Saturday, July 11, 2009


Starting yet another project.   Although, they are all interconnected, literally.  The boiler house provides steam to the engine house, and most of the other structures.  The blast furnaces provide gas for the boilers and for various other furnaces and processes throughout the plant, the blowing engines provide the air blast for the blast furnace,...etc.   The HAER drawings for Sloss Furnace include a very good process diagram that outlines where everything goes.
  Although Walther's introduced a blowing engine house I wanted to go a different route based on my research and also because I felt the kit was a bit overpriced.  Engine houses come in all shapes and forms.   Unless I wanted to represent a more modern or a replacement facility, most of the buildings were brick.  Prior to the introduction of turbo blowers, a turbine type device, the air blast for the furnaces were created by engines - either horizontal or vertical.   The type of engine would usually dictate the building design, with a vertical engine taking up less space and thus more of a narrow vertical building as opposed to a wider one.  Bethlehem (Lehigh) with their horizontal engines, the building is very wide, still brick, but wide.    However, if you looks at the engine houses at Sloss, Bethlehem (Lackawanna), Central Furnaces,...etc.   the buildings are long narrow brick structures to house their vertical engines.  
 For my blowing engine house, I am using the prototypes at both Central Furnaces and Bethlehem Lackawanna, as the basis for my building.  At Central Furnaces the original engines were removed and the building retro fitted with turbo blowers.    In both cases, the piping all snakes out through the sides of the buildings making for a neat detail.  Also, in the Lackawanna case, there are structures for the air intakes which will also had an interesting feature.  
Originally I had through of using two Walthers Vulcan Manufacturing kits for the building.  The price, around $35 a kit was nice and the structure worked in the tight location I have for it, between B-Furnace and the Pig Casting Machine.  However, as is usually the case, by the time I get around to buying the kits, they are out of production once again.  Another Walthers kit that would work was the Power Plant/Gas Works structure - they are essentially the same except the gas plant has different end panels and also finer window castings.  The gas plant with its associated tankage was priced almost double the power plant at around $60.  This was too much to spend and I wasn't real happy with the power plant kit end panels or the windows.  Then, a few weeks ago, Walthers puts the gas plant on sale for almost half price - around $35 (makes you wonder how much these things are marked up originally)   The price is right finally,  plus Ill have all those tanks and piping left over for other things.  The kits came in this week and I picked them up last night and assembled the basic structure soon after.  I had to saw a bit off the ends of all of the long walls and modify the base a bit.  The picture shows things at this stage.

No comments: