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# 1872 I Mech E Wigan visit

**gaffer**(6862)

In 1872 members of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers visited establishments in the Wigan area.

The Pemberton Colliery of Messrs. J. Blundell and Son was first visited. At the working shaft, which is 640 yards deep and 17 feet diameter, the heapstead is constructed entirely of iron, the staging being carried on lattice girders supported by cast-iron columns with lattice bracing, the whole forming a very durable and stiff framework. The cages each hold six tubs, and have three decks; the ropes, cages, and tubs are all made of steel. The large conical winding drum is 30 ft. 6 ins. diameter, and weighs with the shaft about 49 tons; it is arranged for winding from the depth of 630 yards in 214 revolutions, the time occupied being 48 seconds, which gives an average speed of about 26 miles per hour in the shaft; the drum is driven by a pair of horizontal engines, with cylinders 36 inches diameter and 6 feet stroke, and Cornish valves. The pulleys over the pit mouth are 18 feet diameter.

The large Guibal ventilating fan is 46 feet diameter and 15 feet wide, constructed of steel, and driven by a horizontal engine with 36 inch cylinder and 3 ft. 6 ins. stroke, a duplicate engine being provided to meet any emergency. The fan is running at present at only about 38 revolutions per minute, giving a vacuum of 2.45 inches water gauge and a current of 155,600 cubic feet of air per minute; but when in full work it is intended to run at 50 revolutions, at which speed it is calculated to give 230,000 cubic feet per minute. Some of the boilers supplying steam to the winding engines and fan engine are fitted with mechanical fire-grates, some on Vicars' and the rest on Taylor's plan, the latter being a modification of Juckes' grate (see Proceedings Inst. M. E. 1869 page 155).

The Members next visited Messrs. Rylands and Sons' Cotton Mill, recently erected and furnished with the latest improvements in the machinery for spinning and weaving cotton. The weaving shed contains 1158 looms, all of the same pattern, and the driving belts are led off horizontally on both sides of the main lines of shafting, and pass down over guide pulleys to the looms; the strains thrown upon each line of shafting by the pull of the belts are thus equalised, and the friction consequently reduced. The mill is driven by two pairs of single-cylinder horizontal engines, with cylinders 40 inches diameter and 6 feet stroke.

The Wigan Coal and Iron Co.'s Works were then visited. There are ten blast furnaces, five of which are 80 feet high and 24 feet diameter at the boshes, and five are 65 feet high and 18 feet diameter. They are all closed at the top with a bell and charging hopper, and the gas is taken off for the boilers and hot-blast stoves. The weekly make of each of the larger furnaces is about 350 tons, and of the smaller about 300 tons; the ore smelted is principally red hematite from the Ulverston district, with a proportion of aluminous ore from the neighbourhood of Belfast.

The blast is supplied by three compound-cylinder blowing engines, each of which is an inverted beam engine with the high-pressure cylinder of 45 inches diameter at one end of the beam and the low-pressure cylinder of 66 inches diameter at the other end. Above each steam cylinder is a blowing cylinder of 100 inches diameter, the same piston rod passing through both. No flywheels are used to control the engines, and the stroke is about 11 1/2 feet, the speed being about 10 1/2 to 12 double strokes per minute; the steam valves are worked by tappet gear. An auxiliary blowing engine is provided, of vertical direct-acting type, having a 35 inch steam cylinder and 70 inch blowing cylinder, with 4 feet stroke.

A large chimney 350 feet high and 13 1/2 feet internal diameter is erected for producing the required draught in the boilers heated by the blast-furnace gas. Extensive coal-washing machinery is employed for purifying from sulphur the slack which is made into coke for use at the ironworks.

At the Platt Lane Colliery of the Wigan and Whiston Coal Co. the working was shown of Messrs. Winstanley and Barker's Coal Cutting Machine described at the meeting. The machine was seen in operation in the hard seam of coal known as the "Pemberton Little Coal," of only about 2 feet 4 inches thickness, in which it has now been at work daily or nightly for the last two years. The compressed air by which it is driven is supplied by an engine at the pit mouth, having 16 inch steam cylinder with 36 inch stroke and air-compressing cylinder of the same size, compressing about 200 cubic feet of air per minute from atmospheric pressure to 40 lbs. per square inch above atmosphere.

The Ince Hall Coal and Cannel Co.'s Works were then visited. At this colliery the system of hauling the coal tubs by endless chains is extensively carried out, along tramways both on the ground level and raised on timber staging. By this means, with the expenditure of only a small amount of power, all the produce from the several pits is concentrated at one place, and there screened and sorted. The hauling chain simply rests on the top of the tubs, its weight giving hold enough for hauling them; and when not resting on the tubs, it is supported clear off the ground by cast-iron rollers. The endless chain working each section of tramway passes round a horizontal drum at each end of the section, one of these drums being the driving drum. The system of underground haulage by means of compressed-air engines is extensively carried out in the pits.

The Ince Hall Rolling Mills Co.'s Works were also visited. They have been recently erected, and contain a forge train of 20 inches diameter, with two finishing trains of 16 and 9 inches diameter; the forge train and 16 inch mill are driven direct from the flywheel shafts by two independent horizontal engines, with cylinders 26 inches diameter and 4 and 3 feet strokes respectively; the 9 inch mill is driven from the second motion shaft by an independent horizontal engine with cylinder 22 inches diameter and 2 ft. 6 ins. stroke.

Started: 16th Feb 2014 at 19:04

**ecmdj**(8186)

interesting read that gaffer

Replied: 17th Feb 2014 at 12:09