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Roger Pellett

NRG Member
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About Roger Pellett

  • Birthday 06/04/1943

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Duluth, MN
  • Interests
    Naval Architect, Scratch Modeler and maritime history researcher. Current modeling interest- Great Lakes Steamship Benjamin Noble
    Nautical ResearchvGuild Member
    Author: Whaleback Ships and the American Steel Barge Company published by Wayne State University Press

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  1. Tire Technology: I grew up in Akron, Ohio, “The Rubber City.” Almost everyone that I knew had fathers who either worked for one of the four Rubber Companies headquartered there (Goodyear, Firestone, BF Goodrich, and General) or one of the companies that manufactured tire moulds. My father worked for BF Goodrich. The original pneumatic tires that succeeded the solid variety were bias ply and used inner tubes. These were susceptible to catastrophic failure called blowouts. A perk from our fathers’ employment was the availability of inner tubes for swimming, resulting in a certain amount of “My tube is bigger than yours.” Some kids had truck and even heavy equipment tires. A friend of mine even had a wire frame with rudder and a sail that fitted over his. The tubeless tire, a tire without inner tube, was developed by BF Goodrich. The development was lead by a man named William Perdreau who lived on the next street over. The tire was marketed in the 1950’s as a safer alternative to the tires with tubes as they were designed to deflate instead of blowout. These tubeless tires were still bias ply. The radial ply tire came from overseas, I believe Michelin, and was originally marketed as a high performance premium tire. In the early 1970’s I was still buying bias ply tires every 10,000 miles for my Ford Maverick. By the late 1970’s the tubeless radial ply tire with an expected life of 40,000 miles had disrupted the industry. Goodyear is the The only Akron based American Independent Major Rubber Company left today. Firestone is part of Japanese owned Bridgestone, and BF Goodrich is just a brand name on a tire manufactured and sold by someone else. Roger
  2. This is hard to explain but I also find rifflers to be useful for working on flat surfaces where there is a spot that needs to attending to but things nearby would be damaged by the end of a flat file. The bent shape of the riffler allows its action to be concentrated at a localized spot. Roger
  3. OC, Nice Work! This is picky, but I suspect that the snipers firing from the upper story windows would have sheathed their bayonets. There would have been no use for them and they would have added to the difficulty of handling these already long weapons in and out of the windows. Another thought. Since you have defenders armed with rifles, wouldn’t they have been the ones at the windows? Oops, I believe that these guys are riflemen. I assumed that all riflemen wore green jackets. Roger
  4. I wouldn’t put them in water. Instead, I’d wipe the planked hull down with a damp cloth to raise the grain, then sand. This is an old gunsmith’s trick; wetting wooden gunstocks and rubbing them down until the grain ceases to raise. Roger
  5. I don’t know what scale your model is being built to but keep this in mind. Copper sheathing was nailed not bolted, to the hull with flat head tacks. The flat head was necessary to spread out the load from the tack against the thin copper sheathing. The tack head had a diameter of about 1/2in. Now assume that your model is being built to a scale of 1:64. Someone viewing your model from a distance of 1ft would be equivalent to someone viewing the real thing at a distance of 64 feet. At 64 feet would you see the head of a 1/2in diameter flat head tack? Roger
  6. Chapter 7 Marine Engineering (Conclusion) Work continues to detail the hull halves. Hopefully by next Sunday I should have some pictures to show you. Meanwhile, I hope that you will indulge me with a little more Marine Engineering. First, two drawings of the indicator in my collection: The spring loaded piston is piped up to the engine cylinder and forces from steam pressure balanced by the spring compression pushes the cylinder up and down actuating the stylus pushing against the cylinder. A piece of paper has been wrapped around the cylinder. Different springs can be used to match anticipated steam pressure. Meanwhile the drum is rotated by the string connected via the wooden wheels to the piston rod of the engine. The resulting trace of steam pressure vs cylinder volume looks like this: Without going into the math, the horsepower output is proportional to the area within the diagram. The horizontal “steam line” on the diagram represents steam at inlet pressure entering the engine cylinder before the piston moving in the cylinder causes the valve to close. On the 1896 triple expansion engine aboard the SS Meteor Whaleback Museum Ship there are handwheels on the valve train to adjust this “cutoff. This brings up a question. History is full of stories of steamboat races and emergencies where the captain demands more power from the engineers. The engineers often respond by stoking up the boilers and gagging the relief valves. Assuming that boiler capacity existed, why not just adjust the cutoff to admit more steam into the cylinder? Maybe, that’s what they did but gagging the relief valves makes for a better story. And finally, I’ll close out this chapter with a personal memoir. I arrived in Duluth from Marietta, Ohio in May of 1989 to accept a new job. When I arrived, the company was moving to a new shop and headquarters at the end of a slip in the Duluth Harbor. From my office, I could see the channel that ships used to get to and from the loading docks in the harbor. While finishing up one evening, I noticed an old “straight deck” lake freighter heading down the channel to pass under the lift bridge into the lake. I was able to drive to the ship canal leading out to the lake before the boat reached the bridge at the entrance to the canal. The ship was the Henry Steinbrenner and as she passed by, there stood a bagpiper on a hatch playing Amazing Grace. It should have been Auld Lang Syne because after unloading her cargo of grain at Buffalo, NY she went to the scrap yard. She was the last coal fired reciprocating straight deck ship operating on the Lakes. The other coal fired old timer still operating on the Lakes, the Irvin L. Clymer was scrapped two years later in Duluth. She was a self unloader. Truly the end of an Era. Today, I count just 5 steam powered American flagged ships active on the Lakes- all self unloading, oil fired, steam turbine driven. The Edward T. Ryerson, the last straight deck steam ship (steam turbine) was just drydocked at Fraser Shipyard across the bay from Duluth in Superior, WI after sitting idle for several years. Maybe she’s going back into service.
  7. A fascinating project. It would be interesting to build a second model representing the Collier Jupiter using the same kit supplied hull. I seem to remember that the plans were published in the Journal many years ago. Roger
  8. Your friend gave you a nice piece of equipment!
  9. I would suggest belaying pins rather than cleats as these can be easily removed when the boat is not rigged to sail. Murphy is alive and well at sea; especially aboard small boats. Someone fouling clothing or equipment on a cleat during a night cutting out action would need to be avoided. Roger
  10. I believe that it is necessary to differentiate between jibs set on a stay and those set flying. In the pictures posted above the sail is handed to a stay so the luff is controlled by the stay. Jibs set flying are different animals. While setting and lowering them when hauled out to the end of the bowsprit or jib boom there is no way to control this large bundle of canvas. Hauling it inboard where the crew can safely handle when lowering it and it and setting it in stops solves this control problem. Roger
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