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Wonders of World Engineering

Part 6



Part 6 of Wonders of World Engineering was published on Tuesday 6th April 1937, price 7d.


Part 6 includes a colour plate showing Pouring Molten Steel from a Bessemer Converter illustrating the article on Fuel for the Modern Steelworks. The plate also appeared as the front cover of this issue.






The Cover


“This week’s cover shows white-hot molten steel being poured from a giant skip into a casting, one of the most impressive sights in a modern steelworks.”


White-hot molten steel being poured from a giant skip into a casting


Contents of Part 6


Battersea Power Station (Part 2)

Germany’s Overland Canal

Fuel for the Modern Steelworks

Pouring White Hot Steel From a Bessemer Converter (colour plate)

Power From Scotland’s Lochs

Turbine-Driven Locomotive

Giant Telescopes

The World’s Land Speed Record (Part 1)







An Electric Transporter Crane at Battersea Power Station

“AN ELECTRIC TRANSPORTER CRANE with a grab is used to handle the enormous quantities of coal used for the furnaces at Battersea Power Station. The furnaces for the six boilers burn 17½ tons of coal an hour. If all six boilers were worked at full pressure, they would use 2,500 tons a day. All the machinery at Battersea is operated by electricity supplied from auxiliary generators.”

(Page 165)






Germany’s Overland Canal


Instead of using navigational locks, barges on the unique Overland Canal, in East Prussia, are hauled between different levels on wagons running on sets of rails. This article is a two-page photo-feature.

(Pages 166-167)


Battersea Power Station (Part 2)


The story of Battersea Power Station. The chapter is by David Masters and is concluded from part 5.

(Page 165)


A Bessemer Converter


“POURING WHITE HOST STEEL from a Bessemer converter into a ladle for transport to the ingot moulds. The converter is charged with molten pig iron through which air is blown. The air causes the carbon, silicon and other impurities in the iron to burn fiercely so that no fuel is used in the process of conversion. To make pig iron from iron ore, however, large quantities of coke are required and at modern steelworks there is often a battery of ovens continuously at work producing coke from coal.”


This colour plate also appeared on the cover of this issue.


(Attached to page 173)


The Galloway Power Scheme

(Top left) “BUILDING THE CARSFAD DAM. The workmen are engaged on building the spillway channel which diverts the water that spills over the gravity dam back into the bed of the River Ken. The end of the straight gravity section of the dam, where it joins the arch section, can be seen to the left of the picture.

(Bottom left) STEEL PIPE with an internal diameter of 13 ft 6 in connects Kendoon Power Station with the reinforced concrete aqueduct leading from the Blackwater dam. The pipe line is 700 feet long and the aqueduct more than 2,800 feet long. As in a tunnel, provision had to be made for coping with a surge. The surge tower seen in this photograph is 85 feet high. The sections of pipe were delivered in half-cylinders 8 feet wide and riveted together on the site.

(Centre) NEARING COMPLETION of the arch section of the dam at Earlstoun, on the River ken. No spillways were built in this section of the dam. The dam was built in sections with spaces between so that full allowance could be given to the contraction of the concrete on cooling.

(Top right) MASSIVE FLOOD GATES were incorporated in the gravity section of the Earlstoun dam. Spillways were provided along the 417 feet length of the gravity dam, but these alone would have been insufficient to lead off all the flood water. The flood gates of the Eartstoun dam have a span of 17 ft 6 in and can be raised to a height of 25 feet.

(Bottom right) 140 ACRES OF WATER are impounded by the Earlstoun dam. Water for the Earlstoun turbines is drawn from the eastern end of the dam by a canal 1,200 feet long.”

(Pages 180-181)



Fuel for the Modern Steelworks


Steel requires, in the making, such large quantities of fuel that the coke ovens of a steelworks are in themselves important examples of engineering practice. These ovens make the coke which is used for smelting the iron ore from which steel is derived. This chapter is the first written by the Consulting Editor to Wonders of World Engineering, Thomas Walley. Many people, Mr Walley tells us, regard coke as prosaic stuff to be used merely to feed the slow combustion stove that heats the bath water. But without coke steel could not be produced. Domestic coke is not the same thing as the coke used in steelworks. The coke that we use in our homes is only a by-product of the gasworks (as we saw in the chapter on The Story of Gas Production, published in part 2) and the gas companies are glad to find market for its disposal. When coke is made for steel manufacture it is gas that is the by-product, and after certain substances have been recovered it is sometimes necessary to burn the gas wastefully merely to get rid of it. The foregoing is merely a brief introduction to a most fascinating and interesting chapter.

(Pages 168-174)



Building the Earlstoun Dam


“BUILDING THE EARLSTOUN DAM. The arch section of the dam, built across the River Ken, is 282 feet long on a radius of 145 feet. The upstream face is vertical and there is a slight batter (slope) on the downstream face. Openings had to be left in the dam while work was in progress to allow the waters of the Ken to pass through. With the exception of the centre opening, into which was built an outlet conduit closed by a valve, the openings were filled in to complete the work. Spillways and flood gates were provided in the gravity section of the dam.”


(Page 176)


Sir Malcolm Campbell and Blue Bird

“SIR MALCOLM CAMPBELL and Blue Bird in 1933, before leaving England for Daytona Beach. The peculiar frontal appearance of the car is due to the cooling system used, the radiator cowl being mounted in such a way that the air passing through the radiator could emerge at the rear of the cowling, offering little resistance to the main air stream into which it passed. The car is seen fitted with ordinary tyres ; those used for the record attempts had no tread.”

(Page 195)


Turbine-Driven Locomotive


Although good deal is heard from time to time of the advantages of the electric locomotive, or that deriving its power from a diesel engine, that well-tried servant of the travelling public - the steam locomotive - is not yet superseded or even obsolescent, as recent performances on British main lines have conclusively demonstrated. On the Continent, also, and elsewhere, the steam locomotive is equally alive. Many experiments have been made in the attempt to improve the efficiency of the steam locomotive. In particular, engineers have tried to apply to the locomotive the principle of the steam turbine which has been so successful in ships and in power stations. It is a moot point whether or not turbine propulsion should be combined with the use of a condenser. In theory, if this is done, the exhaust steam, with all its heat, is conserved, instead of being wasted in the atmosphere. In practice the non-condensing turbine locomotive has proved more successful than one provided with a condenser. Several British experimental turbine locomotives have been built. In 1910 there appeared a turbo-condensing engine, with electrical propulsion. Eleven years later an improved version was built. In later experiments the electrical transmission was dispensed with. Meanwhile, the Swedish engineer, Fredrik Ljungstrom had been carrying out some interesting experiments. His condensing turbo-locomotive of 1921 comprised two vehicles coupled together. One vehicle carried the boiler and the other the condenser. The turbine was placed between the two. In 1926 an English firm built a locomotive of similar type under the Ljungstrom patents. This engine was tested for some months on the LMS Railway. The LMS brought, out, in 1935, a turbine express passenger locomotive, without either electrical transmission or condenser. This engine has performed remarkably well. Recently turbine propulsion has been revived in Sweden, as may be seen in the striking example illustrated below. The engine is of the 2-8-0 type. The structure in front of the smokebox is the motor unit, and consists of a non-condensing turbine of the Ljungstrom type. Running at the high speed of 10,000 revolutions a minute and supplied with superheated steam at a boiler pressure of 185 lb per sq in. the turbine transmits its power to a jackshaft immediately below it through reduction gearing analogous to that of a motor car and having a ratio of 1 to 50.7. The ends of the jackshaft are provided with balanced cranks which are connected by coupling rods to the crank-pins of the four driving wheels on either side. The turbine, although it exhausts to the atmosphere and not to a condenser, is capable of developing 1,350 horse-power, and the normal tractive effort is 39,680 lb. The gauge is the standard one of 4 ft 8½ in and the driving wheels are of 4 ft 5⅛ in. diameter. The locomotive is used on a line in Sweden on which there is a large amount of heavy mineral traffic. The line is worked by the Grangesberg-Oxelosund Traffic Company, for which three engines of this type have been supplied by the firm of Nydqvist and Holm A. B. Trollhattan, Sweden. It may be asked what advantage the non-condensing turbine locomotive has over the ordinary reciprocating type, and by way of answer some figures may be quoted. The first of the three locomotives has been engaged in hauling heavy iron-ore trains having a dead load of 1,750 tons behind the tender. Long inclines of 1 in 100 have presented no difficulty. A distance of 71,500 miles was run before general repairs were needed, the greatest distance run by reciprocating engines engaged on the same work being 36,000 miles. Comparative tests, made in 1933 between the two classes of engine, showed a saving of fuel of 23.8 per cent with the turbine locomotive.

This is the third article in the series describing Modern Engineering Practice.

(Page 186)



Power From Scotland’s Lochs


Of all the hydro-electric power schemes in Scotland, the largest and most recent is that in Galloway. Numerous dams, aqueducts, tunnels and other engineering works were built to provide the power for five generating stations which supply current to the Grid. Scotland, with its rivers and lochs, is a greater potential source of water power than any other part of Great Britain. This chapter, written by Peter Duff, deals with the vast Galloway Power Scheme in Scotland. Galloway, a district of hills, moors and valleys, is situated in the south-west of Scotland. The two main rivers are the Dee and the Ken. In 1929 the Galloway Water Power Act was passed. This was a prelude to a great scheme for the development of this area as a source of electrical power for industrial use. It was estimated that from a catchment area of 400 square miles power equivalent to 20,000 kilowatts at continuous load could be developed. One of the greatest engineering schemes in the British Isles has been necessary to achieve this ideal; so far-reaching is the project that engineering works have altered the topography of the area. The headwaters of the Dee have been impounded to form a large artificial loch known as Clatteringshaws Loch, which has a capacity of 1,250 million cubic feet of water. The waters from Clatteringshaws Loch are carried to Glenlee Power Station through a tunnel 19,050 feet long. Another long tunnel serves to bring the waters stored in Loch Doon into the watershed of the River Ken to be used for the five power stations of the Galloway scheme. In all, this undertaking comprises five separate power stations, seven reservoirs and a large number of dams and aqueducts. The work of the engineer has never been seen to greater advantage than in this great scheme which, completed in 1936, cost some £3,000,000. This article is the second in the series on the Wonders of Water Power.

(Pages 175-185)


Giant Telescopes


There are few scientific instruments made to-day which call for such precision in their assembly as modern telescopes. As these instruments may weigh 100 tons or more and have mirrors several tons in weight, their building calls for great engineering skill. Half a century ago the most powerful of telescopes weighed no more than fifteen or twenty tons and had eye-pieces of about 26 in diameter. The largest telescope existing to-day is the 100-in Hooker reflector weighing 96 tons and housed in a circular building on a mountain top in Southern California. A still larger telescope, with a 200-in disk is being prepared for installation about 1940. This chapter is written by Harold Shepstone.

(Pages 187-193)

An Electric Transporter Crane at Battersea Power StationThe Overland Canal


Germany’s Overland

Canal - 2


“ROPE WHEELS, driven by a water wheel, carry the 1½-in wire rope which hauls the barges over a stretch of land between different levels of the Overland Canal. The Overland Canal runs between the towns of Elbing and Osterode, in East Prussia.



THE BARGE ENTERS the wagon as it would a lock. When the barge is secured to the wagon, the water wheel at the engine house is set in motion and the wagon, complete with barge, is hauled out of the water.







ON DRY LAND a barge is an unusual site. The barges used on the Overland Canal are of about 60 tons. They have an overall length of about 80 feet and a beam of about 10 feet.”


(Page 166)

POURING WHITE HOST STEEL from a Bessemer converter into a ladle for transport to the ingot moulds.


Fuel for the Modern Steelworks - 2


“AT THE BACK OF A COKE OVEN BATTERY are the rails on which the electrically operated pusher machine runs. The long girder is thrust through the oven doors and pushes the coke out the other side. The tanks on the left are the primary coolers for the gas, which is a by-product drawn off the coke ovens. In the background are two of the blast furnaces in which a great part of the coke is used.


SULPHATE OF AMMONIA CENTRIFUGES dry the wet crystals of sulphate of ammonia which are formed in one of the by-processes of the manufacture of coke. The crystals are partly dried by being whirled round at an immense speed in these centrifugal machines. The crystals are finally dried in a hot-air chamber and then put into bags for sale. Sulphate of ammonia has a ready sale as a fertilizer.


ON THE COKE WHARF, made of sloping brickwork, coke is discharged from the long car


which has passed through the quenching house. Barred gates at the bottom of the wharf retain the coke until it is cool enough to be received on the conveyer belt. The conveyer belt moves up into the weigh house at the end of the wharf. In the weigh house the coke is automatically weighed while moving. It is then delivered to the screens for sizing.”

(Page 170)

Building the Earlstoun DamThe Galloway Power SchemeThe Galloway Power SchemeSwedish turbine locomotive


The World’s Land Speed Record (Part 1)


Sir Malcolm Campbell's record-breaking Blue Bird cars, in one of which he has attained speeds of more than 300 miles an hour, represent years of careful design and courageous experiment. There is much more in all this than the thrill of record breaking, although it would be idele to deny that that too has its attractions. These feats have their practical results, some of which are but a tiny piece in the pattern that the engineers who work on these results ultimately evolve for the more prosaic uses of ordinary life. It is impossible to tell, for example, the extent of Sir Malcolm Campbell’s influence on the design of the ordinary motor-car engine through his record-breaking achievements in the series of cars known as Blue Bird. For ten years Sir Malcolm Campbell tried to achieve a speed of 300 miles an hour. This chapter tells how the record was gradually increased to that figure and of the improvements to the Rolls-Royce engines of the last of the Blue Birds that made such a speed possible. The first men to drive a motor car of any sort were described by many people either as madmen or as criminals; the first designers of motor-car engines were dismissed as visionaries. To these men we owe the modern motor car. What will the motor car of to-morrow owe to the collaboration of drivers such as Malcolm Campbell and engineers such as Blue Bird’s designer, R A Railton? This chapter is by L H Thomas and the article is concluded in part 7.

(Pages 194-196)

AN Observer at the 100 inch telescope in Mount Wilson Observatory.



The 100 inch Telescope


“AN OBSERVER AT THE 100-INCH TELESCOPE in Mount Wilson Observatory. Observations can be made from four points of the instrument according to the focus used. The observer is using the Cassegrain focus, in which the image is reflected by a convex mirror to the top of the tube and back again, so that the image is focused at a point at the side of the tube near its base.”


(Page 188)

Sir Malcolm Campbell and "Blue Bird" in 1933