Page images

little fortune (judged by a Belfast waterman's standard) picking- up the floating tallow after the launch. The tallow, however, was too trivial an item for serious consideration when compared with the rest of the bill.

It cost the Belfast Harbor Board, which draws no share of the Olympic's earnings, $292,000 to get ready for the launching. Of this sum $146,000 went to deepen the channel to 32 feet. Opposite the berth a pit fifty feet deep had to be dredged in the bottom of the harbor to make room for the plunge of the stern before the bow left the ways. Then Harland and Wolff, the builders, had to spend $48,670 to strengthen Victoria wharf opposite the berth lest the terrific commotion kicked up when the monster struck the water should cause the wharf to collapse. Still, that was but a beginning. Three of the largest slips they

had were converted into two for the Olympic and Titanic. Over the berth a double gantry had to be erected 840 feet long, 105 feet wide and 220 feet high and equipped with travelers and cranes capable of lifting from five to forty ton*. Besides this there was a floating crane to be provided at great cost to transfer the boilers to the ships after they were afloat. Part of the works had to be entirely reconstructed, other parts were altered and special equipment provided, making the outlay for the plant for building these biggest ships more than two million dollars.

From the time the keel was laid, December 15, 1908, to October 20, 1910, the date of the launching, a fair sized' army was steadily employed on the Olympic. For weeks before, the launching two thousand five hundred men toiled night and day making preparations for the great event. As the weight at launching was twenty-seven thousand tons, much the largest mass of steel ever put in the water at once, a great deal of careful planning and expert preparation were required to make ready for the sixty-two seconds occupied by the Olympic in making the plunge. From the time the hydraulic triggers holding the vessel on the ways were released until she was stationary in the water less than two minutes elapsed. crank shafts weighing 118 tons each. These ponderous masses of metal are driven at a speed of 75 revolutions per minute by triple expansion engines with four cylinders, the high pressure cylinder being 54 inches in diameter, the intermediate 84 and the two low pressure 97 inches in diameter, while all have a stroke of 6 feet 3 inches. Each engine bedplate weighs 195 tons.


Since the Olympic represents an investment of $7,500,000 it was necessary that in addition to being the largest ship the world has ever seen, a distinction she will retain only until the Titanic is placed in service late this fall, when she will be one of the largest two, she should also be the heaviest and strongest. Five hundred thousand rivets, weighing 270 tons, were used in the construction of the double bottom alone. The largest rivet was 1J4 inches in diameter. This double bottom is 5 feet 3 inches deep. The largest shell plates are 36 feet long and weigh 4'/i tons. The largest beams are


92 feet long. The after boss arm, a sort of three pronged bracket that tags along to hold up the outer ends of the propellers, weighs 72y2 tons. The rudder, a dainty creation in steel, is 15 feet 3 inches wide with a stock 23^1 inches in diameter and weighs a hundred tons, as much as a good sized locomotive.

But speaking of riveting, 3,000,000 rivets weighing twelve hundred tons, are required to hold the Olympic together. All the shell plating up to the turn of the bilge and much of the other work was done by power riveters, which in Belfast are very different things from the little hand tool sprouting from the end of a rubber hose, the blood-curdling, nerve destroying r-r-r-r-r-r-r-at-at-at-at-tat of which is so distressingly familiar to American ears. The Irish riveter is a ponderous affair weighing seven tons which has to be manipulated by means of a traveling crane. But it does its work so easily and so silently that it was considered quite the thing to invite ladies who visited the works during the building of the Olympic to step up and drive a rivet.

[merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The center propeller, which is only 16 feet 6 inches in diameter, has to run at more than double the speed of the wing propellers, or 165 revolutions per minute. It is driven by the latest type of Parsons turbine, the rotor of which is 12 feet in diameter and 13 feet 8 inches

long. From the company's standpoint the most attractive feature of this arrangement is not that it abolished sea sickness, as alleged, but that it keeps the coal bill down. Steam, generated in 20 double ended and 5 single ended Scotch boilers, all 15 feet 9 inches in diameter, the double enders '20 feet and the single 11 feet 9 inches long, is delivered to the reciprocating engines at 215 pounds pressure. The high pressure cylinders get all they can out of the steam, which is then passed on to the intermediate cylinders, which go after the elasticity in that steam like a Paris hotel keeper after a tourist's cash, then dole it out to the low pressure cylinders. Not

[graphic][merged small]
[graphic][merged small]

safety appliances that the ingenuity of man has devised. In this respect the steamship companies are exactly like the railroads. Every so-called safety appliance on a railroad today has been adopted for its economic value, the safety secured thereby being incidental—a .sort of by-product, so to speak. However, when a passenger by sea or land is zealously guarded from harm it is no part of his business to analyze the motives that insure his safety. If some blundering steamer should run full tilt into the Olympic as the Florida did into the Republic it is safe to predict that the new giant will not only stay afloat long enough to transfer all her passengers, but that her bulk

until every ounce of pressure that a reciprocating engine can get out of it has been extracted from that steam is it allowed to escape to the turbine. Although by this time the steam is so weak it can hardly struggle on, the turbine has become so wonderfully efficient that it contrives to develop a great fleal of power out of this exhaust steam. When the turbine gets through with it the steam, which by this time isn't much more effective than hot water, goes to the condenser, and from there back to the boilers to begin the weary round all over again.

Still bearing in mind the outlay of $7,500,000, rather than from an inordinate solicitude for prospective passengers, the company has equipped the Olympic with the most elaborate

[graphic][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »