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Updated: Nov. 24th, 2007

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Engineering / Author’s collection

Reciprocating Engine Casing on Mauretania - This image was taken aboard the Cunard Line’s Mauretania, looking upward through the maze of platforms and ladders at each deck level. Engineering / Author’s collection

Author’s collection

Engine Casing on Oceanic - This image was taken inside the upper level of Oceanic’s engine casing, with the skylight and hatch covers in view.
Author’s collection

Batten Cleat. Author’s collection

   Introduction - Titanic’s steelwork was nearly complete by the time she was launched and towed to the outfitting wharf. Provisions had been made within the nearly completed deck spaces and casings for shipping the engines, boilers, and other machinery that would be hoisted aboard using Harland & Wolff’s huge floating crane. Steel decking and beams in certain areas were designed to be “portable” (i.e., removable) to allow openings of sufficient size to permit the passage of the machinery to be fitted. Many of the transverse beams and plating that would otherwise have obstructed these openings had been trial-fitted but left uninstalled; more crucial members were temporarily bolted into place to provide strength to the hull during the launch . . . (continued)


Image above, Batten Cleat - Details of a common form of batten cleat used on ships of the era.
Author’s collection

   Machinery casings - The reciprocating engine casing was located between the Nos. 3 and 4 Funnels, just forward of the after 1st Class staircase. The casing above the Reciprocating Engine Room, like the shafts formed by the other machinery casings, was designated as “light and air” space. Ladders within these casings provided the engineers with a direct route to the higher decks. On the roof of the surrounding deckhouse, a skylight was constructed over the 24-long, 20'-wide shaft to admit light and assist ventilation of the space below. The skylight contained eight large rectangular hatches - four per side - each fitted with a hinged weather-tight cover having four brass-framed bull’s-eye lights. These covers could be manually raised or lowered as needed, and were actuated from beneath by hand cranks just as were the other skylights aboard the ship. At the level of E Deck, where the casing descended into the upper levels of the engine room, it was extended further out towards the sides of the ship, and also aft to the bulkhead separating the Reciprocating Engine Room from the Turbine Engine Room. Due to the height of the engines, the additional space afforded was necessary in order to provide space above the cylinders for lifting of the cylinder covers and pistons . . . (continued)


   Cargo hatches - Titanic had six holds that were accessed through seven hatchways. The hatchways were constructed with corners having a 12-inch radius where not affected by trunking, as these were found to be far less prone to fatigue and fractures than sharp corners. The hatch coamings on the weather decks were peaked longitudinally except for the No. 1 Hatch on the Forecastle Deck, which had a rounded steel cover, and the two No. 4 Hatches at the after end of the Bridge Deck (B). By regulations, the minimum permitted height for hatch coamings on unenclosed decks was 24 inches when within one-fourth of the length vessel from the bow, and a minimum of 18 inches high aft of this. In order to strengthen the hatch coamings against the forces of seas shipped in heavy weather, a number of temporary ties were inserted to join the port and starboard coamings together. Located inside the coamings of each hatch were portable web beams; these extended the full width of the opening and were lightened with holes to reduce the effort necessary to move them in and out of position . . . (continued)


Other topics in this chapter include:
Boiler casings; ventilation and fidley trunks - Weather deck hatch coverings - Trunk hatchways - Firemen’s Tunnel - plus dimensions and specifications for all individual hatches

Copyright 2007 Beveridge, Hall, Andrews, Klistorner and Braunschweiger.

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