International Engineering Congress (1901 : Glasgow.

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Discussion. The following members also took part in it: Mr.
James Mansergh,' President of the Congress, Mr. Charles Carpenter,
Mr. S. 0. Stephenson, Mr. W. R. Herring, Mr. T. Holgite, Mr.
S. Meunier, Mr. Gisbert Kapp, Mr. Helps, and Mr. Foulis.

The author replied, and a vote of thanks was accorded to him..
The meeting was then adjourned.


Mr. WILLIAM FOULIS, Vice-Chairman, in the Chair.




THIS paper discusses the close proportioning of output to require-
ments afforded by the Retort method of manufacture. Each retort
or unit is independent, and, alone or coupled, would give, wnen
heated and charged, its maximum duty in thermal feet.

The question of a group of retorts in settings is discussed; and
a table, drawn up for a plant for a works having a maximum
output of five million cubic feet per day, shows the relation
between the gas made and the number of settings at work when
the settings are groups of 6, 8, 9, and 10 retorts. The purification
plant is then considered, and the tables drawn up for a five million
cubic feet works using

I. Two tower scrubbers, 20 feet diameter, 70 feet high, 314
square feet area, 21,980 cubic feet contents, and wetted surface
527,788 square feet; and

II. Standard washer, 8 feet outlet diameter, 4 feet inlet diameter,
12 inches wide, 37 plates, each 0.028 inches thick, per wheel, and
wetted surface per machine of 12 wheels 24,672 square feet

Millions per diem.

Total area, sq. ft.
per million.

Gas area, sq. ft.
per million.

Wetted surface, sq. ft.
per million.






























6, i .68















The second column shows the very striking difference of practice
in the two types of vessels. It appeared worth while to try the
experiment of combining to as great an extent as possible the
advantages of both. A pair of towers were therefore constructed
for a works having a two-million winter and a one-million summer
load. Each tower was made 2^ feet square by 26 feet high and
packed with iron " bundles " built up similarly to those used in
the " Standard " machines, but rectangular in shape. Each bundle
is 9 inches by 10 inches by 30 inches by 0.036 inch, set in tiers
supported upon strips cast on opposite sides of the tower. Three


Millions per diem.

Total area, sq. ft.
per million.

Gas area, sq. ft.
per million.

Wetted surface, sq. ft.
per million.












sides of the tower are permanently bolted together, the front or
fourth side being of separate plates with distance pieces, so that
it can be stripped from top to bottom. The whole of the bundles,
if necessary, can be removed and fresh ones substituted in an
ordinary working day.

The construction is so simple as to readily lend itself to the
design of a machine wherein, under varying conditions of gas
production, a more constant ratio of scrubbing surface and gas
treated can be obtained. For instance, in the case of a five million
cubic feet works two rectangular vessels, 7 feet 6 inches by 2 feet
6 inches, divided vertically by two partitions running from top to
bottom, or one, 7 feet 6 inches by 5 feet, divided into six vertical
chambers, would provide all that appears necessary. Both liquor
and water could be used in one, two, or three chambers, according
as either was used for the make required. The additional advan-
tages are small ground-space required, absence of motive power,
and facility for cleaning. The liquor and water are distributed by
shallow perforated trays; but Barker mills, with or without circular
tops, could be used if preferred.

The proportioning of plant area to make of gas suggested in
the case of scrubbers can likewise be applied to purifiers. The
minimum area recommended may be taken at 400 feet super per
million feet of gas per diem. A table is given showing the cal-
culated size of the purifiers in the case of the typical works selected.

It is easy, by the addition of diaphragms, to divide up, into
any number of sections, the purifier; from the main inlet valve
of which connections, with controlling valves, would branch


off into each compartment. The proper rate of flow and time
of contact could be given as between gas and material, inde-
pendently of the volume of gas being produced. Such a set of
purifiers has been put into operation at the South Metro polftan
Gas Company's works; and, although the experiment is in its
infancy, there is no doubt that the purifying material is more
easily acted upon than is the case with the other vessels.

In conclusion, the author advocated an endeavour being made
to fix the best condition for speed of contact, and area in the
purifying plant of gas works, and then to provide means whereby
this may be obtained in regular working within the extreme limits
of production.

The discussion was taken part in by Mr. Charles Hunt, Mr. S. Y.
Shoubridge, Mr. G. R. Hislop, Mr. H. E. Jones, Mr. A. Wilson,
Mr. J. W. Helps, and the Chairman; and the author replied.

A vote of thanks was accorded to the author.




THE author confines his remarks to a description of the apparatus
he has found most applicable to gasworks use, to the measure of
its capacity in relation to the original cost of the installation, and
to the cost of its maintenance and upkeep. The materials prin-
cipally dealt with are coal, coke, breeze, ashes, purifying material,
and sulphate of amonia, the manipulation of most of which is
continuous throughout the twenty-four hours.

Figures are given relating to the cost and performance of an


The apparatus used in coal transport may be divided into three
types viz., the inclined elevator, the horizontal push-plate : con-
veyor, and the horizontal band conveyor.

Elevators. The coal elevators are used for raising the coal from
the breakers, and conveying it into overhead hoppers. They are
fixed at an incline of 50 degrees, and their total length is 74 feet
each. They have been in use for 5 or 6 years. Each bucket has
a capacity of about 870 cubic inches, and is worked at a speed of
140 ft. per min., the normal capacity being about 30 tons per hour.
Five of these elevators have transported 335,237 tons of coal, at a
cost 0.06 id. per ton for repairs. The original cost of the elevators
was ^4 45. per lineal foot of traverse.

Push-Plate Conveyors. The push-plate conveyors receive the
coal at the top of the elevators and carry it forward. The plates
work in a steel trough 20 inches wide, having hinged doors at the
bottom. The speed of traverse is about 180 feet per minute, and
the working capacity about 40 tons per hour. For a total weight of
coal conveyed, 36,536 tons, the cost for repairs was o.039d. per
ton ; the original cost was ,6 75. 4d. per lineal foot run.

Band Conveyors. Band conveyors are used for conveying
the coal across the retort-stack; each of the four in use has a
traverse of 30 feet. The belt is cotton canvas, 18 inches wide; and
it runs on cast-iron rollers at 250 feet per minute, with a carrying
capacity of 40 tons per hour. For a total weight conveyed of
I 49?35 tons > tne cost of repairs so far has been o.ii3d. per ton.
The original cost was 2 95. 4d. per lineal foot, of traverse. = . ,


The apparatus may be divided into four types viz., the inclined
elevator, horizontal hot coke conveyors, plate belt conveyors, and
canvas belt conveyors.

Elevators. Coke elevators receive the coke from the horizontal
conveyors and carry it into overhead storage hoppers. The buckets
are larger than the coal elevators, and are spaced 18 inches apart;
each has a capacity of 1150 cubic inches, and a speed of 140 feet
per minute. The normal capacity is about 20 tons per hour, and
for a total of 178,541 tons of coke transported the cost for repairs
is 0.9 1 3d. per ton. The first cost of the elevators was about -6 6s.
per foot of traverse.

Push-Plate Conveyors for Hot Coke. Three push-plate con-
veyors for hot coke are in use, two carrying coke as drawn from
the retorts to the foot of the elevators, and a third carrying the
coke from the elevator head. The push-plates are of malleable
iron, spaced 24 inches apart. The speed of traverse is about 48
feet per minute, and the working capacity 20 tons per hour. For
a total of 9923 tons of coke transported the cost for repairs is
o.89id. per ton; and the first cost of the apparatus 5 35. nd.
per foot run.

Plate Belt Conveyor. Five plate belt conveyors are also used
for conveying the coke from the retorts to the foot of the elevator ;
the belts are of flat steel plates, overlapping at the ends, and
are continuous. The speed of traverse is 42 J feet per minute,
and the working capacity about 30 tons per hour. During six
years they have conveyed 149,350 tons of coke, at a cost for re-
newals of 3-7T4d. per ton. The first cost was ^3 125. 6d. per
foot run, the difference between this and the previous system
being accounted for by the fact that the plate belt conveyor
has been completely renewed once, while the push-plate conveyor
has not been long enough in use to require this.

Canvas Band Conveyor. K canvas band conveyor is used for
carrying small coke and dust which pass through the screens from
the hoppers to carts, etc. The belt is 17 inches wide, with a speed
of 135 feet per minute, and a capacity of about 20 tons per hour.
It has conveyed 10,000 tons of small coke, at a cost for renewals
of id. per ton, the original cost being 4 ros. per foot run.


The apparatus consists of two inclined elevators with buckets;
they have a traverse of 40 feet, and a capacity of 10 tons per hour,
at a speed of 80 feet per minute. They have transported 37,685
tons of material, at a cost of o.o46d. per ton for repairs. The
total cost was 5 75. per lineal foot run.


The apparatus used has an indiarubber belt, no feet long and
17 inches wide, running on rollers at a speed of 140 feet per
minute. It has carried 2180 tons at a cost for repairs of 4.63d. per
ton. The original cost of the apparatus worked out at 1 us. 3d.
per lineal foot.

The following members took part in the Discussion: Mr. S. Y.

Shoubridge, Mr. Charles Hunt, Mr. W. Foulis, and Mr. T. Holgate.

The author replied, and a vote of thanks was accorded to him.




THE primary object of the process described in the paper is the
reduction to a minimum of the labour hitherto involved in the
charging and drawing of coal-gas retorts, by employing simple and
reliable mechanical devices for manipulating the material to be
dealt with, and by taking the fullest advantage of the natural force
of gravity to charge and draw the retorts when set upon a plane
inclined to the horizontal line. There are other secondary advan-
tages, such as the greater producing capacity over a given area of
land, and economy in construction, etc.

Considerable variety is shown in the outward form of the different
plants existing in this country, as contrasted with the various in-
stallations upon the Continent of Europe. A great uniformity is
discernible in the Continental installations, owing probably to the
fact that, with few exceptions, the plants have been erected by the
same constructors. Another distinctive feature of Continental
installations is the length of the retort. The British practice may
be said to be 20-feet retorts, where space permits of their adoption;
whereas, ori the Continent, from 3 to 3^ metres (10 feet to n feet
6 inches) is the predominant length of the retort. The only
installation in this country, of which the author has any knowledge,
approaching the Continental length is one which was erected at
Leigh, in Lancashire; where 12 feet 6 inches retorts were put in.
This bench, however, was levelled to the ground, and reconstructed
as 20-feet retorts, some few years after its first introduction.

The author, in his erections at Huddersfield, put in i5-feet
retorts, the available space not permitting of anything longer. The
fact of the majority of the British installations being 20 feet is,
however, in the author's opinion, sufficient to prove that there can
be no doubt as to their efficacy, and also their utility. The
increased capacity of the hoppers necessitates but a small percentage
in the additional weight of their structure ; and, from a labour point
of view, the operation of charging a 20-feet retort with 7 cwt. of
coal is no greater, and occupies but a few seconds more than the
charging of a retort from 12 feet 6 inches to 13 feet long.


The inclined retort installations at the present time may, broadly
speaking, be denned as consisting of two distinct types. The best
known type is that having continuous coal-storage hoppers (sub-
divided or not) erected above the benches, with or without measur-
ing chambers beneath, but more commonly with the measuring
chamber attached to the underside of the storage hopper. The
other distinctive type has one or more coal storage hoppers
centralised, the charging shoot forming also the measuring chamber,
receiving its charge from beneath the hopper, and traversing with
it to the retorts to be charged. The author throughout has been
a staunch advocate for the continuous storage hopper, with or
without the measuring chamber beneath. The same weight of coal
must be stored in either system, and the greater the bulk stored
over a given area, the greater strength is required in the construction
of the hopper and its supporting structure. Continuous hoppers
need not be more than J inch thick, properly stayed, extending con-
tinuously for the length of the retort bench, with the measuring
chambers suspended beneath them.

The charging appliances have a most important influence upon
the successful working of the system. The many varieties of coal
that have to be dealt with have brought into existence all sorts of
devices whereby the charge can be regulated so as to flow into the
retorts at a uniform speed, and ensure a perfectly level and uniform
charge throughout the length of the retort.

Generally speaking, in the case of type A viz., the continuous
hopper system the coal is allowed to drop from the base of the
measuring chamber, and is checked in its descent by the adjustable
sloping valves or balanced flaps within the charging shoot. The
traversing charging shoot working in conjunction with the centralised
hopper, or type B. has first to be charged from the hopper, and has
then to carry its charge to the retort, where it discharges from its
base on to the mouth of the retort. The base of the shoot is set
approximately at the angle at which the retorts are set, a valve
is opened, and the coal, by its natural inclination, slides into
the retort. Coals having differing physical characteristics will act
differently under these fixed circumstances of angle of discharge;
and as there is no positive power existing with this appliance, it
is not surprising that it is now being regarded as of doubtful utility
as a charging appliance.

Details of the construction of the charging shoot were given and
mention was made of the necessity for controlling the area of the
aperture through which the coal discharges from the overhead tank
or measuring chamber. Dealing with the question of the auto-
matic discharge of the coke from the retorts, the author remarked
that during the life of a setting not more than 50 per cent, of
the retorts could be depended upon to discharge themselves without


some assistance. Tapered retorts had been introduced to facilitate
the discharge of the carbonised fuel. It is important that the
cross-section of the retort should be properly designed, so as to
permit of the coal in the retort, during the process of coking,
rising or expanding freely without jamming itself in the arch or
crown of the retort, the cross section being preferably a flat base
with the sides opening outwards before the curve of the retort is

The author suggested the introduction of simple mechanical
means, worked from the upper end of the retorts, to assist in
discharge, dealt with the manipulation of the slides or valves of
measuring chambers and overhead hoppers, and laid before the
meeting particulars of a small double-acting hydraulic cylinder
which he had introduced at Edinburgh.

He then referred to the simplifications in the structural ironwork
of inclined retort installations, traversing screens for projecting the
coke and tar clear of the mouthpieces, and the improvements that
had recently been made in the construction of hot coke conveyors.

In conclusion the author gave a long description, illustrated by
numerous diagrams, of the 1000 tons per day inclined retort plant
now being erected at the new Edinburgh gasworks from his designs,
laying particular stress upon the method of heating the furnaces,
the means of discharging the coal from wagons, the feeding of the
coal breakers, elevators, conveyors, etc., and the handling of the
coke after carbonisation.

The following members took part in the Discussion: Dr. Ley-
bold, Mr. A. F. Wilson, Mr. F. W. Cross, Mr. Livesey, Mr. A. W.
Onslow, Mr. G. Helps, Mr. S. Y. Shoubridge, Mr. Charles Hawks-
ley, and the Chairman.

The author replied, and a vote of thanks was accorded to him.
A communication was received from Mr. C. E. Brackenbury.

Mr. Foulis proposed, and Mr. W. R. Herring seconded, a vote
of thanks to the University Authorities for so kindly placing the
College buildings at the disposal of the Congress.

The motion was unanimously carried.

Mr. Charles Hunt proposed, and Mr. John West seconded, a vote
of thanks to authors for their papers.


Mr. William King proposed, and Mr. J. Hepworth seconded, a
vote of thanks to the Chairman and Vice-Chairmen.

The Chairman and Mr. Foulis replied.

The Chairman proposed, and Mr. Foulis seconded, a vote of
thanks to Mr. Helps for the manner in which he had performed
the duties of Honorary Secretary to the Section.

The proceedings then terminated, and the business of the Section
was brought to a close.



Section IX. Electrical.*


W. LANGDON, Chairman, in the Chair.

By W. LANGDON, Chairman.


IN the course .of his address the Chairman said : " Just fifty
years since London, under the auspices of the nation's lamented
Prince Albert, gave birth to the first International Exhibition. Fol-
lowed by numerous others, at home and abroad, none, it is pleasing
to note, have proved more successful financially, or more fully met
the object for which they were established, than those inaugurated
by the enterprise of Glasgow's citizens the last and most successful
of which forms one of the attractions incidental to the assemblage
of this Congress and of the inauguration of the new century.

There can be no question that the result of these great under-
takings has been for good ; that they have been a stimulus to manu-
facture and trade; and that greatly beyond all else they have
been a means making for peace. Whether we, as a nation, have
been the gainer or the loser, the world has richly reaped. Exhibi-
tions, railways, steam-boats, education, the ready intercourse between
peoples, have told, and are daily telling their tale. Few articles
remain the privileged product of any one place.

Manufacture has become cosmopolitan, and the rivalry of the

* The full Proceedings of Section IX., being part 153, Vol. XXXI., 1901,
of the Journal of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, are published by
The Institution of Electrical Engineers, 28 Victoria Street, Westminster,
London, S.W., price 53., post free.


future between the most advanced nations of the earth will be that
of manufacture the power to apply the products of the earth to
the exigencies of life at the least cost, and with the least loss of time.

The supremacy of a nation may be attained by force of arms, but
war cannot be carried on without the sinews of war, and the sinews
of war means the wealth of the nation. Whence comes this national
wealth ? Surely by the industry and intelligence of its people the
power to observe, to apply, and to produce.

Lord Rosebery, when speaking recently at the Mansion House,
remarked " we are coming to a time of stress and competition, for
which it is necessary that we should be prepared," and later on he
observes, " It is necessary for a nation in these days to train itself
by every valuable method to meet the stress and the competition
that is before us."

The question whether England, in comparison with other nations,
is becoming retrograde in her industrial achievements must prove
one of peculiar interest to all who seek this country's welfare. There
are grave reasons to fear that in some parts, especially in the more
modern applications of science, and notably in that development
with which the Institution of Electrical Engineers is so closely
allied, we have not retained that prominent position which has
characterised this country for so long a period.

Twenty years back, British manufacture stood on level ground
with other countries in the production of electrical machinery, yet,
if we may judge by the following figures, for which I am indebted
to Mr. Philip Dawson, it would appear that we have from some cause
failed to meet even our home demands. From these figures, which
are approximate, it appears that of some 300,000 indicated horse-
power of steam engines laid down for lighting and traction, 73,000
have been imported from the United States of America; and that,
of some 200,000 kilowatt capacity of generators, 71,000 were
derived from the same source. It will be understood that this does
not mean that the residue was British production.

It is not my intention, nor would the time at my disposal admit of
my attempting to enter into details why this is so. I take the bald
fact as illustrated by the figures I have quoted. England did not
meet the demand ! Can it be that the British manufacturer lacked
confidence in the permanency of this new electrical development?
I quote again from Mr. Dawson. The capital invested in European
countries and the United States in electric lighting, power, and
traction works, amounts to ,36 7, 000,000. Of this sum the United
States contributes ^200,000,000 and Great Britain ^35,000,000.
The number of miles of single track equipped for electric traction
in the two countries is, relatively, 2 1 .000 and 900 : of motor cars,
68,000 and 2600. Germany, where the power employed for lighting
work approaches closely that of England, has 2300 miles of track.


and 5400 cars, although the invested capital is but twenty-nine
millions, as against England's thirty-five millions for an enormously
less mileage and smaller equipment.

The population of Great Britain is approximately 40,000,000 as
against 70,000,000, that of the United States. The area in square
miles is, relatively, 121,115, and 3,581,885. Too much stress must
not be laid upon territorial comparison, although it would seem an
evident corollary that the more dense the population the greater
must be the demand for means of locomotion.

These figures, should, at all events, prove effectual in disposing
of any doubt that electrical development is stable. That it is only
at the beginning of its era, and that an enormous field lies before it
in lalmost every path of commercial and social life, must be evident
to every observant person. It is not, however, with its utility that
I desire to deal so much as with' the means for its production : the
production by our own country of all that is needed to meet not

Online LibraryInternational Engineering Congress (1901 : GlasgowReport of the proceedings and abstracts of the papers read → online text (page 27 of 37)