Simple Steam Engine questions

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Summary
For my self study of 1860s steam war ships.
Were steam pressure gauges used in 1860?
Was a vessel reversed by reversing the engine or within the gearing?
For a small steam powered launch, how long from a dead stop would it take to get a boiler up to operating steam?
This is for my study of Confederate torpedo boats.
Thank you for your response!
 

anorlunda

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I second @Drakkith 's suggestion.

For a small steam powered launch, how long from a dead stop would it take to get a boiler up to operating steam?
That's not really the right question.

To start a fire and to warm up a boiler from cold to boiling takes hours for big boilers. Maybe 30 minutes for a small launch.

However, once making steam, one could decouple the ship's drive train to stop motion, and simply vent the steam being produced by the boiler. In that case, the time to close the vent and restart the drive train should be only a few seconds.

The time it takes the drive train to accelerate the vessel from a stop to full speed depends on the max power of the engine and the total mass of the vessel. A small launch empty accelerates faster than a launch loaded to the max with cannonballs.
 
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That answers my time to full steam question anorlunda, thanks. And Drakkith, thanks for the book reference I will look into that one but I don't think it gives details of operation. Thanks.

So, if I can find out if REVERSE is accomplished via the gears or making the steam motor work in reverse?

I have not found a historic source to know if pressure gauges were used in 1860?

Maybe someone else will know?
Thanks
 

Baluncore

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I have not found a historic source to know if pressure gauges were used in 1860?
My 1863 Robey engine had provision for a pressure gauge.

A water sight glass and pressure gauges have always been used on steam engine boilers. It is the only sensible way to monitor the rate of steam production. The only way to verify the pressure gauge reading was to waste steam and listen to the note it made as it escaped.

There is no need for a reverse gear with a steam engine. The valve mechanism is simply reversed. There are various ways it was done with different valves. I expect a slide valve would have been used on a civil war boat. As an example, a Stephenson valve gear could be used to control the direction of the engine and to throttle the steam. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephenson_valve_gear

Steam traction engines often had two gear ratios available, with neutral between. That made it possible to run fast on the flat, to climb steep hills under load, or to stand chocked while driving machinery with a belt.

Boats do not need a neutral gear as simply venting the cylinder will provide a freewheel neutral. Likewise, the displacement hull speed limitation of a boat requires no gear changes when driven by a steam engine. Single or double paddle wheels and water screws were available during the civil war period. Paddle wheels rotated slowly so could be mounted directly on a cross crankshaft. Early water screws were large diameter and slow, so did not require special gear ratios.
 
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Thanks Baluncore, that explains the guage and reverse. I very much appreciate the responses you fellas have given.
 

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