches stroke. The water cylinders, of the same stroke, are of 10 inches diameter. The working pressure allowed for the water cylinders is 200 lbs. to the square inch. The pumps draw water through two 16-inch suction openings in the bottom of the vessel, to which suction pipes are connected. The discharge is delivered through inch connections into a 12inch main that runs around the trunk or deckhouse, and which is provided with numerous connections for hose couplings. Several 12-inch valves are placed in the circuit, so as to shut off any desired portion. The line is provided with a number of 3½ and 6-inch hose couplings. Four 7-inch stand-pipes are also carried upward, two to the roof of the pilothouse and two aft through the trunk. These are surmounted by swivel nozzles adapted for throwing 5-inch streams if desired. A fifth swivel nozzle is mounted on the bitts forward and connects by a hose with one of the large connections. Altogether, thirty two discharges are provided for.
For the protection of the firemen, when working at close quarters with a hot blaze, are provided traveling screens, made of double sheet steel with one inch air space, perforated for hose pipes, and with peep holes. These can be moved forward and aft to any desired point along the rail, There are three of these on each side. They are carried on rollers, which work upon the rail and upon the plank sheer, with guides. Any screen can be li ted off its bearings and carried to the other side of the deck. Movable fire screens are provided for the windows, which screens are kept stored aw ay when not in use. Those for the pilothouse windows have peep holes.
As an additional protection four spray pipes are carried up along the front of the pilothouse and elsewhere, with cap and hose connection at the top. The object of these is to listriLute water in a spray or rain-like form over the deck c f the boat. In this way the hose is protected in situations where the heat is great. Upon the trunk deck are two swiveling hose reels on which the hose is kept. Of this there are 3000 feet, ranging in size from two and one-half inches to six inches in diameter. A great variety of nozzles are provided of from two and onehalf inches up to five and one-half inches in diameter. The capacity of discharge is put at 10,000 gallons per minute, w ith the pumps making 200 revolutions.
In connection with the boat a tender is kept on land. When the boat answers an alarm the tender meets it at the dock. ‘Phis tender carries i5(X> feet of three and one-quarter-inch hose. Thus, a fire half a mile inland from the river front can be supplied with water in case the supply of city water is needed.
As the boat lies at the dock, fifty pounds of steam are maintained in one boiler, and the fires in the other are kept ready for lighting. On an alarm from its district being received, the lines are cast off, the artificial draught is started, and the boat is at once under way.
The hull of the New Yorker was built by Jonson & Ellison of New York; the engines by Brown & Miller of Jersey City, N. J.; the l>oilers by McNeill & McLaughlin of Brooklyn, N. Y. One set of pumps was built by the La France Fire Lngine Company of Elmira, N. Y.; the other by the Clanp v Jones Manufacturing Company of Hudson, N. Y. The tola* cost of the boat was about $100,000.
The first chance which the New Yorker had of show ing its capabilities was on the afternoon of March 5, at a fire on the steamer City of Richmond of the New York and Hartford Transportation Company, when the ease with which the boat was manceuvered and the extraordinary execution done by the streams which she directed upon the flames excited the surprise and admiration of all who w itnessed the scene. The vessel was a river boat of the ordinary side wheel type,with upper works and fittings of light dry wood, as inflammable as tinder, and the fire, which broke out amidst some cotton, spread with such rapidity that two of the crew were suffocated or burned to death, while others had difficulty in escaping to the pier at the foot of Peek Slip, East River, beside which she lay. From the steamer the (lames quickly spread to the pier •shed, and both were blazing fiercely when the engines and trucks summoned by three alarms came upon the scene, followed by the tire boats Zophar Mills, Havcmeyer ami New Yorker. As a daily paper tells the story :
“ It was the first fire that the New Yorker had ever thrown water on. She got there in ten minutes from Pier A, Noith River. All was blazing merrily when she came up opposite the end of the pier, her whistle wailing like a lost soul. While a long way out in the stream she brought the fire in view. There was a movement of the captain in the pilot-house, the men at the standpipe at her bow gave the valve a whirl, and in an instant such a stream of water as the people along shore never saw before burst from the four and one-half inch jio/./.le. Over the corner of the pier, over the host of harbor tugs gathered there, and straight into the heart of the blazing mass of wood-work the stream drove with all but irresistible power. It was as large as a man’s body where it struck the fite. The flaming walls and bulkheads of cabin and state-rooms about the bow went down before it like paper, and splintered boards were hurled in all directions. It was almost as if cannon were battering at the wreck. From a position on the port bow the New Yorker worked her way slowly into the slip among the tug boats until she had literally raked the City of Richmond from stem to stern.
” Next she turned her liquid battery on the nearest pier shed, tearing the blazing roof to pieces and drowning out the fire there before the spectators had noticed that she had left the steamer but for the instant.
” Then she had to deluge the steamboat again, for the fire worked up from below almost as fast as it was drowned out al>ove. Again and again she moved up and down near the side of the wreck, turning flames to steam as she went, only to find it necessary to do the work over, and it was not until the wood-work of the houses on deck had been knocked all to pieces that the firemen were assured that all danger of further spreading was over.
“ The New Yorker’s men connected a dozen lines of small hose and supplemented the huge stream from her bow with others front nozzles two and one-half inches in diameter. ‘1 hen she brought to alongside the wreck, and the men carried the hose into the ruins to play on the fire that was hidden in the cotton bales and about the main deck. It was a tired lot of firemen, but a very cheerful lot. They had done a big thing, and they knew it, and they knew that a good many thousand people had seen them do it, and they were proud of their boat.”
The spirited illustration which we reproduce from The Scientific American, showing the New Yorker in action, will give a good idea of the appearance of this formidable, marine firefighting engine, of the size of the streams of water thrown by its powerful pumps, and of the method of utilizing the protective shields, while in the longitudinal section the interior arrangements arc shown. The exact speed of the New Yorker has not yet been officially detern ined, nor has been her engine power or pumping capacity, but she is understood to have shown a speed of about fifteen knots.