Giants

Leafing through the pages of 'Modern Power Engineering' (1910-20ish?) I see
there are a good number of really huge engines illustrated, the largest
probably being an 8,500hp twin tandem gas engine by Cockerill. I guess all
these giants have long since succumbed to the scrap man's hammer, but what
is the largest 'vintage' engine remaining in captivity?
nickh=== Posted with Qusnetsoft NewsReader 2.2.0.8
Reply to
nickh
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but what is the largest 'vintage' engine remaining in captivity?
I'm involved with looking after a 3000hp mill engine at Ellenroad, Rochdale. That power at 58.5 rpm needed 3000tons of brickwork to hold it down. Our flywheel weighs in at 85 tons!
Unfortunately for this site our fire is external, but we are stationary.
Tim Young
Reply to
Tim Young
3000hp at 58.5 rpm? That's nearly 300,000 foot pounds torque! Shame it's hot fog though ;-) Any thoughts on IC?
Reply to
Nick H
I know where there is a 250hp Crossley gas engine running.
Tim Young
Reply to
Tim Young
The two that occur to me are the recently installed straight-eight Allen at Internal Fire (anyone know the hp?) and the ex-Ealing Studio Ruston-Hornsby at the Anson, which is bigger AFAIR, though I don't think it's running yet. I wouldn't describe either of them as giants, though, they're in the hundreds, not thousands, of horsepower class.
I guess there will be some significant lumps across the pond at Coolspring.
Regards, Arthur G
Reply to
Arthur G
We were at a rally at Beamish a few years ago and there was a large engine being installed in a purpose built shed there. Looked like a not very old marine type. Can anyone elaborate??
Reply to
CHARLES HAMILTON
hundreds or thousands still in operation, nylands, fiats, you name it, just look for any ship with a low speed direct coupled diesel with crossheads, prolly two strokes too, metre plus bores not uncommon
Reply to
Guy Fawkes
About 25 miles from here is a power plant with five 6,864 horsepower Hamilton MAN engines. They're used for backup generation and rarely run. A couple months ago I was thrilled to be invited to a special event where they would fire one of the engines up for us. The spectacle was incredible.
Here's a few pictures I took years ago.
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=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Rob Skinner La Habra, California
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Reply to
Rob Skinner
"Rob Skinner" wrote
Wow! That's just the sort of thing I was thinking of (rather than marine engines). Thanks for the pics.
Reply to
Nick H
Arthur --
Don't bank on giant stuff at Coolspring. They have a fantastic collection, but mainly of 10-150hp early machinery.
Colin
Reply to
Colin
cept they are marine engines, installed in a gen shed and not a boat
Reply to
Guy Fawkes
Arthur's comment on Coolspring reminds me ...
For anyone wanting to see giants still occasionally in action, there is an amazing pumping station called Heath Station near to Coolspring (30 mins by car?). I visited it in '99, & was treated to an awe-inspiring sight.
Facts are slipping away in my ancient brain, but I seem to remember that there were 8 enormous compound horizontal engines (each 2-20x14.5x36), made by Snow Steam Pump Works, Buffalo NY. Of the 8, 3 were running on the evening we went. I think the owners (a water utility) put on a special show for folk at the Coolsping Fall event.
Each of these engines + pump must have been well over 40 feet in length. I know it was a real problem to photograph anything much. because of their sheer bulk. Lack of wide angle lens, no tripod & little light didn't help much either!. I do have a few general views, amongst many detail pix.
In the corner was a modern large Ingersoll Rand diesel. Think it was a V12, & did the work that all 8 of the others originally undertook. There seemed a real risk that the Snows were doomed, at least in their original location. Delightful as they were singly, splitting up the set would destroy a quite wonderful original installation.
The whole pumping station was immaculate. One vivid memory was crawling down under the engines into a subterranean vault that had a huge selection of spares. Wonderful photo opportunity, but date limits meant I didn't use any for Martin's competition!
Colin
Reply to
Colin
Vintage, AND hot fog - and not a million miles from your location!
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Reply to
MatSav
"MatSav" wrote >
Never been there, but I do go to Kew Bridge pumping station every year for the stirling engine gathering. As you say though, these focus on hot fog, 'Infernal Combustion' never seems to have generated the same sort of enthusiasm. Many of the largest static IC engines were employed in electricity generation or blast furnace blowing, and I guess there just wasn't the interest in preservation when they became redundant.
The 'heritage' industry is pretty selective about which bits of our past it chooses to romanticise, providing the casual punter with a heavily edited version of history.
Reply to
Nick H
Toured the BB-63 Missouri the other day, it's 4 turbines with a combined 212,000 shp might take the prize albeit fog powered, together with others of the Iowa class.
Tom
Reply to
Tom
Nick --
Not too suprising. Worth reflecting on why, to help the future.
Compare some of the truly wonderful steam cathedrals (Leicester, Brighton, Kew Bridge, Kempton) with your average IC power house. One was usually immaculate, contained superb architecture, & had visually appealing large bits that moved slowly. The other was often a dirty, oil-stained, noisy brick shed. I know which evoked British greatness & all that jazz ...... & was most likely to inspire enthusiasts (& councils!) to get stuck in for preservation.
The most splendid thing about the big hot fog installations that survive is that you do have machines + their original environment, & both are appealing. We have very few original large ic engine installations in situ, more's the pity. Even fewer are open to the public. Modern ic collections like Internal Fire are now creating simulated environments, which is the right thing to do to spark the imagination of youngsters.
Another problem has been that many early ic engine houses are still in use with later engines, or other purposes. They didn't have specific architectural interest that could get them listed, & they were adaptable.
Some of the hot fog buildings survived because they were so obviously visually striking, even to the non-addict, & because their sheer scale made them less easily economically usable for other purposes. May have laid silent for decades but, thankfully, some are now reborn.
Add the fact that some of those buildings were geographically separated from their users, & they had more chance of rebirth, as they had car park potential etc. If an ic shed was in the middle of some industrial complex to shorten belt runs etc, chances were that few industrial companies would be prepared to lose that useful space, nor to have the public literally in their back yard (& that's before the lunatic HSA days!). Folk like Bass were a rare exception.
This is equally true for most of the smaller hot fog installations, where again it was usual to have the engine(s) as close as possible to production.
Nowadays utility companies owning large IC installations that are the natural successors to the steam cathedrals are driven by hard, cold, economics. Most shareholders prefer divis & capital growth to empty, non-productive buildings. Many councils will slap taxes on unused buildings. Scrap can be worth money. Land can be more worth much more money. All in all, a pretty bleak outlook for the preservation of many large installations in situ ............
It's been sad how recently rare/large engines in ships have just been broken up, even when owned by museums (eg steam tug at Cardiff a couple of years back). Let's hope some survive, even 'tho they do need space.
Colin
Reply to
Colin
Very impressive but the Winding engine at Astley Green Colliery can beat that by 300 hp!! Alas it wasn't "in steam" last time I saw it. Ellenroad still steams doesn't it???
Reply to
CHARLES HAMILTON
It certainly does. Next date is February 5th.
We have the boiler in pieces at the moment preparing for the boiler inspector. We run on the first Sunday each month except January.
Tim
Reply to
Tim Young
Could you let us have a web address perhaps or any other information? I'd like to try & make it for the 5th Feb if possible.
Regards,
Kim Siddorn.
Reply to
Kim Siddorn
The web site is
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The events have yet to be up-tarted but the dates are always the first Sunday in the month.
M62, jnc 21, big chimney.
We had a good news, bad news with the steeplejacks yesterday. The chimney only needs pointing But the rope-race roof is collapsing. Ho Hum, that explains the drips then!
Tim
Reply to
Tim Young

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