STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 13 Apr 2018, 03:58

Billy says they were stopped six weeks in all and after the initial repair there was a lot of vibration in the drive and in the end a new jack wheel was fitted. When the new wheel was fitted it was wrong, ‘too much shoulder on it’ and they had to ‘shive some off’ and bar the engine round by hand all night to get it to run somewhere near right. Later evidence makes it clear that the original engine was overloaded, the boiler pressure was too low and the gear drive to Brook’s shed was still unsatisfactory. All these problems were resolved by installing a Buckley and Taylor engine at the back of the Yates and driving the back shed directly by ropes to reduce the load on the tandem. This new addition was a 250hp tandem and Newton says it was very modern for its time. It ran at 75 rpm, tandem, blue steel lagged, all Corliss valves, vertical air pump in the cellar, ‘a bonny little engine’. There was a very long rope drive direct on to Brooks’ shed shaft. Newton said that you could see the original stonework for the gearing and it had evidently been spur wheel and pinion. Billy Brooks said there were three gears. Newton also said the engine house was very hot with having two engines in. Billy Brooks said that sometime around 1890/1900 as near as I can make out the mill was closed for a fortnight while the two original boilers were taken out and two new higher pressure boilers were put in. He said the old ones were 100psi and the new ones 150psi. As the old ones were being pulled out he saw ‘Hyde Junction’ painted on one of them. It isn’t clear from what Billy said whether he was referring to the new boilers or the old but I can’t see the paint having survived on the old boilers so I think we can assume it was the replacements. Adamsons started on Newton Moor in Hyde in 1851 but later moved to a thirteen acre site at Hyde Junction and were very early makers of Lancashire boilers, Adamson was closely associated with Fairbairn who brought out the new design.

Billy Brooks said, “I’ve seen many a time when Robinson Brooks ’ud say to me father, don’t come while breakfast time, it were in winter time, he says wait while things get warmed up. A bit hard fired you see and he didn’t want the tapes pulling at the boiler until everything had getten going. So many a time he knocked the tapes off while after breakfast at Monday morning in cold weather.” This tells the whole story about the boilers. I know from my own experience of running Bancroft with one boiler what the problems can be on a winter morning. Everything in the mill is cold so your friction load is right at the top and you’ve got the heating full on in the mill. In Bancroft’s case you also had the lights on. I’ve asked the tapes to hang back myself many a time, part of the problem with the tapes is that before they can start they have to boil the size in the becks and the sow box and even with just one tape extra in the case of Long Ing, this was a major load on the boilers. (One standard tape did for 400 looms) Another less well known fact is that on Monday morning the brick settings under the boiler are relatively cold, they don’t warm up to full temperature until Wednesday dinnertime. Coal consumption in winter dropped noticeably round about Wednesday dinnertime for this reason.

It seems fairly obvious that there was a fundamental mistake made during the building of Long Ing Shed. At a guess I’d say that this was because George Rushworth was an engineer of sorts and had a big say in the design as he was the major shareholder. Some estimate of his and his firm’s worth in this regard can be deduced from the fact that Rushworth’s never made any headway as engineers and millwrights, they reverted to being scrap merchants and then there is Newton’s evidence as to the state of the engine when Stephen Pickles got control in the 1932 and brought Brown and Pickles in. Billy Brooks evidence is that “They were always stopped”. Theoretically the engines would perhaps have been adequate for 1100 looms but they were an old design with slide valves all round which wouldn’t have been very efficient. The boiler pressure was very low at 100psi and when the new shed was added the engines could only just cope with the power demand. I have little doubt that this plus bad fitting in the first place was the root of the cause of the jack wheel breakage. Apart from the matter of poor maintenance, raising the pressure with new boilers and installing the Buckley and Taylor engine cured the fundamental defects. It’s significant that Long Ing was the first modern shed completed in one build and the technology wasn’t as well understood as it was in later years.

Image

The jack wheel and second motion pulley on the Long Ing engine that failed and claimed two fingers!
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 14 Apr 2018, 03:33

Here’s the story of the Brown and Pickles involvement at Long Ing straight from Newton Pickles. “We never worked at Long Ing while it belonged to Rushworths at Colne. Rushworths used to maintain the engine and just before I came out of me time, Stephen Pickles had all of Butts and about 400 or 500 looms at Calf Hall. They took them looms out of Calf Hall and went to Long Ing, we moved all the tapes, cut-looking machines and all that for them. That were’t first time I’d ever worked at Long Ing. We were working there doing tapes and tape drives and donkey engines and the ruddy mill kept stopping, it’d stop about an hour and then they’d start up again and sometimes it wouldn’t start at all and that’s how it went on, that were nowt to do with us because we never went to them engines at all. This went on for about six month and one afternoon, we were in’t shop, me father shouts “Newton! Come here”. I went outside into t’thoroughfare (This was the passage that divided the right hand shop at Wellhouse from the laundry and the office.) he says, you know Mr Stephen Pickles don’t you? Oh aye I says, from Butts. Mr Pickles says we’ve to go to Long Ing, it’s stopped again. Stephen said I’m not going to have any more of it we don’t run more than a day and a half a week so I’ve told Rushworths to keep away and you’re going to Long Ing. So I surmised then like, which I learned later were right, that Pickles had bought a load of shares in Long Ing which made Rushworths a bit lower down the ladder.”

(The minutes of the Calf Hall Shed company show that S Pickles and Sons and their associated firms Butts Manufacturing Company and Craven Manufacturing Co (the latter two were sole tenants in Butts Mill) moved out of Calf Hall and Butts in April 1932 so this must be the date of the changes Newton is referring to. Butts Mill never ran again after Pickles moved into Barnsey and Long Ing.)
“So off me and me father goes to Long Ing and it were stopped. The engine driver were a nice chap and came from Foulridge, he hadn’t been there so long so me father goes to him and says what’s up and what do they call thee? He says they call me Jack and I live at Foulridge and I’m stopped because I’ve got no vacuum. So me father says we’d better have look at them air pumps hadn’t we. We went back to the shop and got some blocks and tackle and two fitters, Bob Fort and Leonard Parkinson, good fitters, and we went to t’Long Ing. We pulled the delivery plate off one air pump, they weren’t so big you know them pumps. (Being a tandem it would have an air pump/condenser set on each side.) I just takes one look down the bucket and I says bloody hell! Old Len’s up on top and he says what’s up Newton? I said I don’t know Len but I’ve getten t’block chain fast down t’side o’t bucket and I can’t get it out! He says tha what? I says I’ve getten t’hand chain down t’side o’t bucket and t’buggers kaiked over and I can’t get it out! He says I’m coming down there, I want to see this! And believe it or believe it not he came down did Leonard and he says hell fire I’ve been all over’t country but I’ve never seen owt like this. He rolled his smock sleeve up and says I can get me fingers in, he shoved his hand down t’side o’t bucket and when he did that I pulled the chain out. I bet there were five eighths of an inch wear. Well, we couldn’t do owt with that at night so we changed all the big rubbers on the bucket and all the top rubbers on the delivery plate (Discs of rubber half an inch thick and about six inches in diameter which sat over apertures in the bucket and plate and acted as non-return valves, essential to the proper working of the pump.) they were all shrivelled up and we did the other side and be about twelve o’clock we’d getten it all together. Len says ho Newton there’s sommat wrong here has ta looked at them pillars? They were like yours at Bancroft Stanley, round pillars up each side for the crosshead slide. (This was the linkage that drove the pump via a bell-crank from the engine.) Len says come over here and have a look. We’d nowt down there but a stink lamp (A small cast iron lamp with a rope wick which burned oil and hence was a ‘stink’ lamp. The most popular was the Blackwell’s Patent Unbreakable Lamp.) and a lantern, there were no electric. Leonard held his lantern up back and says what do you think about them pillars, that pillar leans over about half an inch at t’top and look at the bushes! (In the crosshead arms.) They were all worn bell mouthed were the bushes. We got the new rubbers on and I remember me father saying to us think on before you come away take the injection valve tops off and have a look in the pipes and so we did. There were two injection pipes that came in from the canal. (The suction pipes for the condensing water. The valves could be regulated to give the maximum vacuum with the minimum flow of water, the most efficient operating condition for the engine.) We took the tops off it weren’t much of a job they were only held on be four bolts, you know the injection valves for the water to the air pumps. (Via the condensers.) They were ordinary mushroom valves and old Len says take em out Newton and just put t’tops back because by the look of these pumps we’re going to need all the water we can get here.

Image

The Blackwell Unbreakable stink lamp.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 15 Apr 2018, 03:12

Anyway we got running sometime during the night and I think the vacuum gauge went up to about 25 inches and t’chap nearly had a fit. He says they’ve never been up there since I started! And it were summertime and the canal were warm. (The colder the water and the better the vacuum.) Anyway this’d be about Wednesday and it ran the week out. We told me father about these guides and old Stephen had given me father a blank order to do whatever was needed so first of all at weekend we went and took these guides off. I got one into t’lathe on Sunday morning and it were an inch and a half bent and they were two and a half inches in diameter. Well, I couldn’t straighten it meself but our Mr Brown from Horton rolled in, he were all dressed up. He says what ta doing Newton making a crankshaft? I told him it were one of the pillars off the engine at Long Ing. Never! he says, and it’s run like that? Anyhow he helped me off with it and we warmed it in the fire and straightened in the lathe. It weren’t so long only about three feet. We straightened it reasonably and I filed it up and polished it. We did the motion up at weekends, we took a lot of the shake out of it because it were clonk bang, clonk bang when it were running and we took particulars for new buckets. (‘Taking particulars’ was taking the measurements.) It ran a fortnight and it never stopped no more and then we took the buckets out. We hadn’t time to rebore them the liners weren’t too bad. They were an ordinary air pump so we put the new buckets in and made them fit the hole as best we could. All new rubbers on’t buckets again and we made new saucers with a bit more dish so they’d relieve themselves better. (The saucers restrained the rubbers on their seat and he has given them more dish so that the rubbers can flex well out of the way of the water flow.) Them air pumps never gave any more trouble.

Then me father says we’d better have a look in them cylinders. We took the high pressure cover off one Saturday morning off one side and I put me fingers right over it (The piston.) So he rang Stephen up and he said remember what I told you John, you’ve to do to that engine what you want. (This demonstrates a big difference between then and now. The management didn’t have a lot of meetings and call for different quotations. They decided whether they could trust Johnny and told him to do what was necessary.) So at Barlick holidays we rebored one side both the high pressure and t’low and them were the first two cylinders I rebored on me own. I were supervised on them but I more or less did nights on em and I bored them two. I did them but I weren’t entirely left with em, me father came over and Dennis came and Len were there. (Newton doesn’t make it clear but from what he says below they must have got enough piston castings for all four)

Image

The small steam engine driving the boring machine. The engine behind it is the Buckley and Taylor that drove what was Brook’s weaving shed.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 16 Apr 2018, 03:20

Now then, sometime between then and the September holidays the flywheel came loose during the week, it rolled off the keys and landed up on one side of the wheel pit and started rubbing. In the time available and t’time it happened we couldn’t make any new keys for it so we refitted the old uns and thumped em in and we were only stopped about two and a half days. Then, in the September holidays I got landed reight, bore t’other two cylinders and we’d made all these pistons, four altogether. I got instructions, they were going to stop two days extra and I’d all four cylinders to do. At holidays when we bored two cylinders we were stopped a week, that gave me two full weekends as well didn’t it. At September holidays they stopped while Wednesday, they stopped at Thursday night for me and gave me Friday extra and gave me the Wednesday as well. They normally started Wednesday morning under normal circumstances at September holidays but I’d still got two cylinders to bore. I’d one advantage, I were used to stripping it because I’d done one side. Anyway, there were four of us and we bored em, put a new piston rod in that were all ready, new pistons and bored two cylinders.

After that it didn’t ail anything till one day me father says they’re stopped at Long Ing Newton, let’s go on. We were busy, by God we were busy. Oh I says, what’s up wi’ it? We got there and asked Jack and he said I don’t know but it’s been making a din in’t flywheel. When me father found it, it were in two halves were that flywheel wi’t jack wheel bolted on’t side. (Gear drive to spur gear on shaft.) It had broken one of the dowels in’t rim which would be about five or six inches square dowel with cotters through each end that held the joints together. Me father says we can’t do that job Newton, we haven’t got the tackle to lift it. So he rang Stephen Pickles and Rushworth’s men came on. George Carr Rushworth and me father meantime had got best of pals. With the work what we had on already he says we can’t do it and I were mad. I were barmy then you know, I wanted to do it, I thought we could borrow t’blocks. It’d weigh about twelve or thirteen ton would half o’t wheel. Anyhow, they decided between them they’d let Roberts do it from Nelson. So Johnny Waddington, he were a damn good fitter were Johnny Waddington. (The fitter who installed Bancroft engine) He came and put new dowels into t’flywheel and they were stopped a fortnight. I went on, I did part work for him like planing cotters and I think I planed the dowels at one end so’s they wouldn’t go up into t’cores and get in his way. I used to go on a lot and eventually they got running. I think they got running at Tuesday and me father comes down into t’shop again. He says, go to Long Ing, they’re stopped, t’bloody flywheel’s rolled off the keys. Well I says, never, he’s only just keyed it back on! (Johnny Waddington.) He says I know, tha’d better go and do it again. So I’d to go and re-key the wheel on and I put four new keys in, he’d never put no new keys in, he’d used the old uns. He must never have tightened em, it’d chewed one or two of them, I were stopped nearly a week. I used to pull Johnny Waddington’s leg, he went engine driving after in Nelson (At Bradley Mills) he were a right awkward bugger to work for you know. One Saturday he were being awkward with me and I just said to him ho Johnny, what the hell did you tighten the keys with at Long Ing, a seven pound hammer? It only run one day! By gum, I’d never no more bother with him, he he!

So after that I don’t think that engine ever ailed more than sommat or nowt only normal maintenance. Then, coming up to t’war (1938) Stephen Pickles bought the whole mill and they decided to put a new engine in. They’d have one of them engines from Bankfield (Closed down 1934.) which were a 900hp cross compound like Crow Nest. It were a bonny engine, there were two engines in Bankfield a 750hp and this 900hp and they’d have this 900hp down at Long Ing just afore the war broke out. We pulled the engine out of Bankfield and stored it in the yard at Long Ing and put all the bits in the cellar. Th’engine house were going to be lengthened and they were going to run the mill with an electric motor while the engine were put in there. We got a 500hp motor off Collins at Leeds and we got all that in. There were a crown wheel and pinion put on the motor and a big wall bracket and a new line shaft to get the gear into speed. They were fourteen inches wide were the teeth and three inch pitch them two pinions just like an engine flywheel gear and pinion running to it and a counter shaft with Dawson’s rope pulleys on and ring oiler bearings and about twenty odd ropes on. We get all that finished, it were a real job and t’blooming war broke out. You see we could have rebuilt the engine house and taken the Yates and Thom out and left the Buckley and Taylor in so all could keep running.

Image

The pinion for the 500hp electric motor in the lathe at Wellhouse shop.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 17 Apr 2018, 03:53

When we got to replacing the Yates engine with this new engine from Bankfield the Buckley and Taylor were going to have to be taken out. So we were going to run all the lot with this 500hp motor. We brought the Buckley and Taylor up to the shop except for the bed. We were going to do it all up, rebore the cylinders and when the new engine house were built it were going to be built big enough to put the Buckley and Taylor back on its original beds and run an alternator off it for lighting at Long Ing and Barnsey Shed. The Bankfield engine was going to be used to drive an alternator big enough to supply electric power for the machinery in both Long Ing and Barnsey. That’s it and it never developed, it would have been a marvellous set up. The engine at Barnsey weren’t big enough to put an alternator on to run the lights. (By this time Stephen Pickles owned Barnsey as well and was running it in tandem with Long Ing)

None of this ever happened. After the war Long Ing was electrified and all the engines scrapped, including the ones in store. There is one more story about Long Ing, this time from Billy Brooks. Billy told me that Calf Hall, Wellhouse, Butts and Long Ing all had steam whistles in the old days for signalling start times to the workers, they used to call them ‘donkeys’. He tells the story of David Akrigg, the firebeater, lighting the fires at Long Ing one Sunday morning to get ready for the start after the holidays and then locking himself out of the boiler house. Unknown to him, the weight of the handle on the cock which supplied the steam for the whistle off the tape connection at the back of the boiler had dropped as the valve cooled down and came loose. As the pressure built up the whistle started moaning and gradually increased in pitch. All Barlick could hear it and in the end Billy’s great uncle Willie Brooks who was manager at Long Ing had to go down to open the boiler house and shut it off. Billy said it was a queer noise and at first nobody knew what it was and they were all out on the street talking about it.

In 1984 I interviewed Stephen Pickles Junior, son of the Stephen Pickles Newton and Johnny were dealing with in the 1930s. I asked Stephen about the work that Brown and Pickles had done there and he told me that his father had wanted them into the mill to do the work for years but George Rushworth had the power on the board of the Long Ing Shed Company and wouldn’t sanction it because he wanted all the work for his firm. Old Stephen was very angry about this because George was acting against the interests of the board. Newton was right about the share purchase and the amount of down time on the plant was one of the factors that drove his dad to get control. Old Stephen told his son at the time that if you set a man like Johnny on and gave him a free hand it would always be more profitable in the end. He understood well that the lowest quotation is not necessarily the best. There are many firms and local authorities today who would do well to learn this lesson, competitive tendering is not necessarily the best way to make a decision as to who should be awarded a contract.

I have story for you that Johnny told Newton about stink lamps. A tramp steamer arrived in Liverpool and it was decided that while it was there the triple expansion vertical engine should be overhauled. The local shipbuilder’s sent a gang to the mucky jobs on the bottom end and the ship’s engine room staff led by a young Second Engineer would do the top end. All went well the job was finished and the engine rolled over slowly to check all was correct and the day came to sail. The ship was manoeuvred out into the tideway by the tugs and on the bridge the captain called for slow ahead. As soon as the engine started up there was a horrible noise from the low pressure cylinder so the second engineer reported to the bridge. They dropped an anchor and the Chief Engineer came down into the engine room to see what was wrong. When the young engineer told him he said right I’ll go and report to the old man. Get the lid off the low pressure and give me a shout when it’s off we’ll have to have look inside.

The engine room gang got some tackle up and soon had the lid off. The young engineer had a look inside using a stink lamp to light the scene and his heart dropped into his boots because there was a large spanner three feet long laid on top of the piston, they had found the rattle. He said to his foreman oh God we’re in trouble now. The foreman said no we aren’t, get the spanner out, get the lid on with just one nut holding it, call the old man down and we’ll just be lifting it off when he comes down. He’ll look in, see nothing and he’ll tell us to get the lid back on and try it again and it’ll be all right, it’ll be an unexplained mystery. So that’s what they did, the chief was sent for and just as he was coming down the steps the last nut came off and they raised the lid. The chief climbed the ladder and peered over into the cylinder. Ah, he said, I’ve found your trouble, someone’s left a stink lamp in here and it’s still lit!
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 18 Apr 2018, 03:20

We don’t devote a chapter to Barnsey Shed over the canal from Moss Shed because there were no great dramas there. Newton did tell me one story though, there was a falling out do between the engineer and the management and Newton was contacted one night and asked to go down and run the engine. He’d done it before so he didn’t make any special arrangements, he simply went down the following morning to be ready for starting time. It was winter and pitch dark so when he went into the engine house he had to feel his way in. What he didn’t know was that some of the floor boards had been taken up and the next thing he knew he was fifteen feet down in the cellar. Luckily he wasn’t hurt and with big does and little does he got ready for starting. Then he realised that the engineer had taken the clock with him and he hadn’t got a watch so he was reduced to asking the weavers the time as they came into work so that he knew when to start. The only other thing to note is that Walt Fisher once hinted to me that there was always a bit of a mystery where Barnsey got its condensing water. There was no obvious source of surface water and the logical conclusion is that they used the canal but I have an idea that they never had a licence from the canal company. Only a small thing but as we’ve seen from our research on other mills the water resource was a key factor in siting a mill. One last piece of trivia, Barnsey was known as the ‘pots and pans’ shop because many of the original investors were shopkeepers in the town. I often think that retailing must have been much more profitable then than now.

Image

Barnsey Shed.

CHAPTER 18: COATES MILL

I think you know me well enough by now to realise that before we look at the connection of Brown and Pickles with Coates Mill we should acquaint ourselves with the back story. Apart from anything else there were two separate Coates Mills and we need to be sure we don’t confuse them.
The first mill at Coates was on the Butts Beck on what is now a car park for Rolls Royce. If you like to be accurate about these things it is OS reference SD879477, I refer to this one as Old Coates and it was demolished in 1892. The Coates Mill we will be looking at in detail stood on the north side of the road above the Coates canal bridge OS reference SD882475, I call this Coates Mill and it was demolished in 2008.

Old Coates was first built in about 1785 by William Bracewell of Coates as a water powered mill processing cotton for his domestic spinners and weavers and this business of putting out work to cottagers was the foundation of his considerable fortune. William died in 1830 and I have made an educated guess that in todays terms he was well on the way to being a millionaire, he was certainly the most successful of the early manufacturers in the town. In his will he split his estate roughly equally between the Barlick branch of his family and the Earby Bracewells, the first Christopher in Earby was his son. I mentioned earlier in connection with Victoria Mill in Earby that William (1756) was the original source of the investment money. It’s ironic that after William’s death in 1830 Billycock, who was from the Earby branch, moves into Barlick and seems to have wanted to eliminate the competition of his cousins the Bracewell Brothers at Old Coates Mill when this same mill was the original source of his start-up capital. Fascinating stuff, having noted this let’s move on.

Old Coates developed into a sizeable combined mill, in a sale document of 1871 it was described as ‘All that mill called Coates Mill and cottage adjoining, in the township of Coates with steam engine of 10 hp, a waterwheel 18' diameter, a new boiler of 20 hp, gas house, gas tank, gasometer, goit, outbuildings, several closes of land called Mill Field and Mill Meadow taken from the Coates Farm containing altogether a measure of an area of ?’ It first came onto the market after the Bracewell Brothers bankrupted in 1860 and was bought by a man called William Nuttall who apparently bought it believing it was a going concern and wanted to carry on there as a manufacturer. He came up against Billycock who took him to court in the same year over water rights and his plan at Old Coates came to nothing. We suspect that Billycock bought the mill in the 1871 sale because in the diary of William Dugdale of Barlick there is a note that on the 20th August 1874 the boiler was removed from Old Coates Mill and taken to the Ingleton Coal Pits. The crucial thing about this is that in July of the same year, Billycock bought the Ingleton coal field. One little fact about the mill dam at Old Coates, Eric Parker told me that it was always known as the ‘Mother Dam’ and it was still there in the 1950s. I have an idea it might have been used as an emergency water supply for fire-fighting purposes during WW2. All that remains is an old clow or sluice gate in the bank of Butts Beck below the car park, probably used to empty the dam for maintenance.

Image

Old Coates Mill in 1890 shortly before it was demolished.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 19 Apr 2018, 03:17

William Dugdale wasn’t a quitter, despite knowing he was up against the most powerful industrialist in Barlick he wiped his face and bought a piece of land above the canal bridge which already had a building on it described variously as a warehouse or bobbin mill which I suspect had been built by William Bracewell (1756) to serve his putting out business. By 1864 he had built a steam-driven mill containing 300 looms driven by a small beam engine and his condenser water supply was the canal. Not surprising really, he had learned the hard way about Billycock and water rights, even he couldn’t control the canal company.
We know nothing specific about the old beam engine, it was probably a small compound of between 250 and 300hp working on about 70psi. In 1902 the boiler was replaced and was probably a higher pressure. In 1919 they needed more power and this is where Henry Brown and Sons, or more specifically Johnny Pickles their foreman, came in. Johnny had a chance to some real engine installing. We can go the Newton for the story, he was only three years old when all this happened but had heard the full story from his dad. He tells it as though he was there but make no mistake, this is what happened. (I have a copy of the Universal Metallic Packing Company of Bradford’s order books and on August 14th 1919 Henry Brown and Sons of Barnoldswick order Packings for the Coates Manufacturing Company Limited. High Pressure front and Low pressure front and back, all two and five sixteenth inches diameter. Packing numbers 18397/9. These were undoubtedly for the Hick Hargreaves engine.)
I asked Newton to tell me what he knew about Coates Mill. “Oh, Coates, that were a bonny little mill in the time I knew it but I never knew the old engine. I were only a little lad when me dad put the new engine in there. It were a little Hick Hargreaves, he bought it at Bolton at a mill that were stopped.” (Geoff Shackleton says it was an engine that had been built in 1903 for the Winterbottom Book Cloth’s Broughton Dyeworks in Salford. As built in 1903 it was 310hp, 80rpm, 140psi and a gear drive.)

I asked Newton if he had any ideas about the original beam engine. “I don’t know. It ud probably be an old Yates they were all old Yates were the beam engines round here you know.” I asked if they re-boilered it at the same time the new engine went in. “They stuck to the old boiler. I’ll begin at the beginning with this tale about me father putting this new engine in. They went to Bolton (Newton has this wrong if Geoff is right but we’ll leave it as he told it, it doesn’t alter the sense of the story.) and they bought this engine, me father and the directors that belonged Coates Mill. I might think of a name in a bit because I’ve known who were the bosses there, nice people to work for I believe. They went and bought this engine and it were a gear drive, it would be about 450 horse power and it were comparatively new. So Leonard Parkinson and Jimmy Mosley went to Bolton and they pulled this engine out of this mill and shipped it to Barlick on two canal boats and they sailed up with it. When they got here Blakey’s were building a new engine house. They borrowed a jib crane off someone at Earby, one of these here with a six inch square wooden jib and they fit that up on the canal bank and used it to unload these canal boats. The first boat came up with the bits and pieces on, connecting rods and all that sort of thing, oh fine style. Me father says we’ll soon have that lot up in the engine house and what wouldn’t go up the stairs on to the canal bank. Then they came to the low pressure cylinder which were a fair lump of stuff even though it were only a little engine. It ‘ud not be quite as big as Bancroft’s we’ll say but not much less. So they started to wind the LP cylinder up out of the canal boat and they heard the jib of the crane give a bit of a creak. They looked up and the bloody jib had split and the LP cylinder were going down in jerks towards the canal boat. Johnny says to Fisher and Len that it’s going to go through the bottom of the bloody boat but it didn’t, the jib didn’t break it just split, it ‘ud be pitch pine. When it all came out they’d been trying to lift a five ton cylinder with a one ton crane! So what they did they came back to the shop and made some channel plates and bolted them on to the jib to strengthen it and lifted the rest out. They got it all out eventually, no trouble. (Speaking from personal experience of shifting engines, the low pressure cylinder is usually the biggest and heaviest component especially if the piston, piston rod and covers have been left on it. From the weight Johnny has told Newton I think it must have been the bare cylinder, even a small engine like this would be nudging seven tons if it was not stripped.)

Then me father says to Stanley, we’re a bit blooming thick aren’t we Stanley putting this engine in here as a gear drive, can’t we make it into a rope drive? Stanley Fisher said he didn’t think they could make a new flywheel for it and me father says can’t we! So he tackled the bosses at the mill about it and asked them whether they’d ever seen one of these engines running as a rope drive. They said they had and they were grand, didn’t make any noise. Me father says we can make this into one if you want and they said it were all right with them, they weren’t without money so make it into a rope drive. So what me father did he made a pattern for a set of segments to go round the top of the teeth, it had been turned on top of the teeth. He put bolts in all the way round, two inch round turned bolts made out of Low Moor Iron under the rim to hold them segments on. (In the days before modern grades of steel certain ironworks were noted for making tougher metal than others and Low Moor at Bradford was one of these.) Our Mr Brown were a bit narked about this I think, he didn’t think it were going to be a success and him and me father weren’t reight friendly over it. (Remember this is Johnny’s boss we are talking about here. I think Johnny had the bit between his teeth and ‘Our Mr Brown’ was out of his depth and knew it!) He wanted to put it in as a gear drive and me father wanted a rope drive. He asked how he was going to turn it. (They didn’t have a wheel pit or a lathe big enough at the shop, the flywheel was 14ft diameter when built up.) Me father says I’ll show thee.

Image

Dugdale's new Coates Mill in 1978. The building on the right is the boiler and engine house.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

plaques
Donor
Posts: 2682
Joined: 23 May 2013, 22:09

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by plaques » 19 Apr 2018, 07:24

I've always wondered if the Dugdale's of Barlick were related to the Dugdales of Lowerhouse Mills Burnley. Having lived near Lowerhouse I once did a family tree on the Dugdale's (sad isn't it) but could never establish a link. I suspect that the Burnley Dugdale's had a massive family network with mills in virtually every town in this area. In today's terms they were probably the richest family in England, in the billionaire class.

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 20 Apr 2018, 04:00

Could very well be so P.
Don't forget you lot that are following the story that the book's far better, more pics!

Stanley and Len got the beds in and the flywheel shaft and started to build the flywheel up in the engine house and they fitted these segments on with hammer and chisel, with chipping strips, fit ‘em on all the way round the teeth and bolted it all together and Stan says now then Johnny, how are we going to turn it?”

I asked Newton to explain chipping strips because it’s a lost technology and I wanted it on record. “Chipping strips are strips you cast into your casting, we’ll say and inch and a half wide full length and you put ‘em say about every six inches. Then you fit your castings on and you try your feelers (gauges) in and you chip ‘em and file ‘em till it all beds and fits. In this case them strips would run on top of the of the gear, they didn’t run across, they ran along the teeth on the radius. They chipped and filed them until the castings were a good fit round the teeth. (This use of ‘chipping strips’ was common fitting practice, it reduced the amount of metal that had to be removed and made the job a lot easier. Remember that what we are describing is sculpting cast iron, a lost art. If three chipping strips were cast into the segments each one would have three bearing surfaces on the teeth. A similar ploy was used in things like stakes and big keys, a channel was cut down the middle of the surface to be filed and fitted to reduce the amount of metal that needed to be cut. A stake or key so treated was just as efficient as one left untouched and could be more accurately fitted.) The ends of the segments were machined on the planer at the shop to right angles with the rim and they worked it all out for diameter and I believe it fit perfectly. They just brought the last segment back twice to take a thou or two more off the end. They finished up with the segments bolted down solid on the rim. Now then, how are we going to turn it? The flywheel had a barring rack on it on the inside of the rim like yours at Bancroft. So they had a little steam engine that we used to use to run the boring tackle. They made a pinion to fit on the shaft of that that matched the barring rack and they fastened the engine down inside the flywheel and got running. They brought a slide rest off one of the lathes at the shop, a longish one it were and it were a good slide rest, we only recently broke it up. He put that in front and fastened it down to girders under the floor of the engine house, a good solid job and they started turning. It took 'em six weeks to turn the flywheel in position but there weren’t a flywheel in this country that ran as true as that did, there weren’t one anywhere.” (This isn’t an excessive time, we don’t know the cutting speed but it would probably take two minutes for each revolution so as to get a decent, controllable cut.)

It’s worth mentioning here that what Newton describes so economically is a process that has largely been lost. I’m not thinking about the fitting of the segments although this also is almost unheard off these days, I mean the casting of them. Cast iron shrinks when it cools in the mould and an allowance has to be made for this shrinkage. Pattern makers had special rulers marked in inches but they weren’t standard inches, they were inches plus an allowance for the shrinkage. Different metals have different shrinkage rates and so they had dedicated rulers for each. The problem with curved castings is complicated by the fact that as the metal shrinks, the arc of the radius they are aiming for reduces as well. The finished casting curves more than the pattern and this had to be allowed for. We’ll come across instances later where the ironfounders were caught out by this. So, when Newton says his dad had some segments cast it was actually a very complicated matter especially when the person who was making the patterns was aiming at the least amount of excess metal to remove to get a fit.

“Remember me father worked on the wheelpit (At Burnley Ironworks) and that’s how they drove ‘em there so he says why can’t we drive it like that in the engine house and you can’t beat the bearings of the engine to run it in. They didn’t put top brasses under the bearing caps, he got some oak and they made some wood blocks and put them under the caps, nipped the caps down to act as a lathe spindle so as it kept tension on to keep it from jattering (Vibrating under the cutting action of the tool, similar to what happens in a lathe with play in the mandrel bearings.) and it were a beautiful job. In my time when that wheel were boarded in you couldn’t tell that wheel had ever been touched and that engine worked for forty year and the flywheel never had another thing done to it. I keyed it on happen twenty years since, that were the only thing, it came loose eventually. But you couldn’t tell where them segments were or that it were any different than anyone else’s because they had it boarded after. As long as the engine had no slack in the bearings you couldn’t hear that wheel going it were that true, you could have put a thou’ clock on it. It were bound to be because it were turned on its own shaft in its own pit. They made a new second motion pulley of course. That engine did some work you know and then when the slump came the people that had the mill went out of business.”
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Bodger
Senior Member
Posts: 1047
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:30
Location: Ireland

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Bodger » 20 Apr 2018, 07:30

( The problem with curved castings is complicated by the fact that as the metal shrinks, the arc of the radius they are aiming for reduces as well. The finished casting curves more than the pattern and this had to be allowed for. )
I used to injection mould gas pipe fittings, Tees , elbows etc. 25 mm to 325 mm, these were moulded to tolerances, the mould cores that formed the socket was machined oversize, fittings were moulded, cooled and measured, the mould cores were then machined to produce a socket size to match the given tolerance dimensions, this was done several times gradually reducing the core size bit by bit.
The interesting ones were the Tees, as they cooled the ends of the tees shrank as normal but the center leg had the problem of the lateral shrinkage this caused the bottom hole in this socket to create an oval shape when cooled.the cores that formed these were then machined to an oval shape to compensate for the out of round caused by the shrinkage

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 21 Apr 2018, 03:43

I can appreciate that one Bodge, especially the tees. I'd never thought about that before but as you say, so many factors. No wonder they got them wrong at times!

This was 1931 and an empty steam mill was just about impossible to sell but a firm called Dobson’s Dairies from Didsbury near Manchester were on the look out for premises to open a branch in the area. They approached the Calf Hall Shed Company at the time to discuss taking space in Butts Mill but never did a deal with them and eventually bought Coates Mill. There is a coincidence here, when I was a lad in Stockport we had our milk delivered to our door by the same firm.

“That engine stopped and I think it were stopped about twelve years. (Four actually, Dobson’s bought Coates in 1935 and the current date I have for the closure is 1931. There is a mismatch in the evidence about the closure of Coates as a weaving shed and I haven’t yet got to the bottom of it. I have left Newton’s account as he told it to me because again, if there is a mistake, it doesn’t alter the sense of the story. History is tricky stuff!) There were an old chap who used to work for me father and he used to look after the mill. Like a watchman you know and he used to keep it clean even though there hadn’t been any fires or owt put into the boiler. (This was common practice with an empty mill that had a chance of being sold later. The same thing happened at Bankfield Shed at about the same time.) Then one day me father came down to me in the shop, come on Newton to Coates, there’s a bloke called Dobson wants to see me there. (Newton was 17 at the time.) I went up with me father to Coates and it were two brothers, it were Dobson’s from Dobson’s Dairies in Stockport. They’d bought the place and they wanted it running as soon as possible and it hadn’t run for about fifteen year so me father just turned round to me and said there’s a job for thee! They wanted it running so they could get all their stuff in and I got the blooming job of getting it going. Well, I revelled in it, an engine that had been stopped for fifteen years. Talk about Stott Park! (I’ll tell you about Stott Park later. This interview was done in 1978/79 before Ellenroad was on the horizon. Little did Newton know that in 1985 he was going to have another re-start on his hands but a bit bigger!)

I took the cylinder covers off and there were nowt inside, it were just like it had only been stopped a day or two before. I just got some cylinder oil and rubbed it round with me brush and the biggest job were the boiler, getting that all tested and filled and getting some fires in it. We’d to learn the chimney to smook! It had forgotten how to smook and we had to larn it again. We lit the fire and we couldn’t get it to smoke, it were all smoking back into the boiler house and Charlie Plummer Donald Plummer’s father were there he’d got the engine driving job. Well he were there an all and he couldn’t make it smoke. Me father came up and he said what the hell are you doing? I says, we’re trying to get the blooming chimney to smoke! He says you can’t larn it from here, larn it from the bottom! He says get into the bottom of the chimney and get some old wood and skip lids and stuff into it and get a fire lit in the thing. Shoved his hard hat on the back of his head and walked out in disgust. Made us look like little lads. (I had the same problem at Ellenroad. Newton and I built a big fire in the back flue and it did the trick but set fire to the flue dust in the main flue and it burned slowly for six months. It reduced the level of dust from five feet deep to about 18 inches and kept the flue warm all winter!)

Aye, he says larn the bloody thing to smoke. Anyway we soon had some steam up when we learned t’chimney to smoke and we got running. I remember opening the stop valve, tiny little stop valve it were on a reight slender pillar with a little pilot wheel on top you know and it were off. After that it ran 24 hours a day seven days a week what a blooming job it were. We got in well with the dairy we were having all the machinery, shafting and everything to look after, they were making that dried milk for the cattle job. (This was drying skim milk and later whey as well for addition to cattle feed. The process was that a large steam-heated stainless steel drum with a perfectly cylindrical surface rotated slowly with its bottom immersed in the fluid to be dried. The milk stuck to the drum and as it rotated it dried and was scraped off by knives which contacted the drum across its face. This process was later superseded by spray drying in a vacuum.) Them big rollers and these blokes were screwing the knives down with worm wheels and breaking shafts on them and stripping worm wheels, we were allus there working all hours of the day and night. Then they’d have to run the engine on Sunday as well, Charlie would go to bed for an hour or two and Newton would run the engine, Saturday night and Sunday night, oh it were a sickening job running the engine through. I allus got piled up wi’ the job you know. “Newton, tha’ll have to go to t’dairy, he wants to go to bed for a bit.” Hadn’t been in bed all week, black as the fireback, that were old Charlie oh he were a case! Well, eventually they found out that one boiler weren’t enough and so they got another. They put it into another house next to the existing boiler and they got a reight big one, it ‘ud be nine foot six by thirty foot. It got stuck on the top of Coates Bridge when they were bringing it, the trailer catched in the middle with the hump on the bridge. It were there for three days all the traffic were stopped before they got it jacked up and got the boiler off the wagon. That were just after the war finished, there were t’boiler on top of the bridge no wagon or nowt.” (This was an exceptionally big Lancashire boiler at nine foot six inches diameter. Bancroft was 9 foot and by Hewitt and Kellet at Bradford who seemed to like the big diameters. It was the biggest Lancashire boiler ever installed in Barlick and I often wonder if it was a Hewitt and Kellet.)

I asked if the engine ran through the war. “Oh heck aye, it were all on food weren’t it. What a job, what a job, Dobson’s Dairies. Second motion shaft dropped off one Thursday tea time. Get to t’dairy Newton it’s stopped is t’place. I gets to t’dairy, you could still run the compressors but the second motion shaft had broken off in the big part where they ran all the drying machines. The compressors for the refrigeration plant drove off a separate pulley on the second motion shaft on to a countershaft driven with Dawson’s ropes. We put two pulleys on like they should have done at Barnsey. It ran on to a big counter shaft with ring oiler bearings like yours at Bancroft, never had no bother with that. And t’blooming second motion shaft had broken off in the wall, in’t wall box. Straight out you know, it were driven from th’engine to a short second motion shaft and then it were driven back wi’ eight ropes back into the bottom shed and it broke in the wall box. Thursday tea time, get to t’dairy all t’milk’s having to go into the cut again! Middle of blooming summer. Straighten that shaft up he says. Well tha wants a length about ten foot long, saw it off at the first bearing, just like that, and get some couplings and a new shaft made, I’ll go to Rushworths and I’ll get thee a piece of stuff to make it on. (George Rushworth’s at Colne were scrapping a lot of mills at that time and always had some large shafting in stock, just as good as brand new and easily available at a good price.) Get Bob and Jimmy and get on to t’job. We get it all stripped, sawed t’bloody shaft off, four and a half inch, saw it by hand. Didn’t take long you know with three of you. Soon walked through four and a half inch.”

Image

The pulley for the compressor on the lathe at Wellhouse Shop. Note the toolholder on an outrigger to cope with the diameter. The normal tool post on the saddle is to the right and wouldn't have had enough clearance to get the toll in at right angles for turning the rope grooves. Losing power traverse wouldn't have been a big issue for the grooves.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 22 Apr 2018, 05:14

Notice that Newton sees nothing out of the ordinary in sawing a large shaft in two by hand with a hacksaw. When I was at Rochdale Electric Welding John Ingoe had a bit of a problem once. We had made some specimen pieces of welded pipe which had to go away for testing in order to code a procedure for a repair. The problem was that they had to be cut perfectly straight across the weld and couldn’t be subjected to any heat. John gave me the job and left me to sort it out. I simply went out and bought some new high speed hacksaw blades and got on with it. A long job but it did the trick. John told me later that the test house wanted to know what process we had used to cut the samples, they had never seen it before. Wonderful how people complicate a job and forget that the problem has been solved long before.

“We got big flange coupling, we had some castings in stock you know, get ‘em turned, get shafting to t’lathe, work all night, Bob turning couplings and Dennis and me on wi’t shaft, turnings piling up to the headstock, hadn’t time to fetch the bloody wheelbarrow! Running wi’ a bloody great gas engine in the back hole there, all the neighbours playing hell, exhaust pipe rattling on the window, it did, it did!” (The gas engine was to run the shafting in the shop because the main engine was stopped.)

I asked Newton to tell me about coupling the new boiler up because I knew there had been a problem. “Aye right, I went up with me father and we measured all this for new six inch cast iron pipes to couple both boilers together and then couple into the existing engine main. We got all these pipes made and I remember going up at Friday night to start on this job, we started about ten o’clock on Friday night to couple these two boilers together and we worked all blinking night putting them pipes in. Taking all the old pipes out and putting all the new ‘uns in and all at once one of me mates shouts hey Newton, tha’d better come here! This were towards the engine house, further up, over the top of the connies. He says, there’s sommat not right here! I went up the side on the top of the connies, had a look, and there was a four inch gap. He says, we’ll have to make a bobbin to go in here, it were about six o’clock in the morning then. Oh heck, I says, What a mess! It’s sommat fresh for me father to measure pipes and make ‘em four inch short and a straightforward place to measure it as well. I said just clear off on top of the boilers and let me have a look at this job. I went in the other little boiler house and opened the junction valve, that boiler were in steam. I let it blow for about five minutes, muck and steam were flying all over the place. Shut it off, waited while the steam cleared. I said let’s go and have a look at it now. We went up and had a look, there were just enough room to get a packing ring in at a sixteenth gap. I said Old Johnny never measured no pipes and left a gap, and there were a four inch gap when we came to couple it up. It shows how much expansion there were on them steam ranges doesn’t it?”

Newton might be exaggerating a bit with his four inches here but he’s quite right about the problems of measuring up steam ranges when they are hot, I’ve made the same mistake myself and it’s amazing how they can vary with temperature. Best way is to measure twice, once hot and once cold and split the difference otherwise you can get problems with straining the pipes but in this case with a new range you couldn’t do it this way, you had to make an allowance for expansion and hope you got it right. This is the reason why designers of long steam ranges like to have right angled bends in the run, this gives the pipework some breathing space when it expands. If this can’t be arranged they have to put an expansion joint or a big ‘U’ bend in the run like the one on the Victoria Mill steam range.

I asked Newton to tell me about when the stop valve on the engine failed. “Oh, the engine stop valve seat came up and stopped the job. There were thousands of gallons of milk in the dairy you know. Me father said get up to Dobson’s Dairies there’s sommat wrong. We went up and old Charlie Plummer says I don’t know what’s up with it Newton it just stopped on its own! I said well there’s only one thing’ll stop it and that’s being ‘bout steam in the boiler house or ‘bout steam here. I tried to shut the stop valve but I couldn’t make moss nor sand of it. I could tell from the feel of it there were sommat wrong so I whipped the top plate off, it were a pillar valve you know, up through the floor, we whipped the plates up round it, took the top of the valve off, lifted it off and the seat came out with the valve! No messing. What are we to do now? The spindle were about jiggered if I remember reight, the threaded spindle that was under the floor. Oh what a mess, it wanted a new spindle a new valve and a new seat. Well we can’t do with all this milk in t’shop so I sat about and thought a bit. I thought well if I take the stop valve out I can put a bobbin in and we’ll run off t’junction valve on the boiler. It were a long way from the boiler to the engine. (And would be dangerous if there was an emergency) So I says to Charlie have we any old valves about the place, any sort of valve’ll do. Aye he says, there’s some old feed valves in the boiler house and one Hopkinson blow-down valve, you know what them are like don’t you. I measured it and it were just the right length, a lot too small in the flanges but just the right length. So we made some clips and some special bolts and we just clipped it in and got some steam on and we ran it like that for a week. You’d to get down on your hands and knees to start the engine, in a fashion. You can just imagine trying to stop and start can’t you with a Hopkinson’s valve the speed they open and shut. Poor old Charlie didn’t know whether he were on his head or his feet and it were like that for a week and we put the old one back in the following weekend. (This was a valve that only took a quarter of a turn from shut to fully open. It was safe but I wouldn’t have liked to have used it!) That’s all there were but if there’d been an emergency at least he could have stopped the steam, he could have stopped it reight away. He frigged on like that for a week did old Charlie and we rebuilt the valve, put him a new spindle in and a new seat and all’t bag of tricks.
There were never anything wrong with it any more right up to the end of its days. Eh, but it did some running did that engine, sometimes in summer it were running 24 hours a day seven days a week from one engine driver to another one. Sometimes if they were fast for an engine driver I’d go up there. It got a bit worse for wear later on in its life, it got so it wouldn’t drive the load when all the lighting were on. There were two alternators on as well as all the compressors for the process and fridges. It got so as it wouldn’t drive at all so we whipped the high pressure down quick one night and had a look at it and the rings were jiggered and it were getting badly worn. So we made all the necessary arrangements, well they did as far as the milk producers were concerned to ship the milk somewhere else and we re-bored it in a weekend. I re-bored the high pressure skimmed the rods and cured it.”

I think we can leave Coates mill now, it’s given us good information about yet another type of job that Henry Brown and Sons and later Brown and Pickles did in their time. The thing I like about the 1919 installation of the second hand Hick and Hargreaves engine is the way it gave Johnny an opportunity to demonstrate not only his mastery of his craft but his dominance in Henry Brown and Sons. He’d decided what he wanted to do, had an amenable client and put it in how he wanted it. He was 34 at the time and full of confidence, I can’t imagine that there would be a happier man in England.

Image

In the days Newton is describing all farm milk was picked up in kits like the ones on this wagon waiting to unload at West Marton Dairies. The only difference between this load and the ones that were taken in at Dobson’s Dairy was that their kits were slightly smaller. These are 12 gallon galvanised kits, Dobson’s used 10 gallon ones. (Yes, this is from Stanley’s past when he worked on milk pick up.)
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 23 Apr 2018, 03:18

CHAPTER 19: COUNTY BROOK MILL AND WATER TURBINES

By the time Newton was sixteen years old he was being given responsibility for some bigger jobs. You may remember that early on in the history of the firm I mentioned a job at County Brook and promised we’d come back to it. I think that before we dive into that one we’ll just listen to Newton talking about some of his first experiences as an ‘outside man’.

“I was getting between 15 and 16 now when I started to go to mend these big outside jobs, wringing machines, baker’s boilers and gas ovens and that sort of thing. I got interested in motors, we had an old wagon made out of an Austin 20 car. (Newton may be wrong here because Walt Fisher is positive that in 1923 they had such a wagon but it was an Overland made in America.) The chap that used to drive it were always late to catch his train to Nelson at night to get home. They called him Jack Wilkinson, he were a welder. One night he asked me to put the wagon away in the old stable where we kept it, I’d never driven it before but I drove it down the yard and put it away. I’ll never forget it, I got it into the stable with big shifts and little uns with the engine running and got a bit near the wall. This pushed the starting handle into the dogs, (On the end of the crankshaft. On these early engines the starting handle was a permanent fixture and was kept out of gear with the dogs by a light spring.) you know how it were Stanley with dogs in those days, and it ploughed a groove in the wall. That groove’s in there today, that circle up at that end, of course I never did that any more. Then me father found out I were getting interested in motors, I nattered him a bit about a motorbike. I don’t know where he got it, I think he bought it off old Fred Windle, it were an old heavy two stroke and he gave ten bob for it. I played with this motorbike at home of a night in’t joiner’s yard with me mate Bob Fort.

One day me dad asked me if I knew a bit about motorbikes, I told him I could make it run as he’d heard it running. He said there’s a chip shop up Park Road, they have a gas engine and it won’t go get thyself off up there. So I went up to this gas engine and had a look at it. It were only a little un driving the potato peeling machine, like pan-scrubbing stuff inside, like you put on sand rollers you know, and they put the potatoes in to scrape them. It wouldn’t start. I looked at this thing and I couldn’t make moss nor sand of it. I thought well, it happen wants the valves grinding in so I took all the valves out of it and ground them in. I still couldn’t understand how it worked, I couldn’t find the sparking plug. Now this here thing at the back, it were all burnt and I thought what’s this for? So I thought I’m not going to be ignorant, I’ll take it off. So I takes this here pot off the back, it had asbestos inside you know, it had a pipe up about as big as your finger. I took it up to the shop and asked me father what it was and he said it was what makes it run, the ignition tube. So I asked him what it did, me motorbike had a sparking plug and a magneto on. He says forget about that, this engine hadn’t got one. He said that what was wrong with the engine was that the ignition tube had a hole burned in it. I saw then what happened, they lit this burner below the tube, that got it red hot and when the engine squeezes the gas in the cylinder the tube made it go off bang! He says that’s it, you’ve got it, now off you go. So I made a new bit of pipe, screwed it in and off I went to put it all back on with this little oval flange and turn the gas on and lit it. I says “wait while it gets red hot tha knows before tha tries to start it and it’ll go like the clappers.” I’d done a good job there, I got a bag of chips and off we go back to the shop.”

In later years Newton and I talked a lot about gas engines, we both liked them, plenty of power and no boiler to worry about. During my research into Barlick I have come to realise how many gas engines there were in the town in the days before mains electricity arrived in 1932. Places like the Majestic used them to make electricity for the cinema and lighting and Johnny’s first workshop was driven by a gas engine. I even found one bloke, Arthur Entwistle’s father, who had one in the front room at his house on the Croft to power the machinery he used to make toys out of old margarine boxes. Mind you, he was a bit of a one-off, he used to slaughter goats in the bath as well…

While Newton was telling me this he remembered the first day he started at the Wellhouse Shop. “I’ve just bethought meself about the first day I started working on the pay-roll at fourteen years old when I left school at Easter (1930) When I got there at seven o’clock in the morning with me father he said now then Newton, I’ve a right job for thee now there’s a lot of pinions to cut on that little milling machine. It were already set up because they’d been cutting already. They were about an inch and a quarter in diameter with about twenty teeth in and there were hundreds of them. This old milling machine just ran with a belt off the shafting, it had no power traverse on’t table and they put about six of these pinions on to an arbor at once on this dividing head that me father had made at home. You wound the cutter through with a ratchet on the end of the table and I can remember as plain as owt doing this as the snow blew under the door. I thought by God this is a worse job than I had when I weren’t working here! Anyhow we got through this here and then there were t’money. I started off with a big wage with being used to the job before I started, I had 12/6 a week. But this 12/6 a week went on until I were nearly 19 years old! (65p.) Then one day I says to me father isn’t it about time I had a bit more money? Well he says, your mother’s been on about that, you know I didn’t board or owt, I just give me mother the 12/6 each week and she gave me two bob pocket money to go to t’pictures with and buy me Woodbines. He said if tha wants any more money tha’d better go and ask Willy Brown. So I went into the office and knocks on the door with cap in hand you know, in them days that was how you went in. Come in he says and there he was sat in his swivel chair facing the window at his desk, I can see him now, he just spun round and says what dost a want? Well I says, there’s Bob and there’s Jack Parkinson and there’s Walter and they haven’t been here as long as me and they have loads more money than I have. Well, how much hasta? I said I’ve 12/6 a week like I had when I started and I’m going out to all these engines and bevel wheels and such I think I’m entitled to a bit more now. I know that this isn’t a wealthy firm and I’m working for me father like so I know it doesn’t really matter about being a bit less than the others. Hold on he says, I didn’t realise tha’d only 12/6 a week, haven’t I put thee up with the others? No I says I haven’t had a blooming halfpenny! So he goes to the safe and gets the wages book out and he says look here Newton sit down. I could put me cap back on then. By gum he says, th’art reight, over three pound due. That’s it I said, I were only 2/6 under the full rate and I were only 19. Of course, when you come to think about it after he had brought me up to my time he had left it two year. Oh, it were a real do, me spending money went up to three bob after that!”

Image

The gas engine and dynamo beds in the old Central Co-op store in the 80s just before it was demolished.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 24 Apr 2018, 03:30

I asked Newton about County Brook. This is a very old water mill on the County Brook at OS reference SD887439. It started as a corn mill but then became a forerunner of a modern chemical works because they started to burn charcoal in enclosed retorts so that they could collect and condense the smoke coming off the wood. This was known as ‘stewing wood’ and produced all sorts of fractions from what is known as Stockholm Tar to phenols and other chemicals. The chief thing they were after were chemicals that could be used as a mordant in the dyeing trade, a chemical used to fix the dye in the cloth. This is why many people still call it the Stew Mill. In the mid nineteenth century a man called Mitchell bought it and converted it into a water-powered cotton mill against all the latest trends but was successful, so much so that it is still weaving in 2009 and owned by the Mitchell family. Here’s what Newton had to say.

“Well, County Brook was a very old mill. When I was a lad the bit that was left of the old mill and the water wheel was still running. The wheel ran on to a shaft that ran to another shaft and there was a sixty horse power National Diesel coupled to it and the diesel engine governed the water wheel. (The classic method of getting a regular turning speed from water power.) They reckoned they used to get about forty horse out of the water wheel when they had water but when the water was done the engine had to turn the water wheel as well, they couldn’t knock it out of gear because there were no clutch. (Not as big a disadvantage as it sounds because there would always be some water coming over the wheel even if the flow was greatly reduced.) Then they extended that shed and we did the millwrighting for it, and they put another two hundred looms in. We did all that millwrighting and pulled the old oil engine out and National brought a new one (1938). They went from sixty horse power to a hundred horse National Engine, slow running and not totally enclosed. They run at about 130revs a minute, a big fine engine. We put a new line shaft in, all new pulleys and then we put a 60 hp electric motor in as well just in case trade were bad and they could run just one shed with the motor, or if there were no water they could start the motor up. They were all on fast and loose pulleys were the shaft drive from the motor, about seven feet long with an eight inch belt on about an inch thick. They’d a real set up up there. Then we extended the place again after a few years for another two hundred looms and a two storey building to form a cellar underneath. We did all that job but that ran separately with an electric motor at the top of the steps just where you went up into the shed. One big motor, about a hundred horse.

The water wheel were a wood construction wheel with a cast iron shaft and wooden spokes right up to the wheel segments and steel buckets which must have been renewed many times which we repaired once or twice. Cast iron segments, by segments I mean in the form of a gear wheel round the outer edge. It’d be about twenty five feet in diameter and six feet wide. The segments were getting worn, if one broke we’d go and put a new segment in. And the pinion, you couldn’t lubricate it with cylinder oil and ordinary grease. (Because it washed off, the pinion was showered with water when the wheel was running.) What they used to lubricate the segments with on that were gas tar, road gas tar, they found that was the most efficient lubrication you could put on a water wheel.

Then it started acting up, it were allus wearing teeth out in the pinion and the pinion ‘ud be about four feet in diameter. I think the teeth were about three inches pitch, you didn’t get many teeth in a four feet diameter wheel at that pitch you know. It used to wear ‘em out pretty regularly and we’d go and put a new one on. I said it’s running queer is this wheel one day to me father. He says what’s up with it Newton? Well I said, it’s reight in gear at one side but its out of gear at the other side. He said you’ll have to lift the shaft up at one end and lower it at t’other to make it line up. I said, well, if I lift it that much it’ll be through the roof! Oh, he said, like that is it. So we went and had a look, popped a level on t’water wheel shaft while it were stopped one Saturday morning and t’bubble went out of sight in’t level like. So we had a reight look at it and found that gear side bearing had worn reight down, they were running on cast iron pedestals you know, it had worn right down through the pedestal on to the stone. (It wasn’t unusual in the early technology to use a cast iron bearing surface for a wrought iron shaft. They run well together. The same applies to steel running in cast iron or steel running on Lignum Vitae, a vary hard tropical wood, if it’s under water. The step bearing at the bottom of a vertical water turbine was always a Lignum Vitae ball and they would run for years with no lubrication but water. The same wood was used for the stern gland in early steam ships to seal the shaft against water leaking in.) So Mitchell (the owner) says well, you’ll have to do sommat with that, we’re not doing without the water wheel. So me father gets his wood rule out and takes particulars, makes a pattern to make a new bearing but this time we put a bronze step in it didn’t we. And a hell of a thing it was and all, because I remember me and Bob Fort carrying that bronze step from t’shop up to County Brook. The wagon were out so me father says oh, take it on the bus. There weren’t a bus so we walked all the way, he’d carry it a few yards and then I’d carry it a few to the top of, where you live, reight to the top of Tubber Hill and then there’s a gate and you go down through the field. I think we slid it down through the field on the snow or sommat. Anyhow, that’s nowt, we get this bearing in. And to hold that water wheel up, it were a bigger job than lifting any mill engine flywheel. There’s no room, we made two holes in the wall through each side of the spokes you know. We put two girders in, about ten by six and bolted ‘em together. Then we put some straps across and we made some inch and a half bolts and straps under the shaft and we tightened them to lift the wheel up. You couldn’t put jacks under it, you’d nothing only two straight walls. We pulled it up like that to get it clear of the bearings and the shaft I think was worn about two inch of taper on the shaft end! It’d been running for years like that hadn’t it? So me father says well, we can’t make a bearing that’ll fit that shaft so he got it cast on the same taper, we didn’t machine it and me and Bob took it up and that’s how we were going to deal with it, offer it up, bring it back, do a little bit at it and try to make it fit better. So anyhow we just dropped the wheel down on to this new bearing and it looked beautiful and straight, in fact it were leaning the other way! So before we put the pinion on we decided the time had come to run the wheel without the pinion on for a bit to see how the bearing went on. When we come to lower the wheel the penstock had been leaking and the buckets were all full on the drive side and as we were lowering it down it were trying to go round. It started to bend them ruddy bolts and by the time we’d got those bolts out they were just like, well they’d have made a good bow and arrow out of the four you know they’d bent that much curve on them. Anyhow we got it to drop down on to this bearing and we got it running.

We only put a drop of water on to get it spinning round, we’d no gearing on you know and it could go! Believe it or believe it not water went all over the place and you couldn’t get anywhere near it, you wanted a sou’wester on and a mac like a fisherman. That bearing got red hot and it smoked and it sizzled with all that water running on it, it did that. So we shut the water off and got it stopped and I went down to the shop and me father says well, how’s it going on? I said How’s it going on? I’ve never had a hot neck on a water wheel before! He says what! I says we’ve a bloody hot neck Johnny on that water wheel. Never he says, I can’t believe that. Bob says you go up and have a look Johnny, there’s steam coming off it! He he he! And you can’t get near it for water! I must see this he says, I must see this! So I got some Victory Compound which is red moulding sand of course, nicely dried. He says are you going to put that on it Newton? Well I said, I can’t think of anything else! So off we went back with this big box of Victory Compound. Johnny stood well back, while we put the water on and got it going. I bet within ten seconds the bugger were smoking. Whoa! he says, and water were squirting all over the place, get some Victory mixed! I said mix it be buggered let’s put it on raw! So we put this sand on the shaft, no oil in it or nowt, and it ground and it screamed and it squeaked. By gum, in ten minutes it were a perfect fit and it never ailed another thing. It ran right up to them pulling it out and putting a turbine in. They used to get forty horse power out of that water wheel, I mean free, as long as Whitemoor reservoir was running over, you know.”

Image

The old water wheel shaft is still on display at County Brook. If you look carefully you can see how badly roped the journals are. Looking at the shaft in 2018 I realised that I made a mistake in the text when I suggested it was wrought iron. This is quite obviously a cast iron shaft and it's a miracle it survived all those years, they often broke in very cold weather when the metal was brittle.

Image

The County Brook wheel was very similar to this one at the fulling mill in Helmshore.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 25 Apr 2018, 03:57

I commented that as the bearing wore the wheel would drop down and the gear would be somewhere in line. “Spot on, we put the pinion back and put some fresh fat pads on and they never had another minute’s trouble with that. But the segments were getting badly worn.” I pulled Newton up and asked him to explain fat pads. “Yes, great big fat pads. It’s yarn and waste rolled well and truly into a barrel of fat and saturated. But these people make this stuff on purpose, yarn and fat all mixed up. (The brand we used on the shafting at Bancroft was Calypsol Yarn, it was grease and wool shoddy mixed together I think) That’s it, well they had that, they had a tub of it for their shed shafting. We made two big pads about a foot square and slapped ‘em on about three inch thick and they run for months.”

This is Stanley speaking to Newton. “Yes, now that’s something. We’ll digress a bit here. Once again it’s something that a lot of people know nothing about. I mean they see overhead shafting in sheds and nobody ever really thinks about it. Now, at Bancroft, I’ve done ‘em the way they’ve always been done and you tell me whether it was common. What we used to do, of course those were fairly small shafts, only two or three inches in diameter. We put a pad of shaft yarn in each end of the bearing box then fill the middle with ordinary grease and finish off with a pad of hot neck on top and that’s the standard way of doing it isn’t it (Hot neck was high temperature grease that only melted and ran onto the journal when the bearing was very hot.).” “Yes, and it’ll run for blooming years.” Stanley again, “Well, to the best of my knowledge, when I went up there to Bancroft those bearings hadn’t been greased for about three or four years and in the six years I was there, apart from the occasional hot neck, all I used to do was go round and grease ‘em and turn the top pads over. We couldn’t afford any more and they get burnt don’t they (the fat pads). They get dry and charred on the bottom but I took ‘em all out and turned ‘em over because we couldn’t afford grease! But the funny thing were that just before we finished I persuaded ‘em to buy some shaft yarn and I think there were about a hundredweight and a half up there. There were enough to do the shed and no more need for it!”

Newton goes on about shafting bearings. “But you know they were the finest way of lubricating bearings and the finest bearings for a weaving shed that had ever been done were that. (Plain bronze bearings in a cast iron pedestal. Just one half brass in the bottom, no top brass because it wouldn’t have been doing anything. The weight of the shaft and the downwards pull of the belt kept the shaft in the bearing.) Ball races were no good, useless, because they wouldn’t stand the vibration from the gearing. (This is due to a very common but hardly recognised cause of failure in ball or taper bearings with hardened balls or rollers. The vibration causes the hardening to lift off in flakes, they call it exfoliation, and I’ve seen it on shafts on wagons that are set up wrong and getting vibration in the propeller shaft. Nothing new under the sun!) No, County Brook, we’ve been on about County Brook. First shed to be built after Mitchells bought it, Ernest Foulds at Colne did that job and they did it on ball races, ball bearings and they’d nothing but trouble. Every week there were a ball race to change. And some job it was to change those ball bearings you know, I mean they’d to take all the drums off and a coupling off and slide ‘em off at the end. They were ball races with a drawing collet and a couple of lock nuts on to tighten them on the shaft. Well, more often than not the ball race would have seized up and broken a ball and started going round in the pedestal and jiggered it and all. When we did all them other jobs, them other two extensions, we put ring oiler bearings in all through. (The first extension was 1934/35, second was after the war. Ring oilers are where the shaft runs in a plain bearing with a rectangular port cut out of the top of the shell in the centre and there is a well in the pedestal under the bearing which is kept full of oil. There is a steel ring at least twice the diameter of the shaft hung loosely on the exposed portion of the shaft showing through the port with the bottom of it dipping into the oil. When the shaft rotates it drags the ring round with it and as it comes out of the oil reservoir it carries oil up onto the shaft. From there it gets into the bronze bearings and lubricates them and as it gets squeezed out at the ends of the brasses it drops down into the reservoir and replenishes it. They are a good bearing in clean conditions and most importantly, at a level where they can be frequently inspected and topped up. It was this lack of access that caused the trouble.) But I always said, even with ring oilers, they were no good. I think ring oilers were less friction but they needed more looking after than what an ordinary grease box did. I did umpteen sheds in Burnley and altered these small ring oilers and put ‘em on to grease boxes. What we used to do, we used to bore a great big hole through the top cap so’s you could fill it with yarn and grease and do away with the ring altogether. I did two sheds like that in Burnley, they were that fed up of ring oilers leaking oil out on to the cloth in the looms and squeaking and screaming ‘cause they had no oil in and ‘cause some of the rings had stopped (rotating). But we did both them sheds at County Brook with ring oilers and they’d very little trouble with ‘em.”

I commented that one great thing about grease was that if you neglected ‘em, the bearing got warm and the grease in the top pad melted and dropped down on to the shaft and greased it straight away. This tape was made while they were demolishing Bancroft and I said I was looking when they were pulling the shafting out there. I were looking at the journals and bearings that were coming out and they were just like new, they were beautiful. There were very few of them had any marks, some of them were roped a bit but not much and nothing at all on the lineshaft bearings, they were perfect.

Newton again. “I bet they were like new them bearings, I’ve looked at ‘em when they’ve taken ‘em down, run all those years, 50 or 60 years and they were perfect, you try it on a ball race, you see they won’t stand any gearing won’t a ball race. Vibration does it, it doesn’t sound right does it but it’s quite true, and of course, they’re too narrow, there’s no shaft support. Where you get a bearing three times the length of the shaft diameter, you know you put a ball race in for about a two inch shaft and how wide is it, about an inch, a standard one, and it’s trying to bend with the belts pulling at it all the time and the vibration of your bevel gear at the other end and bang wallop goes your ball race. Sunderland’s at Nelson were Pollitt and Wigzell’s millwrighting and they were ball races throughout, oh you talk about trouble there. They’d ball races up to the bevels there, we used to have pedestals in stock ready and waiting for Sunderland’s ringing up, they’d a ball race gone up to the bevel wheel. What a blinking job, it were a full weekend’s job to change one of them bearings. We’d to take the shaft down you know, they’d no collared neck and we had to shrink collars on, re-turn the shaft end when the ball race had chewed it up and then shrink collars on to make them a collared neck (The collars located the cross shaft and the bevel gear on the end.) and put fat pad pedestals on. No more bother after we’d put ‘em on. I’ll bet ninety percent of them had been done after the war.”

I asked Newton how they stopped the shaft floating with no collars on. “Well, they’d no collars on because the ball race were supposed to nip the shaft you know. They were like a collet inside, and these were big ball races because that shaft up at that end would be three and a half inches in diameter where it went into the bevel wheel. That ‘ud act as a thrust bearing as well, oh there were some bother. Smashed bearings and wheels going mad you know aye there were that. We used to take the first length of shaft down, take it to the shop, skim the end up where the ball race had been, we had bearings in stock for it. Shrink a pair of collars on and turn them to fit the bearing, take it back and plonk it in and more often than not it was Sunday afternoon afore you got finished. It were a long narrow shed were that, a lot of looms and the cross shafts were a hell of a length, they were big bevel wheels and all. I bet ninety percent had been replaced before the mill stopped, I bet they had.”

While we were on water power I thought we should slip turbines in as well because there was a connection between Mitchells at County Brook and one of them at Barley so I triggered Newton off. By the way, I think you might have realised, that this was exactly what you did with Newton, gave him a subject and pulled the trigger. Here he is on turbines.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 26 Apr 2018, 05:17

“My main turbine were at that little shed at the bottom of Pendle Hill at Barley. (Narrowgates Mill) That were a big slow speed turbine and it’d be about fifty or sixty horse made by Gilkes from Kendal. It was a horizontal one, not a vertical one. (Newton means a horizontal shaft.) I never forgot my first experience with that. We’d hardly had anything to do with it and one time we were reight slack, me father had been in business a long time on his own and it were one Thursday afternoon before Easter. He says, eh, Mitchell’s rung up from County Brook and he wants us to go out to Barley there’s something gone wrong with the turbine. Now Mr Mitchell at County Brook were a chap we could do wi’ more of nowadays. He believed in using his water power or any other power that didn’t use fossil fuel, which they’re trying to get back to today (This interview was in 1979). If anything went wrong with his water wheel at County Brook or that turbine at the bottom of Pendle Hill even though he could still keep running with his diesel engine he wanted it repairing. So me and me father went over to Barley. Mr Mitchell were in partnership there with a nice old feller, Adam Hargreaves, in a firm called the Narrowgates Mill Company. (In an article in the Craven Herald of the 14th of March 1930 Adam Hargreaves is mentioned as being one of the partners running the Narrowgates Mill at Barley. ‘Mr Hargreaves is the son of Barrett Hargreaves of Barnoldswick and for years ran a grocery business in Ridge Street now owned by his brother H Hargreaves. He was associated with the Monkswell Manufacturing company at Calf Hall Shed and in 1915 left to become a partner in Narrowgates Mill. The mill has worked full-time apart from holidays.’) We went there and went down this mucky hole and it were a big turbine. The casing would be about seven foot tall and about two feet wide. Me dad says it’s a big ‘un is this. Aye he said, we get about 50 horse out of it when we have both dams full. Now why it were so large and so little horse power there were very little fall to it. It had only got about ten foot of fall and it’d be a three foot pipe. Anyhow, me father asked the engineer what’s up with it. The engineer were engineer come tackler come warehouse man come loom oiler come shafting looker-after come greaser come everything! He could do his job and all, a nice feller. He says, it just stopped, the engine pulled up. (Another instance of using an engine in tandem with the water power to get better governing of the speed of the shafts. At Narrowgates they used a diesel engine.) So he took the ropes off the turbine, it had three and a half inch ropes on, and got running using only the engine. He says the turbine’s solid and I don’t know why. Anyhow it were insured so me father says right we’ll be at it after Easter. So I went with the old fitter after Easter Monday to Narrowgates mill. We started to strip this thing and it must have been fifty or sixty years old and had never been touched everything was rusted up solid. Big shifts and little ‘uns and after about a week we got one end off and you never saw anything like it inside. Somebody had put an old flock mattress in the dam and all the flocks had gone down the pipe into the spinner and had jammed it up solid. It were a soldered spinner built up out of sheet brass, a beautiful thing and the flocks had jammed all the vanes solid inside between the guide vanes that governed it and itself which had riven the spinner completely to bits. All the soldered plates were loose oh what a mess! It took us about a month to get it to bits. We took it to the shop, no problem to make a new shaft and make new guide vanes which were all bent and worn but me father says what about the spinner?”

I asked Newton whether it was one of the turbines with adjustable guide vanes connected by linkage rods on the outside of the case.

“Yes, it had linkage on the outside and a mechanical governor on. The guide vanes were inside, they’d be about eight inches wide and two feet long curved to the shape of the wheel and one overlapped another and when they opened they let more water in and when they closed they closed the gap. We had it all at the shop, the ends and everything and we got to the spinner. Me father took a look at it and said we can’t make that. Come on Newton, dost a think the old wagon’ll get us to Gilbert Gilkes at Kendal? I says well it’s got us to Narrowgates every day for a fortnight so it’ll go to Kendal! We’d an old Austin 20 made into a little wagon. Aye, well come on then! No letters, no nothing, no ring up, this is the way to do a job, off we went to Gilkes at Kendal. Oh it were a hell of a big place some of the biggest lathes there I’d ever seen in me life! Come in, come in, they took us into the office, travelled all that way, cups of coffee, cups of tea, sit down. Where do you come from? Barlick. What job are you doing? A turbine at the bottom of Pendle Hill, Narrowgates. Mr so and so shouts of Mr so and so, see if you can find any literature for a turbine at Narrowgates Mill Company, Pendle Hill. That chap weren’t ten minutes before he were back, that ruddy turbine must have been in fifty years but they had full files of all the lot, full particulars, sizes, everything. Now then Mr Pickles what do you want for this turbine. Me father says a new spinner. Oh my God he says it’s a soldered one. Well the one looked at the other. When do you want it? Me father says yesterday and adds that the shaft’s bent. The Gilkes man says can you make the new shaft? I suppose you know it’s made out of cast steel? Me father turns round to me and says what did I tell thee! When it came into the shop he’d told me it was cast steel and how he knew, it had no carbuncles on it. Cast steel'l rust but it stays smooth. Mild steel and wrought iron rusts with carbuncles on. He says, I told thee, I told thee that shaft were cast steel not mild steel. And I jolly soon found out when I got it in the lathe to try and straighten it.

Image

This is a similar turbine to the one Newton found at Narrowgates but smaller. I found this Williamson turbine in a quarry at Kirkstone Pass in the Lake District.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 27 Apr 2018, 03:57

Anyhow, they made that spinner for us, I think it took ‘em about three weeks. Beautiful thing when I brought it back in a big wooden box, we were scared stiff of it. Picture it, about three feet or three foot six in diameter, eight or nine inches wide, all bevelled to fit inside the casing it had to be a perfect fit. All brass rings and shiny brass plates and every little bit soldered together. Not a rivet in it and the only casting was the hub and it had all the slots cast in it for the vanes to go into, a beautiful thing. Anyway we put it all back together and I think we got it running sometime in October. We were there all summer because when we started to get it back together they decided then that they’d have a new header tank, it was a wooden one and was the reason the flock had gone down, the wood were rotten inside and it had dropped the grate which was supposed to catch anything in the water. So we put a new header on made of cast iron about ten feet by fifteen. Some job making that tank you know, it were a bigger job than doing the turbine, all cast iron plate. You couldn’t make it in one piece ‘cause there weren’t enough room you had to put it together in the little building it were in. We made a new clow for the dam. (A ‘clow’ is the dialect term for the sluice gate.) So they spent some money with us on that job and we got it running and it ran right up to the mill stopping did that thing, I don’t think it ever had anything else. I think I had to put some new pins in the guide vanes, that were about all it ever had done after that job right up to the mill stopping which is only a matter of what, ten years since. There were a bit of an article about it in the local paper a week or two ago.”

I asked Newton if he’d ever seen signs of a steam engine at Narrowgates because I couldn’t find any even though there was an old square chimney. “They hadn’t one, I never knew of one, there was neither engine nor boiler nor any trace but there’d been another shed there down the side of the shed that was there when we went. You went out at the back round the field past his office and down the other side there were lots of stones, piles of stones and old foundation ruins. I thought there’d been another shed there at some time and the engine and boiler must have run more looms than what they had when we were there and it must have run that lot. But there were no sign of that boiler and engine at all except there were just a sign of a boiler house with an arch. It’s been made into offices has that building and rag stores underneath. That engine must have been somewhere up there. We never could fathom it out where it had been.

There’s just one interesting thing while we’re on about Narrowgates. When we went there first, that ‘ud be the first job we ever did, he had a hot crank pin on his diesel engine, that’s when Mitchell’s were partners. Now later on in it’s life Adam Hargreaves paid Mitchell out and ran it on his own as a family business wi’ his grandson and his daughter. Now then, they had a cross rope drive in there, from the turbine it ran up on to the first line shaft, the engine were in the next room, an eighty horse power National diesel that ran on to the same shaft with fast and loose pulleys, although the turbine drove by ropes. Now on that shaft there were about a four foot diameter rope pulley and the drive ran from there into the shed on to another rope pulley. Now believe this or believe it not it had cross ropes on. Now can you imagine a cross rope drive with the ropes rubbing against each other? One pulley made for inch and a quarter rope and t’other bloody pulley for two inch ropes, he he he! It used to be re-roped every month, I think Coopers at Nelson used to make a fortune out of that job. You couldn’t get into the turbine race for rope dust with the ropes rubbing together besides having two odd pulleys. So me father says to Adam one day, don’t you think it’s about time we did away with this cross rope drive? He says how can you do away with it Johnny, the engine won’t run the other way round and neither will the turbine. Me father says they don’t need to if we put some wall brackets up here and we put a countershaft across and we’ll move that rope pulley on to that shaft there and at this end we’ll put a pair of spur wheels. That were a fair job and we did that job for him and me father says I’ll tell you what we’ll do and all Adam, let’s make a rope drive pulley wi’ grooves all the same size. We did away with the cross drive, aye, no more trouble.”

Newton again. “I had another two but I never worked on them. That were at Barlick Corn Mill which were very similar to that one at Barley but they never used it. There were also one at Dotcliffe Mill at Kelbrook. Now they used theirs but I never had any occasion to repair it. Only job I did there I put a new shaft over the top of it which had fast and loose pulleys on to change it over when they wanted to run it at night for a bit of electric or if they were running a spinning machine or owt like that. It ran a little DC dynamo as well and they just ran that for lighting, they ran all the lights for the shed off it and all you know. I never actually saw inside it but it were a big turbine were that. Only thing I did was put a new shaft in, new pulleys and strap fork and all that do. In fact I’d to cut the rope off that Albert Hoggarth hung his self on before I could start working. (Later research found evidence that Albert Hoggarth hung himself in October 1932. Newton reckoned he cut the rope down in 1937/8 because he’d just started courting. This is entirely possible because nobody wanted to touch the rope after Albert’s sad end. Albert was brother to George Hoggarth the man who used to be engineer at Bancroft before George Bleasdale the man I replaced.)

I asked Newton about another turbine he had been called in to have a look at. “Oh aye, up at Lowcock’s. (Linton Mill near Grassington.) He has two, he has a double one which must be about three hundred horse power. It’s a heck of a thing Stanley, I couldn’t credit that turbine when I first saw it. It’s in a great big concrete tank about fifty foot square and it has all the weight of the river on it, so what horse power, we’ll say two hundred. I don’t want to exaggerate, it’s a double one you know, it has a spinner at each end and it’s fed from the centre so you get that feeding from the centre and then you get your vacuum. (The pull on the flow because of the drop pipe.) And they run at a fair speed do them. Now that single one of course, it’s stopped again just because he wouldn’t pay for having it repaired the first time. Silly old feller! Lowcock’s were manufacturers. Grand mill is Linton it ‘ud make the best museum in the country would Linton Mills if the silly old feller ‘ud let somebody go in and talk to him and do it. There’s everything in that mill, there’s a Newton, Bean and Mitchell engine, it’d be the last engine they ever made with drop valves, a drop valve engine with a tail end air pump. It ran a great big DC generator about ten feet tall. There’s two Paxman Diesels, I don’t know whether they’re six cylinder or eight now, I forget, one’s partially in pieces and t’others all together with great big DC generators on the ends. There’s a forty horse power turbine that runs a DC generator which used to light his house and heat it. It did that for fifty years, never cost them a penny and when we went to repair it when the bearings conked out he wouldn’t pay for it so I wouldn’t go any more. But it’s a marvellous set up and then there’s that great big thing down in that concrete cellar, that’d run all the blinking lot with a DC generator on it as well as being coupled to all the shafting in the mill. They ran everything off that water when there were plenty coming down the river, everything, mill, houses, looms, the lot. They even pumped water out of the river for people to drink. It’s a shame, in fact I think it’s ridiculous, I think someone wants to go along there and plonk an order on it before the scrap chaps get in there, there’s shafting up and everything.”
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 28 Apr 2018, 03:40

At the time we did this interview I was advising English Heritage on the refurbishment of the Stott Park bobbin mill at Lakeside on Windermere and had found them a turbine up at Kirkstone Quarry which was a Williamson who were the predecessors to Gilkes. It was a different turbine than the one already installed in the bobbin mill but I thought it could be an acceptable replacement, it wasn’t and as far as I am aware it could still be up there.

The mill also had a very old Cornish boiler and a small single cylinder horizontal engine which had been badly neglected. I suggested I should bring Newton up to have a look at it and Brown and Pickles got the job of stripping it and bringing it back to life. Water had been leaking into the cylinder for years so as well as having the worst wear I have ever seen on every bearing the piston was seized solid. We later realised that there wasn’t a single lubricator on the engine, it was an oil-can job. Newton went through everything, bored the old piston and rod out and rebored the cylinder giving it a new piston and rings and I think a stainless steel rod. The boiler was past refurbishing and so they commissioned the engine using an instantaneous steam generator. I wasn’t there but I remember Newton saying everything was OK but it was the first time he had ever run an engine on red steam! Most of these generators operate by dropping water onto an electrically heated cast iron block and I suppose that it hadn’t been used for a while and was carrying red oxide over with the steam. Newt said the condensate running out of the drains looked like blood. Only a small job but right up Newton’s street

Right, I think we’ve sucked the juice out of water power. Where shall we go next…

Image

The small single cylinder at Stott Park Bobbin mill in 1978. Right up Newton’s street!

CHAPTER 20: CALF HALL SHED

When the dead hand of Bracewell domination was lifted from Barlick in 1885/87 with Billycock’s death and the collapse of the Bracewell interests there was an explosion of economic activity based on the room and power principle. With hindsight this was the best thing that happened to the town after the canal arrived because the shed companies were very successful. They gave the opportunity of entry into cotton manufacturing at a very low capital threshold, all the tenant had to do was pay rent on each loom, taping machine and warehouse facilities. This enabled them to concentrate on what they knew best, weaving, and the profits were quite startling. Billy Brooks once told me that in the late 19th century a loom cost £5 to buy, new and fully furnished, the first five cuts woven on the loom paid for it and after that it was all profit once the rent and wages had been paid. This was what built the manufacturers fortunes and enabled them to move out into their own new mills between 1900 and 1914.

The Calf Hall Shed Company was the second shed company to be set up and was to become the biggest mill owner in the town. It built the Calf Hall Shed and opened it with 800 looms in 1889. I think the main thing we can learn in the context of our story is that when the company started they could have had no inkling of how successful they were going to become. From 1907 to 1914 the Calf Hall Company paid out minimum dividends to shareholders of 10%. In 1911 they paid 12% and in 1912 the equivalent of 35% (this included a capital bonus of 25%). It was a licence to print money. At the annual general meeting in 1907 the secretary said that ‘the company is the largest room and power company in England but that it was owing £25,000 on loans and mortgages’.

The original slide valve engine installed in 1889 was by William Roberts of Phoenix Foundry, Nelson and was quite an old-fashioned design. Running on steam at 105psi at 63rpm it was rated at 430hp which was sufficient for the original load of 800 looms and associated machinery but very soon started to struggle as the shed was extended and eventually reached 1700 looms at its peak in the 1930s. Theoretically this was a load of 900hp, twice what the engine was designed for. The jobs that we will look at on the engine are a good illustration of how an engine could be pushed, the problems this caused and what had to be done to keep it going. Remember the flyshafts at Victoria and Wellhouse, this is all part of the same story of overloaded engines. The miracle of it all is that in 1939 when Calf Hall Shed stopped weaving and was turned over to war production as a shadow factory it was still driven by the same engine that was originally installed in 1889. If ever there was a demonstration of the capacity of ‘old-fashioned’ steam engines to sustain prolonged overloading, this is it.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 29 Apr 2018, 06:17

When Newton was telling me about the incident with the greaser on the Wellhouse engine crank pin I asked him about greasers saying that the only greasers I’d ever seen were the ones that fed up a pipe along the connecting rod and here’s what he said. “Roberts always put them on, Calf Hall engine had them on and they’d a big central pillar with the lubricator on which fed grease into the crosshead and pipe to the crank via a pipe that had hinged joints in it so it could follow the movement of the crosshead. What happened at Calf Hall one day, it got hold did that quadrant pipe. Noel went to lubricate it and it seized one Monday morning. It picked the lubricator up and threw it round. Edwin rang up and said you’d better come down here, there’s a hole in the roof! It had broken the pillar off at the bottom, it would be about four and a half inches in diameter, a cast iron pillar, and the engine picked it up, whizzed it and threw it through the roof of the engine house. We decided a modification was best. We bored the crank pins out and put em on oil. The original greasers went up the outside, up the connecting rod, not through a hole in the crank pin.” (The grease was forced into the crankpin brass via a hole on the end of the connecting rod, like a normal oil hole. Feeding oil from a longitudinal drilling in the crank pin was far better because the centrifugal force took the oil into the bearing just where it was needed.)

Later on I got Newton to describe the Calf Hall engine. Remember that he is describing the engine as he knew it, not as originally installed. I started him off by giving him the dates. It was built in 1889 and the Craven Herald dated December 6th 1889 reported that the engine was christened and started at quarter past three in the afternoon of Saturday the 30th of November. The high pressure cylinder was called Emily and low pressure Annie. “Now what were the engine at Calf Hall?”

“It were a 750hp Robert’s cross compound and it were’t first one Roberts made wi’ a rope drive flywheel (12 ropes.). It had slide valve low pressure and slide valve high-pressure cylinders with cut-off gear on. In 1916 it were modernised and Burnley Ironworks put a new high-pressure cylinder in, one of them wi’ all the valves at the top. (Corliss valves.) Now in 1934 (CHSC minute books for 27th May 1936 say old boiler was 105psi and that the load on the engine is 770hp.) we took a boiler out of Butts which were 180psi (I know I’m nit-picking here but when the directors ordered the boiler new for Butts in February 1919 it was stated to be for 160psi and in June 1919 the directors witnessed the proof test at 260psi. I think proof test then was installed pressure plus 50% plus 10psi. For a 160psi boiler this would be 250psi and for 180psi it would have been 280psi so on balance 160psi is right. Sorry about that but I do try to be accurate!) and we put it in Calf Hall which were only 110psi to run at 160psi and we put a new piston into it, new piston rod, new cross head pin and a new crank pin, made ‘em all bigger. We bored out all the stud holes in’t high pressure cylinder covers and put high tensile BSF studs in and raised the pressure from 110psi to 160psi. That up rated the engine, it were always terribly overloaded after they built Monkswell shed (1891). That were before my time of course but there were 400 looms in’t Monkswell. (This work on the engine may have been before the boiler was moved in from Butts because there is a note in the company minute books dated 10th of April 1935 saying that the crosshead was cracked and it was resolved that it should be replaced.

That engine ran at 80rpm, it were speeded up when that extension were built but it still couldn’t cope, not with economy anyway. The governor were a Whitehead and it had an Edward’s air pump that me father made sometime between the end of the First World War and 1930 when I started work. The feed pump were a three ram Pearn pump (Frank Pearn’s of Manchester.) that me father put in when he put the new air pump in. It ran off the engine with pulleys and a belt off the flywheel shaft running down into the cellar. There’d been a single ram pump on’t back, on’t side of the old air pump in the old days, the original fitting. When me father put that new Edward’s air pump on they didn’t bother with it, they put a new boiler pump in and all and ran it off the flywheel shaft with a belt on the governor side of the shaft between the flywheel boss and the governor pulley. They’d just that one pump and an injector, that were all there were at Calf Hall. The original boiler were an eight foot Lancashire and that that went from Butts were nine foot. (This was 1936/7according to the shed company minute books.) I think that eight foot were a Yates boiler and they’d Leach’s stokers on, if you’ve ever seen any Leach’s stokers. When they were running reight they were a marvellous stoker, they were a fan stoker you know. They had a horizontal shaft running round at a heck of a speed and on that shaft were two cast iron blocks that were loose like a centrifugal governor type thing and they caught the coal as it come down out of the hoppers. There were a big crown wheel in the middle run by a worm and it had an arm on that worked a slide on the hoppers and delivered the coal. To alter the feed, you had this wing nut in’t middle and you put it in a different position in’t slot to give you more or less stroke for whatever rate of coal you wanted to burn. But they were always tricky, they wanted a lot of maintenance, because these fan type things and t’shoes didn’t last so long they soon wore out with the coal wearing them away. Nearly all the mills in Barlick had them.”

I said that was interesting because the first stokers that were on were Bennis stokers. I knew that from the Calf Hall Shed Minute books. I can’t tell the exact date they put them on but every now and then there were a bill from Bennis for springs.

Newton again. “Oh I should think they must had had ‘em all taken off and put Leach’s on when they came into existence. They all had Leach’s stokers on. They run the old boiler at 110psi.”

I asked Newton “When you put that other boiler in did they make the old boiler redundant or did they use the old one to…”

“We put t’new one in and left the other one in and in winter they used to use the other one for heating and t’donkey and t’tapes and such because it couldn’t cope with the engine, he’d just short of 900hp on when he were full up and it were built for 750ihp were’t engine. He couldn’t cope in winter wi’ just one boiler, he used to put the other on for heating and we put all new steam ranges in, all steel pipe and a new stop valve. The heating ran at boiler pressure, they were practically all boiler pressure in those days.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 29 Apr 2018, 06:27

When Newton was telling me about the incident with the greaser on the Wellhouse engine crank pin I asked him about greasers saying that the only greasers I’d ever seen were the ones that fed up a pipe along the connecting rod and here’s what he said. “Roberts always put them on, Calf Hall engine had them on and they’d a big central pillar with the lubricator on which fed grease into the crosshead and pipe to the crank via a pipe that had hinged joints in it so it could follow the movement of the crosshead. What happened at Calf Hall one day, it got hold did that quadrant pipe. Noel went to lubricate it and it seized one Monday morning. It picked the lubricator up and threw it round. Edwin rang up and said you’d better come down here, there’s a hole in the roof! It had broken the pillar off at the bottom, it would be about four and a half inches in diameter, a cast iron pillar, and the engine picked it up, whizzed it and threw it through the roof of the engine house. We decided a modification was best. We bored the crank pins out and put em on oil. The original greasers went up the outside, up the connecting rod, not through a hole in the crank pin.” (The grease was forced into the crankpin brass via a hole on the end of the connecting rod, like a normal oil hole. Feeding oil from a longitudinal drilling in the crank pin was far better because the centrifugal force took the oil into the bearing just where it was needed.)

Later on I got Newton to describe the Calf Hall engine. Remember that he is describing the engine as he knew it, not as originally installed. I started him off by giving him the dates. It was built in 1889 and the Craven Herald dated December 6th 1889 reported that the engine was christened and started at quarter past three in the afternoon of Saturday the 30th of November. The high pressure cylinder was called Emily and low pressure Annie. “Now what were the engine at Calf Hall?”

“It were a 750hp Robert’s cross compound and it were’t first one Roberts made wi’ a rope drive flywheel (12 ropes.). It had slide valve low pressure and slide valve high-pressure cylinders with cut-off gear on. In 1916 it were modernised and Burnley Ironworks put a new high-pressure cylinder in, one of them wi’ all the valves at the top. (Corliss valves.) Now in 1934 (CHSC minute books for 27th May 1936 say old boiler was 105psi and that the load on the engine is 770hp.) we took a boiler out of Butts which were 180psi (I know I’m nit-picking here but when the directors ordered the boiler new for Butts in February 1919 it was stated to be for 160psi and in June 1919 the directors witnessed the proof test at 260psi. I think proof test then was installed pressure plus 50% plus 10psi. For a 160psi boiler this would be 250psi and for 180psi it would have been 280psi so on balance 160psi is right. Sorry about that but I do try to be accurate!) and we put it in Calf Hall which were only 110psi to run at 160psi and we put a new piston into it, new piston rod, new cross head pin and a new crank pin, made ‘em all bigger. We bored out all the stud holes in’t high pressure cylinder covers and put high tensile BSF studs in and raised the pressure from 110psi to 160psi. That up rated the engine, it were always terribly overloaded after they built Monkswell shed (1891). That were before my time of course but there were 400 looms in’t Monkswell. (This work on the engine may have been before the boiler was moved in from Butts because there is a note in the company minute books dated 10th of April 1935 saying that the crosshead was cracked and it was resolved that it should be replaced.

That engine ran at 80rpm, it were speeded up when that extension were built but it still couldn’t cope, not with economy anyway. The governor were a Whitehead and it had an Edward’s air pump that me father made sometime between the end of the First World War and 1930 when I started work. The feed pump were a three ram Pearn pump (Frank Pearn’s of Manchester.) that me father put in when he put the new air pump in. It ran off the engine with pulleys and a belt off the flywheel shaft running down into the cellar. There’d been a single ram pump on’t back, on’t side of the old air pump in the old days, the original fitting. When me father put that new Edward’s air pump on they didn’t bother with it, they put a new boiler pump in and all and ran it off the flywheel shaft with a belt on the governor side of the shaft between the flywheel boss and the governor pulley. They’d just that one pump and an injector, that were all there were at Calf Hall. The original boiler were an eight foot Lancashire and that that went from Butts were nine foot. (This was 1936/7according to the shed company minute books.) I think that eight foot were a Yates boiler and they’d Leach’s stokers on, if you’ve ever seen any Leach’s stokers. When they were running reight they were a marvellous stoker, they were a fan stoker you know. They had a horizontal shaft running round at a heck of a speed and on that shaft were two cast iron blocks that were loose like a centrifugal governor type thing and they caught the coal as it come down out of the hoppers. There were a big crown wheel in the middle run by a worm and it had an arm on that worked a slide on the hoppers and delivered the coal. To alter the feed, you had this wing nut in’t middle and you put it in a different position in’t slot to give you more or less stroke for whatever rate of coal you wanted to burn. But they were always tricky, they wanted a lot of maintenance, because these fan type things and t’shoes didn’t last so long they soon wore out with the coal wearing them away. Nearly all the mills in Barlick had them.”

I said that was interesting because the first stokers that were on were Bennis stokers. I knew that from the Calf Hall Shed Minute books. I can’t tell the exact date they put them on but every now and then there were a bill from Bennis for springs.

Newton again. “Oh I should think they must had had ‘em all taken off and put Leach’s on when they came into existence. They all had Leach’s stokers on. They run the old boiler at 110psi.”

I asked Newton “When you put that other boiler in did they make the old boiler redundant or did they use the old one to…”

“We put t’new one in and left the other one in and in winter they used to use the other one for heating and t’donkey and t’tapes and such because it couldn’t cope with the engine, he’d just short of 900hp on when he were full up and it were built for 750ihp were’t engine. He couldn’t cope in winter wi’ just one boiler, he used to put the other on for heating and we put all new steam ranges in, all steel pipe and a new stop valve. The heating ran at boiler pressure, they were practically all boiler pressure in those days.

Image

A banjo crank oiler fitted on the Bancroft engine. This was what B&P fitted to the Calf Hall engine, one for each side. The big lubricator delivered a drop of oil about every five revolutions into the central banjo and centrifugal force sent the oil up into a drilling in the end of the shaft and via a cross drilling direct into the bearing. A much better way of doing the job and it had the advantage of a visible lubrication flow.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 30 Apr 2018, 05:24

That engine were always overloaded and just afore I started working it dropped the high-pressure crank off. (3pm on Thursday 28th February 1924 according to the minute books. Henry Brown and Sons did the repairs and the engine started again on the morning of 13 March 1924.) It broke it off and the piston came flying out through the cover and catched the engine driver on the arse and cut him. Me father went up and he said Edwin (Waterworth) were walking about and he says eh Edwin, thart bleeding someweer it’s all running out of your shoes. He says oh has it ruddy well cut me! So he pulled his pants down and he had a ruddy great gash in his arse, he’d to go and have about twenty stitches in it. The piston were broke into six pieces just like a Kraft cheese in a box. Piston rod had come right through the piston and split it and it never hurt the cylinder. It rove the cover off and broke all the studs. Aye, the crank pin dropped off so you can tell the load it had on. It smashed the slides out, which were open slides, not like Bancroft with a centre slipper, they were outside slippers. (Four bar guides, typical of Roberts’ practice at the time.) It smashed the ends off and I think in our shop today there’s one of the straight pairs that we use for a mandrel block. Me father made all new patterns for to make them slides, new slippers, new piston, new rod and took the old crank pin out and put a new one in and we were running in eight days.” (17 days actually according to the Calf hall minute books. This is as good a place as any to relate something that Johnny said about crank pins when he and Newton were looking round a large steam locomotive. He pointed out the crank pin and its rudimentary oiling arrangement which was simply a reservoir in the end of the connecting rod with the filling hole stopped with a cork. He said that when you thought of the duty the crank performed, the minimal oil supply and the fact that it was getting showered with grit all the time from the permanent way it was a wonder they never seized up. It made the precautions they took with stationary engine cranks look like overkill.) In 1928 the order books of the Universal Metallic Packing Company at Bradford record that the Calf Hall Company ordered spares for the low pressure front packing which was United States Metallic Packing no. 16493 and a new packing no. 26010 for a 4” shaft.

“Apart from the engine load there were five or else six tapes, everybody had a tape, some had two you know. Edwin could fire that boiler, I learned all me fire-beating off Edwin. He used to say Newton, if we could run that fire on wire netting we’d be able to keep steam up easy, blooming bars, filling all the holes up with rubbish! They didn’t smoke much at Calf Hall. No, a chap that could fire wouldn’t make much smoke, he weren’t making no steam if the chimney were smoking, you learned how to fire the hard way. You see they all had a silly do hadn’t they which were to clean out at twenty past eleven and half past three and all that sort of carry on. They all did it at the same time because it were a council stipulation which were silly really. They had to clean out at a certain time and whether their idea was let’s get rid of all the smoke at one do I don’t know. But a chap that could fire didn’t make no blooming smoke, you used to go and see old Edwin at Calf Hall, open his firebox door and you could see the fire bouncing on the bars it weren’t above three inches thick. You’d see Edwin round at back, on’t back o’t boiler on Monday morning when he’d everything on in the middle of winter and he had a little duck lamp looking for leaks in the brickwork least little thing and it were plastered up. Aye, the magic wand, the duck lamp. Even round the chimney bottom he’d be going where it went into the floor, aye, anywhere.” (I used this trick at Bancroft. I had a piece of half inch pipe with a rope threaded through and it was kept soaking in a bucket of old oil. If you lit the end and passed it over the brickwork you soon found the leaks and stopped them up with fireclay. Small things but they made a difference. Johnny once told Newton that every leak in the settings cost a barrow full of coal a week. Not sure about that but the concept was good.)

There is a sad entry in the Calf Hall Shed Company’s minute books dated 19th of December 1940. It stated that the engine at Calf Hall was stopped on December 18th and the Rover Company who were taking the shed over as an MAP shadow factory had asked for the lineshaft to be taken out. In February 1942 there is another note that James Dixon’s tender of £472-10-0 for removal of shafting be approved and he also bought 64 economiser pipes at £1 each. The engine was still in the mill in 1946 when it was de-requisitioned and on the 16th of May Mr George Forrester Singleton advised the company that they could scrap it without prejudicing their position. They were negotiating with the MAP at the time over reparations for the mill. In 1957 the mill was sold to Blin and Blin and became a woollen spinning and weaving shed driven by electricity. Funnily enough, Blin’s were using mules and at that late stage in the industry, Barlick once more had some of the oldest technology.

Image

Doffing full cops from a condenser mule at Spring Vale, Haslingden. Exactly the same technology that returned to Calf Hall. These mules are spinning cotton but the technique is essentially a woollen process. This was in 1978 and in the Spring Vale case the yarn was used for making Winceyette, a cloth that was treated to raise the nap, used for nighties and yellow dusters.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 01 May 2018, 04:25

CHAPTER 21: ALBION SHED AT EARBY

If you’ve got a good memory you’ll remember that Brown’s original shop in Earby was on Albion Street which ran off Victoria Road in Earby down the side of Albion shed. In 1890 a new company was formed, the Earby Shed Company Limited. The shareholders were all local business men and the whole shed was let for a period of 14 years to Henry Bracewell and Son of Gargrave and Rawtenstall who also re-opened Old Shed on New Road and brought their looms and many of their workers out of Lancashire, labour being short in Earby because the new Grove Shed had just opened. They were running 1300 looms in the two mills. Roberts of Nelson the engine builders promised ‘the engine will turn in the first week in April’ (1890). I found an article in the Craven Herald of the 29th of November 1929 based on the life of John Bailey who was born in 1819 at Bawhead in Earby. He started working at home as a bobbin winder and later a hand loom weaver. He then started a grocery shop on Water Street in Earby and amassed enough capital to be one of the original investors in the Earby Shed Company and Albion Mill. The mill was built on a piece of land called the Seal Croft (old name Selcroft) part of the school farm which he owned. John Bailey also built Spring Mill in Earby. It’s amazing how many mills had grocers as investors. The grocery trade must have been very profitable in those days!

There are varying reports of when Henry Bracewell and Son ceased trading but certainly by 1903 several small tenants were in the mill. By 1934 A J Birley had the whole of the mill and this firm ran until May 1st 1959. Booth and Speak moved in and carried on after Birley’s. It can be very difficult to trace which firm was where because just at this time there was a lot of movement as firms took advantage of the grants available to re-organise and liquidated only to start up again under another name. I was lucky enough to have a good source in the late Bob King who went to work for A Speak and Company in 1954 at Victoria Mill (used to be Charles Shuttleworth and Company Limited). A Speak and Company bought Dotcliffe Mill at Kelbrook in 1956 and added it to the five mills they already owned. In 1959 there was a disastrous fire at Dotcliffe which was thought to be started by a local arsonist, the notorious ‘fire-bug’ who was very active at the time and never caught. A Speak bought Albion in 1959 and moved looms in from all over Lancashire. In 1960/61 Frank Speak, the head of A Speak and Company, retired to a farm in the south of England and his son Geoffrey and a man called Job Booth formed Booth and Speak. At that time the firm had 1,350 looms running at Albion and Spring Mill also in Earby. Bob King got the offer of a job as a textile manager in New Zealand in 1964 and took it. Booth and Speak carried on until early 1970 according to Geoff Shackleton and I have no better information.

[That's the back story, now for what Newton said about the mill.....]
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 02 May 2018, 04:09

Image

The Albion engine in its later days.

I asked Newton about Albion Shed. “Well, that were a Roberts tandem were Albion Mill at Earby. (Named ‘Enterprise’) About 650 horse, somewhere about, and it were a direct drive engine, no second motion, direct drive from the fly wheel shaft straight through into the shed on to your bevel wheels, no gearing between the engine and the mill. It were a slide valve low and the high pressure cylinder had been replaced, Burnley Ironworks had put a Corliss cylinder in. (1914, order number 119 according to Geoff Shackleton. Burnley Ironworks also fitted new metallic packings according to Universal Metallic Packing Company order book dated 24th of November 1904.). It were one of those cylinders where they’d had to skimp for height and they put all the valves at the top. By all the valves at the top I mean that the exhaust and steam valves were all in the same line at the top of the cylinder. This made them the sort of engines you’d to be very careful with your warming up and how you started up because you’d no way to get rid of any water only down your drains, you couldn’t get rid of it through your exhaust valves.”

I asked Newton to explain why this less than ideal configuration of valves was used. “Well, they put them at the top on them engines that were built prior to 1900 when they were originally slide valves. They could get a Corliss high pressure in without altering the engine beds if they put all the valves at the top, they couldn’t get them down low enough to have the exhaust valves at the bottom. So what they used to do on an expensive conversion was to cut the beds off and put half a new bed in and put high pressure and low pressure cylinder beds about six inch lower down which gave them room to get the exhaust valves at the bottom. You know what that engine at Queen Street mill is like, well that engine’s exactly the same engine as Albion was originally. It had two slide valve cylinders, but what they did there, they went to a lot more expense and they put new beds in under it right up to the fly wheel shaft. (Queen Street is still running as a museum in 2009 and is direct drive as well.) They converted it to Corliss with one valve at each corner they’d got it low enough down to do this. So, to do a cheap job without touching the beds Burnley Ironworks came along and made these high pressure cylinders with all four valves in at the top. They ran OK, they were no detriment in that respect you know. But I’ll tell you a little story about th’Albion. The low pressure cylinder had never been modernised and it still had slide valves in, this happened before my time, this is the story as me father told me because they did the job. One afternoon one of the high pressure valves stuck open and put boiler pressure into the low pressure cylinder and it blew the slide valve lids off and buried them in the wall. Aye, buried ‘em into t’tiles on’t wall, both of them. So me father went along and they made two new covers for ‘em half an inch thicker. The old type of cover like, they’d be about an inch and a half thick on the outside edge but then there were a moulding round the middle which made it only an inch thick there and a couple of ribs on. So me father put two new covers on and made ‘em two and a half inches thick with a big round ring, like a boss, in the middle and a lagging plate on which made them about four and a half inches thick in the middle to strengthen ‘em up. Aye it blew them straight off and they sunk into the wall. He said, It buried ‘em in’t wall Newton, both of them, broke all the bolts, they were bolted on, they weren’t studs you know, they could get the bolts in from the back if you dug under the lagging. Then later on in its life I put a new Edwards air pump on to that engine, a completely new air pump, I made it an Edwards type wi’ no rubbers on the bucket. The old one were jiggered in the foot valve and the casing were corroded you know, it were all eaten through with water.

Image

Slide valve covers on Jubilee engine, very similar to the original cylinder on Albion.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44909
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Stanley » 03 May 2018, 04:08

Then the last major operation on that engine was when I put a new fly wheel shaft in it and a new crank on. It had about four or five new crank pins in it’s day and the fly wheel shaft had a bad crack in it, what I mean by a crack it were a longitudinal crack not circular to the shaft, a forging crack, it were a wrought iron shaft. (Usually caused by a slag inclusion. Quite common with shafts forged from faggotted wrought iron. When I was doing Ellenroad engine we did non-destructive testing on the rods and the inspector told me that he couldn’t get good readings because of the minor slag inclusions in the forging but he passed them commenting that if the Central Electricity generating Board had as good results for their turbine shafts they would be well pleased. Sometimes the inclusion could generate a crack and this is what was wrong with the Albion shaft.) But Wellhouse fly shaft broke, Earby Mill fly shaft broke and Bolton Crowther, him that were the manager at Albion Shed asked me to go down one Saturday morning and he says I don’t like that crack in that shaft I’m going to get the boss in. She were a woman were the boss that owned the mill, through being the last in the line of the family. (This was Mrs Blanche A Brooks of Thornton in Craven. She was A J Birley’s daughter and was chairman of the directors of A J Birley who were running the shed at the time.) I took the cap off, the inspector was coming and all but long before he landed she came and she said what do you think? I says well it’s not for me to say, this shaft could run another fifty years or it could break tomorrow but you can’t guarantee it. So they just turned round and said well with what’s been breaking round here put a new shaft in. (Victoria shaft broke in 1954 and Wellhouse in 1955 so this would be about 1956?) It were ordered as simple as that and I said well it’s had about six new crank pins… Bolton Crowther chirped up and said put a new crank on as well Newton. So that were a fair job.”

I asked Newton where they went for a new forging. “We used to get them from Webb’s at Bury who used to forge a lot of them but most of Roberts engines, the fly wheel shaft forgings came from Germany, from Krupps. It were what they call Bessemer steel, it were like a bit better stuff than wrought iron you know. But to me they were never a success, I think Robert’s engines had more shafts broken than any other engines I ever knew. I’d only ever had one Burnley Ironworks shaft break and that was Wellhouse you know. Pendle Street had broken the fly wheel shaft. The second motion broke in my time and I did that job and same as I say, that at Albion Shed had a crack in it. Livingstone Mill at Burnley got the wind up wi’ their second motion shaft with it being all badly marked and that were a Bessemer one, I put a new one in there before it broke, the coupling were only hanging on by the skin of its teeth. It were funny that Bessemer steel from Krupps, it were soft as, you know, like lead. When you come to chip a flat in it it didn’t chip like wrought iron nor it didn’t chip like steel, I never liked ‘em. The shafts would all be forged out of wrought iron in the old days. What we used to get when they were forging for us was what we used to call ninety ton steel which is nearly EN8 today. They used to take a bit of turning and all, they did that. But they’d never break for the size they were and what they had to do.” Newton told me off-tape about an engine he went to which had a loose crank pin which turned out to be caused by bad material but in a different way. What he had to do was warm the end of the crank to get the old pin out so that he could measure up for a new one. Shortly after they put the burners on it cracked straight across the boring for the crank and dropped off. It was a cast iron crank and Newton had never suspected it because it was so highly polished. He reckoned that the firm who made the engine had been unable to get forged cranks in time to fulfil the contract and so they’d taken a chance and put cast iron cranks on. I seem to remember that he replaced both cranks with forged steel. One minor point, I asked Newton how they shaped the outside edge of the cranks when cleaning a new forging up and he said that they did them with a slotting machine. If you look at the cranks on the Ellenroad engine you can see the cuts.
Newton is making an important point here about materials. Up to the end of the 19th century the available metals were wrought iron, a very mild steel and cast iron. Cast iron has never been surpassed for certain applications but Krupps were the first people to make use of the English invention by Sir Henry Bessemer of a cheap way of reducing the amount of carbon in iron by blowing air through the molten iron in a converter. They made many forgings for export and I read somewhere once that these forgings were still coming into Britain by circuitous routes after the beginning of the Great War. This wouldn’t surprise me, there was collusion between the large steel manufacturers right through the war. Don’t let a quarrel get in the way of business!

There’s one more matter I’d like to flag up. Notice that Mrs Brooks asked Newton for his opinion, listened to it and acted. No questions about cost, no chasing competitive quotations, she respected his opinion, trusted his judgement and got on with the job. Stephen Pickles did the same thing at Long Ing when he bought the shed and sent for Johnny. Compare that with my story about the five boilers at Lancaster and the inexperienced chief engineer. The key factor is self-confidence on both sides and trust based on experience and mutual respect. I have to admit to a misdemeanour here, during my career, whenever I have been forced by protocol to get competitive quotations and whenever it was within my power to do so, I arranged the matter so that the best man got the job. The only time I have seen matters go wrong is when the choice was taken out of my hands. Devious and wrong I know but very efficient in the long run.

Image

The Albion shaft and crank in Wellhouse shop ready for installation.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Bodger
Senior Member
Posts: 1047
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:30
Location: Ireland

Re: STEAM ENGINES AND WATERWHEELS

Post by Bodger » 03 May 2018, 06:47

I bet they didn't have gear like this when making their crank
http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/an ... nk-349944/

Post Reply

Return to “Local History Topics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users