Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,167 pages of information and 245,637 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

SS King Edward

From Graces Guide
Low pressure (LP) turbine at the Riverside Museum, Glasgow
LP turbine reaction blading, in remarkably good condition
LP rotor: astern blading
High pressure (HP) turbine at the Scottish Maritime Museum, Irvine
HP turbine blading, inlet end

The King Edward was the first merchant ship to be driven by steam turbines.

c.1900 There was no enthusiasm in the shipbuilding industry for introducing steam turbines for merchant ships. This followed the loss of the turbine-engined destroyers Viper and Cobra. The losses were unconnected with the use of turbines, but the future of the marine steam turbine was in grave jeopardy. The ship=owning companies were not anxious to undertake the risks of pioneering work. Fortunately, Captain Jon Williamson, the Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Co, and William Denny and Brothers combined to design and construct the King Edward as a turbine pleasure steamer to run on the Firth of Clyde.

1901 Designed by James Robertson Jack. Built by William Denny and Brothers, with turbines designed and constructed by Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Co.

In service until 1951.

One of the low pressure (LP) turbines is on display at the Riverside Museum, Glasgow. See photos. Drawings of the machinery[1] show a central high pressure (HP) turbine flanked by a pair of low pressure (LP) turbines. The exhaust end of the LP turbines is shown with 16 stages of astern blading. The exhaust end pedestal of each LP turbine incorporated a worm and wheel gearbox to drive the air pumps. However, there is no such gearbox on the turbine in the Riverside Museum, and the astern blading is different, having a three stage velocity-compounded wheel followed by 10 reaction stages. The combination of velocity-compounded impulse and reaction blading had not yet been tried when the turbines were constructed in 1901, showing that the King Edward's LP turbines were modified or replaced at some point.

The high pressure turbine is on display at the Scottish Maritime Museum, Irvine. This appears to be the original 1901 turbine, being consistent with the drawing in 'The Evolution of the Parsons Steam Turbine'.

See Wikipedia entry.

Followed by the SS Queen Alexandra

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 'The Evolution of the Parsons Steam Turbine' by Alex Richardson, 'Engineering', 1911