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What are these parts on a Steam Loco (PRR K4s)?

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  • Member since
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  • From: Pennsylvania
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What are these parts on a Steam Loco (PRR K4s)?
Posted by Trainman440 on Monday, April 19, 2021 10:19 AM

I do apologize as I think Ive asked a similar question before but I cannot for the life of me find the original post a few years back.

What are these two parts?

From what I recall, the thing on the left is some sort of lubricator? and the thing on the right in the photo is a blow off muffler?

Thanks,

Charles

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Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO

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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, April 19, 2021 3:52 PM

Correct on both counts.

The mechanical lubricator contained a heavy valve oil and a ratchet mechanism turned a cam which operated plungers to force small amounts of oil to lubricate the valve and piston.

 IMG_5313 by Edmund, on Flickr

The blowdown muffler was to contain and condense steam that was part of the "continuous blowdown system" to prevent foaming of the boiler water. Sludge and minerals will build up and blowing down the mud ring will expell some of these solids.

The "muffler" was also a centrifugal separator which allowed the steam to vaporize and the hot water and solids would be drained to the track.

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, April 19, 2021 4:28 PM

Well, I would have only been right on 1/2 of the items!

"Blowing down the mud ring" is a phrase I am going to try to work into a conversation some day soon.

Laugh

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, April 19, 2021 9:42 PM

Check your piping when looking at continuous blowdown arrangements on modern locomotives (which were, as the name implies, intended to operate at low rate continuously or nearly so, rather than dramatically as in the famous shits on the Kinzua Viaduct of the then-Knox and Kane.  Continuous blowdown had two components: at the mud ring for sludge, but perhaps even more importantly at the water line for scum and foam.  A muffler/separator 'up top' might be more important for the latter -- compare the devices used for the Elesco Steam Dryer, another device located relatively high in a boiler that needed high peak separation efficiency...

Ed can find the exact model of lubricator used on that vintage of K4s and then look it up in the appropriate Cyc (might need to use the 'interwar editions' like the '22 if it's an older design that was superseded at some point and 'no longer made as seen here'.)

Note that the air compressor also required both steam and lube oil, and there were concerns about keeping excessive amounts out of the compressed-air supply.

It is often fun to see where the steam exhaust for many auxiliaries was actually routed on these locomotives.  One funny-only-in-retrospect item concerned how the firebox blowdown in the early Dickens era was routed-- straight out the side, at about head height -- at 300psi saturated pressure! Surprise

  • Member since
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  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, April 19, 2021 11:31 PM

Blowing down without a muffler:

 Denver and Rio Grande Railway by Dave Fisher, on Flickr


Also:

FWIW, the original thread:

 

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/258093.aspx

 

 

 

 

Cheers, Ed

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Posted by Trainman440 on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 12:10 AM

Awesome, thanks for the replies!

That's a stunning shot Ed,

Charles

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLb3FRqukolAtnD1khrb6lQ

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 1:38 AM

Ed, that thread gets right to the point of dating application of the mechanical lubricator (1938-1940) and it mentions Bowser made 'correct' parts for the application... but it stops right there without actually naming the manufacturer or model number(s).  Surely someone knows from this what the actual device was!

I do think that, as discussed, this is likely restricted to just steam-cylinder and rod lubrication as seen, and not the huge multi port Nathans and Detroits illustrated by 1947 pressure-lubricating a great many points through what would become a webwork of little lines, fittings, and distributors.

Pictures in these threads and references sure seem to show a straight run from mud ring to separator/muffler on these K4s locomotives! Whistling

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Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 4:45 AM

You can get a slightly blurry look at a working Nathan DV-7 lubricator working on this K4, 1361:

I sure wish I would have made it to see this run Crying

I'll have to find some reference as to when the mechanical lubricators were fitted. Probably in the mid-to late 1930s. Before that a type of hydrostatic lubricator (Detroit was a common manufacturer) was used, mounted in the cab for monitoring by the engine crew.

Overmod
Pictures in these threads and references sure seem to show a straight run from mud ring to separator/muffler!Whistling

There were several arrangements for blow-down/boiler water "cleansing". Some included perforated copper pipe laid in the mud ring or dirt legs. Some took the steam/water from the cab end of the mud ring (not the lowest point).

The engine I'm familiar with had outlet pipes angled toward the track and the blow down valves operated from the cab. You could really displace some ballast after a few pulls on the lever. Those pipes were later removed but I never got used to walking past the valves staring right into the swing gate knowing what was just on the other side, right at "face" level!

There's a photo at one of the T1 Trust Facebook site users of a Nathan DV7 with Type P.R.R. cast in the reservoir. I do not know if this is "authentic" or of it is someone playing with VR 3D software? I believe it IS the latter. Still, sure looks sharp. Take a look at the other "textures" on the page, too!

https://blenderartists.org/t/the-pennsylvaniasarus-prr-t1/674387/25

I spent a little time chasing down the lubrication points on the NKP 759 when I last saw her and was amazed at the hundreds of feet of copper feed lines running to various points in the running gear and friction points, even to thrust bearings on the trailing truck and, if I'm not mistaken, I saw lines run to the buffer plates between the tender and cab. Amazing "state-of-the-art" technology from the Lima Locomotive Works and suppliers. 

Cheers, Ed

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Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 6:00 AM

 

Further:

Lube up and Blow Down —

 Blowdown_Okadee by Edmund, on Flickr

This image shows (lower right, blowoff separator) what's inside the "can" located behind the steam dome and ahead of the turret:

 Blowdown_0001 by Edmund, on Flickr

As for lubrication:

 Nathan_D-V-7_Lubricator by Edmund, on Flickr

And one example of some of the terminating points for the lube line distribution:

 Nathan_D-V-7_Lubricator-connections by Edmund, on Flickr

   — and the above example is not even one of the more complex designs. A system like this sure makes the sight of the engineer "oiling around" an anachronism.

Anyone who has stood trackside while a steamer has passed has experienced having their freshly laundered, white, Van Heusen dress shirt peppered with black specks of valve oil ejected from the stack along with the cinders.

This is also a reason the Elesco feedwater heater system required an oil separator in the tender cistern.

Nathan wasn't alone in this market. Along with Nathan there was "Genuine Detroit"; Edna Universal; Chicago Mechanical; King Mechanical and Prime Alemite. Not to mention several others that specialized in hydrostatic lubricators, grease cellars, flange oilers and journal oiling.

Engineering Marvels, indeed.

Cheers, Ed

 

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