Safety tips for steam engine operators

Do you know how? Testing your ability to respond

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Do You Know How to blow down a water glass correctly?

1.  Close top valve of glass or water column.
2.  Open bottom valve or cock, let blow a few seconds, and then close.
3.  Close bottom valve to water leg of boiler, open top valve.
4.  Open bottom valve or cock, and blow out glass with steam. Close valve/cock.
5.  Open bottom valve to water leg; see water rise to level in the boiler.

Do You Know When to recognize that the water glass needs blowing down?

1.  If a trace of bubbles rises up through the water glass, this is a warning that the water bottom leg is getting obstructed.

Do You Know How you can recognize a priming boiler? The cause? What to do first?

1.  Heavy discharge of water with exhaust steam out the stack indicates a priming boiler.
2.  This is caused by carrying water too high, or bad feed water.
3.  Open cylinder cocks quickly to save cylinder heads.

Do You Know How you recognize a foaming boiler? The cause of a foaming boiler? A foaming boiler not handled correctly will cause an explosion.

1. Observing the water sight glass, one instant it will be overfull, the next instant it will appear empty ... what do you do in correct order?

A.  Open cylinder cocks, observe sight glass.
B. If engine is being worked, close throttle one-half to load slightly to try and stabilize, then get an injector operating to fill the boiler, or quiet it down to ascertain the water level.
C. When you know that the crown sheet is covered, close the throttle, get it out of belt/or work, then take to safe place away from engines or people.
D.  Blow the boiler down and refill. If it still foams you may have to let it cool down overnight, drain and wash the boiler.

2. Cause of foaming: Contaminated feed water, acids, alkali, lime or excess water treatment that keeps suspended floats on top. Ebullition of the steam is retarded, and as steam is needed you pull both in great amounts and a cycle of fluctuation exists within the boiler.

Do You Know Why a fusible plug melts? What to do?

1. The water level has been allowed to get too low and it no longer covers the crown sheet. The temperature of the sheet is now at or above 425 degrees F instead of near 325 to 360 degrees F
2.  Keep the damper and firebox doors closed. If water has gotten low because of injector problems or negligence, and you are certain water is covering the crown sheet, the front of engine must be elevated so as much water as possible can cover the crown sheet. Close the damper, pull/dump the fire. If not pulled cover with dirt, sawdust, fine green coal or sand.

A. If not certain water covers the crown sheet ... do not start an injector. Close the damper, pull the fire or cover with dirt or sawdust.

Do You Know What To Do If a hand hole gasket blows out? If a hand hole gasket blows out the fire must be pulled immediately. If not possible, smother the fire with dirt or sawdust and start an injector to reduce pressure, but only if you are certain the crown sheet is still covered with water.

Do You Know What To Do If a sight glass breaks?

1.  Grab a shovel, a blanket or a coat and cover the steam. Get a leather glove to protect your hand and close the bottom valve first to preserve the water, then close the top valve.
2.  Check your water level with the boiler test cocks; steam with water tells you that you have water as this cock, only steam indicates no water at this level of the boiler.
3.  Get water at a safe level then replace the glass, install new rubber gaskets and new brass retainer washers. Use waterless hand soap on the rubbers, this will help keep the glass from turning.
4.  Under no condition should you throw water in the firebox to put the fire out. This can cause sheet damage.