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William Arnold (Huddersfield)

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of Paddock, near Huddersfield

Boiler maker

presumably successor to William Arnold and Son

1860 'A Steam Horse. — A new steam traction engine, designed specially for the purpose of conveying the boilers manufactured by Mr. William Arnold, at his works at Paddock, to their various destinations at different parts of the district, has recently been in the course of construction by Messrs. Lawrence and Son, of the Lockwood Iron Works, on the premises of Mr. Arnold, at Paddock, the whole having been from the design and under the superintendence of the latter gentleman. On Monday morning, the 23rd instant, the engine was in a sufficiently forward state to allow of a trial trip being made on the highroad in the vicinity of the works, and crowds of villagers assembled to witness the progress of the wonderful "steam horse." It progressed steadily along the uneven road at a tolerably good pace, and appeared to be well under control, though some difficulty was experienced in turning the sharp corners. On the whole, however, the trial trip was considered satisfactory ; and it was determined by Mr. Arnold that on the following day he would further test its practical uses by conveying with it a 60-horse power vertical tubular boiler, manufactured for Sir J. W. Ramsden, from the works at Paddock to the Newtown Mills. Accordingly the journey was undertaken ; and as the traction engine steamed along tho road, large numbers of people assembled to gaze upon the novel sight. In its progress through the town, it was surrounded by a curious crowd, and at some parts the streets were completely thronged with spectators. The weight of the boiler, together with the locomotive itself, was estimated at 45 tons, and the journey, a distance of little more than a mile and a half, was accomplished in about half an hour. Had the usual mode of transit been employed, it would have required twelvo horses to have conveyed the boiler at the ordinary slow rate of one mile an hour. The engine and boiler is constructed on the ordinary locomotive principle, the boiler containing 95 tubes and a perforated fire box. It is calculated, as we are told, to bear a pressure of 150lbs. to the square inch, and to exert a maximum force of 100 horse power ; but it is supposed that under no circumstances whatever will it be required to sustain a pressure of more than 150 pounds to the square inch. There are two stop valves, one at each end of the boiler, for the purposed of letting off the steam. These are so placed that in case of either getting out of repair it may be substituted by thoe other. It has one 4-inch safety-valve, to which it has two spring balances, each capable of bearing a pressure of 130lbs., which were thoroughly tested before leaving the premises. The wheels are four in number, and manufactured of cast aad wrought iron. Tho two foremost act as guiding wheels, and the hind or principal wheels sustain the entire weight of the engine and boiler. They are four feet in diameter and 14 inches broad, and contain slight indentations for the purpose of causing them to bite upon soft roads. The guiding wheels are worked by a lever, pinion, and quadrant. The engine has an 18 inch stroke, with cranks at right angles, and has a reversible motion. The frame is constructed of wrought iron, 32 feet in length, and upwards ot 8 feet in width. It is computed that it can easily convey a weight of 60 tons on an ordinary road. The engine is also fitted with two powerful breaks for the principal wheels, which are worked by a lever and screw, and by means of which such an immense pressure can be brought to bear that the full power of the engine would be incapable of moving the wheels when the breaks are fully on. This gives the machine the power of descending with safety steep inclines. With regard to the consumption of fuel, the result is considered very satisfactory, in proof of which it is stated that in accomplishing the journey to and from the works, as above stated, the whole quantity of coal consumed was little more than four cwt. The experiment, on tho whole, was considorid by the proprietor as very successful. — The particulars thus far we have given on tho authority of Mr. Arnold; but there are other considerations which affect the public, and which will have to be taken into account before steam travelling on common roads and in our streets becomes an every day practice. There is first the question of fuel. On both occasions that Mr. Arnold's locomotive has been out for trial, the fuel consumed was coal, it was clear that "the furnace had not been constructed so as to consume its own smoke:" for at times, in this particular, it was so bad that if it be continued to be used in the same manner, the whole affair will be speedily indicted as a common nuisance. We have heard several statements as to damage to dress sustained by on-lookers from the quantity of soot and water— from the condensed steam — belched forth upon them. We havo seen both Bray's and Bowyer's traction engines at work, — by the bye, different looking specimens of mechanism from the one we saw on Tuesday week, — and certainly both were free from the nuisance to which we here direct attention. But that question of smoke is a minor one— for it is one which the use of coke for fuel would probably obviate — compared with an objection started by a correspondent, as to the safity of the machine when worked at tho pressure apparently necessary for its locomotion, with a large weight attached. On this point we don't ourselves offer an opinion, but give the communication forwarded to us. The point, however, is one of immense importance, for if it be true that the whole affair is more dangerous than an insecure powder magazine with a fire in close proximity, it does become a serious question whether, until proper examination and certificate from competent parties, it should be again brought into a poaition where a disaster of the kind dreaded by our correspondent would necessarily be attended with the most lamentable consequences. The following is the communication we allude to : —

" TO THE EDITOR. "Sir, — Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of seeing tho progress of a locomotive engine in the public streets. Examination of the construction, however, excited in me the fear that its exhibition was, under the circumstances, a most injudicious step. "The pleasure of seeing a mechanical horse in use was to me very great; but the sight of such a dangerous piece of mechanism marching forth in the midst of a crowd ot people, little aware of the pent-up power for destruction it contained, was indeed to those who knew and could appreciate the alarming fact, something most fearful. The pressure on the boiler ranged from 1001b to 1251lb per square inch. This, with the peculiar construction to which I am about to call attention, was truly serious to contemplate. Had the slightest stay, or any part of the boiler given way, death and destruction would have been dealt out in the most awful manner. As I gazed upon the boiler, and witnessed the unmechanical misarrangement of the manhole — it being cut out at the top, thereby weakening the only plate about the fire-box where there are no stays, and that same man-hole made of cast iron, and with a patched clip of bent iron around it, I could not but conclude that the constructor of the machine must either be very reckless or very ignorant of the dangerous amount of power he had to deal with. One hundred and twenty five pounds pressure to the square inch ought not to be at the command of any single individual, in situations such as our public roads and streets, where a mishap of even a comparatively slight nature in all likelihood must involve the most serious consequences ; and I would suggest that before such a dangerous machine be again exhibited, some steps be taken to certify and satisfy the public that the boiler and the whole construction is safe at the pressure at which it is apparently obliged to be worked. I must add that in the construction there must lie something egregiously wrong to require a pressure above 501bs., or at the utmost 60lbs., to the square inch.

"I should indeed be glad to see the use of steam on common roads ; but to accomplish this it must be inroduced safely. If not, its practical application will be retarded by want of skill and care.— Yours, &c "LOCOMOTIVE".
"Huddersfield, April 26th, 1860."

'[The foregoing and several other matters of local intelligence and interest were prepared for our last, but had to be excluded for a cause then assigned. We now give it and several others. because of the public considerations involved.— Edr. H.C.]

'Result of the Third Trial Trip.— On Thursday morning, the traction-engine above described, undertook its second practical journey. It started from Mr. Arnold's works about eight o'clock, with a boiler 17 tons weight, (being three tuns heavier than that conveyed on Tuesday week) for a manufactory in the neighbourhood of Kirkburton. On starting, the engine promised well, and not the least difficulty was experienced when ii was fairly on the level high road, where it steamed along at the rate of upwards of four miles an hour. On arriving at the canal-bridge, at the Shore, an additional pressure was put on for the purpose of enabling it to ascend the incline. The driving wheels revolved rapidly, but without hold on the road, and at length some portion of them gavo way, and it was found necessary to abandon all hope of furthor progress, in the direction up hill being made with the load. Accordingly the engine returned to the works at Paddock, where it is now undergoing repairs and alterations. We believe it is the intention of Mr. Arnold to subsitute the wheels by some manufactured entirely of wrought iron, which will involve an additional cost of something like £50. The amount at present expended upon its construction is said to be something like £800. (CONTINUED.....)' [1]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Huddersfield Chronicle, 5 May 1860