Model Boilers and boiler making

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Model Boilers and boiler making



I T is more than 60 years since the late E. L. Pearce’s excellent little
handbook “ Model Boilermaking ” first appeared; it went through
many editions but has long been out of print. Naturally, in the
interim, many developments have taken place.
This book is in the nature of an attempt somewhat to expand the
originai book, and so far as possible to bring the subject up-to-date.
I have endeavoured to provide such information and statistical data,
as wiZ1 enable any intelligent model engineer to design a boiler to meet
his own particular requirements, with a reasonable assurance that it will
do the job for which it has been designed successfully and efficiently.
Model boilers are, to a large extent, the Cinderellas of model engineering;
I think that the principal reasons for this are twofold.
Firstly, there is a great paucity of information about them. Secondly,
with the average model engineer, the engine usually comes first, and by
the time this is finished and he gets around to making the boiler, he is,
quite understandably, in a hurry to see results, and he decides that
almost any old receptacle that will boil water and is reasonably
steamtight will do.
With regard to the first, it is the principal object of this book to
attempt to provide the necessary basic information. With regard to the
second, it is my personal opinion tha; the designing and making of a
model boiler, together with its fittings and mountings not only involves
just as much skilled craftsmanship as does the making of an engine,
though much of it is of an entirely different nature, but is by no means
any less interesting.
I am concerned in the following chapters solely with model boilers
required to do a job of work. Perfect scale model boilers bear only a
very general relationship to working model boilers and obviously anyone
who wishes to make such a boiler, for historical record or other purpose,
-will have either to obtain working drawings or to measure up and make
drawings of the original. This sort of work, of course, has its own very
definite attractions and ca!is for a high degree of skilled craftsmanship,
but for every one individual who wants to do this, there are probably
a hundred or more who want to make a working model boiler.
I have drawn freely upon the work of many other people, too
numerous to mention individually, but special acknowledgement must
be made in the first place to three great model engineers, now passed
on, E. L. Pearce himself, the immortal Ny. Greenly and James Crebbin,
known the world over to the older generation of model engineers as
“ Uncle Jim.” I must make special acknowledgement to Mr. C. M.
Keiller for his work on locomotive boiler tube, flue 2 superheater
proportions, and to Messrs. Johnson Matthey 6 Co. d. for their
valuable advice and information on silver solders, and finally to the
Calor Gas Co. Ltd. for their assistance in. connection with the properties
of Calor Gas and information on its use. It is almost certain that some
of the statements made and opinions offered in this book will not meet
with universal acceptance; this is only natural, the subject is a very wide
one and very involved. and there is obvious room fnr much honest
difference of opinion.
I can only say that I have done my best to present facts objectively,
and opinions in the light of such knowledge and experience as I have
obtained in fifty years of earning my living as an engineer, 2nd more
than sixty years of making models, mostly steam.
I certainly would be the last to claim that my ideas are incapable of
being improved upon, much less that they are infallible. Least of 211
would I suggest that any departure from them will be inevitably fraught
with dire disaster.
If what follows serves to help aspiring model engineers to make more
and better boilers and to stimulate interest in the subject generally, its
object will have been achieved.
I have to record my gratitude to my old friend Mr. Edgar Westbury
for his kindness in writing a Foreword to this book. With his wide range
of interests, knowledge and experience o things mechanical, nobody
could possibly have better qualifications an I feel greatly honoured that
Mr. Westbury has undertaken this task.
Finally, in a book covering such a complex subject, even with the
most careful checking, it is impossible to guarantee freedom from
mistakes; if such there be, I must accept responsibility and make my
apologies in advance, thereby I trust at least partially disarming my