Civil War era technology?

Don't know if there's a more specific group to ask, but I'll start here.
Please direct me elsewhere if it's not.
During the Civil War iron clad ships 'Monitor' & 'Merrimac' battle [which
ended in a draw], did electrical motors [particularly 'heavy duty'
industrial ones] exist yet? If not, roughly how long until they did?
Also, during that same battle, did hydraulic pistons [like for
actuating/moving excavator-type arms] exist yet? If not, roughly how long
until they did? I know steam pistons for trains had been around for quite
awhile by then... but oil/hydraulic ones?
I'm designing a hypothetical unarmed, military salvage and recovery
submarine for an extended CGI assignment [using Softimage XSI] and need a
sense of what electrical and hydraulic technology existed during the Civil
War, so my final efforts don't look *too* fanciful. My sub is going to
purposely have an unglamorous, very utilitarian, decidedly non-Disney look
to it.
Reply to
Nev
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Electric motor theory was understood since Volta, and I'm sure there were many examples of functional benchtop electric motors - but my best guess is heavy industrial electrical motors would have to wait on Edison and the 1880s. He was doing experiments with electric rail travel and that suggests a heavy motor design.
I think hydraulics came into general use after WWI. They may have had a military application before that as the big artillery guns got heavier and higher barrel elevation was more desirable - just a guess.
I'm thinking the state of the art in power excavation was being done with the fellas that developed the canal system of the 1800s. Research that and you'll get an idea on the technology limitations of the day
WOW! Hard enough to build a CW era sub, but this one's going to be an underwater salvage vessel too. There are so many things to consider in submersible technology - I think the best you could hope for is a diving bell type of design that relies on a surface ship or platform for its power, environmental air, buoyancy and stability thru umbilicals and tethers.
Not unless you intend to adopt the Miguelito Lovelace startegy of divining distant future technologies, translated into the brass and gas raw materials of the day. I think James West had to contend with everything from tanks to television - in one of the 80s reunion specials he even had to deal with a nuke! You could almost hear Jules Verne groaning. ;-)
When you finish the project, please post a rendered screen shot in the binaries group.
WmB
Reply to
WmB
I have some photos of heavy construction machinery from the beginning of the 20th Century (some forty years after the Civil War) and the steam shovel shown in these photos indicates cables operated by a steam engine with a primary arm and a secondary (with the shovel attached to the end) which was counter-balanced sort of like this: \ \ / \/ / \ _/ \ /_/ \ \
Cables ran through these arms to operate the machinery. If you'd like, I could scan and e-mail these photos to you. Just send me your address.
- John
Reply to
Old Timer
A professor once noted in a seminar I attended that prior to 1875 about the only structural materials available were stone, wood, brass/bronze, and cast iron. The range of mechanical materials weren't much broader. That should give you the context.
Electricity was pretty much out.
Hydraulics, in principle, existed in the form of steam cylinders. There were also pumps, valves, as so forth.
KL
Reply to
Kurt Laughlin
I'm not sure. But I don't think you can put the words "Civil War & Technolog" in the same sentence. You'd have to check it. You certainly had pullies and gears and some of this could at the time be driven with an system using anintricate aray of overhead of Flat Belts to transfer motive power from one stationary machine in a line to another. But it All still had to be feed (Mechanical Power) by a Coal or Wood fired Steam Engine. This was the "State-of-the-Art" for the time that was it.
HEY , Just WHAT was so wrong with the Great Miguelito Lovelace , Hmmmm
I seem to remember another show called "Legend" I think with the guy who played Q on Star Trek. They had a similar story line with that show, but he was this Mad Scientist from the around Croatioa.
Somehow I think in the overall scheme of things that Jules Verne would be sort of pleased with the way they wrote some of the technology into the "Wild Wild West"
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Reply to
cyberborg 4000
I would say no to electricity, and a qualified yes to hydraulics - which is older than steam engines. Remember the only submarine of it's time was human powered (CSS Hunley, gives new meaning to the term crankshaft!). Good place to start is to check out some sites that detail the design - after all the Navy just pulled it up a year or so ago.
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Try asking in the railroad newsgroups also.
Another possibility is that you could pre-suppose later technologies that came around the 1880's to 1900 before the first U boats.
Also remember battery technology was experimented with by many in the late 1700's, Ben Franklin included, though I doubt the scientists knew what to do with the electricity at that time. Perhaps this could be used in your design.
KWW
: Don't know if there's a more specific group to ask, but I'll start here. : Please direct me elsewhere if it's not. : : During the Civil War iron clad ships 'Monitor' & 'Merrimac' battle [which : ended in a draw], did electrical motors [particularly 'heavy duty' : industrial ones] exist yet? If not, roughly how long until they did? : : Also, during that same battle, did hydraulic pistons [like for : actuating/moving excavator-type arms] exist yet? If not, roughly how long : until they did? I know steam pistons for trains had been around for quite : awhile by then... but oil/hydraulic ones? : : I'm designing a hypothetical unarmed, military salvage and recovery : submarine for an extended CGI assignment [using Softimage XSI] and need a : sense of what electrical and hydraulic technology existed during the Civil : War, so my final efforts don't look *too* fanciful. My sub is going to : purposely have an unglamorous, very utilitarian, decidedly non-Disney look : to it. : :
Reply to
news.verizon.net
Uh, there never was a Civil War battle between ships called Monitor and Merrimac. The South never, ever had a ship in its service called Merrimac.
The Merrimac was the USS Merrimac, pride of the American navy. At the outbreak of war it was in the process of being overhauled and was not in seaworthy condition. Since the port it was being overhauled in was in Virginia the port personnel scuttled it to keep it from falling into Confederate hands.
The Confederacy salvaged its engines and hull and used them to build a new ship- the CSS *Virginia*.
The Virginia's first action was attacking the federal blockade at Hampton roads. The next day the brand new Union ship, the USS Monitor, met it in battle. Tactically the battle was a draw, since neither ship could do significant damage to the other. Strategically it was a decisive Union victory, since the Confederates were stopped cold in their attempt to break the blockade.
Remember, it was the Monitor vs. the Virginia.
Reply to
Shawn Wilson
"Shawn Wilson" wrote
You're right, of course. I vaguely remembered one of the ships was refit and renamed, but not which one. Thanks for the clarification.
Yet oddly, what few websites I briefly looked through, mentioned the name change towards the end almost in passing. So out of 'popular habit' I and likely most other people remember the battle as between the 'Monitor and the Merrimac'. Still, I'll be sure to include that [re]naming tidbit in the explanatory text at the beginning of my final project... actually my 'Senior Project'.
Reply to
Nev
The saddest thing...is that when "ironclads" is mentioned, most people think of *only* the Monitor and the Virginia. There were *many* "ironclads" in use by both sides during the war, of many varied sizes and configurations.
Reply to
Greg Heilers
About hydraulics.... sorry, but you're out of luck there - hydraulics of any real pressure and usefulness weren't around until the late '40s, and winch / cable operated earthmoving equipment was still being produced into the 60's. And the really big stuff is still cable operated.
And for heavy-duty electric motor stuff, you need to look at some serious DC motors, or 3-phase AC electrical systems; very common in industry these days - but only dating from the late 1890's.
Before these dates, it was steam powered or muscle powered....
RobG
Reply to
Rob Grinberg
No, industrial electric motors were an early eighties thing. Electric motors existed, I believe from about the 1840s, but they were generally small, and experimental. Batteries were the only practical source then. The electric motor awaited the advent of the perfected generator and low (relatively) voltages and parallel distribution systems that came into existance after edison perfected (not invented) the incandescent resistance light bulb.
Hydraulics existed, but were not widely used in Civil war. Moving heavy objects (like turrets)was done by steam. An interesting situation was on clipper ships, which were solely propelled by wind, but some of the later ones had small steam winches to set sails and rigging, and to hoist cargo in port. Hydraulic systems in warships were, I believe, an 1890s thing.
Reply to
Don Stauffer
Steels were available, but at great expense. The steel revolution was starting, and Britain would have been using a lot more steel in the 70s than the US, but even here the steel industry was getting underway in that period. Steel was still expensive so only the military could afford wide use of it. I think railroad rails were also one of the main things converting to steel in that time. In fact, some 'ironclads' were clad with railroad rail.
Reply to
Don Stauffer
In fact, the Hampton roads battle was not the first in the Civil War using ironclads. The gunboats built by Eads in St. Louis had already attacked Forts Henry and Donaldson, with the sinking of the U.S.S. Cairo by a mine in the action, the first ship ever lost to a naval mine (though they were called torpedos in that era).
And of course the British had used ironclad steam batteries in the Crimean war.
Reply to
Don Stauffer
"Greg Heilers" wrote
Anyone know websites with period photos [daguerreotypes, I think] of such ships or portions of? I remember seeing some way back when: Mathew Brady's [sp?] work perhaps.
Even though my salvage sub is decidedly ficticious, the more historical references I have to work from then the more plausible it'll appear. Disney's still stunningly beautiful 'Nautilus' is all the more so because it has a believable 'advanced period technology' look to her. While my design is likewise based on a sea creature [though not a fish], it looks much different because it serves a fundamentally different purpose: "Form follows function." But it still wants to look like 'advanced Civil War-era' design and construction... just not TOO advanced.
Reply to
Nev
And that presumably means no electric lights in my sub either, nor exterior electric floodlights to illuminate the work/salvage area. OK, glass enclosed gas lights throughout then, with larger brighter ones for the exterior work.
So then steam operated exterior 'moving equipment' cylinders on my sub it will be. Since they'll be underwater, I'll have to use the 'particles' feature of Softimage XSI to simulate the steam venting from those cylinders flow valves [?]... sort of like steam train 'drive cylinders' [I don't know the terminology] do as they go back & forth.
Reply to
Nev
Doing a google search on "Cairo-class ironclads" ought to get you lots of pics.
Steve H
Nev wrote:
Reply to
snh9728
Maybe even later. Recently I ean across a yearbook that a local (and long defunct) newspaper did concerning the Spanish-American War. Among the photos was one of the USS Texas taking on munitions in Brooklyn Nay Yard. The big shells were being winched on board by hand with block and tackle by a ~lot~ of able-bodied seamen.
Reply to
Old Timer
How about that type of gas light in front of a polished mirror, similar in scope to the lenses used in lighthouses? Properly focused, it could give a strong beam of light. I remember reading once that a doctor even did an emergency surgery by the light of oil lamps who's light was focused by a large full-length mirror. He stated that he only considered it because if he had waited until morning (then SOP) the lady would have died. Her son had proposed the idea and proved that it would work, so the doctor did it. Uhh, the son's name, BTW, was Tom Edison.....
Reply to
Old Timer
Reminds me [off on a tangent] of when my late father was working at Boeing, Lear Jet or Cessna [I don't remember], and his group had gotten English translations of Russian tech documents relevant to their project. But the recurring phrase "water goat" in the translations stumped them. No one could figure out what it was. 'Water goat'? What was that?
Someone finally realized 'water goat' was a sloppy translation of ... 'hydraulic ram'!
Reply to
Nev
Those interior gas lamps are going to require oxygen to burn. O2 is a real commodity on a sub. Piping gas around this ship is going to present a risk I think few sailors would accept. Oil lamps are probably a better choice, but all around I think you'll find common wax candles will serve the purpose of providing basic interior illumination with the least amount of risk. Still and O2 eater, but at least it's one less thing onboard that can explode.
As for external use as flood lamps - don't think so. Even with the benefit of modern technology, the degree to which you can 'light it up' underwater is limited. On top of that, the more holes you poke in your pressure hull (gas and O2 supply for those flood lights) the more problems you create by a factor of ten (at least). Internal lamps projected thru port holes with lens & mirrors - possible, but I think the return on the investment would be negligible.
I'm guessing that pre-electric deep sea divers used flares for illumination? Anybody?
You'll have to place the steam engine inside the sub and transmit useful power by way of a sealed shaft(s) thru the hull (more holes to seal) to any exterior mechanical armatures or devices. The crew is going to love that considering the boiler accidents of the day. Going to get toasty in there at any rate. Inside the sub, the flame used to heat the boilers will use up any oxygen faster than you can say dead canary in a mine shaft. Presumably, the boiler pilot will tap off the gas supply feeding those external gas lamps. Make sure to position the gas tanks or feed lines as close to the boiler pilots as you can get them - that will ensure the crew doesn't suffer for long. ;-)
Let's talk design intent for a moment. What is the purpose of having a recovery submarine as opposed to say a salvage ship with a deep sea diver on tether to connect the ship's hoisting system with whatever it is below that needs to be hoisted to the surface? We're talking 100 to 200ft safe operating depth for this hypothetical sub - and that's carrying a hugely qualified "safe". A couple hundred feet is within range of a deep sea diver. Why the need for a sub? And just how much heavy lifting do you propose to accomplish with a mechanical arm? The straightforward way to bring something up would be to simply secure the sub to the item and use bouyancy and ballast to float it to the surface. If the idea is to snatch something into a retrieval basket and bring it up when the sub ascends than you won't need much more in the way of a manually powered armature that utilizes leverage - depending I guess, on how big the retrieval basket is and your degree of ambition. By any chance, these aren't Rebel sailors looking to retrieve sunken Yankee gold! ;-)
What you propose is firmly in the realm of science fiction from the POV of 1861-65 naval technology. What would it take, something on the order of 1000 tons of submarine for every foot you intend to descend (and reascend from)? It will just about name itself - the SS Behemoth?
I can offer you the same advice an old professor was fond of giving whenever our class backed itself into a corner - "drop back ten yards and punt". Your best shot is to design a manned submersible that can be suspended and supported by a surface ship, much the way a DSD operates - operating semi-independently much the way it's done today. That's within sight of being feasible if not completely within reach of Civil War era capabilities. Your main concerns (of the submersible) will be pressure hull integrity, ballast and attitude control via neutral buoyancy, and a limited propulsion/control requirement far less demanding than flying the boat autonomously. It goes without saying that maintaining the integrity of the contact with the surface ship is of primary importance. ;-)
That's more than enough problems with which to contend. But still, if you're just playing around with a CGI package for grins - throw caution to the wind and design a Nemo-class submarine the envy of sci-fiers from here to Verne.
Just don't try and blueprint this thing. ;-)
WmB
Reply to
WmB

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