Steam - The Energy Fluid
It is useful to introduce the topic of steam by considering its many uses and benefits, before entering an overview of the steam plant or any technical explanations. Steam has come a long way from its traditional associations with locomotives and the Industrial Revolution. Steam today is an integral and essential part of modern technology. Without it, our food, textile, chemical, medical, power, heating and transport industries could not exist or perform as they do.
Age and other railroad industry trade journals made abundantly clear, steam locomotive producers thought in terms of horsepower. If more power could be crammed into a single steam locomotive, then so much the better. Since railroad executives disliked the “doubleheading” of steam locomotives (because of communications difﬁculties, the need for two separate locomotive crews, etc.), they responded favorably to large, high-horsepower steam locomotives, even when those locomotives shook their physical plant to pieces.
It is difficult to claim to have an in-depth knowledge of a subject if such knowledge is restricted to the present and the recent past. Information and insights on a particular topic from the past can, in a well informed mind, be reprocessed and contribute to the topic in the present and, even more importantly, in the future. This is saying no more than Lewis Carroll’s maxim:
On the morning of October 6, 1829, there began at Rainhill, in England, a contest without parallel in either sport or industry. There were four entries: Braithwaite and Ericsson's Novelty. Timothy Hackworth's Sans-pareil. Stephenson and Booth's Rocket. Burstall's Perseverance.
.These were neither race-horses nor stagecoaches, but rival types of the newly invented steam locomotive. To win the £500 prize offered, the successful engine, if weighing six tons, must be able to draw a load of twenty tons at ten miles an hour, and to cover at least seventy miles a day.