WATEROUS STEAM FIRE ENGINE.
IN this number of FIRE AND WATER are given a cut and description of a new type of steam fire engine manufactured by the Waterous Engine Works Company, of St. Paul, Minnesota. The aim of the designers of this machine has been to reduce and simplify the working parts of the entire engine, yet at the same time to accomplish in the way of a positive motion what has hitherto been capable of being done only by the ordinary double crank engine. That they have undoubtedly succeeded in this is beyond dispute, as an examination of Fig. 1 will show. One crank and one eccentric do the same work as that of double cranks and double eccentrics, thus reducing by one-half this amount of extra machinery, with its consequent additional friction,both pistons working in the same relative position with each other as if employing two cranks and two eccentrics. (Patents are now pending for this method of construction as applied to steam fire engines). A still greater advantage, however, to be had from this method of construction is the fact that the pumps are given a long stroke, while at the same time the pumps and steam-cylinders are brought closer together.
Mechanics will quickly perceive the immense advantage of using a long stroke on pistonpumps, as it reduces materially the work and wear and tear of the pump-valves, and also reduces in a like degree the slippage or loss of water consequent upon the opening and closing of the valves. The valves in the pumps of this engine do not open or close within 30 per cent, as often as those in any other type of steam fire engine pump of equal capacity.
The materials and workmanship throughout are of the very highest standard. The pumps themselves are made entirely of pure phosphor bronze; no other metal whatever entering into their construction, and are so arranged that all the valves are exceedingly easy of access. By simply removing the outer plate or case, which requires only the unscrewing of fourteen nuts, the valves are exposed, making it possible to get at the valves quickly and easily when occasion requires. The area of all valve-openings and water-ways are in excess of the area of piston-displacement, thus insuring an easy flow of water through the pumps and doing away with all pounding of water so often found in piston-pumps.
The boiler used is the “Waterous Patent,” having the double upper head and water-chamber, whereby the tubes are constantly submeiged in water, which prevents the possibility of their becoming overheated and leaking. The large amount of heating surface obtained in the construction of this boiler enables it to steam easy and fast without undue forcing; thus adding greatly to the durability and life of the boiler.
The running gear is unusually strong and very handsomely arranged. The front of the engine rests on full platform springs and the rear of the engine on a pair of long half elliptic springs, hung below the frame with togle-joint arrange ment.
At a recent test of one of these engines (third-class in size), a I i-2-inch stream was thrown a distance of 245 feet. Although the test lasted several hours and was of unusual severity, yet nowhere was there perceptible the slighest weakness or defect; the machinery ran so smoothly and easily that the engine stood apparently as steady as when not in operation; there being an entire absence of the jumping and springing so often found in steam fire engines where double cranks are used.