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Mine Exploration Forum

Author Cwmorthin boilers
jona

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Cwmorthin boilers
Posted: 17/01/2012 21:30:04
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showed some pics of cwmorthin to my father today (dafydd llechi) who was the production manager at gloddfa ganol in the late 70's early 80's and now runs "penrhyn slatecrafts" and he informs me that the boilers at cwm are actually air tanks for compressed for the rock drills apparently,anyone else agree?

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Vanoord

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cwmortin boilers
Posted: 17/01/2012 21:38:30
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I believe they were used to store water to cool the compressor that stood in the chamber.

GrahamI will be able to confirm this, but from the book it looks as if there was a 75hp electric compressor in the chamber, with an air reservoir also in there - the concrete bases remain.

The boilers, if I recall correctly, are a single boiler sawn in two?

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SimonRL

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cwmortin boilers
Posted: 17/01/2012 21:40:24
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Vanoord wrote:

The boilers, if I recall correctly, are a single boiler sawn in two?


Correct I believe. Jones the Slate was talking about them on Saturday when we went in early on with the planks (planks to make seats out of!). I'll ask him to remind me what he said when I next speak to him.

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Strangely Brown

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cwmortin boilers
Posted: 17/01/2012 22:26:41
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Sure it's a boiler, I think one or both halves have a dome where dry steam would have been collected, think there is a flange on the top edge (as currently stood) where they were bolted together. Thogh saying that I've seen air tanks with a dome on the bottom as a water collector/drain point, save corroding the main barrel too much.

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jona

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cwmortin boilers
Posted: 17/01/2012 22:31:39
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i understand the need for water tanks for cooling,but why would they need boilers in a slate mine?

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Strangely Brown

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cwmortin boilers
Posted: 17/01/2012 22:41:59
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From the winding engine maybe where they had to uphaul to lake level. A friend has looked at the pictures and thinks they may have been a marine bolier at some time, bolted together to make lifting in to a boat easier through tight hatches or between frames.

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jona

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cwmortin boilers
Posted: 17/01/2012 22:47:05
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all good answers,we'll see what jones the slate's opinon is,

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SimonRL

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cwmortin boilers
Posted: 18/01/2012 00:49:21
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This reply by GrahamI in another thread on the subject might help:

grahami wrote:

These are/were supposed to be the cut in half boiler from the Cwmorthin Old Vein Incline, they were only moved down to Oakeley Ch 33 after the Old Vein was de-watered in the 1930's - the Back Vein boilers and engine which were originally at the surface were transferred to Oakeley much earlier in the early 1900's and rebuilt/set to work in the Back Vein in the Upper Quarry.
Back Vein Incline Details:
"...... a 24 h.p. compound steam engine and Lancashire type boiler, 30 feet long and 7 feet in diameter, built by the firm of Latham & Son of Chester. The engine drove three drums; two were 4’6” in diameter and 2’ wide, the other being 4’ diameter. The drum shaft connected with the steam engine shaft via a 6’ diameter spur wheel. "
Old Vein Incline Details:
..... a 24 h.p. compound winding engine by Galloways, of Oldham, Lancashire, connected by gears to a pair of winding drums, was installed in one small chamber directly at the top of the incline shaft. The boiler was in a similar small chamber to the west of it, this was of the “Lancashire” double flue type, 18 feet long and 6 feet in diameter by the same maker.
Hmmm... not sure those "boilers" in Ch 33 are 6ft. in diam. If not then this old tale I've immortalised may not be true - unless they were the remains of portable or semi-portable engines which had been used to drive Mills at Cwmorthin or Oakeley. Lake Mill had a large Cornish boiler -so it wasn't that. Curious.

Graham


The full thread is here: http://www.aditnow.co.uk/community/viewtopic.aspx?t=601

And another thread on the same subject: http://www.aditnow.co.uk/community/viewtopic.aspx?t=1571

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jona

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cwmortin boilers
Posted: 18/01/2012 01:25:47
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if they are boilers,how were they heated as theres no means under then to heat,they possible were tanks to store water for some kind of boiler/steam engine perhaps?

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staffordshirechina

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cwmortin boilers
Posted: 18/01/2012 08:57:39
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They were water headers for cooling water for the equipment in the chamber.
They are open topped and just provide a large volume of water for the heat to circulate and be dissipated.
Many old engine/compressor set-ups had this method before the use of finned radiators and closed systems became common.
Some smaller oil engines had a cast iron water pot built into the cylinder head design.
The tanks may well have been something else before that use.
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grahami

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cwmortin boilers
Posted: 18/01/2012 08:58:33
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Given the quarry's habits of re-using or adapting things (recycling is nothing new!) the question is still open. Regarding heating them, the old rock drill boiler which was used as an air vessel in the Oakeley sinc was an egg-ended boiler and as such had no obvious firebox. IF (and I suppose it's a big IF) Cwmorthin/Oakeley had a boiler to hand which had a fixebox, then it would not be too difficult for them to remove the firebox part.....

Chamber 34 is an odd location for them anyway in the context of Cwmorthin. I would guess the compressor and motor was brought in along the main DE level which in those days (1930s) of course connected directly in the open with the main Oakeley sinc. Possibly they just used whatever tanks they happened to have in the fitter's shop at the time - again they could be brought in along DE.

With hindsight, it might have been a bit awkward (If they were the remains of the Cwmorthin Old Vein Incline boiler) to take them apart and then lower them down the unpowered Old Vein incline to floor E, tram them along floor E, up the ramp to DE and then along there. No, the more I think about it the more likely it seems they were something Oakeley just had to hand and re-used.

I don't remember anything in the notes I made from the Manager's letter books, but I'll check anyway.

Cheers everyone.

Grahami

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hcd563

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cwmortin boilers
Posted: 19/01/2012 21:05:10
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I've been looking the origins of these two cooling tanks for some time now. It's quite clear that they were originally boilers and I've always thought that they were to small to be from a static installation. Also there are identical features on both of them that would suggest they were always separate units and not one that had been subsequently cut in half. So I've been looking for suitable donors of old boilers.
Between 1885 and 1890 Oakeley Quarries purchased five small steam locos from the firm of Daniel Adamson that were constructed to Oakeley's own specification, based so I understand on the Vulcan Foundry loco TAFFY that was working at Votty & Bowydd quarry. It seems that these five locos worked almost completely unnoticed until the last of them was withdrawn in the early thirties when Oakeley acquired the first of many diesels, predominantly from Ruston and Hornsby.
By a stoke of luck the late Douglas Clayton visited Oakeley in November 1960 and was shown the shell of one of the loco boilers and took measurements from it, these correspond closely to the two surviving boilers in Cwmorthin. It seems from quarry records that some of the locos received new boilers during their lives so there may well have been old boiler looking for alternative uses. I've only been able to find three photos of these little engines but the features of the Cwmorthin boilers tie up very closely to those on the locos, the single Salter safety valve matches the existing bracket still attached to one of the Cwm boilers and the position of the boiler clack also matches perfectly with the pipe flanges that link the two barrels now. There are other studs on the top of the barrel that correspond quite nicely with fitting visible in the photos.
The locos were almost definitely were fitted with a very basic form of marine boiler so what we are looking at in Cwmorthin is the complete outer barrel, the firebox being inside the barrel at one end (the top as we see them) and the smokebox would be attached to the other.
As for the source of the pictures there is a nice shot in Graham I's 1988 book Slate from Blaenau Ffestiniog on page 14. The other two I found in Douglas Clayton's article on Daniel Adamson's loco products in the Industrial Railway Record 110, followed up by a further article on the Oakeley loco's themselves in IRR 120.
I must point out that none of the above is my own work, I've just trawled through the work of others who have put in far more effort than me !

Martin


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grahami

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cwmortin boilers
Posted: 20/01/2012 10:26:48
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Well spotted - I hadn't thought as far as the Adamson locos!
But the timing makes sense.

Cheers

Grahami

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Darran Cowd

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cwmortin boilers
Posted: 20/01/2012 12:18:02
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I'd agree with that, loco boilers up-ended, I had thought they were a bit small (in diameter) for Lancashire boilers, I did wonder if perhaps they were the fire tubes of such but what looks to be the steam dome of a locomoive boiler suggests ex-loco, I've never seen a Lancashire (or Cornish come to that) boiler with a firetube having a flue from the fire tube to atmosphere halfway along the outer wrapper... IP: 217.34.209.206
Tim Watts

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cwmortin boilers
Posted: 09/03/2012 11:04:37
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I had a good look at them a couple of weeks ago, along with the remains smaller bore pipework from them and of the air pipework (larger diameter stuff) lower down.

I was trying to work out the same issues as discussed in this thread.

My personal conclusion was that they were used to store cooling water for the compressor (which would obviously have been on the lower plinth), with two of them being used to collectively create a large enough 'heat sink'. The pipe diameters would be about right for this by my reckoning.

The theory of them being old steam engine boilers sounds about right too but there was nothing to suggest to me that they had been used as boilers underground. Most likely just open topped water storage tanks - piped to the compressors and most likely relying on convection to circulate cooling water.

All just my personal opinion though (based on nothing more than getting a 'feel' for plant equipment over the years as an engineer at chemical and petrochemical plants).





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grahami

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cwmortin boilers
Posted: 09/03/2012 12:06:39
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We could do with someone comparing their dimensions with the recorded dimensions of an Adamson loco boiler. Strangely enough, I never actually measured them! The Admamson locos probably had circular fireboxes.

I havn't got the IRRS article to hand at the moment so can't post the boiler dimensions. I'll do so later.

Cheers

Grahami

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thorpey

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cwmortin boilers
Posted: 09/03/2012 21:38:59
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lay a few men on their side next to boilers for comparison


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Willy Eckerslyke

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cwmortin boilers
Posted: 11/03/2012 09:41:20
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I took a tape along last night...
They stand 1.77m above ground. If the shape of the "top" and "bottom" is the same, there's about 27cm buried, giving a total height/length of about 2.04m.
Interior diameter is 83cm.
Metal thickness is around 1cm (at the flange/lip).
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