Port of Singapore — Construction and architecture

The Port of Singapore refers to the collective facilities and terminals that conduct maritime trade, and which handle Singapore‘s harbours and shipping. It is ranked as the top maritime capital of the world, since 2015. Currently the world’s second-busiest port in terms of total shipping tonnage, it also trans-ships a fifth of the world’s shipping containers, half of the world’s annual supply of crude oil, and […]

Vulcan hammers gained their reputation in part because they were simple, thus free from breakdown and repairable to a great extent on a derrick barge with crews that were not full time mechanics. However, there eventually came a time when a hammer needed an overhaul. Vulcan field service personnel spent a great deal of time on these kind of extended repairs, where it was necessary to put the hammer into a machine shop, disassemble the hammer, clean and recondition the workings, and reassemble the hammer. A hammer with extended exposure to salt water could prove difficult to disassemble; shown here is a Vulcan 200C getting that kind of treatment in a machine shop in East Asia. Note the use of a jack–common with this kind of equipment–to force the components of the machine apart.

Singapore and its environs was an important place for Vulcan, because it was the gateway–and frequently the repair place, as you can see on the right–for many of the Vulcan hammers that operated in Southeast Asia.  Southeast Asia, with its large regions of relatively shallow water, was fertile ground for Vulcan hammers.  Many of Vulcan’s customers–including McDermott, Jardine and Brunei Shell–used its equipment extensively in this region.

via Port of Signapore — Construction and architecture


Hand drafting – TECHNICAL INK PENS — Construction and architecture

From the first time it produced drawings (the oldest on this site goes back to the 1870’s) until the late 1950’s, Vulcan produced all of its drawings using pen and ink, as described below (although I’ll bet that many weren’t drawn using the Rapidograph type pen shown below!)  Many of these were drawn on linen.  Above is an example of one, the general arrangement for the Vulcan 18C, from 1939.  There are many more examples of these on the site.

More about Vulcan engineering is here.

via Hand drafting – TECHNICAL INK PENS — Construction and architecture

The Art of William H. Warrington

William-H-WarringtonThis post is something of a departure, in that it features the pencil sketch art of my great uncle, William H. Warrington (right, from his carte de visite.) But first some background is in order.

William H. Warrington was born 17 September 1846, grew up in Chicago, Illinois. He became the manager of the Vulcan Iron Works, the family business. Although he was very prosperous in business, he had an artistic side to him, and here we’ll present some of his pencil sketches. As is frequently the case in my family, I don’t have much “backstory” narrative for these, but what I do know I will share.

As best I can tell, most of these date from the 1860’s, when he was in his late teens. Some have an English or Scottish settings, and this may be from travels in the British Isles. His father Henry was an immigrant from Manchester, England, and his mother Isabella McArthur Warrington came from Scotland. Both made return trips to their native land; Henry in fact did not become a U.S. citizen until 1870, almost thirty years after he first came to the U.S.

Signature card for the seniors of the Chicago High School, 1864. William H.’s is at the lower right.

Above: Two studies of young women.

Below: large house plans, 1860’s style. The various rooms of the house are as follows:
1. Kitchen
2. Scullery
3. Store Room
4. Breakfast Room
5. Stairs
6. Lobby
7. Hall
8.Dining Room
9. Library
10. Drawing Room
Alloway Kirk, Scotland.
Winter Quarters. A reminder of the great Civil War that was going on to the south. William H.’s father was busy producing cannons and cannon balls for the Union, while his uncle, Union general John McArthur, was leading the “boys in blue” at places like Shiloh and Vicksburg. His nephew Chet married the daughter and granddaughter of Confederate veterans, who had an entirely different view of Mr. Warrington’s products and relatives!
Sketch from Nature? An odd title, but it’s a nice view of the plank sidewalks that were current in his day.
Rowing has come a long way from this bucolic view.
Although it’s tempting at first to place this in Europe, the American flag gives away which side of the Atlantic it’s on.
Looks to me like something out of Lord of the Rings, but being nostalgic about English country life (and, indirectly, that over here) was one of the reasons J.R.R. Tolkien wrote his masterpiece.
Another rural house scene.
The house where William H. actually grew up, in Chicago. Note in the lower right hand corner the unusual way the artist “signs” his work.

William H. Warrington died 11 August 1921.

The Stamp of Quality…Everywhere

Vulcan frequently produced an ad for the Offshore Technology Conference.  Probably the best one was the “Stamp Ad.”  The “stamp of quality” theme had appeared in Vulcan’s literature for many years before that, but Vulcan’s graphic artist Carol Carr took it to a new level with this one in the early 1970’s.  It was unusual in many respects; it was in colour (colour wouldn’t become standard in Vulcan literature until late in the decade) and it was an 11″ x 17″ fold-out.

Snippets of Carol’s artwork have been on this site since its beginning in 2007, such as the masthead below:

It’s also in the current masthead as well.

The back of this ad is here:


The Vulcan Extractor Photo that Made a Civil Engineering Textbook

Vulcan hammers appear often in geotechnical engineering textbooks and other reference material.  It’s rare that it would happen outside of that discipline, but happen it did.

In 1960 the first edition of Mechanics of Materials by Archie Higdon, Edward H Ohlsen and William B. Stiles was published with the 1200A extractor photo shown above.  The purpose of including it was to illustrate concentric axial stresses through the connecting links on the side from point A to point B, and specifically through the plane c-c.  Vulcan granted permission to use the photo the year it left Chicago and moved to Chattanooga.

Evidently the illustration “made an impact;” it was retained through the Fourth Edition in 1985, by which time they had picked up two additional authors, John A. Weese and William F. Riley.  It was in the Second Edition when this webmaster discovered it while taking Mechanics of Materials at Texas A&M in the mid-1970’s.

The 1200A had been introduced a few years before it appeared in this textbook and Vulcan went to some pretty silly lengths to publicise it.  The textbook was one of the more sober ones.  Below are the specifications to all of Vulcan’s extractors.

1200A Extractor_Page_6

Indicator Devices and Cards for Vulcan Hammers

The indicator card, and the devices that produced them, have been around about as long as there have been steam engines.  The basic idea is simple: as the piston of the engine moved, a pressure indicator moved a needle and pen up and down on a paper (usually a rotating drum) and produced what’s called in thermodynamics a pV diagram, shown below.

indicator card
An indicator card, taken from A Practical Treatise on the Steam Engine Indicator and Indicator Diagrams by Amice, edited and enlarged by W. Worby Beaumont, 1888. The area of the central region would indicate the energy output of the engine. The displacement is noted on the x-axis and the pressure on the y-axis. The straight lines over the region are probably a method of graphical integration, although even then (before the advent of CAD and numerical integration) a planimeter would be much easier.

The steam engine (or any reciprocating engine, they’re also used with internal combustion engines as well) is somewhat straightforward in that it has a fixed stroke.  With an impact pile hammer, you have a free piston engine whose stroke is not determined by the rotation of the crankshaft.  Vulcan’s attempt to attach an indicator mechanism to its smallest hammer (the DGH-100,) shown above, is a little tricky.  The telltale rod coming out the top of the ram moves the pen radially around the drum through a lever and cord mechanism.  The pressure from the hammer moves the pen up and down on the drum.  Either the pressure above the piston or below can be fed to the indicator mechanism, as shown below.


Vulcan’s motivation in looking at this was probably due to questions about the downward assist of the air pressure on the top of the piston.  This question challenged Vulcan during the whole life of its differential-acting hammers.

Whether Vulcan actually did this is unknown.  Vulcan used a more modern approach to determine pressure-time and pressure-displacement histories in its linear vibrator, and the analysis software Vulcan developed electronically generated indicator cards for its single-compound hammer.

The “indicator card” developed for the S/C hammer, using an HP-85 computer, 1982. The output was actually printed on thermal tape. The HP-85, with its Basic programming and VisiCalc spreadsheet, was a useful device for hammer design and trade union negotiations alike.

Mechanical indicator mechanisms are still used for slower, reciprocating engines (usually steam) but no matter how they’re made, indicator cards–and the concept behind them–are important in the performance analysis of reciprocating engines of all kinds.


Raymond-Vulcan 80C Hammer: Specifications and Information

As was the case with its 65C, Raymond made multiple improvements to the Vulcan 80C hammer, but used a slightly different approach.

Probably because the patents on the Super-Vulcan hammers hadn’t run when Raymond saw the need to modify the Vulcan hammers, Raymond started by extensive modifications on the Vulcan 80C, which are similar to those they made later on the 65C.  The result is the hammer shown above.  There is no doubt that Raymond probably had as much money in the modifications–or more–than the original hammers, but as Charlie Guild observed to me, Raymond had “no idea” what their costs were.

That may not have been a problem.  For one thing, Raymond’s superintendents had a reputation of being hard on the equipment; it was cheaper, in their view, to damage the equipment rather than to stop the job.  Raymond’s equipment designers responded to this by making these hammers more rugged than the original Vulcan hammers, and that’s saying quite a bit.

Probably the modification that gave the best return on the investment was the conversion from column keys to cables, one that Vulcan eventually did on its hammers.  With the 80C, it was faced with the same problem as Vulcan: how to deal with the steam belt, which got in the way of running the cables straight out of the columns.  Vulcan’s solution is discussed here; Raymond opted to shift the cables slightly off column centre, using eccentric and concentric column sleeves.  The result, coupled with running the cables to the head, worked well, especially with the Raymond Step-Taper piles, which were probably the most grueling test of a pile hammer ever devised for onshore piles.

It’s noteworthy that Pile Hammer Equipment, in its approach, “dog-legs” the cables a bit as they go to the head while keeping them concentric with the column, thus avoiding the steam belt.

Raymond went on to develop a “true” Raymond 80C as it had done with the 65C, but at this point documentation lacks for this hammer.

Specifications for Raymond’s 80C and other air/steam differential hammers are below.


Pile Driving in Old Havana, Cuba

Without a doubt, one of the most interesting photos Vulcan had in its collection was this one, taken of a Vulcan #0 driving reinforced concrete sheet piles 500 mm x 600 mm x 21.9 m long (20″ x 24″ x 72′) for the New Harbor Wall in Havana, Cuba.  The piles are being driven off of the Cristóbal Colon floating derrick, owned and operated by the contractor, Arellano y Mendoza. The photo is dated 1927.

In addition to its historical value, Vulcan was so taken with this photo that it used a drawn rendering of the photo for the cover of its very first dedicated bulletin to advertise the Warrington-Vulcan Single-Acting hammers, Bulletin 68, shown below.

Cover for Bulletin 68, showing the Vulcan #0 being used in Havana, Cuba, by Arellano y Mendoza.


Product Literature Cover for Soviet SP-88 Concrete Pile Cutter @sovietvisuals

An interesting example of late Soviet commercial art (no, that’s not an oxymoron) is this one, the cover to the literature for the SP-88 concrete pile cutter, from 1989.  The array of cubes on the cover represents square concrete piles; the one in the lower left hand corner has been cut.  An interesting graphic presentation.

More information on this machine:

Raymond 65C Hammer: Specifications and Information

temp65cfIt’s evident that Vulcan had some difficulty in getting the right combination of economy, operating pressure and configuration with its 65C and 65CA hammers.  Did Raymond, which made many of its own designs of Vulcan style hammers, do any better?

Based on its experience with the Vulcan differential hammers, Raymond designed several differential-acting hammers, including its own 80C, the 150C, and this hammer.  A general frontal view is shown at the right; a photo of one in Vulcan’s yard is above.  Raymond made several interesting changes in the hammer design:

  • Different sheave had design.
  • Raymond configured the hammer for 120 psi operating pressure, which was one of Vulcan’s original proposals (the Raymond probably antedates the Vulcan 65C.)
  • Coil springs (later rubber springs) at the top for the hammer extension, or sled, which Raymond always used with its leaders.
  • Male jaws to mate the hammer with the extension (Vulcan later used male jaws for its offshore hammers.)
  • Cables from head to base.  Raymond used a tapered bottom fitting; machining the mating tapered holes in the base was tricky and expensive, as Vulcan found out the hard way when it machined a base for the single-acting Raymond 1-S.
  • Draw bar for the slide bar instead of the hammered keys.
  • Baffle in the cylinder for the exhaust; the ports for exhaust were probably higher than for any other Raymond or Vulcan hammer.
  • Steam chest bushing, which Vulcan adapted and improved upon as a removable liner.
  • Lighter, dished-out pistons for the piston rod.  (Why weight reduction was necessary for a striking part component isn’t quite clear…)

Vulcan acquired a great deal of Raymond engineering and inventory when Raymond finally fell apart in the early 1990’s, and was in the process of incorporating many of Raymond’s changes in its own product line when the company was merged in 1996.

kif_0001_3 2
Another view of the Raymond 65C in Vulcan Foundation Equipment’s Yard.

Specifications for the Raymond 65C are shown below.

Specifications for Raymond Differential Hammers