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1912 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Visits to Works

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1912. Visits to Works.
1912. Visits to Works.
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Note: This is a sub-section of 1912 Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Visits to Works (Excursions) in the Belfast area

Belfast Electricity Generating Station


The Central Electricity Generating Station is situated at the corner of East Bridge Street and Laganbank Road, and provides not only the lighting and power of the City, but also the whole of the energy for the City Tramways. The No. 1 Engine Room contains 3,800 kw. of plant, which is used exclusively for the supply of electricity for lighting and power. In 1905 the building was extended in order to meet the increased demand due to the electrification of the tramways.

The No. 2 Engine Room contains three 1,000 kw. steam dynamos. The engines were built by the local firm of Messrs. Combe Barbour and Combe, Ltd.,:Ind the dynamos by The British Westinghouse Co., and are used for the tramway supply only. There are also two 1,000 kw. turbo-dynamos, and one 1,500 kw. turbo-dynamo for the lighting and power supply. The turbines were built by Messrs. Willans and Robinson, of Rugby; the 1,500 kw. machine is one of their latest combined impulse and reaction type. Two of the dynamos are by Messrs. Brown, Boveri and Co., and the third by Messrs. Siemens Bros. The total capacity of the combined station is 10,300 kw.

The system of supply is continuous current at 220 and 440 volts pressure for lighting and power purposes, and 550 volts pressure for tramway purposes. A portion of the supply is converted, by means of motor generators, to 3-phase alternating current at 6,000 volts pressure for transmission to the Fortwilliam Sub-Station, where it is again converted to continuous current for the tramways and lighting supply in that neighbourhood.

The boiler-houses contain six Lancashire and fifteen Babcock and Wilcox water-tube boilers; the latter are fitted with mechanical chain-grate stokers and fuel economisers, together with auxiliary machinery. A conveying plant is provided, so that the coal can be brought alongside the quay wall at Albert Bridge and delivered mechanically either into the bunkers over the boilers or into a group of storage bunkers (1,600 tons capacity) situated adjacent to the boiler-house, the ashes being removed on the returning half of the conveyor. The pump-house, situated on the riverside, where electrically-driven centrifugal-pumps are installed, provides the necessary circulating water for condensing purposes.

Mr. T. W. Bloxam is the City Electrical Engineer.

Belfast Fire Station


The Belfast Fire Brigade is constituted under the Belfast Local Act, 1845, and it was originally worked by, and in conjunction with, the Town Police Force with about twenty men and one station, and afterwards by a small permanent and auxiliary staff until the year 1892. In that year the Brigade was reorganized and strengthened, and has been further augmented from time to time, and now consists of five stations and eighty-one men, thirteen horses, four motors and the various fire-extinguishing equipment, thirty-nine street fire-alarm call. points, and a number of automatic fire-alarms.

The headquarters station in Chichester Street was erected and opened in 1894; the site is practically square, being 70 yards by 65 yards, having a frontage in Chichester Street, Oxford Street and Town Hall Street, and adjoining the police cells and police offices on the other side. The station is of three floors, and fronts on to Chichester Street, and consists of engine-house, offices, stables, gymnasium, observation tower, etc., men's dwelling-houses of two floors abutting on to Oxford Street and Town Hall Street, with engine- and boiler-house, stables, hay-lofts, etc., adjoining the police cells, and a thrill-yard in the centre of the site.

The branch stations were erected and opened as follows, viz.: Spiers Place Station in the year 1887, Whitla, Street in 1898, Albert Bridge Road in 1904, and Ardoyne in 1904.

Since the year of the reorganizing of the Brigade an ambulance service for accidents, etc., has been worked by the Brigade, and the staff have been successful in winning cups and prizes in competitions under the St. John Ambulance Brigade regulations. The Brigade is under the control and managed by a Committee of the Corporation. The Chief Officer is Mr. George Smith.

Belfast Gas Works

Belfast Corporation Gasworks

The Belfast Gas Works are situated close to the River Lagan, and are hemmed in between the Great Northern Railway, the Ormeau Road and private property. A Parliamentary Bill is now being promoted to enable the Corporation, among other things, to acquire the latter property for purposes of extension.

These works were first established in 1823. The ground occupied was only about 1 acre, and the plant was necessarily on a very small scale. The concern does not seem to have been a very prosperous one, as for thirty years or so many difficulties had to be met, but from 1852 onwards business improved greatly, and when the Corporation purchased the undertaking in 1874 it was a great financial success.

The output of gas has continued steadily to increase, as will be seen from the following Table:-

  • 1875 418 millions of cubic feet.
  • 1880 548
  • 1885 718
  • 1890 978
  • 1895 1,169
  • 1900 1,305
  • 1905 1,816
  • 1910 2,236

The output for the year ending 31st March last reached 2,338 millions, and, as far as can be judged, the possibilities are enormous, on account of the numerous uses to which gas is now put for heating and power purposes.

All the coal-gas is produced at present in horizontal retorts, but, under a new scheme of extensions proposed by the present engineer, these will be displaced by verticals in the near future. The first , section of these is already in course of construction in the works. The vertical retort adopted is the Glover-West system of continuous carbonization, and among the advantages claimed are: small amount of space, simplicity of mechanical parts, cleanliness in working, and freedom from nuisance. The present carbonizing plant will be gradually done away with, and the vertical retorts arranged in 21-million sections until the scheme is completed.

The method of carbonization is as follows: The coal, having been supplied to the coal-feeding hopper above each retort, slowly and continuously falls by gravitation to the retorts, and through the some to a coke-receiving chamber; the coal, passing on through the retort, becomes completely carbonized, and the residual coke is extracted by means of a worm extractor at the base of each retort. The speed of the worm regulates the speed at which the coal is continuously passing through the retort. The coke accumulated in the coke-receiving chambers below the retorts is periodically discharged to the coke-conveyors.

In connection with this system of carbonization the heating of the retorts is an important feature, and is specially applicable to continuous carbonization in vertical retorts. The combustion- chambers are arranged in tiers, each chamber being separated from the other. The products of combustion, after passing around the retorts, enter a common duct which is interior to the combustion-chambers, and the waste gases circulate through chambers situated at the top end of the retorts before entering the chimney. Further, the secondary air supplied for completing the combustion of the producer-gas in the several separate combustion chambers circulates around the base of the retorts, extracting the heat transmitted from the coke through the walls of the bottom section of the retorts which are at the base constructed of cast-iron.

The recovery of the heat from the coke ensures very considerable economy in fuel consumption; it also enables the coke to be discharged in such a cool state that no quenching is required. These are decided advantages with this system, and they enable the attendants to carry out their duties, under which conditions they are not inconvenienced by steam or fumes arising from the coke as in the ordinary system where coke has to be quenched. The working of the plant is noiseless and free from dust, flame, and smoke, so common with other systems for the carbonization of coal.

The construction of the coke-extractor is another important point in connection with the Glover-West system, as the worm is constructed in two parts to enable one part to revolve away from the other, and discloses an aperture sufficiently large to readily permit the use of scurfing tools and the retort to be scurfed. The extractor-gear will be arranged with a considerable range of speed regulation which will enable the speed of the coal passing through the retort to be regulated according to the class of coal being carbonized. A safety device is fitted to each set of coke-extractor gear to prevent breakage in the event of an overload.

It is proposed eventually to build on adjoining ground a large gas-holder capable of holding 71 to 10 million cubic feet, but in the meantime No. 5 Holder has been demolished and a new four- lift telescopic spiral-guided gas-holder is in course of erection in the old tank. The contract for this work has been given to Messrs. Robert Dempster and Sons, of Elland, and includes, in addition to erection of new holder, the demolition of No. 1 and No. 5 Holders, and the erection of existing crown framing of No. 5 Holder in the tank of same. No. 5 Holder, which has been removed, was a two-lift telescopic one, each lift being 32 feet 3 inches deep. The inner lift was 176 feet in diameter and the outer 180 feet.

The dimensions of the gas-holder to be erected are as follows:—

  • Inner Lift 171 feet 9 inches diameter x 33 foot 3 inches deep.
  • Second Lift 174 feet 9 inches diameter x 33 foot 3 inches deep.
  • Third Lift 177 feet 9 inches diameter x 33 feet 3 inches deep.
  • Outer Lift 180 feet 9 inches diameter x 33 feet 3 inches deep.

This work, as well as the vertical retort bench, will be well advanced by the time of Meeting in July—August.

Mr. James D. Smith is the Engineer and Manager.

Belfast Tramways

Belfast Tramways

This depot, which was reconstructed in 1906, is situated in Napier Street, Belfast. The Central Car Shed is entered from Gaffikin Street by twenty-one gates, hung to cast-iron stanchions. Its area is about 30,000 square feet, and it has room for 69 cars. On the floor above the shed wood-working machinery is installed; formerly it was occupied by the horses in a series of stables.

The Car-Body and Painting Shop was originally a three-storey building, the ground floor being used for cars, the first floor for hay, and the second floor for grain. The present Car-Building Shop is 250 feet long by 42 feet wide; it was formed by the removal of the two floors, the roof being supported by compound girders, this giving a clear space of over 10,000 square feet, in which three lines of rail are laid.

The Machine and Truck Shop occupies considerable space on the Napier Street side of the building. It has excellent lighting, both from the roof and side windows, whilst artificial lighting is supplied by enclosed arc lamps and incandescent lamps. The Blacksmiths' Shop adjoins, thus facilitating forgings being easily delivered to the machines. The cars enter by a single line, which branches out into two lines, running to overhauling pits. In the re-wheeling of cars a new method has been introduced by the Chief Engineer, Mr. A. A. Blackburn. Sections of the rail over the pits can be removed, and the wheels lowered by means of a hydraulic jack; they are then removed to the end of the pit ready for lifting.

Overhead is a large travelling crane, which runs the whole length of the shop and can lift up to 7.5 tons.

The top corner of the Machine Shop is devoted to a large and well-arranged Tool room. The shop generally is fitted with modern and up-to-date machinery. Special methods have been devised in many cases. Axle and armature bearings and brasses are turned out in a short space of time by special jigs.

At the bottom of the shop is a tyre-shrinking gas-furnace, designed by the Chief Engineer and built by the staff; it consists of two iron castings, bolted together, with the centres cored out to receive the ends of the wheel-axles, and through the centre is a trough, where the waste water is run off. Two l.5-inch gas-rings, with 35 burners each, are fed with an air-blast, the supply being taken from the smithy fan. Over the press a travelling-crane runs parallel, and fitted to the wall is:a semi-rotary pump which pumps up water for cooling the tyres. In this press, wheel-tyres can be heated up in 15 minutes ready for shrinking on.

In the Armature Room repairs are made to all the electrical appliances in connection with the car-equipment and establishment lighting. At one end of the shop is an electric oven, which is built entirely of concrete, and is capable of receiving four armatures at the same time, as well as field-coils and controller parts. At the other end of the shop is a water rheostat, which is built of hardwood, and measures 3 feet square by 5 feet high. This tank is filled with water in which are immersed the electrodes, consisting of perforated iron cones. The rheostat gives a current variation of from 20 to 500 amperes at 500 volts.

The Smiths' Shop, 60 feet by 18 feet, occupies the space between the machine shop and the car-building shop, and is equipped to turn out all the necessary forgings used on the truck, car-bodies, and establishment work. It contains four forge fires, 4 feet by 4 feet, which are worked with a motor-driven fan-blast. At one end of the smithy a Babbitting plant is provided for refilling with white metal all bearings used on car equipments.

Adjoining the Machine Shop is the Car-Body Shop and Paint Shop. Twenty cars can be built or reconstructed at one time,

Fifty of the old horse-cars have been converted and put into service, being re-equipped according to the new standard, and, as far as possible, the standardization of car equipments has been observed.

The Paint Shop is situated at the far end of the Body Shop. On either side of the shop the car-bodies are placed in their order of advancement, and the various stages of priming, filling, rubbing down, colouring, decorating, and varnishing can be followed through each day.

The Wood-Working Shop is well provided with tools, including a 42-inch band-sowing machine by J. Sagar and Co., Halifax, a power mortising-machine with graduated stroke by Robinson and Son, Rochdale, a circular moulding-machine and self-acting saw-bench with rope-feed, also a combined hand and power-feed planing machine with superposed tables, all by Robinson and Son.

A School for Motormen has been established, and is now situated at the Sandy Row depot. There are seven depots in which to store the 300 cars, situated at various points of the system.

The Chief Engineer is Mr. Albert A. Blackburn, M.I.Mech.E., and the General Manager is Mr. Andrew Nance.

Technical Institute, Belfast


The Mechanical Engineering Laboratory, which was opened in November 1911, is situated on the ground floor of the Institute, and is 114 feet long by 42 feet wide. It is divided into two long bays and is covered with a glass roof. Two band travelling-cranes run its whole length. The floor is double, there being a clear space of 3 feet between the levels, which permits the placing out of sight of all apparatus not directly needed. The shafting is also placed below ground. Trap-doors afford easy access to this space. The laboratory is lighted by sixteen 200-c.p. drawn-tungsten lamps, and the underfloor by incandescent lamps.

Boiler-House.—The Lancashire boiler, 28 feet by 8 feet, was manufactured by Messrs. Joseph Adamson and Co., Hyde, and in connection with it is installed a Sugden superheater. The marine boiler, 11 feet by 11 feet, was made by Messrs. Workman, Clark and Co., Belfast. Inside the steam-space is a feed-water heater by Messrs. Hamilton and MacMaster, Belfast. There are two feedpumps—one by Messrs. G. and J. Weir, Glasgow, and the other by Messrs. Pearn and Co., Manchester. Space is left in the boiler-house for a tubular boiler.

Steam. Section.—The main steam-engine is of the horizontal cross-compound type, and was made by Messrs. Combe, Barbour and Co., Belfast. It is of 60 i.h.p., at a steam-pressure of 120 lb. per square inch, 150° F. superheat, and 100 revolutions per minute. It was designed for full boiler-pressure on the low-pressure cylinder. The high-pressure rods are made the same size as the low-pressure for the sake of symmetry. It can be used under any of the following conditions: (1) Compound condensing; (2) Compound non-condensing; (3) Single-cylinder condensing (using low-pressure cylinder); and (4) Single-cylinder non-condensing (using low-pressure cylinder). The engine is so arranged that the cranks can be set at any desired. angle. The valves are all of the drop-piston type, the steam-valves being operated by a new form of trip-gear.

A 16-kw. Parsons turbo-alternator and exciter are installed. The alternator delivers three-phase current, which is taken to the main switchboard.

A high-speed engine of 25 b.h.p., at 750 revolutions per minute, by Messrs. W. H. Allen, Son and Co., Bedford, is installed. It is of the enclosed type, having forced lubrication, and drives directly a direct-current generator of 15 kw. at 220 volts.

A De Laval steam-turbine, by Messrs. Greenwood and Batley, Leeds, of 15 h.p. and 24,000 revolutions per minute, drives a centrifugal pump through a 6 to 1 gearing. The pump lifts 160 gallons of water per minute against a head of 160 feet. The various pressure-gauges enable an experimenter to carry out consumption tests; the nozzles can be easily withdrawn, and can be tested on a special apparatus of the Stodola type erected on the wall of the laboratory.

There are two condensers (1) a surface condenser by Messrs. Isaac Storey and Sons, Manchester, and (2) an ejector condenser by Messrs. Ledward and Beckett, London. The former is of the contra-flow type.

Main Switchboard.—A Westinghouse double-panel marble switchboard is situated within 6 feet of the high-speed engine and turbo-sets. This controls the current from the two dynamos which form the loads for the high-speed engine and turbine. In order that students should learn various methods of testing, an Allen direct-current generator, running at 750 revolutions per minute, is attached to the high-speed engine, and a Parsons alternator to the turbine.

Air-Compression Plant.—The primary object of this plant is to study the efficiency of an ordinary two-stage air-compressor. This was made by Messrs. Alley and MacLellan, Glasgow, and is of their "Sentinel" type. The air-pressure generated is from 60 lb. to 80 lb. per square inch.

Refrigerating Plant.—This consists of a refrigerating machine and a liquid-air machine. The former was made by Messrs. L. Sterne and Co., Glasgow, and is employed to produce small quantities of ice, and to illustrate the method of cooling by means of a flow of brine.

The liquid-air plant was manufactured by the British Oxygen Co., London, and consists of a Whitehead air-compressor belt-driven from the underground shaft, an air-liquefier, and both low- and high-pressure purifiers.

The gas-compressor is capable of compressing about 550 cubic feet of gas per hour to a pressure of 150 atmospheres or more when running at 400 revolutions per minute. Under these conditions it requires from 6 to 7 h.p. to drive it, and produces through the liquefier 11 litres of air per hour.

Hydraulic Section.—Various heads of water up to 280 feet are obtained from a motor-driven high-lift turbo-pump, made by Messrs. Mather and Platt, Salford. It is used for pump-testing purposes, and supplying pressure-water to any one of three experimental turbines. It is of the three-stage type, and is capable of delivering 400 gallons of water per minute at a head of 200 feet. The pump is driven direct by a direct-current electric motor of 40 h.p., 440 volts, and 77 amperes.

The cast-iron channel, which receives the discharge water of the turbines, is of internal cross-section 2 feet 6 incises by 2 feet, and has an over-all length of about 30 feet. The tumbling bay may be fixed in three different positions corresponding to those required for discharging into either end of the large measuring tank or into both ends at the same time. A Venturi meter is used for measuring the quantity of water flowing from the high-lift turbo-pump. Pitot tubes are inserted in the pipe between the pump and the Venturi tube.

Turbines.—A Pelton wheel, made by Mr. Percy Pitman, London, develops 5 h.p. with a fall of 75 feet, when making 400 revolutions. The Girard turbine was made by Messrs. Gilbert Gilkes and Co., Kendal, and has a wheel of 21 incises diameter; it develops 6 h.p. on a 75-foot head when making 550 revolutions per minute. The Thomson turbine, also by Messrs. Gilkes and Co., gives about 4 h.p., with a fall of 75 feet.

Testing of Materials Section.—All tension, compression, and cross-breaking testing is carried out on a Riehle automatic and autographic machine, which is capable of giving a maximum load of 150,000 lb. For experiments on heat treatment of various steels, a gas-furnace by Mr. S. N. Brayshaw, Manchester, has been installed, and for carrying out tension tests on cement an Adie machine is placed in this section. Tests on the fatigue of metals are made on a machine which was designed by Professor Smith and constructed by Messrs. Combe, Barbour and Co., Belfast.

Internal-Combustion Section.—The plant includes a gas-engine, a suction-gas plant, an oil-engine, and a petrol-engine. The gas- engine is by the National Gas-Engine Co., and is of 20 i.h.p. when working on ordinary town gas. The suction-gas plant was made by the same company. The oil-engine is of the Blackstone type, and is of 12 i.h.p., and the petrol-engine is of about 4 b.p.

Machine Shop.—This is equipped with modern high-grade tools and machines, and is situated on the ground floor. Manual training metal-work classes are held in this shop, in connection with the Trade Preparatory Section of the Institute, and special classes are held in screw-cutting and milling for advanced students.

Courses in the Department.—These comprise (a) May Technical Course; (b) Day Apprentices' Course; and (c) Evening Course.

In the May Technical Course the instruction given is of University standard, and the programme extends over three years. The hours of instruction are thirty per week, and the duration of the session is about forty weeks.

The Day Apprentices' Course is intended for engineer apprentices and apprentice draughtsmen who are nominated by their employers. Students attend six hours on Mondays throughout the session. In the Evening Course there are three sections: Preparatory, Introductory, and Mechanical Engineering course proper.

The Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department is Professor J. H. Smith, D.Sc.

Belfast Ropework Co

Ropework Co

These works were established in 1876, being situated i n close proximity to the shipbuilding yards and on the banks of the River Connswater, and at the present time the premises cover an area of about 35 acres.

The raw material used here comes from Russia, Italy, India, the Philippine Islands, and New Zealand. After being sorted, the manila fibres are taken to the hackling room, where the process is similar to that employed in the preparation of flax.

Hand roughing and machine hackling are both used. After hackling, the hemp is taken to the drawing and roving frames, where it undergoes a slight twisting, and the bobbins of roving are taken to the spinning machinery.

Both the wet and dry spinning processes are used, the former principally for fine yarns. The yarn then undergoes tarring, and when thoroughly dried is taken to the rope-walk to be twisted into strands, which are fastened to the hooks of machines called "travellers." These recede on train lines from a stationary "fore-turn" or twisting head. Cords made from harsh or extra fibrous material have to undergo a scouring process prior to being sized and polished. The machines take from twenty to thirty separate twines at a time, which have been twisted upon bobbins, and are placed in front of the machine. After passing through the sizing troughs, the cords pass between two rollers by which the superfluous sizing is squeezed out. Thence they go over a large steam-heated cylinder, whereby a gloss is imparted to them, and they are then made up into balls.

Thousands of different sizes and descriptions of ropes, lines, and twines are made, including binder-twine for Harvesting purposes, fishing lines, plough lines, sash cords, etc.

The number of workpeople employed amounts to about 3,500.

Brookfield Linen Co

Brookfield Linen Co

The Spinning Mill of this company is situated in Crumlin Road, and contains 24,000 spindles, preparing machinery, etc., for flax and tow spinning.

The Brookfield Factory in Cambrai Street and the Agnes Street Factory contain 1,400 looms, with the necessary preparing machinery for weaving linen, union, and cotton goods.

The company also owns extensive bleaching and dye works.

The total number of workpeople employed is about 2,400.

Cantrell and Cochrane

Cantrell and Cochrane

The works of this firm are situated in Victoria Square, and were established by Dr. Cantrell in 1852 in Bank Lane, Belfast. In 1868 he was joined in Dublin by Alderman Sir Henry Cochrane, Bart., where a manufactory — the Nassau Works — was established. The firm at the present time has also depots in London and Glasgow.

The works in Victoria Square stand on what used to be the site of the Town Hall, and portions of this building now serve as counting-house and stores. A well was sunk at a cost of £2,000, and a plentiful supply of water from the Cromac spring was obtained at a depth of 116 feet. Latterly a second well has been sunk to a depth of 400 feet through red freestone. The supply is practically unlimited, about 18,000 gallons a day being pumped into an enormous slate cistern at the top of the premises. Before reaching this tank — though the strata through which it passes form an admirable filter — the water undergoes a final process of purification by being passed through a bed of sand and charcoal.

The charging of Cromac waters with gas generated from the action of sulphuric acid upon carbonates is the first stage after the pure water has been stored in the slate tank, which is covered with a glass lid. The gas is repeatedly washed, and is stored in gasholders, whence it is drawn as required, a pressure of about 150 lb. per square inch being used to impregnate the water. The syrups for the various products are prepared in slate, porcelain, or glass vessels, in order to prevent the formation of injurious chemical deposits.

The bottling-room contains a number of continuous double-action soda-water machines, driven by overhead belting. Connected with them is a slate cistern and iced water, and everything is so arranged that the processes of gas generation, charging, and bottling are continuous. To this room the bottles are conveyed down an inclined plane from the room in which they have been previously cleansed.

There are two systems of bottling—by hand and by machine. In the hand method the bottler sits in front of a machine; the bottle is placed beneath the mouth of the feeding-tube; the cork is inserted and, by means of a descending rod, is pressed nearly home; and the requisite quantity of syrup is forced into the bottle by the aerated water. The atmospheric air is next exhausted, the bottle quite filled, the cork driven home and wired or crown corked.

In another part of the factory the bottling is effected by means of automatic rotary bottling-machines. The machine is fed by one man with bottles and corks, the air being exhausted from the bottles as the apparatus revolves. During the revolution the bottles are syruped, filled with aerated water, corked, and delivered upon an endless band, whence boys pick them off and wire them. By the hand method one man generally bottled twenty dozen per hour, but by machine six times that number can be accomplished. In full-working summer days about 60,000 bottles are turned out per day. For sending abroad the bottles are doubly wired, wrapped in paper, and packed in barrels of straw. Amongst the various mineral and aerated waters produced at the Belfast and Dublin factories are soda, lithia, seltzer, and potass waters, ginger ale, lemonade, sparkling Montserrat lime-juice, etc.

The number of men and boys employed in Belfast and at their Dublin factory is 500.

Dunville and Co

Dunville and Co

Although this business dates back to 1808, the present distillery was not erected till 1869, at which time the site it occupies as well as the surrounding district were green fields, and the part now covered by the bonded warehouses was a sheet of water, in some parts 15 feet deep. The distillery comprises several blocks of buildings, built principally of perforated brick.

Facing the entrance are four Lancashire steam-boilers, each 30 feet long by 7.5 feet diameter, the flues being fitted with Galloway tubes. They supply steam to the engines and for the various requirements of the distillery, including the heating of the water used for the mashing. In the main flue is placed one of Green's economizers through which the feed-water is supplied to the boilers at a temperature ranging from 250° to 315° F. The higher heat is obtained in the earlier part of the week, when the economizer has the benefit of the waste heat from the pot-stills as well as from the boilers.

Behind the boiler-house are the engine-house and grinding mill. A vertical engine of marine type of 350 i.h.p., made by Messrs. Victor Coates and Co., supplies the principal motive power. There is also a horizontal engine in connection with the still-house, as well as several combined engines and pumps for feeding the boilers and for pumping the spent wash in the feeding-stuffs department. The grinding mill contains five pairs of millstones, each 4i feet diameter, driven at a speed of 140 revolutions per minute, and kept running day and night in order to supply the quantity of grist required for mashing. From the mill the grist is conveyed by an elevator and screw to the grist room.

On the left of the entrance is a huge grain silo which was erected a few years ago. This building consists of fifty-four bins with a storage capacity of 6,000 tons of grain. The grain is first of all discharged into two large hoppers, one at each end of the building, from which by means of band-conveyers it passes to large elevators travelling at a very high speed and which are capable of lifting 30 cwt. per minute to the top of the building, which is about 100 feet high.

The barley is then screened, being afterwards distributed by means of electrically-driven bands to the pneumatic maltings, mill and kilns for germination, grinding and drying, etc. The barley, after being thoroughly screened, is steeped for the usual length of time in conical steeping-tanks, of which there are six fixed above ten germinating drums. One tank can be made to serve two or three drums.

From the steeping-tanks the wet barley is run into the drums, and germination then takes place.

To maintain a suitable temperature during germination a current of air is drawn through each drum. This air is cooled, moistened, and purified in an outside brick chamber before it reaches the growing malt, and after passing through the drum is discharged outside the building. The amount of air passing through the grain is regulated and controlled by a valve fixed at the outlet end of each drum. To turn the grain, the drums are revolved as often as the maltster may consider necessary.

The germinating process being completed, withering of the green malt takes place in the same cylinder, and is carried out on exactly the same principle as on the old floor system. When the operation is complete, the malt is discharged from the germinating drums to a band-conveyer and carried to an elevator, which discharges the grain into other drums where the drying and curing operations are conducted. It might be mentioned that under this system the grain is not damaged, as under the old floor system by the shovel or boots of the workmen.

The drying plant consists of four drums placed in two rows, one set above the other, the two sipper drums for drying the malt and the two lower ones for curing it. Green malt from the germinating drums is filled into the drying drains by means of a band-conveyer and elevator, and hot gases are drawn through the malt from a small furnace by means of an exhaust-fan. The drying drums are kept revolving till the malt is in a fit condition to be dropped into one of the curing drums. In the curing drum the temperature of the malt is allowed to rise steadily, and the finishing-off temperature has to be maintained for some hours. The fuel generally used in the drying process is anthracite malting coal. The maltings are driven by a Tangye gas-engine of 80 h.p. worked from producer-gas.

Beside the maltings there is a large bonded warehouse fitted with an electrically-driven hoist. Beyond this building is the old malt-house, four storeys high, the roof of which is a wrought-iron tank about 112 feet long by 85 feet wide. This tank has a capacity of over a quarter of a million gallons, and the main object of its erection was to ensure a good supply of water in case of fire. Next to this building is the mash-house, containing three mash-tuns, of which the largest is 29 feet diameter by 8 feet deep, having a capacity of over 30,000 gallons. Grist is passed into the various mash-tuns through Steel's mashers. All the pumping in this house is done by a rotary pump, driven at 500 revolutions, which raises 1,400 gallons per minute to a height of 50 feet.

The cooling of the wort is effected by four large refrigerators. Close by is the tun room, containing sixteen fermenting wash-backs ranging in size from 27,000 to 35,000 gallons. The still-house, situated to the right of the main entrance and near the engine- and boiler-house, is in communication with the mash-house. Here there are three pot-stills, holding together about 30,000 gallons, made by Miller of Glasgow, with the necessary adjuncts of wash-chargers and receivers for the low wines, feints, and whisky; also the glass safes through which the various distillates pass. From the still-house the finished whisky is run into vats in the adjoining spirit store, where the final operation of filling into the sherry and other casks takes place.

The various stages in the manufacture of Dunville's whisky, briefly stated, are as follows:—

(1) The barley is thoroughly cleansed by fanning.

(2) The barley is put into huge drums, heated to a temperature of about 100° F. to dry.

(3) The barley is then thoroughly soaked or steeped in immense vessels, the water being changed once or twice.

(4) The soft and swollen grain is then carried by pneumatic force to huge drums, where the process of germination or sprouting takes place. Germination converts the starch of the grain into sugar. This sugar nourishes the sprout or rootlet.

(5) Just when the sugar is most abundant in the sprouting barley the mass is transferred to drying chambers, where applied heat arrests the germination and clears the grain of its moisture. The grain at this stage is called "malt."

(6) The matured malt is passed to a mill, where it is crushed, forming a "grist."

(7) The grist is then mixed with warm water in a cylindrical vessel known as a "masher." The water extracts the saccharine matter contained in the grist or malt.

(8) The grist and water are conducted to a " mash-tun," a cylindrical vessel having a false perforated bottom, and fitted with revolving arms which mash the grist still further.

(9) The saccharified liquor is then drawn off, and is known as "worts." The residue — a moist meal — is used as a cattle or hog food, and is a valuable by-product of the business of distilling.

(10) The wort is run off from the mash-tun through the perforated false bottom into what is known as the "underback." After being cooled it is passed into the fermenting vessels; yeast is added, and the process of fermentation begins. The fermentable sugar by the influence of yeast is converted into alcohol and carbonic-acid gas. The fermented wort, known as "wash," is a fluid containing varying proportions of alcohol, unfermentable grain extract and water, and the object of distillation is to isolate the spirit as effectually as possible. This is done by distillation; that is, by converting the volatile constituents of the wash into vapour. The boiling-point of wash depends on the proportion of spirit which it contains. Alcohol boils at 173° F.

(11) The wash is then passed into Still No. 1 to be boiled or vaporized. The alcoholic vapour is condensed by cooling, and passes into a vessel known as a "receiver," and becomes known as "low wines."

(12) The low wines are then passed into Still No. 2 and vaporized, and condensed and carried into another receiver. This second condensation of the alcohol is known as "feints."

(13) The feints are passed into Still No. 3 to be vaporized and condensed. This third distillation produces whisky.

The principal warehouses for storing and maturing the whisky are situated about a mile from the distillery, in Adelaide and Alfred Streets; and there are also three warehouses adjoining the distillery, which hold about 10,000 butts. The total floor space of the warehouses is over 260,000 square feet, or nearly 6 acres. Between the distilleries and the warehouses a government staff of two supervisors and twenty officers are constantly employed.

About 40,000 gallons of whisky can be produced weekly, and a very large sum is paid annually in excise duty. A large proportion of the trade is done under bond; that is, the whisky is sent—without duty being paid in Belfast—to the various Crown warehouses all over the kingdom, where the excise duty is ultimately paid.

Gunning and Campbells


This is an old-established flax spinning mill, containing about 16,600 spindles, and is situated at North Howard Street, Falls Road. It is driven by a set of triple-expansion engines, made by Messrs. Willans and Robinson, indicating about 400 h.p. and working with steam at 200 lb. pressure per square inch supplied by Lancashire boilers. The latter were specially constructed from the designs of Mr. A. Basil Wilson.

The number of workpeople employed is 500.

Harland and Wolff

Harland and Wolff

These works were started by Mr. (afterwards Sir) Edward J. Harland in 1859, and their area was about 31 acres. To-day they spread over more than 80 acres. In 1859 they employed 44 men, and now they find work for 16,000. Shortly after starting, Mr. Harland was joined by Mr. G. W. Wolff, and these two worked together alone until 1874, when Mr. W. J. Pirrie and Mr. Walter H. Wilson were taken into partnership. In 1895 Sir Edward Harland died, and in 1904 Mr. Walter H. Wilson also died. Mr. Wolff retired a few years ago, and Lord Pirrie, as he became in 1908, now alone remains of those above-named, and he is chairman of the company.

In addition to the works in Belfast, they have works at Southampton, where 2,500 men are employed; they have recently acquired works at Govan, Glasgow, for shipbuilding and engineering, and are erecting works at Liverpool.

The first S.S. "Oceanic," the pioneer of the White Star Line, built in 1870, was the first vessel constructed with saloon and cabins amidships. This vessel, and the "Britannic" and "Germanic" — built for the same line — ran for over a quarter of a century with phenomenal success.

The most notable productions during recent years are the following ships:—

White Star Line.— "Oceanic," "Celtic," "Cedric," "Baltic," "Adriatic," and "Olympic " (45,300 tons).

Hamburg-American Line.— "Amerika" (22,724 tons), "President Lincoln," and "President Grant."

Holland-America Line.— "Nieuw Amsterdam," and "Rotterdam " (23,980 tons).

Red Star Line.— "Lapland" (about 18,500 tons).

Royal Mail Steam Packet Co.— "Aragon," "Amazon," "Avon," "Asturias," and "Arlanza " (15,000 tons).

The work at present on hand includes large steamers for the White Star Line, Royal Mail Steam Packet Co., Bibby Line, Holland-America Line, Elder Dempster and Co., African Co., British and African Steam Navigation Co., and George Thompson and Co., Ltd.

The latest vessel built by them for the Royal Navy is the Admiralty yacht "Enchantress," and they have recently constructed the machinery for some of the largest vessels in the British Navy, including the first-class battleships "Hannibal," "Queen," "King Edward VII," and "Hibernia," the first-class cruiser " Minotaur," 27,000 i.h.p., and H.M.S. "Neptune," 25,000 s.h.p.

The firm has large facilities and experience in extensive repair and reconstruction work, having performed many difficult feats in connection with such work; for instance, the reconstruction of the "Philadelphia " (ex "Paris"), also the "China," after these vessels had been on the rocks; the cutting in halves and lengthening large steamers, such as the "Scot " and "Auguste Victoria"; the construction at Belfast of a new fore part for the S.S. "Suevic" and joining together the two portions of the vessel in drydock at Southampton.

The capacity for production is about 100,000 tons and 100,000 i.h.p. per annum. There are eight slips for large ships. The highest tonnage output was as follows:—

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One of the latest developments within the works has been the complete electrification of the plant, the electric generating station being one of the largest private stations in the British Isles. Recently, alterations have been carried out at the north end of the Yard, the large building slips being greatly extended so as to facilitate the construction of the largest vessels, approaching 1,000 feet in length, and a massive structure has been erected over the slips with electric cranes, etc., for handling weights at any part of the building berths during the construction of the vessels. They have also a 200-ton revolving floating crane for putting engines, boilers, etc., on board vessels.

The works are well situated, being built on what is called Queen's Island, on one side of them being the Victoria Channel, and on the other the Musgrave Channel. Both of these unite in the New Channel, which has direct access to Belfast Lough, and thence to the sea.

The work of the offices is divided into five main departments, which have their sub-divisions, each sub-division having its own room. The office staff numbers between 400 and 500. For practical purposes the works may be considered as being divided into two separate parts—shipbuilding and engineering.

Joiners' Shop.—This shop is divided into two bays with a gallery. On the ground floor the tools comprise saws, planers, drills, moulding machines, etc., and the gallery contains similar tools. All sorts of wood constructional work in connection with shipbuilding is carried out in this department, including doors, partitions, etc.

Beam Shop.—Adjoining the mast shed is the beam shop, where beams, rails, plates, angles, cement, etc., are stored.

Mould Loft.—This loft, situated above the plumbers' shop, has a splendid floor where the lines of the vessels are laid out.

Plumbers' Shop.—The machinery here is all electrically driven, and comprises cold saws, punching, shearing, screwing, drilling, and bending machines, lathes, and jib-cranes. Narrow-gauge hoes run in different directions in the shop.

Platers' Sheds.—There are several of these sheds, well equipped with the usual tools, among which may be noticed an angle-bending machine by Hugh Smith and Co., Glasgow, a large hydraulic shearing machine by J. Cameron, Manchester, and a right-angled plate-planing machine by Hetheringtons, of Manchester. The North Platen' Shop is intended to supply material for the vessels which are built on slips 1, 2, and 3. The West Platers' Shed is intended to provide for the wants of slips 5 to 7, and belongs to the older part of the establishment.

Gantries.—The gantries connected with the No. 1 slip run on twelve wheels on each side, there being a double line of rails, 61 inches wide, placed at 100 feet centres on each side of the slip. The latest gantry was constructed by Sir William Arrol and Co., the electric crane equipment having been supplied by Stothert and Pitt, Bath. The area covered exceeds 840 feet long by 270 feet wide, and the diameter of the circle covered by the largest crane is 270 feet, while the highest point from ground level is 228 feet.

Three long lines of tall steel lattice-towers run parallel to one another at a distance of over 120 feet between the lines. Each line consists of eleven towers placed at 80-foot centres. Along the road of the centre line of towers runs a Titan crane, which has a reach of 135 feet, and can deal with a 3-ton load at this radius. Ships practically 1,000 feet long can therefore be dealt with.

Turning Shop.-Various tools by Shanks, Hulse and Co. and other well-known makers are installed in this shop. In this bay there are two overhead electric travelling-cranes each capable of lifting 20 tons.

Engine Erecting-Shop.—In this bay there is one pit for erecting engines. The majority of the tools here are for dealing with heavy work. There are four overhead electric travelling-cranes of various powers, the largest being capable of lifting 40 tons.

Engine Fitting-Shop.—The tools in this shop are not quite so heavy as in the previous shop. The tool equipment comprises milling-machines, planers, drills, etc. White-metal bearings for large engines are prepared in this department. The white metal after being run is carefully consolidated by being hammered all over with a round-ended hammer before being bored. The hydraulic testing of valves and small cylinders is also carried out here. The shop is served by two overhead electric travelling-cranes, each capable of lifting 10 tons.

New Erecting-Shop.—This bay is 725 feet 6 inches between centres of end columns and 80 feet between faces of columns. The roof is entirely covered with glass. A special erecting bed has been made for erecting the heaviest class of reciprocating engines. Turbine machinery is also assembled in this bay. At the east end are large tools by Shanks and Co., for dealing with the heaviest class of work. There are also two vertical cylinder boring-machines.

This bay is served by three overhead electric travelling-cranes, two capable of lifting 80 tons each and one capable of lifting 20 tons, the 20-ton crane running in gantry at lower level than the 80-ton cranes.

Brass-Finishing Shop.—Here every kind of brass article required in shipbuilding and engine work is machined and finished, all the tools being driven by belts. The main shafting is electrically driven. Smiths' Shop and Forge.—This is divided into two bays. There are altogether sixty smiths' fires. The blast is provided by three blowers driven by electric motors. At the south end are two forge furnaces; the largest hammer is 30 cwt. All hammers are driven by pneumatic pressure.

Pattern Shop and Store.—This building stands apart. The shop is equipped with circular-saws, planers, band-saws, emery- wheels, lathes, universal pattern-making machines, etc. Suction arrangements are provided for withdrawing the sawdust from the machines.

Iron Foundry.—This is divided into six bays, and is served by six cupolas having a large capacity. Pig-iron, scrap, and flux are taken up to the charging platform by overhead electric travelling- cranes; four of the cupolas are arranged in a group, so that they can all be charged from the same platform; two cupolas are grouped together and served from a separate platform.

Fettling Shop.—Pneumatic tools are largely used in this shop, and a number of Tabor moulding-machines of various sizes are in use.

Brass Foundry.— "Brass" in this case includes not only brass, but all sorts of bronzes, gun-metals, white metal for bearings, etc. Propeller-blades and other heavy articles are cast here. For melting the various metals there are pot and reverberatory furnaces. Two tilting furnaces are placed at one end of the building; Tabor moulding-machines are largely used.

Boiler Shop.—A great variety of work is carried out here in addition to actual boiler-making, such as the construction of funnels for vessels, which now attain enormous dimensions. On entering the shop one notices a right-angled plate-edge planing- machine by Hetherington and Co., which will take plates up to 36 feet long. Two 20-h.p. 440-volt Vickers motors are geared to this machine. There are also a large vertical boring and surfacing machine by Embleton and Co., and two tube-plate cutting-machines. Of the hydraulic machines there are four riveting-machines and two flanging-machines. Another large tool is an upright hydraulic plate-bending machine, which will take in plates up to 12 feet wide. Other tools in this shop are radial drills, punching and shearing machines, straightening rolls, etc. This shop is served by overhead electric travelling-cranes of various powers, the two largest being capable of lifting 50 tons each.

Spar-making Shed.—The raw timber is adzed, and then smoothed and polished. Although steel masts and spars are being increasingly used, there is still some demand for wood in this direction. In a loft above this department the sails and awnings are made, and on the same level is the upholstering department, which is of a most extensive character.

Timber Sheds.—The sheds for the drying of timber, of which the value of the stock is about £250,000, cover an area of about 80,000 square feet, and the sides are open. Before being stored the logs are sawn up into approximately the sizes required later, and are then stacked horizontally with wedges between each board or plank.

Central Power-Station.—This contains a well-arranged plant, and, if necessary, it can supply current to light continuously 133,000 incandescent lamps (8 c.p.) taking 30 watts each. The whole of the building and plant was designed and installed by the firm's own engineers. A dual plant has been installed; both alternating and direct-current machinery to generate electricity at about 450 volts has been laid down. The building is 415 feet long by 68 feet wide, and there is an annexe containing some electrically-driven hydraulic and air-compressing machinery. The main boiler equipment consists of five single-ended marine boilers, manufactured by the firm, besides two Babcock and Wilcox and one Yarrow marine-type water-tube boiler, having a total heating surface of 18,781 square feet. One of these boilers is heated by the gases produced from the burning in a Meldrum furnace of the refuse collected in the works, which sometimes amounts to 35 tons per day. The water for the boilers is passed through a Paterson feed-water purifier.

The engine-house is 171 - 6 feet long by 64 feet wide. There are four main generating sets, each being driven by a four-cylinder twin tandem triple-expansion horizontal engine of the drop-valve type, made by Sulzer and Co., Winterthur. Each engine has two cranks driving on to one crankshaft. The generators were made at Frankfort by the Lahmeyer Co. The sets 3 and 4 are identical and differ from Nos. 2 and '5 in the fact that two generators, one direct- current and one three-phase, are carried on the shaft driven by the engine. The other equipment of the engine-house is very complete. Set No. 6 consists of a three-cylinder vertical compound engine, coupled direct on the same bed-plate to a 350 kw. three-phase alternator. No. 1 set consists of a compound three-cylinder vertical enclosed engine driving a 60 kw. balancer, to which a 150 kw. 440 V.C.C. generator is also coupled. For the field excitation of the large generators, etc., two 60 kw. enclosed sets are run in parallel with the battery; these high-speed sets were manufactured by W. H. Allen, Son and Co., Bedford. Arranged under the switchboard gallery opposite to the entrance are battery boosters, motor generators, balancers, etc., and running along the engine- house is a 15-ton electric travelling-crane.

Next to the boiler-house is a battery room, containing an accumulator with a capacity of 1,000 ampere-hours. Above this are placed some oil-tanks and two water-reservoir tanks, capable of holding 35,000 gallons, whilst adjacent thereto are an electrical test-house, stores, and a workshop.

The hydraulic machinery consists of four electrical-driven pumps capable of giving an aggregate of 500 gallons per minute at 800 lb. per square inch, and 260 gallons at 1,500 lb. per square inch.

The air-compressors, also electrical-driven plant, consist of three sets capable of jointly giving 5,500 cubic feet of air at 100 lb. per square inch.

Alexandra Dock Works.—These are largely devoted to rough wood-working, and to the storage of baulk timber, iron, oil, etc. There is also an oil-fuel storage-tank with pump, the former being isolated and surrounded by water. In another building may be seen samples of various styles of decorations for saloons, state rooms, and cabins.

Inglis and Co

Inglis and Co

This company was founded by Mr. James Inglis, who went to Belfast in 1871, at the time when the transition from bread being baked in the home to that produced in factories was taking place. Within a short period the public demand had increased to such an extent that more commodious premises had to be secured.

In 1882 the present site was chosen of one of the largest single bakeries in the world. Centrally situated, convenient to the port and principal railways, the factory is bounded by Eliza, McAuley, Stewart, and Welch Streets, covering an area of two wares, on which have been arranged a series of substantial stores and bakehouses, specially designed and constructed for the production of bread under the most hygienic, scientific, and economic conditions.

The bakehouses contain over 60 great ovens and three automatic baking plants, and when taxed to their utmost capacity are capable of producing, during one shift of eight hours, 40,000 loaves weighing 40 tons, so that within a single day 120 tons of loaves can be baked and distributed throughout Ulster. Six motor vans and 220 horses are employed in this distribution.

The power and light required to serve the stores and bakehouses are obtained from a double set of Diesel oil-engines, by means of which electricity is generated and conveyed throughout the factory.

The Inglis Employees' Benefit Trust was formed in 1910, and is administered by a council composed of three nominees of the directors of the company and three nominees of the employees. The amount to the credit of the fund is over £3,000, and the interest on this, together with allocations received from the company, is utilized to help employees or their families in time of sickness and trouble.

The number of employees is about 500.

Workman, Clark and Co

Workman, Clark and Co

The original works of this firm, which was founded in 1880, covered only about 4 acres of land on the north side of the River Lagan, to the west of Belfast Harbour. Progress was rapid and continuous, new berths being added and new shops built and equipped, until in 1891 the shipbuilding yard covered an area of about 15 acres. In 1905 and 1911 further extensions were made to the machinery department, and now the total area covered is 829,724 square feet, of which 220,000 square feet is roofed in.

In 1910 additions were made to the North shipyard, 121 acres being added, bringing the total area of the firm's works to 821 acres, while the number of berths is now twelve, capable of taking the largest ships that are likely to be built for some years.

The result of this development in the works is shown in the following statistics:—

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The work done has included nearly every type of merchant ship, from the high-speed liner to the tramp steamer. The more important lines which have had large additions to their fleets from the works are the Royal Mail Steam Packet Co., the Allan Line, the Peninsular and Oriental Line, Alfred Holt and Co.'s Blue Funnel Line, Messrs. Lamport and Holt, the Ellerman Lines, the British India Co., the Harrison Line, the Tyser Line, and the Cunard Co.

Perhaps the most notable steamer built was the Allan Line turbine-steamer "Victorian," which was the first Atlantic liner to be fitted with the Parsons turbine. Reference should also be made to the large refrigerated meat-carrying ships built. One of the latest, the "Muritai," completed last year for the Tyser Line, had a capacity of 292,000 cubic feet in refrigerated rooms for carrying meat from South America to this country.

THE SOUTH YARD. The South Yard, situated opposite the North Yard, was acquired by the firm in 1894, and largely rearranged; like the North Yard, it is complete within itself. There are five berths. These take ships ranging in length from 523 feet to 417 feet, and in beam from 61 feet to 53 feet. The ground was made up of dredgings from the river at an early stage in the development of the harbour, and consequently very heavy piling had to be done, not only in the berths, but for the columns of the roofs and bed-plates of the large machine-tools. Good foundations were obtained generally at 40 feet, and the piles were driven in lengths and scarfed at the junctions.

ENGINEERING WORKS. The Engineering Works of the Company are situated at Queen's Road, opposite to the South Yard. As in the case of the shipbuilding works, there have been considerable extensions in recent years. The works had originally been laid out so that the various workshops could be extended in an easterly direction without any further interference with the general convenience of the plan, from the standpoint of economic handling of heavy loads and the sequence of operations.

The Boiler-Making Department, consisting of six bays, is situated on the left side of the main entrance, where are located the administration offices, drawing office, and other departments associated with the administration and the inspection and other work, while to the rear of them is the power-station for the Engine Works and the South Yard. The Engineering Department is under separate organization, and therefore the offices are extensive, there being a separate drawing-office of 56,300 square feet, well lighted from the roof, while the chief draughtsman has a separate office adjoining, and the Estimating Department contiguous to it.

Power-Station.—This is situated to the rear of the main offices, and has a total capacity of 1,500 kw. Steam is generated in two boilers of the marine cylindrical type; one of them is 15 feet 6 inches in diameter and 10 feet 6 inches long, and the other 14 feet 6 inches in diameter and 11 feet long, each with three furnaces. The boilers work under natural draught. There are two electric generating sets, one driven by a triple-expansion engine running at 95 revolutions, and developing 1,000 i.h.p., and this is coupled direct to a direct-current 600-kw. generator. The exhaust from this engine is passed to a Brush-Parsons turbine, working with an initial pressure of about 20 lb. absolute, and having four stages for expansion, the rotor being 14 feet 6 incises long and of 7 feet 6 inches diameter. This turbine is coupled direct to a generator of 600-kw. capacity when running at 2,000 revolutions per minute. Electricity is distributed by conductors of the armoured-cable type, carried overhead on timber columns. The motors range in power from 75 h.p. down to 10 h.p., excepting the motors driving air-compressors and hydraulic-pumps in the power-station.

Pneumatic power is extensively applied throughout the works, and air-compressing plant is installed in a building to the rear of the Boiler Shop. The air-compressors are of the two-stage type, driven by 100-h.p. electric motors at 250 revolutions per minute, the output of the compressors being 500 cubic feet of free air per minute at 100 lb. per square inch.

There is one set of hydraulic pumps in the engineering department, actuated by a 60-h.p. electric-motor; the plungers— three in number—being 4 inches in diameter. The pressure is 1,000 lb., and the power is used in flanging, riveting, and other machines, in hydraulic jib-cranes, and in the testing of boilers. The accumulator has a load of 55 tons. As in the case of several of the hydraulic tools in the shipyard already described, Messrs. Hugh Smith and Co.'s principle of economising power-water is utilized.

Engine Department.—The main engine department includes five bays, three of these being 240 feet long, and respectively 55 feet, 60 feet, and 50 feet spans. The two others, of 30 feet spans, were originally of the same length, but last year they were increased to 400 feet. No. 1 bay forms the Erecting Shop; No.2 bay is utilized for the erection of reciprocating engines; and No. 3 bay is a Machine Shop.

The practice in the Erecting Shops is to build the engines on the floor in Nos. 1 and 2 bays, the height of the crane track being 45 feet. The engines when completed are placed on trucks and passed to the ships over standard-gauge railway track, leaving the works through the doors in Queen's Road. In the Turbine Shop the most notable tool is a lathe for turning the rotors of turbines, and a boring-mill for the casings. In No. 2 bay there are several important tools. The largest of the wall planers has a vertical travel of 17 feet 6 inches, and planes a side surface of 21 feet, the table being 10 feet wide. The largest of the boring-mills for the vertical cylinders of marine engines takes jobs 12 feet high, the centres between the columns being 12 feet. The third bay is utilized for marking off, building up crankshafts, reamering out the couplings, drawing on the propeller shaft liners and fitting the propellers together.

Boiler Sloop.—This shop is well equipped and contains six bays. No. 1 bay, of 30 feet span, is taken up partly by the marking-off tables, and the construction of uptakes and light work generally. No. 2 bay, of 50 feet span, served by a 25-ton overhead-traveller, is devoted to the making of combustion-chambers and the drilling and riveting of boiler-plates. No. 3 bay is largely utilized for the assembly and riveting of boiler-shells. In bay No. 4, the drilling, tapping, and staying of the boilers and the construction of combustion-chambers are undertaken, as well as funnel-construction. The plates are marked off and flanging work done in No. 5 bay, and in No. 6 bay there is the smiths' shop, where light angle-iron work is done. The boiler-tool store is situated adjacent to this shop.

As to the boiler-making machinery, mention may be made of the boiler-shell drilling-machine, a four-headed drill, having a bed 34 feet long. This machine takes in the largest boilers, and drills four strokes simultaneously, the motive power being a 35-h.p. electric machine. A notable tool is a double-column horizontal drilling, tapping, and staying-machine, of Messrs. Campbells and Hunter, Ltd. The machine drills and taps stay-holes 2 inches in diameter in the backs of marine boilers through both shell and combustion-chamber plates, and screws the stays in position. The machine is driven by a 15-h.p. motor at 700 revolutions per minute. The flanging-machine has been supplied by Messrs. Hugh Smith and Co., Possil Park, Glasgow. It is used for flanging combustion- chamber plates, one ram being used for holding down the work and the other for flanging the plate. Man-holes and furnace-mouths are also done on this machine.

In the Engineering Works there are various miscellaneous shops, some of them with notable equipment. In the Pattern Shop, which is 180 feet in lengths by 50 feet span, there is a good collection of machines, including lathes, circular and band-saws, and planing-machines, all of them belt-driven from a line-shaft, which is rotated at 750 revolutions per minute by a 20-horse-power motor. The Blacksmiths' Department is accommodated in a separate building, 180 feet in length, with two spans, one of 50 feet and the other of 25 feet 3 inches. There are thirty-two fires arranged as shown on the plan. These are of the open-hearth type, the blast being provided by a Sturtevant blower. The steam-hammers range from 20 cwt. down to 5 cwt., and there is in addition a 15-cwt. air-hammer.

Centrally situated between the Engineering Boiler-Shops is a general store, 70 feet in length by 39 feet 6 inches in width; but independently there are at the end of the Smithy separate stores for wrought-iron bars, used for making gratings, a fire-clay and brick stores, and a separate room for cast steel and for making tools. The Plumbers' Shop is located at the eastern end of the site, and amongst other tools in it there is a 6-inch and 3-inch screwing-machine driven from a line-shaft by a 5-horse-power motor at 1,100 revolutions.

THE NORTH YARD. This yard, the one in which shipbuilding was first commenced by the firm, has seven shipbuilding berths. Two of these were built in 1910, when 121 acres were added to the area of the works, in order to arrange for berths to take ships of 1,000 feet in length. At present, however, the largest ship building is 560 feet long by 68 feet beam, for the Alfred Holt Line, the tonnage being 14,200 tons gross register.

Platers' Sheds.- These cover an area of 65,780 square feet, and are contiguous to berths 1 to 4. The largest plates hitherto dealt with have been 34 feet 8 inches long by 6 feet 6 inches wide and 11-,. inch in thickness, but the tools are capable of dealing with still larger plates. Of the three platers' sheds, the principal one is located between berths 3 and 4. The plate furnaces are 56 feet long and 7 feet 6 inches wide; they have six fire-boxes with double flues, and are coal-fired. The slabs on which the plates are worked to the required form are 25 feet long by 19 feet wide. The plate "mangles" are by Messrs. Craig and Donald. The bending rolls are fitted with two 15-h.p. series-wound motors, one at each end, with tramway controller for lowering and lifting the rolls, through belting, while the rolls are can by a 100-11.p. motor. There is a complete installation of punching and shearing machines, capable of punching 11-inch holes through 11-inch plates, the shears taking the same thickness of plates. The plate-edge planers take in plates 35 feet in length by 6 feet in width, the two sides being, of course, cut simultaneously. The other appliances are in accordance with the latest practice. In the shops there is a series of jib-cranes to lift 5 tons, with sufficient radius to enable plates to be passed from one machine to the other without being handled by manual labour.

Frame and Beam Shop.—This is in two bays, one of which is 564 feet in length and the other 380 feet in length, the span of the Belfast-roof construction, in both cases, being 80 feet. At the further end of this bay there are two double-ended framed reverberatory furnaces 80 feet long by 7 feet 6 inches broad, leaving six fire-boxes with double flue. Thus the bottom and side frames of two vessels can proceed simultaneously. The slabs at each end of the furnaces are 61 feet by 38 feet. The largest angles hitherto worked are 6 inches by 6 incises by 1:_g_ inch thick, and the largest channels 12 inches. The winches work through block and tackle. The firm were the first users of hydraulic frame-bending machines, the machine being the invention of Mr. Wm. Campbell, who was shipyard manager from the start of the firm until he retired five years ago.

Contiguous to the bending-slabs are the scrieve-boards, which have an area the one of 72 feet by 80 feet and the other 80 feet by 80 feet. In this shop are four-sided punch and shearing-machines, specially arranged to punch 11-inch holes at two ends, 6-inch limber holes at a third side, shearing at the fourth side; also the largest size of Lambie type of hydraulic combined manhole punch and joggling machine, capable of joggling 12-inch channels and bulb-angles, besides hydraulic channel-cutting machines, hydraulic beam-bender and two large angle - cutting machines of Pels' type.

A feature of the hydraulic machines in the yard is the adoption of Messrs. Hugh Smith and Co.'s system of power-water economiser, notably in the joggling-machines, the cutters for 12-inch channels and the beam-benders. It is claimed that this system saves about 60 per cent. of the hydraulic power- water because the high-pressure water is not used until it is actually required. The frames and beams when formed to the desired curvature are taken out to the frame skids.

Joiners' Shop.-This is arranged alongside the Milewater Wharf, and is a two-storey building, each floor leaving an area of 21,600 square feet. The lower floor is arranged for the machine-tools driven from overhead shafting actuated by an electric motor.

There is a complete variety of wood-working tools. On the upper floor are 108 benches. The store of timber in sheds arranged where convenient throughout the works is valued at £100,000.

Smithy.—This forms part of the building in which the heavy platers' machine-tools are situated, although divided from it by partitions. There are here a 12i-cwt., two 10-cwt., one 7-cwt., two 5-cwt., and a 2i-cwt. steam-hammer, along with a Massey hammer, principally used for drawing out packing-pieces for the shell- plating. There are 38 fires, and the production averages about 7 tons per week. Much of this smiths' work is passed to the mechanics' shop, where all the ship-work is machined, including valves, lifting-gear for skylights, cargo-blocks, and steering-gear, while at the same time extensive repair work is undertaken, and the fiat keel-plates of ships are planed.

Shipbuilding Berths.—There are seven shipbuilding berths, and these are so disposed that two of them may accommodate any ship of the maximum length probable for many years. With one exception these berths take ships ranging in length from 500 feet upwards. On each side of each berth there are arranged electric derrick-cranes, of 4 tons lifting power, controlled from the bottom, so that the fitters can themselves work the cranes. The derricks are 150 feet high, and the jibs have an overreach of 50 feet. On each of the new berths, however, there are now being constructed three travelling cantilever cranes, of 8 tons lifting power, by Sir William Arrol and Co., Ltd., Glasgow. The motions of hoisting, slowing, traversing, and travelling are operated by independent motors, with continuous current of 230 voltage. The tower is square in section, and built up of rolled steel angles and plates.

Launching Mechanism.—The launching weight of the heaviest ship so far set afloat has been 8,050 tons, and the firm, as a rule, use in such case ways 3 feet 9 inches in width. The angle at which the berths are arranged gives adequate launching ground in the River Logan. Recently the firm have had constructed a special launching gear, by Sir William Arrol and Co., Ltd. The gear is of the type in which a heavy tumbler-pawl, held in check by an hydraulic piston, is fixed in each of the ways and is used to hold the vessel in check ready for the launch. At the required instant the pressure behind the hydraulic piston is relieved and the tumbler-pawl falls over, leaving the vessel free to slide down the ways.

The ships built at the North Yard are, for the most part, completed at the Milewater Wharf, where there is a 5-ton steam-crane with a radius of 50 feet, the jib having an 80-foot lift. Where heavier loads have to be put on board, the ship is removed to the wharf contiguous to the Engine Works, where there is a 100-ton crane. At the present time there is being constructed by the Belfast Harbour Commissioners a dolphin between Nos. 5 and 6 berths, and here vessels up to 1,000 feet long can be accommodated, while alongside the eastern boundary, and therefore adjacent to the extension works, berthage can, if necessary, be constructed.

Power Installation.—The power-station, situated alongside the Milewater Wharf, contains two generating sets. There is a triple-expansion Bellis and Morcom engine, to each end of which is direct-coupled a continuous-current generator of 300 kw. capacity. This engine exhausts to a Brush-Parsons low-pressure turbine which drives a generator of 600 kw. capacity. A third engine, for night duty, is by Messrs. Victor Coates and Co., Belfast, and drives a generator of 150 kw. capacity. Compressed air is used throughout the works, and there are three compressor sets in the power-station producing air of 100-1b. pressure. The hydraulic power installation is of interest by reason of the somewhat unusual arrangement of the accumulators, which are three in number. The pumps are electrically-driven, and there are three sets with plungers 2,1 inches, 31. inches, and 4 inches in diameter respectively. These are driven through belting and work at a pressure of 1,350 lb.

[This Notice was prepared at the request of the Firm, from the illustrated Article in "Engineering," 19th July 1912, by permission of the Editors.]

York Street Flax Spinning Co

York Street Flax Spinning Co

These mills, situated in almost the centre of the city, were founded in 1830 by the late Mr. Andrew Mulholland, and the Mulholland family, whose head is Lord Dunleath, have retained an interest in the business since it was transformed, in 1864, into the company with its present name. In addition to the buildings in York Street, another large mill for spinning flax yarns and sewing threads has been purchased in a neighbouring district of the town, and the company are thus able to carry on all the manufacturing operations required for converting the raw flax into finished linen.

The works occupy an area of 786 feet length by 221 feet width, or shout 4 acres. The central part of the west end, a fire-proof building of eight storeys, occupies a space of 124 feet length by 50 feet width. In it are stored flax, tow, dressed line, brown cloth, etc.

Flax is the product chiefly of four countries — Ireland, Belgium, Holland and Russia. It has very different characteristics, according to the locality from which it comes. Before the flax reaches the spinner it has undergone a preliminary process known as "retting," which consists of steeping in water the bundles of flax that have been pulled out of the ground. The object of the retting is to decompose by fermentation the gum which holds the straw and fibre together.

After the retting has been carried far enough the flax is dried and taken to the Scutch Mill, where it is roughly cleaned to free the fibre as much as possible from the straw. After this process it passes into the hands of the spinner, and it is, after being thus retted and scutched, that the flax is seen in the Flax Store

The south wing has five storeys, and contains hydraulic presses, crane pumps, and gas-engine to drive them. The north wing, 229 feet by 46 feet, has six storeys, and forms the Preparing Mill,

In this department are various machines working in sets of four or five. The first machine of the series is called the "Spread Board," and here the flax is laid in wisps on travelling bands in long continuous lines, and is then passed through sets of rollers which draw one fibre away from the other, and produce a thick ribbon containing millions of separate fibres. As these ribbons emerge from one machine they are passed to another, and at each step they are drawn out longer and thinner, until in the last of the series, called the "Roving Frame," the fibre is twisted into a loose, thick thread, and then wound on large wooden bobbins.

The next stage is the spinning. Before it reaches the spindles, of which there are 63,000 in the Company's two mills, the thread passes through a trough of hot water. The twist or "spin" converts the fibres into solid round threads, which are known as "yarn."

It is now, so far as processes of manufacture are concerned, practically a finished article of commerce, except for some minor processes of drying and winding. Before it reaches the loom it has frequently to undergo considerable changes, the principal of which are "boiling" and "bleaching." Boiling reduces the bulk of the yarn, and enables it to be woven into a tight and firm cloth. Yarns which are bleached are mostly such as are intended for glass cloths, towels, etc.

At the south-east corner of the block is a five-storey building, in which the first floor is used for weaving, the second for pirn winding, the third for yarn dressing and beaming, the fourth for hank winding, and the fifth floor for dressing. The weaving sheds contain about 1,000 looms for plain and damask linens. Bleaching, dyeing, and finishing of linens and yarns are carried on at Muckamore, about 20 miles from Belfast.

The steam plant consists of eight Lancashire boilers and three beam-engines with Corliss valves. One engine, with 35-inch cylinder and 5 feet stroke, making 45 revolutions a minute, drives the Preparing Mill. The two others, with 35-inch cylinders and 7 feet stroke, making 32 revolutions a minute, drive the Spinning Mill. For driving the Weaving Factory and heavy finishing machinery there are four Lancashire boilers supplying steam to two beam-engines, with 38-inch cylinders and 7 feet stroke, which have wrought-iron beams and Corliss valves, and make twenty-nine revolutions per minute. They drive two main shafts direct from the fly-wheel.

The manufactures include fronting linens of different qualities, interlinings, printed linen shirtings, dress linens and lawns, etc., towels, hollands, handkerchiefs, sheetings, damasks, etc., and various goods for the West Indies and Spanish colonies, such as crews, platillas, bretanas, silesias, irlandas, etc.

Besides 4,500 regular workpeople employed, large numbers are also engaged in the country in embroidery and fancy work, and also on the bleach-green.

Giant's Causeway Tramway


This tramway is the premier electric tramway. It was opened in 1883, introducing for the first time electricity as the traction power—at least in a practical form beyond short experimental lines—and working it as a hydro-electric tramway by water-power on the River Bush. It has also many other unique features; it was the first tramway or light railway constructed along the side of the public roadway and upon a pathway, specially constructed, raised above the surface of the roadway. It was first constructed with a side electric conductor-rail—third-rail system—using only a current of 250 volts; but in 1898 it was altered into the overhead trolley system, using a current of 550 volts. The Managing Director and Engineer is Mr. William A. Train, M.A.Ing., who was the constructor of the entire tramway and works. The late Sir William Siemens designed the first electric equipment.

See Also


Sources of Information