Kilroy's stoking indicators

Lars Lunden

Lars Lunden

Member
I'm very interested in the things "down below"
I just can' find a full description on the Kilroy's stoking indicators used on Titanic.
English is not my native language, so technical English is a bit hard. Hope you understand.

Example. Boiler room with two stokeholds and doubled ended boilers.
Lets say boiler room 2 with stokehold 2 and 3.

1: There was five Kilroy's stoking indicators in stokehold 2 and five in stokehold 3, a total of 10?

2: The indicator cycled 1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3 etc. And corresponded to the furnace to be fired. Correct?

3: The indicator cycled 2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3-1 etc in the opposide stokehold to prevent a furnace to be opened on both sides?

4:
I think of two different possibility's - don,t know if any are correct:

a) All the five indicators worked in parallel and displayed the same number within the same stokehold?
The bell sound and the indicator's display 1, furnace number 1 is to be fired on all boilers within the stokehold.

b) All the five indicators works independently.?
The bell at boiler 1 sound and the indicator display 1, funace number 1 is to be fired in boiler 1. The fireman at boiler 2 must wait for his indicator to change. To have a limited numbers of doors open on the same time within a stokehold.


5: From left to right on each boiler - the furnace door's was numbered 1, 2 and 3? The boiler is double ended, will ex. furnace number 1 be numbered the same on opposite side?

6: A bell would sound when the indicator switched to a new number?

7: The regulators controlled the speed of firing and where located in the engine room?

8: One regulator for each boiler room?

9: How many different fire settings?

Hope you can help me with this questions.
 
Rancor

Rancor

Member
I'm very interested in the things "down below"
I just can' find a full description on the Kilroy's stoking indicators used on Titanic.
English is not my native language, so technical English is a bit hard. Hope you understand.

Example. Boiler room with two stokeholds and doubled ended boilers.
Lets say boiler room 2 with stokehold 2 and 3.

1: There was five Kilroy's stoking indicators in stokehold 2 and five in stokehold 3, a total of 10?

2: The indicator cycled 1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3 etc. And corresponded to the furnace to be fired. Correct?

3: The indicator cycled 2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3-1 etc in the opposide stokehold to prevent a furnace to be opened on both sides?

4:
I think of two different possibility's - don,t know if any are correct:

a) All the five indicators worked in parallel and displayed the same number within the same stokehold?
The bell sound and the indicator's display 1, furnace number 1 is to be fired on all boilers within the stokehold.

b) All the five indicators works independently.?
The bell at boiler 1 sound and the indicator display 1, funace number 1 is to be fired in boiler 1. The fireman at boiler 2 must wait for his indicator to change. To have a limited numbers of doors open on the same time within a stokehold.


5: From left to right on each boiler - the furnace door's was numbered 1, 2 and 3? The boiler is double ended, will ex. furnace number 1 be numbered the same on opposite side?

6: A bell would sound when the indicator switched to a new number?

7: The regulators controlled the speed of firing and where located in the engine room?

8: One regulator for each boiler room?

9: How many different fire settings?

Hope you can help me with this questions.

Hey Lars,

I have also wondered this, unfortunately I haven't been able to find a definite answer.

However I have read that:
On double ended boilers no two opposite doors were open at the same time.
The minimum number of doors were open at the same time to prevent cold air damping steam production.

So I think your option B is probably the most likely.

I understand a bell sounded with each change so the stokers new when a new furnace was to be fired.

There were two separate systems, the indicator and regulator. The indicator was a kind of like a traffic light system that showed the current steaming conditions, such as 'Stop' 'Half' and 'Full'.

The regulators were one for each boiler as you described above, and kept the cycle of firing constant. The speed could be adjusted depending on how much steam was required. Both systems were controlled from the engine room.

If you're interested in the engine room side of things I'd highly recommend having a read of this research article (if you haven't already) which goes into a lot of detail. Cold Starting the Titanic
 
J

Jay Roches

Member
The original patent awarded to Willie Dickson Kilroy is available here.

I'm not certain that the FULL/HALF/SLOW/STOP indicator is the same device as Kilroy's Patent Stoking Indicator. They may have been altogether separate systems.
 
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Lars Lunden

Lars Lunden

Member
Hey Lars,

I have also wondered this, unfortunately I haven't been able to find a definite answer.

However I have read that:
On double ended boilers no two opposite doors were open at the same time.
The minimum number of doors were open at the same time to prevent cold air damping steam production.

So I think your option B is probably the most likely.

I understand a bell sounded with each change so the stokers new when a new furnace was to be fired.

There were two separate systems, the indicator and regulator. The indicator was a kind of like a traffic light system that showed the current steaming conditions, such as 'Stop' 'Half' and 'Full'.

The regulators were one for each boiler as you described above, and kept the cycle of firing constant. The speed could be adjusted depending on how much steam was required. Both systems were controlled from the engine room.

If you're interested in the engine room side of things I'd highly recommend having a read of this research article (if you haven't already) which goes into a lot of detail. Cold Starting the
Thanks for your reply and for the link. This will be interesting to read. :)
I know how the slow, half, full, stop indicator worked. (Wich is a separate system) I was only talking about the regulator and the stoking indicator.


Titanic
The original patent awarded to Willie Dickson Kilroy is available here.

I'm not certain that the FULL/HALF/SLOW/STOP indicator is the same device as Kilroy's Patent Stoking Indicator. They may have been altogether separate systems.

Thanks for the link. You are correct, the slow, half, full, stop indicator is a separate system.
 
Lars Lunden

Lars Lunden

Member
Information found:

Titanicology.com, Titanic’s Prime Mover – An Examination of Propulsion and Power.
Samuel Halpern writes that there was two stoking regulators located in the engine room. It could be set to regulate the firing of the furnaces every 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, 20, 25, or 30 minutes.

Copperas.com, Boiler rooms.
Joe Knapp writes that there where five indicators provided in each stokehold, one for each boiler, and are regulated so that the minimum number of furnace doors will be open at the same time, and no opposite doors in a double-ended boiler open togther.

Titanic The Ship Magnificent: Design & Construction, page 406-409. Kilroy's stoking indicators.
The chapter talks how the regulator worked, but does not describe how this system was installed on Titanic. The book shows a regulator with 8 outputs. The regulator alternates the outputs; only 4 is activated at the same time. One output for each of the stokeholds. The example in the book shows 1 regulator and 8 stokehold's with one kilroy's stoking indicator each.

Improved Apparatus for the Time Indication for the Stoking of Boiler Furnaces and the like.
Link by Athlen. An indicator instrument in each stokehold. With a dial having as many indicating figures as there are boiler furnaces. More information is to be found here.

RMS Mauretania 1907. Cold starting, page 22-23, Chapter 6.1: Stoking the fires.
By Stephen Carey. Also show a regulator with 8 outputs. This ship also had multiple kilroy's stoking indicators in each stokehold.

Titanic the artifact exhibition, Body of stoking indicator.

Shows a picture of a recovered kilroy's stoking indicator from Titanic.
No more information.


Dreadnoughtproject.org, Kilroy stoking indicator.

Electrical drawing of a regulator with 8 outputs.

Popular Mechanics, Volume 5, page 359, English boiler stoking indicator.

When the alarm sounds, the clock face shows a figure which is the number of the boiler which need firing.


If Titanic used the same type of regulator with 8 outputs, and used two as Samuel Halpern writes, then the two regulators would have a total of 16 outputs.
Titanic had 11 stokeholds, so this will give 5 outputs in spare.

I have not found any information on how the furnace doors on Titanic's boilers was numbered. I think each of the furnace doors would have a brass number. Has any numbers appeared on any photos on boilers found near the wreck?

And how many numbers could the kilroy's stoking indicator on Titanic cycle through? Was it from 1 to 3? Or could it count higher.
The recovered stoking indicator could hold the answer to this.

In The Popular Mechanics, it mentions that the number shows the boiler number. If this is the case, on Titanic it would cycle 1,2,3,4,5-1,2,3,4,5 etc. If the indicator showed 5, the furnaces on boiler 5 was to be fired. Did they fire all 3 at once or did they fire one furnace per cycle.?
 
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Rancor

Rancor

Member
Good references there Lars, nice one. I hadn't seen the image of the recovered stoking indicator before.

From Titanic: Honor and Glory, in boiler room 6 (The forward end at least) there is one stoking indicator for each boiler. I *assume* each one could show the numbers 1 through 3, corresponding to each furnace on a boiler. I haven't seen any mention about labelling on the boilers themselves, I assume it was furnace 1 through 3 from left to right.

I'd still like to know exactly how the timing for each indicator worked. Again, one would assume that with a indicator for each boiler they would cycle at different times to prevent each boiler having a fire door open all at the same time. But again I'm not sure. Too many assumptions!
 
I

Ioannis Georgiou

Member
Here is the Regulator where the minutes could be set.

Stoking Indicator Regulator 1
 
I

Ioannis Georgiou

Member
I have not found any information on how the furnace doors on Titanic's boilers was numbered. I think each of the furnace doors would have a brass number. Has any numbers appeared on any photos on boilers found near the wreck?

No brass number. The funaces doors did not had any number. In some cases a number was written with chalk.

And how many numbers could the kilroy's stoking indicator on Titanic cycle through? Was it from 1 to 3? Or could it count higher.
The recovered stoking indicator could hold the answer to this.

In The Popular Mechanics, it mentions that the number shows the boiler number. If this is the case, on Titanic it would cycle 1,2,3,4,5-1,2,3,4,5 etc. If the indicator showed 5, the furnaces on boiler 5 was to be fired. Did they fire all 3 at once or did they fire one furnace per cycle.?

That depends on the system they used.
On Titanic the indicator would show the furnace which had to be fired, not the boiler. The number was 1, 2, 3.

Indicator 1
 
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Lars Lunden

Lars Lunden

Member
No brass number. The funaces doors did not had any number. In some cases a number was written with chalk.



That depends on the system they used.
On Titanic the indicator would show the furnace which had to be fired, not the boiler. The number was 1, 2, 3.

Thanks for the answer. Where do you have this information from?
From the information got this far, i have made a short test-video on how I think it might have worked. Take a look. Let me know if it's wrong :)
 

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B-rad

B-rad

Member
The timer would be set for the amount of time you wanted a cycle of firing to be completed. So if you had 8 furnaces, you would the timer for 8 minutes, so one furnace would be fired every minute (when the gong would ring) so that in 8 minutes all furnaces had been fed and the cycle begins again. The indicator would have the number of desired furnaces on it. Titanic had 5 boilers in each boiler room, and 3 furnaces per boiler, so 15 furnaces all together. However, with this you had the added problem of making sure that no two furnaces opposite each other on the double ended boilers were opened at the same time. This also meant you had to have a rotation to allow the coal to be leveled without, again, two opposite doors being opened. Below are two firing schemes from period sources.

Fireing Diagram Watermark
Fireing Diagram Manual


I tried to come up with a firing scheme that would allow for the situations stated above (no two furnaces opened) and with an odd number of furnaces I found this difficult. The only way I could get it to work in all boiler rooms is grouping the furnaces into groups of 6. Therefore the timer would be put on a 6 min interval. The red number indicates the leveling of the coal. So when 1 was fired (black numbers) 3 was leveled (red number). When 2 was fired 4 was leveled. When 3 fired, 5 was leveled.. so on and so forth. Obviously I do not know how they numbered it, but this is the only way I could come up with.

Firing order 2
 
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B-rad

B-rad

Member

Thanks for the answer. Where do you have this information from?
From the information got this far, i have made a short test-video on how I think it might have worked. Take a look. Let me know if it's wrong :)[/QUOTE]
The only problem I have with the 1-2-3 (which fits mind you) is that it would not allow any stoker a break. They'd be shoveling none stop. By the time they'd shovel coal and close one furnace they'd be onto the next. Also this would only be a 3 minute interval, and I'm not sure that the boilers would need to be fed every three minutes. Also all references has it so the boiler firing is spread out. I could be wrong. I'm sure simple math could benefit here. Here is a quick reference of an equation I've read several times to determine. I will try to do the math, knowing Titanic's coal amount and such, but I will be slow at doing so, so if anyone is faster...

Equation



BTW: Great video!
 
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Lars Lunden

Lars Lunden

Member
The timer would be set for the amount of time you wanted a cycle of firing to be completed. So if you had 8 furnaces, you would the timer for 8 minutes, so one furnace would be fired every minute (when the gong would ring) so that in 8 minutes all furnaces had been fed and the cycle begins again. The indicator would have the number of desired furnaces on it. Titanic had 5 boilers in each boiler room, and 3 furnaces per boiler, so 15 furnaces all together. However, with this you had the added problem of making sure that no two furnaces opposite each other on the double ended boilers were opened at the same time. This also meant you had to have a rotation to allow the coal to be leveled without, again, two opposite doors being opened. Below are two firing schemes from period sources.

View attachment 41045 View attachment 41046

I tried to come up with a firing scheme that would allow for the situations stated above (no two furnaces opened) and with an odd number of furnaces I found this difficult. The only way I could get it to work in all boiler rooms is grouping the furnaces into groups of 6. Therefore the timer would be put on a 6 min interval. The red number indicates the leveling of the coal. So when 1 was fired (black numbers) 3 was leveled (red number). When 2 was fired 4 was leveled. When 3 fired, 5 was leveled.. so on and so forth. Obviously I do not know how they numbered it, but this is the only way I could come up with.

View attachment 41048

Thanks a lot! This makes more sense. I see now that the video must be wrong. But i will try to make a new one. This is interesting.
 
Lars Lunden

Lars Lunden

Member
The only problem I have with the 1-2-3 (which fits mind you) is that it would not allow any stoker a break. They'd be shoveling none stop. By the time they'd shovel coal and close one furnace they'd be onto the next. Also this would only be a 3 minute interval, and I'm not sure that the boilers would need to be fed every three minutes. Also all references has it so the boiler firing is spread out. I could be wrong. I'm sure simple math could benefit here. Here is a quick reference of an equation I've read several times to determine. I will try to do the math, knowing Titanic's coal amount and such, but I will be slow at doing so, so if anyone is faster...

View attachment 41050


BTW: Great video!

Test 2 - If i have understood you correctly.
(The time scale is not correct, as it's quite boring to watch for several minutes)

If Samuel Halpern is correct, the lowest time setting on the regulator is 8 minutes; then, if the interval are based on a group of 6 furnaces, it will be 80 seconds per furnace.
 
B-rad

B-rad

Member
There were several models of the Kilroy. The one posted below is an older version that went 6 min to 10min. The switches on the sides being circuits for the indicators. Also note third model had half minutes. So 4 indicators with 8 1/2 min time cycle.
Kilroy


However the 8 to 30 min one is what is illustrated in the Ship builder and the Electrician for Olympic/Titanic. With a 15 min one technically you could fire one furnace every minute, but once you get around the middle you run into the problem of two sides being opened. I also don't think there were 15 numbers on the indicator. The highest number I've seen indicated is 5, though that means nothing, as text say you can have 8 furnaces fired in 8 minutes suggesting that there were 8.

According to the 'Thomas Andrew's Notebook':

STOKING INDICATORS comprising 2 regulators in Engine Room, and 11 Duplex Indicators 1 in each stokehold.

The Shipbuilder never specifically says how many regulators there were just that 'a regulator and one of the indicators' are illustrated and then instructions in how 'the' regulator is set. What is interesting though is that is says:

Five indicators are provided in each stokehold, one for each boiler, and are regulated so that the minimum number of furnace doors will be opened at the same time, and no opposite doors in a double-ended boiler open together.

This obviously does not account for the 4 boilers in room 6. So either there were 11 indicators or 43 indicators. (8 in boiler room 6, 10 in boiler rooms 2 - 4, 5 in boiler room 1). IDK. With that many indicators though you'd probably need more regulators? I'm no expert though.
 
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Rancor

Rancor

Member
Good research and sources there guys, nice one.

I think I have a better grasp of this now. From the above information I reckon each stokehold had the same number at once.

So for example in boiler room 6, the forward stokehold would all receive a 'fire furnace #1' indication. This would mean for each boiler the first furnace (top left say) would be raked and stoked.

The aft stokehold of boiler room 6 may recieve a 'fire furnace #2' (middle furnace) at the same time. This would be OK to open as it was not directly opposite door 1 which the foward stokehold was currently firing.

I don't think that each boiler had it's own individual firing time, the system doesn't seem that complex. Instead they were grouped into each stokehold firing the same furnace at once, though separate stokeholds could be staggered in their timing so there was not a door open on every boiler in the whole ship at the same time.
 
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