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Mechanical Engineering in Warships

Nature volume 60, pages 2021 | Download Citation



THE address delivered at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on Thursday last, by the President, Sir William H. White, K.C.B., F.R.S., was a valuable statement of the part which mechanical engineering has played in the growth of our shipbuilding industry and the development of our mercantile marine during the past forty years. Mechanical engineering has intimate relations with all other branches of engineering, but with none has it been more closely associated than with shipbuilding in recent times; and in his address Sir William White indicated the directions in which the construction and working of ships have been influenced by it. He showed how the development of mechanical appliances for the equipment and working of ships during the last forty years is no less remarkable than the advance in the machinery used for shipbuilding. Nearly all steamships are now fitted with mechanical steering gear, mostly steam, in some instances hydraulic, and in a few recent ships electrical. The same motive powers are now used for working anchors and cables in steamships. Artificial ventilation is now very largely employed in many classes of ships, and especially in warships; electric lighting is becoming the rule; mechanical power is universally employed for pumping purposes in steamships; remarkable progress has been made in appliances for lifting coal and cargoes; and refrigerating machinery has led to the development of a new branch of the shipping industry, as well as added to the health and comfort of all who travel by sea. The advances in these and other directions were sketched by Sir William White, but the limitations of space prevent the publication of his address in full. The last section dealt with mechanical engineering in warships, and is here reprinted.

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