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Titusville Iron Works - Fairbanks Morse Boiler


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  #1  
Old 09-06-2015, 11:37:41 PM
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Default Titusville Iron Works - Fairbanks Morse Boiler

Son Mike had told me about this Titusville Iron Works boiler several years ago. (I noticed on the top of the smokebox plate, it was built for Fairbanks-Morse.) It just never worked out for me to stop at the neighbor's place, as he works in Helena and is seldom at this place when I have time to stop. Today, I followed him out from Helena and pulled into the driveway behind him, where he was dropping off the person who lives on this place, which he also owns.

I said, "I have a camera today and you'd once told me I could take photos of your boiler on the hill." He said, "Go ahead. Do you know why it blew up?" I said, "I don't know as I've never seen it, but I'll sure try to determine what happened!"

His late father was using the boiler for some purpose I'm not sure of. It had a line leading from the steam dome to an iron tank bottom, that may have been from the oil fields? I've never seen an explosion quite like this one. Apparently, the large, thick, cast iron ring that was riveted around the manway hole atop the boiler cracked through the rivet holes, split and let go, sending the manway cover propelled (I'm guessing?) high into the sky. It appeared to have been a great boiler otherwise.

He'd left as I was getting my camera and out of my car, so I couldn't ask questions.

I was thinking of all of the British boilers that are built with manways and wondered if anyone there or Australia had ever had problems like this?

I've put manway gaskets on manways years ago, but they were only 15 psi boilers. Gary
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  #2  
Old 09-06-2015, 11:58:50 PM
johnk907 johnk907 is offline
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Default Re: Titusville Iron Works - Fairbanks Morse Boiler

Gary,

The inside rivet head looks to be a little off center. Could the missing rivets have similiar issues which could have contributed to the blowout?

John
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Old 09-07-2015, 12:36:50 AM
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Default Re: Titusville Iron Works - Fairbanks Morse Boiler

Not knowing the facts behind the episode, I see something that makes me wonder. What pressure was the thing operating at? The over all construction of what I see would seem that the unit was made for relatively low pressure. If it was being run at a too high pressure it may have fatigued the area around the ring and simply cracked the ring causing the failure. I say it's a low pressure unit because I see multiple courses held together by single row riveted seams and what looks to be relative light plate and a overly large dia barrel. If they had a poor fitting hole plate, it may have cracked the ring trying to over tighten it to seal it.
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Old 09-07-2015, 03:07:11 AM
Jim Mead Jim Mead is offline
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Default Re: Titusville Iron Works - Fairbanks Morse Boiler

Oil and boilers don't mix very well. Could that have been a factor? I've seen a manhole plate rim crack off, but the frame and surrounding plate remained intact. That's what put my friend in the treetops....
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Old 09-07-2015, 10:29:52 AM
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Default Re: Titusville Iron Works - Fairbanks Morse Boiler

Sadly, the late father of the owner, was the operator. We'll never know if he built a roaring fire and walked away? What was the pop valve set at? Did it even HAVE a pop valve? It does look like more of a low pressure boiler. Did he crack the casting tightening the plate? Likely all to go unanswered.

I don't know what Fairbanks Morse intended these boilers to be used for either?
Gary
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:34:02 PM
Jim Mead Jim Mead is offline
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Default Re: Titusville Iron Works - Fairbanks Morse Boiler

My point about the oil relates to the posts about vacuum. If this "water heater" cooled and ingested oil, it could be bad. I've read somewhere, probably here, about oil and flash points in boilers. Bad news. Note also tubes not beaded, again, low original working pressure?

It looks like a boiler, but may not be a boiler.....
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Old 09-07-2015, 04:03:17 PM
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K.O'Connell K.O'Connell is offline
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Default Re: Titusville Iron Works - Fairbanks Morse Boiler

I think we've seen this kind of damage on another boiler, in another thread. Isn't this the type of damage cause by people trying to scrap a boiler with dynamite?
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Old 09-07-2015, 08:50:05 PM
Glenn Gieszler Glenn Gieszler is offline
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Default Re: Titusville Iron Works - Fairbanks Morse Boiler

This is such a poor design, having both the dome and manhole in the same section of rolled plate with no extra backing plate on either opening, did you happen to get any boiler info, I looked and I do have quite a bit of info from them in the 20's and 30's
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Old 09-07-2015, 10:29:37 PM
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Default Re: Titusville Iron Works - Fairbanks Morse Boiler

Glenn,
I was running late, as I was supposed to be at my son's place helping him. I'll try to get information again, when I have more time. Gary
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:04:04 PM
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Default Re: Titusville Iron Works - Fairbanks Morse Boiler

Looks to me like a $10 boiler that tried to carry $50 worth of steam and the weakest part let go. Very fortunate it wasn't more catastrophic maybe only cost him a suit of underwear.
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:33:09 PM
Glenn Gieszler Glenn Gieszler is offline
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Default Re: Titusville Iron Works - Fairbanks Morse Boiler

Just a guess on my part but look for A-1-A20 or RC #, if not measure tube diameter and length, after looking at their info again I believe this was a 15 psi boiler, however I need more info instead of guessing
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:53:00 PM
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Default Re: Titusville Iron Works - Fairbanks Morse Boiler

Its possible they didn't intend to carry any pressure (there doesn't appear to be a valve in the line from the dome to the tank) Then maybe the lines froze. With no safety and no guage how would he know?????
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