Function of Tank Room on Boat Deck Aft


J

Jon Miller

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I was wondering what the function of the tank room was on the Titanic(building next to Aft. Grand Staircase), as well as why a skylight was installed on the ceiling of that room. Any help that anyone could give me on this subject would be greatly apprecaited.
Jon
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
I could be mistaken, but my understanding of the tank room was that it was used for potable water storage, and it was put up as high as possible to maintain pressure on the water system.

This was mentioned in one of our more recent threads here, but I can't remember which one.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart.
 

Dan Cherry

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Mar 3, 2000
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Plus the tank room's skylights offered daylight and air circulation down into the engine room, with the skylight covers, each with 4 circular windows (with glass) which could be closed in inclement weather. The 4 large windows themselves didn't appear to have glass in them.

Regards,
Dan
 
Dec 6, 2000
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Hi Dan,

I see you recently posted a message about the Tank Rooms.

I do not understand how any skylights in these rooms could offer daylight and air circulation down into the engine room. Surely the Tank Rooms had solid floors?

The L&A ducts (hope that is the correct terminology?) were located between the two Tank Rooms; the After Grand Stairway and the Reciprocating Engine Casing and I understand gave light and air to the 1st and 2nd Class Galley on D-deck.

Lester
 

Dan Cherry

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Lester,
The tank rooms on either side of the shaft had solid floors. These rooms had hot salt tanks and pipework, as the pipes belay through the roof of the tank room deckhouse via the third funnel. The shaft itself, on either side of the pipes, was capped by the 4 windows, and hinged covers over those, with 4 portholes each, that could be closed in bad weather or at night.
If you lok at the boat deck plans on this site, you will see that on the port side, there was one large tank room. In the center of the deck house was the engine casing (I sometimes refer to this as the shaft leading down to the engine room - same thing). The angled windows/skylights were above this casing. To the starboard of the casing is another tank room and the engineer's mess room. The two tank rooms and the mess hall, of course, had solid floors.
As for the casing, I cannot prove whether or not there were/weren't ladders or catwalks leading to the engine room. My deck plans don't show enough detail for that, although there must have been access ladders at least up to C deck, for some machinery was fixed to the forward wall of the casing and had to have had a way for engineers to access it.

Regards,
Dan
 
Dec 6, 2000
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Hi Cal,

Thanks for the added comments. I am using the deck plans in E&H. I am also looking at the large foldout: Titianc Revealed in Don Lynch's: Titanic: An Illustrated History.

If I now understand you correctly the L&A to the Engine Room has nothing to do with the Tank Rooms or the L&A ducts located between two Tank Rooms; the After Grand Stairway and the Reciprocating Engine Casing and which gave light and air to the 1st and 2nd Class Galley on D-deck. The L&A to the Engine Room was via the Uptake Casing from the Engine Room itself.

I also remain unaware of any skylights above the Tank Rooms. Surely the Skylights are above the Uptake Casing from the Boiler Room?

Within the Engine Casing (?) you mention the possibility of ladders at least as far up as C-deck. The British Inquiry (Senate document 933) makes the following comment:
"...passengers on E deck, those abreast of the reciprocating-engine casing ....... the water-tight door at the end of the compartment was closed, they passed through an emergency door into the engine room and directly up to the boat deck by the ladders and gratings in the engine room casing."

Just to get it clear in my mind the skylight and ladders have nothing to do with the Tank Rooms? but are all part of the Engine Room casing?

Lester
 

Cal Haines

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Dec 2, 2000
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Hi Lester,

I think you may have me mixed up with Dan, but here goes anyway:

I'm not sure what "L & A" stands for. It doesn't look like you would be able to get very much light down such a narrow shaft, so I'm guessing the "L" does not mean light. The engine casings did serve to admit light and provide ventilation to the engine rooms. There were fans to force air into the engine rooms, the casings allowed hot air to escape. As near as I can tell, the ducts for these fans were in the openings marked "L & A", I don't know what else was in there--perhaps fan ducts for the galleys. There were also a lot of wires, pipes, etc., that needed to be brought up from the engine rooms, perhaps some were run in the "L & A" space.

As to ladders in the engine casings, like Dan, I don't have any plans that show the ladders, but I do know that they were there. Here's what the Final Report of the British Inquiry has to say:
[hr]
Quote:

From each boiler room an escape or emergency ladder was provided direct to the Boat deck by the fiddleys, in the boiler casings, and also into the working passage on E deck, and thence by the stair immediately forward of the reciprocating engine casing, direct to the Boat deck.

From both the engine rooms ladders and gratings gave direct access to the Boat deck.

Report of the British Inquiry - Decks and Accommodation

fiddley - The iron framework around the ladder of a deck hatch leading below decks. (Knight's Modern Seamanship, 10th Edition)
[hr]​
Doors from the reciprocating engine casing into the tank room suggest that the ladders were on the starboard side.

I'll have to do a little research and get back to you if I can find out anything additional.

Warm Regards,

Cal

p.s. A lot of experts that have knowledge about the exterior portions of Titanic hang out at The Titanic Research and Modeling Association. They can tell you all about the skylights.
 

Dan Cherry

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Lester,
L&A on the Titanic General Arrangement plans does mean "Light and Air".

Whether or not logic comes into play as far as letting light down the L&A shafts... :)

Cal, one thing I don't quite know about the fiddley grates (2 in front of the funnel, 2 behind, on the first three funnes only) is whether or not they were merely latched or if they were physically locked.

Though I pretty much know WHAT the general arrangement is on Titanic, I don't quite know function yet.

Lester, you wrote:

"I also remain unaware of any skylights above the Tank Rooms. Surely the Skylights are above the Uptake Casing from the Boiler Room?"

It can get confusing without showing diagrams, eh? :)
There are no skylights above the tank rooms themselves. The skylights cap the engine casing.

"Just to get it clear in my mind the skylight and ladders have nothing to do with the Tank Rooms? but are all part of the Engine Room casing?"

They are all part of the engine room casing deck house. The tank rooms and engineer's mess flank the engine casing, and are all a part of the same deck house.


Regards,
Dan
 
Dec 6, 2000
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Hi guys,

Yes sorry Cal. Trying to read my computer screen and two books at the same time, I did mean Dan.

My understanding is that L&A = Light and Air; but I'm open to correction. Looking at the E&H deck plans there seem to be L&A forward of the Turbine Engine uptake casing and aft of the Rec Engine uptake casing. They only go down to D-deck. The lowest deck plan on which you see them is C-deck. So I have to conclude something to do with the 1st and 2nd Class Galley.

There is also a second set also forward of the Turbine uptake casing but aft of the other set which ends of B-deck. These ones are marked on the plans for that deck in the Galley area for the Restaurant. In the Shipbuilder plans they are not marked on B-deck but show up on C-deck marked L&A to Gal; which suggests they passed down through B-deck.

Hope this helps.

Dan thanks for confirming that the skylights were not above the Tank Rooms.

Regards to you both,
Lester
 

Bill Sauder

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Dec 19, 2000
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Lester:

Regarding the L&A shafts:

The L&A that you see on your Titanic deck plans does mean “Light and Air” but as Dan pointed out the amount of light that they admitted was intentionally minimal.

These shafts were developed in the late 19th century to admit light and air to the interior parts of a ship; cabins, passageways and bathrooms not next to the hull and therefore deprived of a porthole.

The Olympic class was the last large British ship to have them and so they are really a vestige of an earlier practice. If you have access to the Mauretania’s Shipbuilder or Engineering, the shaft arrangement up as originally intended in the 1890’s will make more sense.

Typically, the funnel and engine casings are surrounded by an additional sleeve of steel, perhaps 18” deep, running around the central casing. At the top of house were a series of port holes in hinged flaps called a coach top. The interior of the L&A shaft was painted white and light simply bounced down the shaft. At the different deck levels were portholes which frequently opened to admit the light and air.

Exactly how much light these shafts delivered is debatable, but keep in mind that in the 1900’s the public’s expectations regarding illumination were MUCH lower — most ship’s light bulbs of the period (1890-1920 and later) were on the order of 40 — 60 watts.

These L&A shafts also had the advantage of helping to insulate cabins from the heat of the boiler casing, as well as giving a chance for ventilation in rough weather since ports would be closed but the coach top lights could be left at least ajar.

As I mentioned, the L&A shafts on Titanic were a vestige and the term “Light & Air” was retained on the plans as a matter of convention. The only shafts that really worked as light shafts were the L&A trunks behind the First Class Smoke Room stained glass panels on the turbine engine casing. Light was admitted from the Boat Deck above and bounced down the shafts to illuminate these panels. (If you will look at the Promenade Deck plans of the shipbuilder, this trunk way shows up as the horse-shoe shaped blank space around the “TUR ENG CAS”).

White Star should be congratulated on this since illumination from both outboard and inboard walls in the Smoke Room helped even out the lighting and reduce glare.

The other L&A Shafts in the area are mostly for assisting in the ventilation of the galleys.

Again, with reference to the Prom Deck in Shipbuilder, inboard of the spiral staircase are two unmarked L&A shafts.

The after one is to assist extracting warm air from the after end of the Reciprocating Engine Room.

The unmarked L&A shaft forward of that ventilates the after end of the main galley.

Just forward of the unmarked L&A Shaft is one that is marked, and that ventilates the range in the Restaurant Galley on Bridge Deck.

Forward of the Smoke Room Lavy is a free-standing L&A shaft that runs down the center of the main galley.

The remaining shaft is on the after face of the Reciprocating Engine Room casing and ventilates the forward part of the main galley

If you look at plans, be sure to look only at Promenade deck — the other decks are drawn defectively and these details have been omitted by the draftsman to help with lettering in tight spaces.

Regarding the Recip. Engine Casing and skylight:

Air was forced into the engine room and left through the casing and skylight like a chimney. There were catwalks running up to the boat deck to access equipment and valves on each deck level, as well as open and close the skylight flaps. There was access to the engine room hatch at the boat deck level thru the tank rooms on the port and starboard side.

Engine room hatches are very difficult to imagine Anybody needs a picture looking up into Mauretania’s hatch, me know and I will email it to you.

Bill Sauder
[email protected]
 

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