Coal bunkers

May 3, 2005
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This seems to be the way things were done in 1912 ?
Mostly starting with the trimmers loading wheelbarrows to bring coal from the bunkers to the firemen to shovel into the furnaces ?
All manual labor ?
I am assuming this was all done away with when coal was replaced by fuel oil ?
Was there ever a time ,. In between coal and fuel oil , when there were -Say some sort of a conveyor belt - to bring the coal from the bunkers to the furnaces ?

Again this may seem like a foolish question .
Was all this manual labor just considered cheaper than developing some automatic device to get the coal from the bunkers to the furnaces ?
 
Last edited:

McCready

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Jan 1, 2018
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On G deck I believe. AE stands for ash ejector. On F deck there are coal ports from which the bunkers were filled. The coal falls down shutes marked there as CS for coal shute.
I should of put two and two together for the Ash Ejector, given the location of where it was.

But still pegs the question of the access hatches for Trimmers to enter the upper coal bunks in the tween spaces of G and F deck to where the coal chutes deposited their coal.

Where where their locations? Or if no such hatch existed, did Trimmers simply climb up from stoke hold through the lower bunkers themselves?
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Frankly, I don't know where every ladder and working doorway was placed in ship. However, there must have been a lot of access in and around the boiler and engine rooms. Here is some testimony from Edward Wilding about the amout of steel used in the ladders.


9919. With regard to the crew, you say that an escape is provided from each boiler room direct to the boat deck by the fidleys. What is that?
- The fidleys are the trunks which carry down the air supply. They go down at each end of the funnel, and there are ladders provided in each of those leading direct from the stokehold plate up to the boat deck. Including the engine room there are nearly 200 tons of those steel ladders in the ship.

19920. Can you enter these fidleys from the E deck?
- Yes. There is a door at each fidley. As it passes E deck there is a steel door, which is never fastened in any way. You can get out into the working passage, and then you can choose any of the ways from the working passage.

19921. Those are the provisions made with regard to the boiler rooms. Are ladders also provided from the engine rooms?
- Yes, going up this way, and then up that way like that (Showing.), up the engine room skylight direct to the boat deck. They can also again come out on to E deck. There are doors from the engine room on to E deck, but, of course, if the watertight doors between D deck and E deck are shut, they must go up the ladders.

19922. Are there also ladders from the other engine room?
- Yes, from the turbine engine room there are similar ladders up the base of the dummy funnel.

19923. And also from the electrical machinery room?
- There is a special escape up from the afterend up to E deck, and then they can come out and use the stairway. There is no exit on to B deck.

19924. Supposing there was somebody in the tunnel, what would he do?
- There is a similar arrangement that brings them up into the afterend of the working passage, and then they can come out like the third class passengers.

19925. If anybody was in the after tunnel what would he do?
- There is a special tunnel escape up here, up into the steering gear house (Showing.)

19926. We have had some evidence of one man especially being released, one greaser?
- That was quite unnecessary in his case. He must have been a stranger to the ship. It is not a nice passage, but there is no difficulty in getting up it; I have been up it several times.



One other thing, in ship lingo a "ladder" is more broadly defined than ashore. The word applies to stairways as well as vertical ladders intended to allow the crew access to various parts of the vessel.

-- David G. Brown
 

Tim Aldrich

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Jan 26, 2018
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Again this may seem like a foolish question .
Was all this manual labor just considered cheaper than developing some automatic device to get the coal from the bunkers to the furnaces
That automatic device would be what is called an "automatic stoker". Automatic stokers could (and are still to a small degree) be found in homes which had coal fired furnaces, factories with boiler houses, power plants etc. Belts and augers seemed to be a common delivery method of the coal.

I have no idea if any automatic stoker was used at sea but my gut feeling is that an automatic stoker would probably not work all that well whilst attached to a pitching and rolling ship. You also have to understand that firing boilers isn't what you see in the movies. Fireman just chucking shovelfuls of coal into a furnace (usually depicted spewing flames) non-stop. A proper fire in a boiler's furnace requires an experienced eye. I suggest reading Richard Sennet's book "The Marine Steam Engine". It's available on Google books for free. It will tell you everything you wanted to know about marine steam propulsion and a whole lot more.
 
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TitanicNerd

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Jan 18, 2014
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If Im not putting this in the right place, Im sorry. I just went Engine Stuff + Coal Bunker = Logic? Also, I looked up coal bunker on the search and nothing like this question came up.

Anyway, how the heck did the coal bunkers work? Was it just a giant storage room, full of coal, and whenever the stokers need coal they would get coal out of a little hole? Or was that "little hole" a dispenser with a button. What was it? How would they get the coal? What if the coal bunker ran out of coal?

Also, where the heck are the coal bunkers?
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Anyway, how the heck did the coal bunkers work? Was it just a giant storage room, full of coal, and whenever the stokers need coal they would get coal out
Yes, a large bunker going from the tank top up to G Deck level.

and whenever the stokers need coal they would get coal out of a little hole? Or was that "little hole" a dispenser with a button. What was it? How would they get the coal? What if the coal bunker ran out of coal?
Though the bunker doors. The Trimmers would take them out of the bunker, breaking the large lumps put them in a barrow and bring them to the funcases. There was always enough coal in the bunker. (If for some reason they run out of coal they would call other ships for help.)

Also, where the heck are the coal bunkers?
In the boiler rooms (on the forward and aft side).
 

TitanicNerd

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Jan 18, 2014
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I don't get the bunker doors part. So let's say a fireman needs coal. He would go to the bunker door and...?
 

Dan Johnson

Member
Jan 9, 2012
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The bunker is just a room that holds the coal. There are doors on them.

The fireman doesn't go to the bunker, it's not his job. A trimmer, another person, gets the coal and brings it to boiler.
 

TitanicNerd

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Jan 18, 2014
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Then why have doors in the boiler room if the trimmer gets them? I read somewhere in a exhibit that coal just comes out of the door naturally, and whenever some coal is gone more coal comes out.
 

TitanicNerd

Member
Jan 18, 2014
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Lol, sorry about that first message. It was late at night and I was tired.

Ok, so is this how it works? The trimmers get the coal out of the coal bunker door, chop it up into manageable pieces, and put it in a wheel barrow and bring it to the firemen?
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Ok, so is this how it works? The trimmers get the coal out of the coal bunker door, chop it up into manageable pieces, and put it in a wheel barrow and bring it to the firemen?
At the start of the voyage the coal bunkers were full an the trimmers don't need to go far into the bunker and so to say could take them directly at the door. They of course had then to go into the bunker for the coal as Trimmer Cavell did when the collision took place.
 

Dan Johnson

Member
Jan 9, 2012
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Nerd, what don't you understand?

The coal is stored in "bunkers." They are basically just a room and they do have doors on them. The trimmers take the coal from the bunkers, break it up, put it in a wheelbarrow, and cart it to the furnaces where the firemen work the fires. The trimmers also shift coal as necessary to keep the boat in "trim."
 

TitanicNerd

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Jan 18, 2014
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But why have the trimmers take the coal when the coal bunker is really close to the furnaces? Why can't the firemen stick their shovels through the door, shovel some out onto the ground, and keep shoveling.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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But why have the trimmers take the coal when the coal bunker is really close to the furnaces? Why can't the firemen stick their shovels through the door, shovel some out onto the ground, and keep shoveling.
They are not close to the furnaces. The coal were large lumps which had to be break into smaller pieces.