Welcome to vulcanhammer.info, the site about Vulcan Iron Works, which manufactured the durable air/steam line of pile driving equipment for more than a century. Many of its products are still in service today, providing reliable performance all over the world. There’s a lot here, use the search box below if you’re having trouble finding something. Also look at the end of an article, there are helpful links to more information with every post.
The 140C was a groundbreaker in many respects because of its place in Vulcan’s product line.
First, it was one of the first of Vulcan’s hammers to be larger than the Warrington-Vulcan hammers. Second, it was the first with a “single-acting version,” in this case the 014. In that respect it was a significant break from the Warrington-Vulcan construction, being much heavier.
The 140C was one of the first (if not the first) Vulcan hammer to be taken offshore. McDermott purchased one (actually the “onshore” version, as shown above) in 1954, and several thereafter, the last one in 1956. Vulcan developed a true offshore 140C, using the Super-Vulcan derived design that became standard with Vulcan’s offshore hammers. The 140C was the smallest Vulcan offshore hammer which was really viable; a general arrangement is shown below.
The hammer sported the 54″ male jaws, which were standard on Vulcan offshore hammers, single-acting and differential-acting alike, for hammers up to the 530 and 535.
Specifications for onshore and offshore 140C alike are shown below.
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.
Above is the differential acting hammer cycle, an explanation from the Raymond Superintendent’s Handbook, with some specifications. The cycle is the same for both Raymond and Vulcan hammers. The 65C specifications given above are for the Raymond 65C, not the Vulcan 65C.
Vulcan’s success with the 80C lead its customers to ask the same question they asked about the 08: could a larger hammer be fit in the frame. In the case of the 08, there was already the 0R and 010, and the 012, 508, 510 and 512 were to come. As was the case with the 65C, Vulcan simply put a false head on the top to increase the weight needed to keep the hammer in place due to the increased pressure. The result was the 85C and the 100C. General arrangements are below.
The Vulcan 80C was the Super-Vulcan counterpart to the Warrington-Vulcan 08, and was one of the more successful differential-acting hammer sizes Vulcan produced.
Specifications are below.
Bulletin 70F Specifications
Bulletin 70D Specifications
Bulletin 70A Specifications
Some photos, job and shop, are shown below.
Vulcan 80C cable hammer, S/N GH-1070, taken 17 January 1979 at the Chattanooga plant. Vulcan was relatively late in the life of the product line in putting cables on the differential-acting hammers, and when it did the “pockets” (which you can see on either side of the cylinder just below the steam chest) made it impossible to jack the cables. Both Raymond and Pile Hammer Equipment had better methods of cabling the Super-Vulcan hammers.
Vulcan 80C hammer driving 55′ long 12″ concrete piles for the Bay Area Municipal Utilities District Sewage Treatment Plant in Oakland, California; H.F Lauritzen Company was the contractor. This is a good example of a fixed leader arrangement, which offers the best support for hammer and pile alike. This is especially important for concrete piles.
Some general arrangements, Chicago and Chattanooga, are shown below.
The 65C is the counterpart to the Warrington-Vulcan 06 hammer. Upsizing single-acting hammers is a fairly straightforward process as long as the frame is capable of withstanding the load. Doing the same thing with differential-acting hammers such as the 50C is an entirely different matter, as the 65C shows.
Specifications are on the general arrangement above and are also shown below.
Vulcan eventually addressed these issues with the 65CA; the ad for it from Onshore Tip 61 is shown below.
Vulcan 50C hammer, installing sheet piling, Chicago, 1974. Note the yellow Decelflo muffler on top of the hammer; this was one of the first uses of the exhaust muffler.
Vulcan 50C driving piles on a batter using swinging leaders, Hudson, OH. Swinging leaders are usually used to drive plumb piles, but in this case the leaders are stabbed in the ground so that the whole assembly can be leaned back. It’s done but requires considerable skill on the part of the contractor.
Vulcan 50C, driving sheet piling. Vulcan hammers weren’t known to be sheet pile specialists but, as these photos show, they got the job done anyway. As was the case before, an “offshore” type leader was used, where a stub leader was hung from a crane and lowered with the hammer. This is good when the pile is supported at the ground, either by a template or in this case other sheet piles.
A concept for the muffler: mount it directly on the back of the hammer, using a bracket integral to the hammer. A special cylinder head would transmit the air from the exhaust to the muffler. Unfortunately the Decelflo program didn’t get far enough for Vulcan to try this concept.
Vulcan 50C hammer with a two-cable arrangement and 26″ jaws, Chattanooga facility, 16 August 1968. The cable arrangement is similar to the one Vulcan adopted on the offshore hammers. Although it required the use of 26″ jaws, it was surely superior to the “pocket” cables Vulcan adopted about ten years later.
The general arrangements are interesting not just for the 30C but to explain features and variants in the Vulcan product line.
The bar head type 30C shows the way the cushion, driving accessory and top plate mate to the hammer.
The bar type head was easy to connect with the leaders, but did not allow for the mechanical advantage of the sheave. It fell out of favour with the onshore hammers, but came back (with its variant, the suspension head) to be standard with the offshore hammers.
The sheave type head, standard with Vulcan onshore hammers. Frequently, however, contractors will remove the sheave and lift the hammer with the sheave pin, negating the mechanical advantage of the sheave.
The #4, another one of the early Warrington-Vulcan hammers, was the smallest one designed and produced. It was referred to as the “Fish Stake” hammer, because, as Vulcan’s literature explained, it was “used for driving fish stakes for pond nets along the shore and in connection with sheeting cap, for small wooden sheeting.”
Specifications for this hammer are below.
It’s interesting to note that the #4 only had upper rubber bumpers; there were no rubber bumpers on the base. This arrangement was eventually incorporated into the very late Warrington-Vulcan hammers, especially the 5′ stroke hammers like the 506 and 512, in order to strengthen the base.
As was the case before valve liners, the shifting of the cylinder cores necessitated valve settings for each hammer. This was also true of the #4; an example of this for a contractor in Walkerville, Ontario is shown below. Walkerville was built as a “model town” around the Canadian Club whisky distillery. Given the propensity of the owning family for whisky, some return on the investment was appropriate.
“C.V.A.” is Campbell V. Adams, Vulcan’s engineer for many years and the designer of the Super-Vulcan hammers.