Proprietor, Neiman Machine Works, Freeport, Illinois
It is interesting to note the various views expressed by writers on valve gears, reverse motions, boilers, etc.
There are some mistaken ideas relative to boiler safety. When we consider that the greatest explosions known to this world were caused by steam pressure, some of them so disastrous that the Atom Bomb is a firecracker in comparison. Therefore we should be very careful about the condition of our boilers. Boilers are always a dangerous magazine of energy even with the best of management. So it is criminal to be careless and negligent about a boiler.
It is a mistake to place too much confidence in the so-called boiler inspections that are passed onto the public these days. In our experience of more than sixty years we have not seen an Inspector use hammer test on a boiler. We maintain that no boiler inspection is worth the name without a careful hammer test. we have seen case after case of boilers carrying 125 lbs. and more steam pressure and with excellent external appearance where the hammer revealed soft and thin spots, so thin that a few sharp blows of the hammer sent the ball of the hammer through the sheet. And some of these boilers were carrying full steam pressure around the clock.
All of our boiler safety rules and formulas, including those prescribed by the U. S. Naval and Marine Service and the A.S.M.E. code are based on perfectly sound sheets and seams. In other words - new condition. It is quite obvious that these rules cannot apply to old boilers, 20 to 50 years old and more or less neglected through these years. Owing to the foregoing facts, we cannot urge too strongly that the utmost care be used in handling old boilers. The years since they were built have made them subject to 'general debility' and they are not what they used to be . . .So be careful, Boys, PLEASE!