Clarence, are you sure it was anthracite?

Clarence, are you sure it was anthracite?

PostBy: rberq On: Sat Aug 23, 2008 7:39 pm

From Clarence Day’s “Life With Father”, c. 1920.

“Soon a stubby little steam engine, with its open coal car piled full of anthracite … appeared round the curve. White smoke poured from the smokestack…. During the journey downtown, except when the smoke from the engine was too thick for me to see out….”

So did steam locomotives burn anthracite? Did it make white smoke? Did it make smoke too thick to see through? What’s going on here? Granted my Harman is not a locomotive, but it never makes smoke like that. Did Clarence mistake bituminous for anthracite, or did he just not have a cadre of researchers and fact-checkers like present-day authors have?
rberq
 
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Re: Clarence, are you sure it was anthracite?

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sat Aug 23, 2008 7:59 pm

Actually the Lakawanna railraod advertised the use of anthracite in their locomotives.

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Richard S.
 
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Re: Clarence, are you sure it was anthracite?

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:21 pm

I think locomotives burned bituminous for the most part. Anthracite doesn't smoke so what he saw was water vapor most likely from a large steam leak. Something those old steam locomotives did a lot of.
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Re: Clarence, are you sure it was anthracite?

PostBy: Chris Murley On: Sun Aug 24, 2008 12:02 am

correct, you cant burn anthracite in a locomotive designed to burn bitty it will burn out the grates. head up pioneer tunnel they burn anthracite and there is actually really no visible smoke, its steam youre seeing coming out of the stack. how it works is the exhaust from the cylinders blows up through the middle of the stack creating a venturi if you will that sucks the smoke from the fire box through the flue tubes in the boiler heating the water then the "smoke" is sucked out the stack. as you anthracite burners know there really isnt any smoke coming out of your stoves, its the same thing. so those puffs you see are the exhaust steam from the cylinders. on a steam engine burning bitty its the same thing except the steam sucks that black smoke out of the fire box from the dirty bitty coal and it comes out the stack with the steam. look in the smoke, you can still see the steam in it.

locomotive burning anthracite:

http://www.undergroundminers.com/ashland5.jpg

Locomotive burning bituminous:

http://mst145.rrpicturearchives.net/sho ... id=1155198
Chris Murley
 

Re: Clarence, are you sure it was anthracite?

PostBy: wsherrick On: Sun Aug 24, 2008 12:46 am

Most locomotives use Bituminous coal. Bituminous is a superior coal when it comes to generating steam as the hydrocarbon content of the coal when burned in a firebox burn fast and hot which is necessary in a locomotive working at capacity. And contrary to popular legend steam engines don't belch out clouds of black smoke all the time. A good fireman learns how to fire without creating clouds of smoke. Most times a photographer would request a smoke plume to make his picture more interesting.

Some railroads did burn anthracite and the locomotives designed for that fuel had to have a much larger and more shallow firebox as anthracite, while hot; doesn't produce heat fast enough to produce high rates of steam. Locomotives such as these had fireboxes so large that the cab of the engine had to straddle the middle of the boiler. These engines were known as Camelbacks. The Lackawanna, Philadelphia & Reading, Jersey Central and Lehigh Valley had large numbers of Camelback engines as these railroads operated in the Pennsylvania anthracite producing regions.
wsherrick
 
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Re: Clarence, are you sure it was anthracite?

PostBy: rberq On: Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:18 am

Chris Murley wrote:its steam youre seeing coming out of the stack. how it works is the exhaust from the cylinders blows up through the middle of the stack creating a venturi if you will that sucks the smoke from the fire box through the flue tubes in the boiler heating the water then the "smoke" is sucked out the stack


Thanks, Chris. That answers another question that has long puzzled me: How that short locomotive stack generated enough draft to burn enough coal fast enough to power the engine. It must have taken a long time to ramp it up from a cold start, when there wasn't any steam yet to make the venturi. Or did they use a bellows or something to get the fire going?
rberq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300
Coal Size/Type: Nut -- Kimmel/Blaschak/Reading
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators, propane

Re: Clarence, are you sure it was anthracite?

PostBy: Chris Murley On: Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:32 pm

there was really no problem starting a load, as long as you had enough pressure. fire the engine early in the morning and wait till you get the boiler pressure to go. then you just had to maintain what you needed to run. there is a blower.... or it really should be called a sucker i guess, that uses steam pressure and blows it out the exhaust of the cylinders, creating a draft to suck air through the fire quicker and make a hotter fire. in turn this would raise the pressure faster. you can hear when its on because it sounds like a jet engine is stuck in the stack. as for bitty locomotives i knew they burned bitty coal more efficiently but i didnt know that about the fireboxes. thats interesting and explains those ugly camel back locomotives. i guess they figure they have all this anthracite here and it would be silly to import coal from west so lets design a loco to run on it. it will be cool when they get that 060 in minersville running. i hear that will be the only anthracite burning locomotive going today.... besides pioneers.
Chris Murley