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1879 Iron and Steel Institute: Visits to Works

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Note: This is a sub-section of 1879 Iron and Steel Institute


Mersey Steel and Iron Co

The first of these establishments - the Mersey Steel Works - are situated in Caryl Street, Liverpool, and occupy three plots of ground aggregating about eleven acres. They comprise a plant of five pairs of 6-ton converters, three pairs being arranged in one group, and the two other pairs being placed each pair by itself. Formerly, the Mersey Steel and Iron Company were large steel manufacturers, and they were extensively engaged in the production of puddled steel prior to the development of the Bessemer process. For the past two years or so, however, they have discontinued the manufacture of steel rails, and their Bessemer plant has only been occasionally worked for the manufacture of the steel used for making the bars they are now using in the production of steel forgings. In the arrangement of the Bessemer plant there are no special features. The ingot moulds used are all close-topped, and run from the bottom in groups, generally eight in a group. The central git used is of small diameter, and is higher than the tops of the surrounding ingot moulds. Mr. Ratliffe is using this system of casting with very successful results, the ingots obtained being wonderfully sound. The visitors to the works had the opportunity of judging of this, as samples of some ingots cast a few weeks ago were shown broken, and also cut across, and the section planed to a smooth surface. These ingots were some of those cast by Mr. Ratliffe for rolling down into the bars used for forming the steel piles, and they contained about one-sixth per cent. of carbon, and nearly one per cent. of manganese.

The blowing engine, &c., connected with the Bessemer plant are contained in two engine-houses, one large engine-house adjoining the group of three pairs of converters containing ft pair of horizontal blowing engines by Messrs. Rothwell & Co., of Bolton, and also the engines for supplying water to the hydraulic cranes, &c., and three smaller blowing engines, which were originally put down for supplying blast to the cupolas. Mr. Ratliffe has, however, dispensed with two of these latter engines, and has disconnected the blowing piston of the third, arranging the engine to drive a Root blower by a belt from the flywheel. In the other engine-house connected with the Bessemer department of the works there is a pair of horizontal engines made by Galloways of Manchester, which have piston valves on the blowing cylinders. To enable any pair of converters to be blown from either engine, the air mains of the two engine-houses are connected.

In the mill department there is a three-high togging-mill, a two-high reversing rail-mill, and a smaller two-high mill used for bars, angles, and bull-headed rails. A new forge, however, is now in course of construction, to which the latter mill will ultimately be removed, and where, also, a three-high togging-mill, driven by a pair of horizontal engines and a two-high reversing train, driven by a pair of vertical reversing engines, have been fitted up. A number of Siemens repeating furnaces are also being fitted up in the new forge, which is contained within three parallel spans of 80 feet each.

Adjoining the forge are two machine shops separated by the offices, which stand between them. One of these shops—the smaller and older of the two—contains a good plant of heavy tools adapted for shaping large forgings, such as stern-posts, &c., and includes an exceptionally large planing machine with two tables, which can either be rim together or separately. The other machine shop is specially laid out for dealing with large crank shafts, and contains an excellent plant for this purpose, including large lathes and one of Messrs. Craven Brothers' crank-pin turning lathes, in which, as is tolerably well known, the shaft to be turned is stationary, the tool being carried round it. This machine is of large size, and is capable of dealing with any shafts likely to be required for many years to come. The whole shop is commanded by a fine travelling crane worked by a fast-running rope. Among the work seen in progress were the parts of a large " built-up" shaft made for the Barrow Shipbuilding Company.

In this division of the works, besides the forge and machine shops, there is a range of Siemens gas-producers and a group of nine Lancashire boilers, for supplying steam to the steam hammers, &c. Passing through the tunnel under Grafton Street, another similar group of nine boilers is reached, these being adjacent to the engines of the steel works, but the steam pipes of the two groups being connected so that either division of the works can be supplied with steam from either group of boilers. The steam pipes throughout the works are, in fact, all connected, so that any division is quite independent of any failure of its own boilers. In the same way the hydraulic mains of the different groups of hydraulic cranes are also connected, bye-passes being provided, so that in the event of a pipe bursting, the particular part to which it belongs can be shut off without interfering with the rest.


Laird Brothers

A numerous party embraced the opportunity of seeing over this famous and extensive establishment. The Birkenhead Works were originally established in 1824 by the grandfather of the present proprietors. They cover an area of more than twenty acres, and include a series of five docks for the construction and repair of vessels of all classes. The engineers', smiths', and joiners' shops occupy a building three storeys high, and have a run of more than 1000 feet, and a depth of 60 feet. The erecting shop and large engineering tools occupy the ground floor. The fitting shop and light tools are on the first floor, whilst the pattern and millwrights' shops are on the second floor. There are, besides, boiler shops, armour-plate bending shops, moulding loft, wood-working machinery, and other departments. The works and yard are intersected by a system of railways connected with the main line. Outside the entrances to the graving-docks, between low and high water-mark, a gridiron has been constructed for overhauling steamers. It extends a distance of 650 feet, and is formed on the solid rock. On the north side of the largest graving-dock there is a 50-ton steam crane, used for lifting the engines and boilers into the vessels under construction. All the buildings are separated from each other by fireproof partitions. In addition to the departments already referred to, the works comprise saw-mills, drying stores, rigging lofts, paint shops, and a dining-room for the workmen, measuring 60 feet by 30 feet.

The visitors saw in course of construction at Messrs. Lairds' Works two paddle-wheel steamers for the London and North-Western Railway Company, for their express-passenger service between Holyhead and Dublin. The length is 310 feet; beam, 33 feet; tonnage, builder's measurement, 1623 tons. The engines are of the ordinary oscillating type, to develop about 3200 indicated horse power. The hulls were being constructed of steel, and in the engines Whitworth's fluid compressed steel and Siemens-Martin steel have been introduced.

There were several other steamers building; amongst these, for the British Admiralty, a very powerful twin-screw of Siemens-Martin steel for towing and relief service; a paddle of about 555 tons; a screw of about 800 tons for foreign account; and two gunboats of iron sheathed with wood and zinc, which were fitting out for the Portuguese Government.

Since it was started in 1824, the total number of vessels built at this establishment has been 480, having an aggregate tonnage of 265,996 tons. The number of vessels lengthened is 27, and they have been increased in tonnage by 7470 tons. The engines fitted in vessels built at these works represent a nominal power of 47,890 horses, of which 26,988 horse power have been constructed on the premises. In addition to these, there have been built for the English Admiralty, foreign Governments, and the mercantile marine, to be fitted on board vessels built at H.M.S. Dockyards, or by other builders, engines amounting to 10,280 horse power, making the aggregate power of engines turned out at the Birkenhead Works up to the present time 37,268 horse power.


Liverpool Docks

The third party of excursionists, who selected the Liverpool Docks and Grain Warehouses for inspection, saw enough to excite their surprise at and admiration of the commercial resources of the town and port. The grain warehouses are the largest of their kind in the kingdom. They occupy an area of 11,550 square yards, and contain a total floor space of 57,000 square yards, with storage for over 200,000 qrs. of grain.

There are now on the Liverpool side of the Mersey about fifty docks, branch docks, half-tide docks, and graving docks, while on the Birkenhead side there are about thirty more. The river frontage of the docks extends nearly eight miles from north to south, and a river wall made of granite extends over the whole of this distance. The seven basins in connection with the Liverpool docks have a water area of nearly six acres, and a lined quayage of more than a mile. The entire area of the docks on the Birkenhead side of the river is 506 acres, which, added to an area of 1053 acres of docks on the Liverpool side, makes up a grand total of 1559 acres of dock accommodation, of which over 433 acres is water space, while the quay space extends over twenty-eight miles. In the construction of this system an outlay of over fifteen millions sterling has been incurred, and it is proposed to spend an additional two millions in its further development.


Pemberton Colliery

The Pemberton Colliery is owned by Messrs. Blundell, and has two shafts sunk to a depth of 624 yards - a downcast and an upcast. The downcast is 17 feet 4 inches in diameter at the top, and 16 feet at the bottom. The shafts were sunk by means of two pairs of horizontal engines, with cylinders 16 inches diameter and 3 feet stroke. Down each side of the shaft run pairs of railway metals, which form guides for the cages. The cages each hold six tubs, are made of steel, and weigh 28.5 cwt. The tubs also are made of steel, weigh 3.75 cwt., and carry about 7.25 cwt. of coal. The ropes are steel, and taper from 1 5/8 inches to 1 1/4 inches, and weigh about 3 tons. The heapsteads are well arranged and substantially built; one of iron, and the other of iron and stone combined. The screening arrangements are well planned. After the round coal has passed the ordinary screen, the remainder falls through an iron hopper into a long tube containing an 18-inch worm or creeper, along which the coal is carried into a well, whence it is mechanically lifted into the apparatus house, and, passing through revolving screens, is discharged into waggons in its various sizes. The coal-washing apparatus is of the ordinary kind, the washed coal being converted into coke on the premises. The engine-house is a fine building, containing two pairs of 36-inch cylinder horizontal winding engines, with 6 feet stroke, one supplied by Messrs. R. Daglish & Sons, St. Helens, and the other by the Haigh Foundry Company, Wigan. The winding drums (Burrows' patent) are conical in form, with a maximum diameter of 30 feet 6 inches, and a minimum diameter of 19 feet, arranged for winding from the depth of 624 yards in twenty-two revolutions. The centre lines of the pulleys are on the flat part of the top of the drums, and consequently there is no chance of the rope slipping, while an additional protection is afforded by the coiling of the rope in a spiral groove. The pulleys are 18 feet in diameter. The boilers are sixteen in number, each 28 feet long, and having two flues, each 2 feet 10 inches in diameter. A capstan engine is placed on the ground floor of the engine-house, which can be adapted to either shaft in case of emergency. For this purpose centre pulleys have been fixed on the headgear. The colliery is ventilated by a Guibal fan, constructed of steel, and measuring 46 feet in diameter and 15 feet in width. The length of the shaft is 19 feet 3 inches, and its diameter in the centre 16.5 inches, and at the pedestal end 12 inches. At the crank end the bearings are 18 inches long; and engines have been specially adapted to work the fan. There are two cylinders, 36 inches in diameter, with a stroke of 3 feet 6 inches. One of the cylinders is sufficient to drive the fan, but the other can be applied in a very few minutes, without interfering to any perceptible extent with the ventilation. The shaft is covered at the top with two doors, and the air enters the fan-house by means of a culvert. At the top of the drift between the fan and the shaft there is an escape chimney provided with four doors, so that in case of an explosion the blast would pass through these doors, and also through the door in the pit scaffold, without injuring the fan. The fan is calculated to produce, at fifty-three revolutions and 3.75-inch water-gauge, 247,000 cubic feet of air per minute, and by increasing the speed to sixty revolutions the ventilation can be increased to 300,000 cubic feet per minute. The fan-engine was constructed by Messrs. Baker & Valiant, of Wigan, and the fan by the Staveley Iron Company. At this colliery the visitors had an opportunity afforded them of inspecting the working of Mr. E. Reuss's system of coal-mining by means of compressed air in place of gunpowder. In this system, a circular hole is bored into the face of the coal for the reception of a cast-iron cartridge, which is connected with a powerful hand air-compresser. The cartridges are simply hollow castings, about 14 inches long and 3 inches diameter, having one end solid and the other tapped to receive the tubing. The cartridge having been inserted in the coal, the air compresser is started, and when the required pressure has been reached, the cartridge bursts with a sharp report, bringing down the coal ready for loading.


Wigan Coal and Iron Co

The ironworks of the Wigan Coal and Iron Company at Kirkless consist of ten blast furnaces, five being 65 feet high, and five 80 feet high. Two of these latter are of recent construction, and are built upon the most improved principles. The furnaces have closed tops, and the gas is conveyed by a tube 8 feet in diameter to eighteen double-flued boilers, 28 feet long and 7 feet 6 inches in diameter, which stand opposite the engine-house. The Wigan Company manufacture their own coke from the slack raised from their pits. At present there are 460 coke ovens, but the number is insufficient to supply the requirements of the furnaces. For some time past the slack after being washed has been crushed, which makes the coke much harder than formerly, and enables the furnaces to turn out more iron than under the old system. The crushing machines are of special construction, and were designed by the coke works' manager. They are simple in design, and do their work regularly and efficiently. The works have ample railway and water-way accommodation. The canal immediately adjoins the premises on one side, and they are also connected by private railways with the London and North-Western and Lancashire and Yorkshire Railways. The ore is brought in the railway waggons and emptied into bunkers running the whole length of the furnaces. The ore is taken from the bunkers in barrows, and with the coke and other material used in the manufacture of iron is hoisted to the top of the furnaces by four vertical engines.

About 400 men are employed at the furnaces, which manufacture four special brands, namely, the Kirkless foundry and forge, and the Hematite and Messelmoun brands. The engine-house stands at the end of the row of blast furnaces, and is 100 feet long, 56 feet wide, and 70 feet high, with a tower 100 feet high. There are three pairs of compound engines, the high-pressure cylinders being placed on one side of the building, and the low-pressure on the other, each pair being connected by a 36-foot beam. The high-pressure cylinders are 45 inches, and the low-pressure 66 inches in diameter, with a 12-foot stroke. The blowing cylinders, of which there are six, are each 100 inches in diameter. The steam pressure is 45 lbs. and the blast 3 lbs. The Wigan Coal and Iron Company have produced as much as 2,500,000 tons of coal and 150,000 tons of pig iron per annum. The seams worked by the Company include one of cannel coal, and also the well-known Hartley mine, and other portions of the Lancashire coal-beds. The coking coal obtained from this district contains a certain percentage of sulphur, which, if not removed or greatly reduced, would render the coke unfit for producing the best marks of Bessemer pig, which form the staple products of the Company, and this has led to the extensive employment of coal-washing machinery, as already mentioned.

The coal, after being crushed by crushing rollers, is lifted by elevators, and delivered into washing chambers or bashes, in each of which the water is made to rise and fall rapidly by the action of a piston working in a cylinder connected with the chamber, this piston being 36 incises in diameter, and making 150 strokes per minute. The length of stroke is 3i inches. The coal rests on perforated copper sieves, and by the pulsating-action of the water the good coal is washed over the edges of the sieves, while the pyrites, being heavier, remain in the latter, and is removed at suitable intervals. The loss by washing is about so per cent, and the washed coal is coked in 8-ton ovens, the coking process occupying five days.' The iron ore used consists principally of the well-known red hematite of the Ulverstone district, but a percentage of argillaceous Belfast ore is also employed for the purpose of bringing some alumina into the charge, thus forming a flux. Limestone is also added, the proportion of this latter material used when making Bessemer iron being very considerable.


McCorquodale and Co

The works of M'Corquodale & Co. at Newton, several miles from Liverpool, were visited by a large number of members, including the President, who, on their arrival, were entertained to an excellent luncheon. In going over the various departments, the foundry for stereotyping attracted considerable attention. The method of forming the moulds by beating damp paper with brushes over the type, and the clearness of the resulting impression, were much admired, as were also the appliances for drying the paper moulds and casting the stereotyped plates. In the cutting and binding department there are two machines, recently invented and of great interest, both of American origin. The first is a paper-cutting machine, which cuts three sides of a page at one time. The cutter ascends from below and cuts diagonally, the paper being pressed down and firmly held from above. The other is a machine for binding with wire. A certain number of pages being put into the machine by the attendant for binding together, three pieces of wire are cut off, bent into the form of the letter U, the points forced through the paper, and then closed behind in about a second of time. The wire to be used is upon reels turning on spindles fixed to the frame of the machine, and is either of iron or steel coated with tin.

The whole of the machinery at Newton is driven by three steam and one large gas engine. The bulk of the paper used by Messrs. M'Corquodale its Co., of which some hundreds of tons were seen in their paper warehouse, is manufactured at their own paper-mills, but as there are over three hundred varieties of paper in general use, it will be readily understood that they could not make for the whole of their requirements. The Newton works is only one of six of Messrs. M'Corquodale & Co.'s establishments, the others being in London, Liverpool, Leeds, and Glasgow. The total number of hands at present employed by the firm is 1773, and the total number of machines 537, embracing 205 printing and lithographic machines, 58 cutting machines, 31 envelope machines,;63 ruling machines, and 180 various machines.


White Cross Wire Works

At these works, which were the only works that time allowed of visiting at Warrington, although two others were thrown open, all kinds and sizes of iron, Bessemer steel, and copper wire are manufactured from the pig or ingot as the case may be, and some of the wire is afterwards worked up into wire fencing,' nails, and other articles. The first department visited was the puddling forge.

The chief novelty here is a peculiar construction of puddling furnace known as the "Gidlow and Abbott" furnace. The body of the furnace and a portion of the flue neck are contained in a strong iron casing balanced upon transverse trunnions situated below the door. By suitable mechanism underneath the furnace, it can be made to rock or oscillate like a see-saw. This causes the molten metal in the hearth and the fluid cinder above it to flow alternately to and from the fire and flue bridges. The furnace is thus a kind of mechanical puddler. It is not contended that there is any saving in the cost of fuel, fettling, or labour, but only that the operation of cleansing the iron from impurities is more efficiently performed. Billets for wire-making, as is well known, usually require more or less expensive mixtures of pig iron for their manufacture. By aid of this furnace common brands can be entirely used. The product is found, as might be expected, to resemble that obtained from the "Danks" or other rotary furnace. The principal peculiarity of the mechanism employed is the formation of the neck joint. A curved plate is introduced concentric with the trunnion axis, and arranged in such a manner as to permit the rocking of the furnace without uncovering, or contracting the area of the interior of the flue neck.

The next department visited was the mill. Here are two guide mill trains, each driven by its own pair of horizontal engines. The multiplication of speed is obtained by broad belts from the engine flywheels to pulleys on counter-shafts, and other belts from the counter-shafts to the trains. This arrangement seems most efficient, and far less noisy than when the multiplication is obtained by wheelwork. In the heavier mill, Bessemer steel billets were being rolled down to No. 3 W. G. This was effected in ten passes - the time occupied, from the time of entering the first groove to that of being finally wound upon the coiling reel, being one minute. The make of the mill was stated to be 21 tons per shift. The expertness of the workmen was very remarkable. As soon as a billet, in course of being rolled, appeared through a groove, the end was instantly caught and returned through another. Scarcely had it appeared from that, when it was re-caught and sent back through another, and so on backwards and forwards until, when nearly down to the gauge, and therefore of great length, it was undergoing several reductions at the same time at different parts of its length. In the smaller mill, which was on a somewhat different plan, arranged by the manager - Mr. Hayward - there were thirteen passes. These reduced the iron billet, weighing originally about 45 lbs., down to No. 4 W. G. The time occupied averaged fifty seconds, and the produce of the mill was said to be 15 tons per shift. Of the thirteen pairs of rolls in this train, varying from 8 inches to 12 inches in diameter, five were chilled and the remainder grain rolls. The speed of the train was 350 revolutions per minute.

The annealing department, through which the coils of wire next pass, consists of various groups of annealing pots, four to each group. The annealing pot is a cast iron tube closed at one end, about 3 feet in diameter by 8 feet long. It is sunk vertically in a concentric firebrick well, the top of the pot being a little below the floor line. At the bottom of the well is a furnace accessible from a lower floor. The top of the well can be covered by a cap having a movable elbow pipe attached, so that it may be connected with a vertical chimney flue forming the centre of each group. When filled with coils of wire, the pot is covered by a plate before the well cap is put on. The furnace below is then lighted and fired for about twelve hours, after which it is allowed to go out, and the well and its contents to cool gradually.

The visitors subsequently went over the galvanising department, where the wire is coated with zinc, and the weaving department, where wire-netting is manufactured. In connection with the latter department there is a lot of machinery for producing French nails. A special train took the members back to Liverpool in the evening.


Crewe Works

The only excursion arranged for this afternoon was one to the Crewe Locomotive Works of the London and North-Western Railway Company. A special free train was kindly placed at the disposal of the Institute by the Railway Company, and upwards of 250 members joined in the excursion. Arrived at Crewe, the excursionists were entertained to an excellent luncheon, over which Mr. F. W. Webb, the Company's Locomotive Superintendent, presided, and at the close of which one or two complimentary speeches were made. Speaking of the growth of the Crewe Works, Mr. Webb, before conducting the members over the several departments, explained that the London and North-Western Railway Company in 1858 ran 16,069,058 engine miles; while in 1878 - the year just completed - they ran 41,172,664 engine miles; and, with the better material they had had at their disposal in the shape of steel, they had managed to run those extra miles with as few breakdowns as they used to have with the lesser mileage. The engines of the London and North-Western Railway Company, if put in a line, would occupy a space of 18 miles; their carriages, if coupled together, would occupy 30 miles; and their waggons, put in the same way, would reach a distance of 130 miles. Referring to the late accident at Llanduks, Mr. Webb stated that the new bridge, which was built entirely of steel, was 224 feet in length, and carried two lines of rails. The whole of that work was produced in seven days; it was erected at Crewe, and after being taken down and sent to Llandulas, every rivet hole was found to come right again, the bridge was constructed without any scaffolding being required, and the Irish mails passed over it within four weeks of the accident. In undertaking that work the Railway Company had not done it out of any unfriendly spirit towards engineering firms or because they thought nobody else could do it; but they had done it for the reason that they did not see any other way in which the work could be completed in the time. The whole of the Irish traffic, amounting to a very large proportion of their total traffic, was comparatively at a standstill. The Cambrian Company kindly consented to do what they could for them, but they were blocked up in a week. As another example of rapid work, Mr. Webb mentioned that one of their standard engines was erected in Crewe Works in 25i hours. It was commenced on the Monday morning at six o'clock, and on the following Wednesday was ready to be sent to Chester in steam.

The following programme, a copy of which was given to each visitor, was carried out by Mr. Webb in conducting his party over the works:— "Visitors will proceed in special train, at three o'clock prompt, to the Bessemer Steel Converting House, thence to the Siemens-Martin Furnaces, past the Spring Mill into the Rail Works; through the Points and Crossing Department into the Boiler Shop; then past the Boiler Shop Smithy, Flanging Shop, and Plate Stores, into the Boiler Fitting Shop; and passing through the Engine Repairing Shops into the Steel Forging Department,—the first objects being the plate and large angle mills, the large upright and 30-ton duplex hammers; then past the Tyre Mill and auxiliary Wheel and Tyre Shop into the Iron Forge; thence to the Paint Shop; after which visitors enter the train and are conveyed to Brass and Iron Foundry, Millwrights' Pattern Shop, and Saw Mills, and on to the Wheel Forge, through Spring Smithy into the Locomotive Erecting, Wheel, and Fitting Shops, and by the special train into the station." Of this vast and almost unique establishment we cannot here profess to give any description. We may, however, state that the Bessemer plant of Bessemer steel supplied from the Crewe Works consists of four 5-ton converters arranged in two groups, and the spiegel hearths and cupolas (three in number, fitted with spray tuyeres) are close by. A pair of horizontal blowing engines, of 500 indicated horse power, supply air to the converters, and two of Roots' blowers air to the cupolas.

The Siemens-Martin plant, which is principally engaged in supplying steel for rails, springs, and tyres, consists of five open-hearth furnaces so arranged and built that the metal is run from the receiving ladle (guided on rails raised above the floor) direct into the ingot moulds placed on trucks standing on the works' narrow gauge line of railway. In the adjoining forges and rail-mill are twenty-four Siemens regenerative gas-furnaces used for reheating the ingots, blooms, &c., also a large annealing furnace, chiefly employed in the annealing of boiler plates.

The forge, amongst other machinery, contains a 30-ton and a 10-ton duplex steam hammer, six vertical steam hammers, ranging from 15 cwt. to 8 tons, plate, axle, angle, and tyre mills, and two circular saws. The 30-ton Ramsbottom duplex hammer is principally engaged in reducing the heavy crank axle and plate ingots, and consists of two blocks, each of 30 tons, carried by eight wheels running horizontally on rails, and connected direct to pistons 38 inches in diameter immediately in their rear. The ingot is supported on centres carried by a travelling table which is worked by hydraulics. The plate-mill, with rolls 7 feet 3 inches wide and 24 inches diameter, as also the axle and angle rolls, are driven by a pair of Ramsbottom vertical engines, with link motion reversible by hydraulic power, and by this means the rolls have been reversed over seventy times in one minute. The axle and angle mills are chiefly employed in supplying the requirements of the carriage and waggon departments. The circular saws for cutting Bessemer steel blooms hot are 7 feet in diameter and 5/16 inch thick, and make 600 revolutions per minute. The first, introduced in 1865, is driven by a pair of locomotive cylinders 17 inches by 24 inches, with gearing 6 to 1. The second, laid down subsequently, is driven by a Brotherhood's three-cylinder engine (single acting, 14 inches in diameter and 8 inches stroke) coupled direct to the saw spindle; and, for meeting the high speed which is run, the engine shaft is constructed with a long bearing of phosphor bronze. A steel bloom 20 inches by 5 inches is usually sawn through in 30 seconds with a boiler pressure of 50 lbs.

The rail mill is three high. The centre rolls are coupled direct to the engine, the lower rolls being adjusted by wedges and the upper rolls by the ordinary adjusting screws. The cogging rolls are 4 feet 8 inches in length, and the finishing rolls 6 feet. The roughing rolls are provided with rising tables worked by a hydraulic cylinder placed on the top of the pinion housing. The mill is driven by a Corliss engine (made by Messrs. Hick, Hargreaves, & Co., of Bolton), the cylinder of which is 40 inches in diameter and 5 feet stroke, and the success experienced at Crewe amply justifies its adoption for this purpose. The steel ingots are brought direct from the casting pits without any cogging or hammering, and are reheated and reduced in 17 passes from 101 square to the finished rail in one heat. The boiler shops attached to the steel works contain a number of special appliances for dealing with steel. Here upwards of 1350 steel locomotive boilers have been turned out from first to last.

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