A glimpse into the Empire just post Victoria

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 0 comments

A beautiful book this!

It was my father's and while a little rough around the edges is still in pretty good shape!
This large format (11x17) book is a commemorative edition put out by the Illustrated London News in 1935.
The event commemorated was the Silver Jubilee of the reign of his Imperial Majesty King George V.

George was a grandson of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and the first cousin of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. From 1877 until 1891 he served in the Royal Navy. On the death of Victoria in 1901, George's father became King Edward VII, and George was made Prince of Wales. On his father's death in 1910, he succeeded as King-Emperor of the British Empire.

This book is a fantastic collection of articles, photos and elegant colour plates celebrating the King's reign.

And while not Victorian many of the photos and drawings are Victorian and well worth a perusal.

The Illustrated London News
Silver Jubilee
Record Number
King George V.
and Queen Mary


Illustrated London News
and Sketch, Ltd.
346, Strand, London W.C.2


Keep your sight glass full and your firebox trimmed.

Night Climbing the unknown explorations

Sunday, February 24, 2013 0 comments

Found this in the Internet Archives

This slim volume, the first edition of which was published in 1906, was written as a kind of take off on the
Late Victorian "Climbing Guides" that were popular amongst the participants in the new sport of mountaineering.

While done slightly tongue 'n cheek it does cover most of the great climbs in the labyrinth of neo-gothic spires and neo-classical domes of Trinity College, Cambridge.

What is fascinating to me is that many of the people who climbed here, clandestine as it was, turned out later, if they survived the war, to be amongst the great mountaineers that pioneered routes in the Himalayas including Mt Everest.

Here is a sample of the style:

New Court
Very little has been let fall here. The low roof on the kitchen side of the entrance to Nevile's Court can be reached by a pipe whenever the herbaceous border and creeper do not run too wild. From this roof a firm pipe , well clear of the wall, runs right up to the roof, but it is unseasonably swept by avalanches of plaster.
The New Guest Room Traverse
The square of lead roofing between, and rather below the southeastern corner of the Nevile's Court roof, and the Kitchens plateau, harbours the kitchen ventilator, and is the starting point of a short and sensational climb. Proceeding to the corner of this roofing which is nearest to the kitchen and looks across upon Bishop's Hostel, a narrow brick string course running across the kitchen wall will be observed. The feet once upon it a stretch is made to the right, and the right hand at its full extent can grasp a small projecting lead pipe. The left hand relinquishes the parapet of the lead roofing and the hands are changed on the minute horizontal pipe. A vertical rain pipe can now just be reached with the disengaged right hand and we shuffle along our string course, squeezing behind a pair of telephone wires which descend we know not whence to arrive we know not where. Once on the far side of the pipe another long stretch of the right hand brings the vertical edge of a window moulding within finger-reach, and a somewhat relieved climber can sit upon the window ledge and take breath. From this point the climber must either make an entry into the room, or return the way he came. A first attempt at this amusing climb may be safeguarded by a rope from the Kitchen roof above.
The Hostel
A fine brick chimney (O) lies between the wing of the Hostel nearest to New Court, and the main block along the Lane. It has for its exit, if desired, the staircase window of E staircase. The low kitc
hen roofs can be attained on the Hostel side by a double pipe in the recess behind the Lane Tower of New Court; and from thence various first floor windows. But further exploration of the Kitchen Range is eminently desirable
Check it out  here.
The Roof-Climber's Guide to Trinity

This blog has lots more interesting Night Climbing exploits:
Night Climbing in Cambridge

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

The Electrotherapy Museum

Friday, February 22, 2013 0 comments

Tesla technology in action.

Found this on Slashdot (thanks to James Rodway for the links).

From the Slashdot Article

Since he was a teenager, Jeff Behary's been interested in the work of Nikola Tesla, and has been collecting antique electric devices of a particular kind: ones that send electricity through the human body to effect medical benefits, many of which do so with the aid of Tesla coils. Tesla's not the only inventor involved, of course, but his influence overlapped and widely influenced the golden age of electrotherapy. Behary's day job as a machinist means he has the skills to rehabilitate and restore these aging beasts, too, along with a growing family of related devices. He's assembled them now, in West Palm Beach, Florida, into the Turn of the Century Electrotherapy Museum. This is a museum of my favorite kind: home-based and intimate, but with serious depth. Though it's open only by appointment, arranging a visit there is worth it, whether you're otherwise part of the Tesla community or not. Behary knows his collection inside and out, with the kind of deep knowledge it takes to fabricate replacement parts and revamp the internal wiring. The devices themselves are accessible, with original and restored pieces up close and personal — you need to be mindful about which ones are humming and crackling at any given moment. (There's also an archive with books, papers, and other effects relating to Tesla and other electric pioneers, not to mention glowing tubes that predate the modern vacuum tube, and the oldest known surviving Tesla coils, recovered from beneath their maker's Boston mansion. Electrotherapy is the organizing principle, but not the extent of this assembly.) And while Behary isn't fooled by all the therapeutic claims made by some machines' makers about running current through your limbs or around your body, he also doesn't discount them all, either, and points out that some of them really do affect the body as claimed. Yes, he's tried most of the machines himself, though he admits he's never dared taking the juice of his personal Tesla-powered electric chair.

The Slashot page also has a transcript of an interview with Jeff Behary.

Fascinating (and slightly scary) stuff here.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

1886 Steam Punk

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 0 comments

A fascinating fashion video.

Filmed in Cape Town South Africa.

From the site at 1886 Steam Punk on Vimeo

The piece is a fantasy video showcasing the fashion, the hats, the gadgets and the lifestyle that could have been the future of 19th Century steam culture, set in the future.
The decadent nature of this steam era video, is portrayed with strong gun-slinging women, and rough grizzly men.
The music from Moby suits the piece perfectly.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

The York Museum of Automata

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 0 comments

A wonderful collection of Automata!

This video is shows some of the fantastic examples of complex clockwork mechanisms, toys, jewel boxes and other exotic automata in the Museum of Automata in York England.

The museum closed in 1996 and its collection now resides in Japan, but this promotional video captures the magic and wonder of the collection very well.


Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

A Happy Steampunk Valentines Everyone!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 1 comments

Wow 200 posts since July last year.
Thanks for all your suggestions, kudos and brickbats!

Found these out in Pinterest land and at Steampunk Empire where they can be sent as e-cards to that special someone love struck

This one is a probably NSFW but still funny.cool

This page has some interesting Victorian Valentines info:
Victorian Valentine

Keep your Sightglass full your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

Practical Airship Design 5b

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 0 comments

Full Steam Ahead!

NOT practical, but still fantastic! North Wind by *Voitv
Last time we talked about more details of how the Steam generation was used to create the power for our Airship.

There are still some interesting things to describe in the Engine room and some proposals for how this airship would actually be operated. I know I've promised that I will be dealing with the crew's comforts as well. So to make things a little clearer I'm going to split these posts into two streams. One will continue with the technical aspects of the design and operation of our ship and the other will deal with the more "colorful" and human friendly aspects. That way I can continue to indulge in which ever side I feel like, without disrupting the overall flow of the series.

This post will be the next in the "Technical Stream", the first "Crew Stream" post will be up when I get around to writing it.  smile

First a quick recap of the Airship which we are discussing, If you would like to start at the beginning of this series go here: Practical Airship Design Part 1

  • Our Airship is a novel design utilizing low pressure steam as the lifting gas (see http://www.flyingkettle.com/jbfa.htm) Because steam has only 60% of the lift of helium our airship is a truly immense structure, of the same general size as the Hindenburg!  
  • The steam is generated using a fantastically powerful heat source known simply as the "Core", the exact nature of which is "unknown", but that I have chosen to describe as being like a small fission nuclear reactor. The core is located inside a large tank of water which serves both to cool the core by generating steam and as shielding for the crew.
  • Propulsion is by large counter rotating props on the stern of the airship abaft the fins. These props are driven by an electrical engine that derives its power via Tesla wireless transmission from turbine driven generators in the engine room amidships.
  • The turbine is driven by high temperature and high pressure steam produced in a flash boiler that utilizes the intense heat from inside the core.
  • The hull of our airship is pretty conventional looking, being similar to the large rigid airships developed by Zeppelin. She is a fabric covered duraluminum truss structure like the Graf Zeppelin, or the Hindenburg. A shell like structure covers the top portion of the hull, called the condenser, and a pair of elegant funnels are placed just forward of condenser.
  • The purpose of the condenser is to recover all the steam used in the turbine, and any steam vented from the lift system, by condensing it back to water to be re-used in the Steam Generator. The condenser is sized to take ALL the steam generated when the core is operating as it must be continuously cooled.  In the event of an emergency, a condenser failure from damage, or if there is too much back pressure through the condenser, steam can be directed to the funnels and exhausted to atmosphere. Of course this is wasteful of the water and automatically limits the duration of any flight, so this would only be used if absolutely necessary.
  • As is typical of the big rigid airships, heavier loads are placed along the bottom of the hull either inside it along the keel or in extensions that extend beneath. 
  • From forward we have the crew accommodations (officers and passengers) and the flight deck, from which the airship is controlled. Proceeding aft of this is the forward cargo hold (and armory when on military service), above this is the  remaining crew accommodations, next aft is the engine room, the reactor/steam generator with its large water tank, the aft cargo hold, and finally an emergency steering and control position inside the lower fin.
  • These spaces are connected by a narrow triangular "keel walk" similar to that found in the Hindenburg.
So with that summary as context, let's continue our discussion of the engine room layout of our airship.
If you recall from Part 5, the after end of the engine room is made up of the flash, high pressure, steam boiler. This boiler is integral with the water tank that surrounds the core. On either side against the walls of the engine room are the primary and secondary feed pumps used to insure a steady flow of water into the flash boiler. The primary pump is electrically driven whereas the secondary is a conventional steam driven feed pump. Forward of this is the primary steam turbine and its directly connected Tesla generator set. Along the walls of the engine room are work benches, tool and spare part lockers, and the panels containing all the gauges and controls necessary to monitor the boiler, turbine and generator.

The generator looks pretty conventional where it is connected to the turbine, but it gets very interesting and weird looking above. The power is transferred to the main engine at the stern by wireless transmission using the "Tuned Resonance" system that Tesla invented (I'm assuming that we have perfected it) This requires that the very high voltages and currents be sent up an antenna like structure reaching from the engine room all the way to the center of the hull. I imagine this structure to look a lot like some of the fantastic equipment you see in a Frankenstein movie. 

Forward of the generator is the control area for the engine room. The "Watch Engineer" is stationed here to monitor the activity in the engine room. There is a desk and file cabinet on the right side, which is my "Chief Engineer's Office", and on the left side there is a partitioned off space with a table and chairs for the watch to sit when taking a break. Against the forward wall of the engine room is the stairway leading up to the keel walk.

Traditional rigid airships had all their controls consolidated in the control car near the bow. This is true of our airship as well with one major exception. Traditional airships used the balance between inflation and ballast to control the static lift condition of the ship. These were simple open valve and close valve controls. In our ship however, the control of static lift is more complex. The engineers must maintain a careful balance of steam volume, temperature and condensation rate. So I have decided to concentrate that control in the engine room itself. Since we have a single engine whose power comes from inside the engine room as well, it makes sense to concentrate all the engineering personnel there. This is more like the situation in a surface ship, where the bridge could steer, but all other functions were controlled from the engine room on orders sent from the bridge by either engine "telegraph" or voice pipe.

Of course "flying" an airship is more than simply controlling the engine speed, and ship's buoyancy, so there are traditional controls on the flight deck, which I will discuss in a later post about the layout of the flight deck itself.

In flight there are three kinds of orders that could be sent to the engine room.
Engine speed; 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, Full, Flank (or Emergency), and direction forward or astern.
Static Lift; positive (light), neutral, or negative (heavy).
Hull trim; pitch up or pitch down.

These are sent by means of three "telegraphs" similar to those used on surface ships for engine control. These telegraphs are located in the control area of the engine room so that the Watch Engineer can keep an eye on them and relay the required orders to the rest of the engine room watch. There is also a "Telephone" connection direct to the flight deck. This might be a an old fashioned speaking tube rather than an electrical telephone, I haven't decide which yet.

I'll be trying to illustrate the commands and orders that would be given when this ship is underway in a later post.

While this seems like a fairly large space as described, it should be kept in mind that the space is very narrow maybe at most 5 meters across and most of the floor space is taken up by the turbine and all its ancillary equipment. It would also be HOT, not unlike the stoke hold  and engine room in a narrow hulled destroyer or torpedo boat. I suspect that, apart from the lack of coal to shovel, an engine room hand would not see much difference between being afloat and being aloft in a vessel like this one. In our Role Play we actually call the engine room crew the "Black Gang" and the lower ranks are called "Stokers" just like in the Victorian surface navy. smile

Thanks for reading and join me next time for more "Practical Airship Design".

Keep you sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
You can follow the full design thread by clicking on the tag "Flight Engineer".

"On Naval Warfare with Steam" 1860

Monday, February 4, 2013 0 comments

Found this gem at the Internet Archives.

This book is an interesting treatise on the changes in naval warfare in the mid 19th century brought on by the adoption of steam power for naval vessels. What is most fascinating to me is the attempt by the author, an ARMY General, Sir Howard Douglas, to try to predict what effect steam power would have. Note this document pre-dates wide spread adoption of armour plating even, the French La Gloire was launched November 1859 and the British Warrior in 1860.

An interesting read, highly recommended to get a feel for the effect such technological change was having.

On Naval warfare with Steam

Link to File

General Sir Howard Douglas
Bart., G.C.B, G.C.M.B, D.C.L., F.R.S.


John Murray
Albermarle Street

Quote from Introduction

We are now at the commencement of a new era in
naval warfare, in consequence of the introduction of
steam as a propelling power for ships, and its applica-
tion, by all the maritime powers of Europe, to vessels
of war, from those of the lowest class to line-of-battle
ships of the greatest magnitude. This new power
will necessarily modify, and, to a great extent, over-
turn, the present tactics of war on the ocean.

Hitherto the execution of naval evolutions has de-
pended on atmospherical conditions, and often the best-
concerted plans for attack or defence at sea have been
frustrated, when at the point of being successfully
carried out, by sudden calms, or by unforeseen changes
in the direction of the wind ; while now, an elaborate
system of appropriate machinery, put in motion by the
expansive force of steam, by enabling a vessel to be
moved at pleasure, with more or less rapidity, or to be
brought to a state of rest, or again, to have the direc-
tion of its motion changed through the guiding power
of the helm, will enable the commander of a ship or
fleet to put in practice, without risk of failure, what-
ever manoeuvre he may have determined on, whether
for coming to action, or for counteracting the measures
taken by his opponent, previously to, or during, all
the battle movements of the fleet.

It is generally supposed that the present naval su-
premacy of Great Britain is mainly due to circum-
stances arising out of the particular nature of the
moving power by which the evolutions of vessels,
singly or in fleets, have been performed. That moving
power is the wind acting on the sails of the ships — a
power in its nature very variable ; and it is evident
that the introduction of steam, as a propelling power,
whose action is entirely under the control of the engi-
neer, will bring about great changes in the relative
conditions of British and foreign navies, affecting, in
consequence, the maritime importance of the several
European nations.

Keep your sightglass full and your firebox trimmed.

A Victorian Snowball Fight

Saturday, February 2, 2013 0 comments

Sometimes you just have to go for it!

A short film of a snowball fight in 1896!

Looks like fun biggrin

Keep your sightglass full and your firebox trimmed.


More Early Colour Pictures Paris 1910

Friday, February 1, 2013 0 comments

Fantastic early colour photos from 1910-11!

From Curious Eggs
Extremely Rare Color Photography of Early 1900s Paris

1900s Paris in Color Although some of these images might look like a modern day photography and some of them like painted pictures, actually it is real colored photographies, taken at the beginning of the 20th century Paris (France). It is extremely astonishing to look at the world now long gone, the world which you are used to see in black & white images and often with poor quality. 
All the images shown below were taken using Autochrome Lumière technology. It's an early color photography process, patented in 1903 and invented by the famous French Auguste and Louis Lumière, populary known as Lumière Brothers. They were the earliest filmmakers in history. 
So, here it is! The city of love: the streets, the architecture, the people, interiors and grand events

Lots more at the link above.
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About Gears, Goggles, and Steam oh My!

Here I collect interesting bits of information related to the world of Steampunk.

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