engine was built by Wood Brothers, of Sowerby Bridge,Yorkshire,
between 1886 and 1888. It was commissioned on the 12th July
1888. It saw continuous duty from that time to around 1905,
when it was relegated to standby duty for storm water pumping.
It is a
free-standing engine of the compound rotative type and is believed
to be the last engine produced by Wood Bros. and the only surviving
eight column engine in situ. The engine has two cylinders arranged
to be double acting and compound.
engine is rated at one-hundred horsepower and drives two pumps,
of the plunger type. Each pump was capable of moving two million
gallons-per-day, when the engine was running at sixteen revolutions
per minute. The pumps are each twenty-six inches diameter
and fifty-one inch stroke.
The beam itself stands seventeen
feet above floor level and is almost twentyone feet in length.
It pivots on two huge bearings that are lubricated by small oil
reservoirs above, as are all the bearings attached to the beam.
The flywheel bearings and those driving the valve timing gear shafts
are lubricated by the small self-feeding glass reservoirs
|When used to pump sewage, the
engine consumed some four hundredweight (200 kilos) of coal per
hour. There were two driver/mechanics to operate the engine
who lived in two cottages on the site, tied to their employment.
is constructed within its own base and eight column framework
to make it independent of the building structure, except at the
point where the end of the flywheel axle bearing is supported
within a cast iron frame, built into the wall of the engine house.
The base casting is supported on a solid brickwork structure independent
of the walls of the building.
The engine uses
the double-expansion compound system, developed by Arthur Woolf
around 1804, whereby the steam is first let into a high-pressure
cylinder, where it is allowed to expend half its pressure before
being let into the low pressure cylinder, to do further work before
being condensed. This system allows for smooth running at
minimal fuel consumption.
The eight supporting columns
are of the Doric style, in hollow cast-iron, and the general design
of decoration to the structure, notably the use of the acanthus
leaf motif, follows the "only the best" attitude of the Local Councils
of the day.
The flywheel is twenty-seven
feet in diameter and weighs approximately seventeen tons.
The spokes are of solid cast iron and the rim is of hollow section,
cylinder piston rod, and the water/air pump are joined by a series
of rods, forming a parallel motion to the beam. This parallel
motion linkage, invented by James Watt in 1784, converts the curvilinear
motion of the beam into straight-line motion for the piston rods.