A table engine is a variety of stationary steam engine where the cylinder is placed on top of a table-shaped base, the legs of which stand on the baseplate which locates the crankshaft bearings. The piston rod protrudes from the top of the cylinder and has fixed to it a cross-head which runs in slides attached to, and rising from, the cylinder top. Long return rods connect the crosshead to the crankshaft, on which is fixed the flywheel.
This pattern of engine was first introduced by James Sadler at the Portsmouth Dockyard in 1798 and was house-built in that its framing was formed by the engine house, as had been common practice for beam engines.
Henry Maudslay patented an improved version of this a few years later, and other makers adopted the configuration.
It was supplied for low-speed, low-power applications around the first half of the nineteenth century. They continued to be made in a range of sizes, down to very small, with a bore and stroke of only a few inches.
The table engine was one of the first typeswhere the engine was constructed as an independent unit, rather than being house-built. This made the engines cheaper, and more importantly quicker, to erect on site. Entire engines could be built and tested at their factory before delivery. Engines could also be pre-built, then offered for sale from stock, rather than having to be designed and constructed for each site.
One reason for the continued use of a vertical cylinderwas the belief that with a horizontal cylinder, the weight of the piston within the cylinder would lead to uneven wear on the lower bore of the cylinder. This erroneous view was not dispelled until around 1830 and the increasing number of steam locomotives using horizontal cylinders without such wear problems.
13⁄4" bore × 3"
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A crankshaft is a rotating shaft which converts reciprocating motion of the pistons into rotational motion. Crankshafts are commonly used in internal combustion engines and consist of a series of cranks and crankpins to which the connecting rods are attached.
A piston is a component of reciprocating engines, reciprocating pumps, gas compressors and pneumatic cylinders, among other similar mechanisms. It is the moving component that is contained by a cylinder and is made gas-tight by piston rings. In an engine, its purpose is to transfer force from expanding gas in the cylinder to the crankshaft via a piston rod and/or connecting rod. In a pump, the function is reversed and force is transferred from the crankshaft to the piston for the purpose of compressing or ejecting the fluid in the cylinder. In some engines, the piston also acts as a valve by covering and uncovering ports in the cylinder.
A pumpjack is the overground drive for a reciprocating piston pump in an oil well.
A connecting rod, also called a con rod, is the part of a piston engine which connects the piston to the crankshaft. Together with the crank, the connecting rod converts the reciprocating motion of the piston into the rotation of the crankshaft. The connecting rod is required to transmit the compressive and tensile forces from the piston, and rotate at both ends.
Stationary steam engines are fixed steam engines used for pumping or driving mills and factories, and for power generation. They are distinct from locomotive engines used on railways, traction engines for heavy steam haulage on roads, steam cars, agricultural engines used for ploughing or threshing, marine engines, and the steam turbines used as the mechanism of power generation for most nuclear power plants.
In a piston engine, a piston rod joins a piston to the crosshead and thus to the connecting rod that drives the crankshaft or the driving wheels.
Engine balance refers to how the forces are balanced within an internal combustion engine or steam engine. The most commonly used terms are primary balance and secondary balance. Unbalanced forces within the engine can lead to vibrations.
A beam engine is a type of steam engine where a pivoted overhead beam is used to apply the force from a vertical piston to a vertical connecting rod. This configuration, with the engine directly driving a pump, was first used by Thomas Newcomen around 1705 to remove water from mines in Cornwall. The efficiency of the engines was improved by engineers including James Watt, who added a separate condenser; Jonathan Hornblower and Arthur Woolf, who compounded the cylinders; and William McNaught, who devised a method of compounding an existing engine. Beam engines were first used to pump water out of mines or into canals, but could be used to pump water to supplement the flow for a waterwheel powering a mill.
In a reciprocating engine, the dead centre is the position of a piston in which it is either farthest from, or nearest to, the crankshaft. The former is known as top dead centre (TDC) while the latter is known as bottom dead centre (BDC).
Daniel French (1770–1853), a "Yankee" inventor, was born in Berlin, Connecticut. From an early age French strove to become a "mechanician," an artisan trained in the theory of mechanics and skilled in the working of metals at increasing levels of precision. His friend Oliver Evans, an accomplished engineer, described French as an "original and ingenious inventor." French's most significant invention was the horizontally mounted, high-pressure, non-condensing, directly connected steam engine for mills, boats, etc. French was awarded a patent for his steam engine in 1809. This type of engine became standard on the western steamboat.
A marine steam engine is a steam engine that is used to power a ship or boat. This article deals mainly with marine steam engines of the reciprocating type, which were in use from the inception of the steamboat in the early 19th century to their last years of large-scale manufacture during World War II. Reciprocating steam engines were progressively replaced in marine applications during the 20th century by steam turbines and marine diesel engines.
A blowing engine is a large stationary steam engine or internal combustion engine directly coupled to air pumping cylinders. They deliver a very large quantity of air at a pressure lower than an air compressor, but greater than a centrifugal fan.
An oscillating cylinder steam engine is a simple steam-engine design that requires no valve gear. Instead the cylinder rocks, or oscillates, as the crank moves the piston, pivoting in the mounting trunnion so that ports in the cylinder line up with ports in a fixed port face alternately to direct steam into or out of the cylinder.
Grasshopper beam engines are beam engines that are pivoted at one end, rather than in the centre.
A house-built engine is a stationary steam engine that is built into an engine house, such that it uses the masonry of the engine house as an integral part of the support of the engine.
A return connecting rod, return piston rod or double piston rod engine or back-acting engine is a particular layout for a steam engine.
High-speed steam engines were one of the final developments of the stationary steam engine. They ran at a high speed, of several hundred rpm, which was needed by tasks such as electricity generation.
A steeple compound engine is a form of tandem compound steam engine that is constructed as an inverted vertical engine. Because of their great height, they became known as "steeple" engines.
The Willans engine or central valve engine was a high-speed stationary steam engine used mainly for electricity generation around the start of the 20th century.
Stuart Turner Ltd is a British engineering company, based in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England, founded by engineer Sidney Marmaduke Stuart Turner in 1906.