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Construction and Launch of the Campania - Part III - 1893 Cunard Passenger's Log Book

The page covers the following topics on the Construction and Launch of the Cunard Campania: Reversing Engine, Boilers, Electric Lighting, Navigating Appliances, Captain's Bridge, Compasses

The Reversing Engine

The Reversing Engine is of the oscillating type, the lower steam cylinder being attached to the column of the main engines, while the piston rod is attached at its upper end to the weight shaft lever, which actuates the reversing links. The governor consists of a simple lever, which moves vertically with the main engines, and in which is mounted a weight supported by a spring so set that at normal speed little movement takes place.

The reversing lever is attached to the end of a lever, its other end embracing and working the starting engine valve gear The last named lever works in a fixed fulcrum, while its other end is engaged with a steam piston and rod, working in a steam cylinder fitted in a three-way cock, so set, that a constant pressure is exerted on the top of the piston when the marine engines are working at a safe speed.

Just above this lever is arranged the governor lever already mentioned, which derives a reciprocating motion from the marine engine to the extent of 2 inches, and which can be conveniently connected by a rod to the indicator gear, or other reciprocating part. This governor lever works on a fixed fulcrum, and at its other extremity carries, as we have said, a small weight supported on a spiral spring in a box.

The weight is guided by a rod and collar, and has a groove at its lower part, into which one arm of a bell-crank lever gears, while the other arm is formed like a hook, and is ready on emergency to engage and move upwards the valve lever of the steam cylinder.

When the main engines are working at their normal speed in bad weather, the spring is so set that the weight (which moves at each stroke of the engines in virtue of its momentum) shall not cause the hooked arm of the bell-crank lever to approach too near the valve lever.

Should the main engines from any cause whatever exceed a safe limit, the weight, by an acceleration of speed, compresses the spring, causing the sharp hook to at once engage the valve lever. The result is that steam is admitted below the piston, exhausted from the top, lifting its end of the lever, and depressing the fulcrum of the reversing lever, which carrying with it the starting engine valve gear, turns steam on to the top of the piston of the starting engine, and so moves the links into, or somewhat past, mid-gear. By this device the motion of the main engines is arrested simultaneously in all the cylinders.

The Boilers

Boilers on the Campania

Boilers on the Campania

The illustration of the boilers afford some indication of the steam-producing power provided for the Campania.

There are 12 large boilers, and 2 others for auxiliary purposes. The total number of furnaces is 102. The 12 main boilers are double ended, 18 ft. in diameter, and 17 ft. long.

The boilers are fitted longitudinally, three in a row, and are placed in two groups, in two water-tight compartments, separated from each other by a large coal bunker, occupying the full width of the ship, and 65 feet of its length. The total coal carrying capacity of the bunkers is so great, that the vessel will, when employed as an armed cruiser, be able to keep the sea for long periods, and be the more efficient for patrol duty. Her main boilers, it may be remarked, are the largest yet made for the pressure -- 165 lbs., and some of the plates measured 20 feet long by 7 feet broad, the thickness being inches. Safety valves are fitted to each boiler.

For each set of boilers there is a funnel, which has a double casing ; the inside diameter exceeds 19 feet, while the top is 13o feet from the bottom of the ship.

In view of the space occupied by the boiler spaces and coal bunkers, the funnels are a great distance apart, about 130 feet. The feed arrangements have been most carefully worked out, and, as in all other parts of the machinery, everything is in duplicate, to provide against contingencies. It is one of the most complete installations yet placed in any vessel, comprising as it does, feed heater, main feed, auxiliary feed, ballast, and general service pumps, and also evaporators.

There are 4 evaporators capable of producing 30 tons of fresh water per day. The engines and boilers were all fitted in position on board by the end of the second week in December, 1892, and the engines were turned under their own steam on the 26th of that month, or 15 weeks after the vessel was launched.


First Style of Electric Light on the Promenade Deck

First Style of Electric Light on the Promenade Deck

The electric lighting installation has been carried out by Messrs. Siemens Bros. & Co., Ltd., London. The generating plant is in duplicate, so that in no case can there be an entire collapse, two sets being placed each side of the centreline watertight bulkhead.

There are about 1350 lights, and these require an output on the part of the dynamos of 42,000 watts. The current is distributed throughout the ship by about 50 miles of wire, thickly insulated in vulcanised india-rubber, and laid on the return conductor system.

The brilliancy of the illumination, and the ease with which it can be regulated, are in marked contrast to the candles, and oil lamps, of a few years ago. Then, apart altogether from the immunity from accident, there is less room required, and the immense improvement in the atmosphere, due to the absence of The whole lamps would give a light equal to about 22,000 candles, absorbing 135 horse power.

Second Style of Electric Light on the Promenade Deck

Second Style of Electric Light on the Promenade Deck

In mounting the various lights in the ship, the general principle has been adopted of placing the lamp where it will not be inconvenient, but will afford the most diffused light. All the engine and boiler room fittings, and those for exposed parts, are water-tight, the glass globes bedding in rubber rings, and held in position by metal straps. The reflectors for the hatchways, each with eight 16 candle power lamps, have flexible wires, and may be hung up in any convenient position. It is easy to conceive that on a calm evening the broad expanse of beautifully laid and well kept deck, may occasionally become the scene of a brilliantly lighted ball.


Dynamo and Engine

Dynamo and Engine

The electric current is generated by four dynamos, each driven by a separate engine by Messrs. G. E. Belliss & Co., Birmingham, any two of them being equal to running the 1350 16-candle power lamps in the ship, as well as the large reflectors, and the search light. In addition to the electric light the vessel is fitted up with an elaborate installation of electric bells, comprising 13 bell indicators, with an aggregate of 370 transmitters, the power being supplied by Siemens' dry batteries. The motor for the barber's shop is driven from the electric light mains.


Crow's Nest

Crow's Nest

The great speed to be attained by the " Campania," and the necessity, therefore, of having the ship under full control, under all circumstances, have been fully recognised.

The look-out is perched in the crow's nest, on the foremast. It has been placed sufficiently high to allow the look-out to get in from the ratlings, which are much more convenient than the usual small ladder fitted close up against the mast.

The crow's nest is about too feet from the water level, so that there is a splendid command of the horizon ; indeed, the look-outman can see all round within a radius of 15 nautical miles, if the atmospheric conditions are favourable.

Deck View with Navigating Appliances

Deck View with Navigating Appliances

As the fog frequently extends relatively but a few feet above the water surface, it will sometimes occur that he may see the masts and sails, or funnels and smoke, of approaching vessels, even when the hull is obscured. Notwithstanding his great height he is within hailing distance of the steamer's bridge.

The Captains Bridge

The captain's bridge has been built of great strength, immediately before the forward funnel, so that it is as far aft as practicable, and therefore clear of the heavy seas which break on board in the season of hurricanes.

Telegraphs & Wheel House on Captain's Bridge

Telegraphs & Wheel House on Captain's Bridge

The framework is entirely of steel, and has upon it only a small house for the shelter of the seaman at the telemotor operating the steering gear at the after end of the ship, while a small compartment of the same erection serves as a working chart room. It is not much larger than a sentry-box, but it is built with the strength, although not exactly with the solidity, of a conning tower. On the bridge is a double set of instruments for directing the complete staff forming the watch, a telegraph for communicating with both engine rooms, and for replies to signify compliance with orders.

Waste Steam Pipe and Whistle

Waste Steam Pipe and Whistle

The steersman in the tower has the telemotor at hand for moving, by hydraulic power, the heavy steam tiller gear aft under the water lines ; but lest this connecting gear should get out of order, there is a telegraph communicating direct with the steering house below. There are also telegraphs to the deck machinery, warping capstans, windlass, &c., so that when the ship is being moved the attendants are under the direct control of the commander on the bridge.


All the Compasses on board are by Lord Kelvin, and have been constructed with all the care and precision which marks the work of his lordship's constructive establishment. The standard compass is placed amidships between the two funnels. In addition to the main bridge, there is a supplementary bridge aft above the poop deck houses, from which, in the event of any serious accident to the fore bridge, the ship can be navigated with almost equal convenience.

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