The Liverpool Albion says that two vessels of greater length, and of a more remarkable character than the Le"iathan, have been advancing to completion in Liverpool, without the general public being even cognizant of their existence. These vessels arc each seven hundred feet long. They have been constrncted by Messrs. Vernon Son, for the Oriental Inland Steam Company, and are intended for the navigation of the Indian rivers. The pnrpose of their peculiar features of construction is to enable a large cargo to be carried at a good rate of speed upon a light draft of water. The great rivers of India, though penetrating far into the interior, and though containing large volumes ofwater, are, never. theless, shallow during the dry season. The vessels navigating them must, therefore, float very light, and yet they must have displacement enough to carry a good cargo. They must have strength enough not to suffer injnry if they should get aground, and they must present such little resistance to the water as to be able to achieve a satisfactory ) rate of progress against the stream. All these ^requirements are admirably fulfilled in these vessels. Sprenkel& Basford's Oscillating Engine and Pump The successful combination of a feed pump, with an oscillating cylinder, in a compact and cheap form, has long been desired as an important addition to the oscillating steam engine. This has been done by J. G. Sprenkel and T. W. Basford, of Harrisonburg, Va., whose invention forms the subject of the accompanying illustrations. Fig. 1 is a perspective view of their engine, Fig. 2 is a transverse section through the trunnions, and Fig. 3 is a diagram illustrating the action of the pump. A is a hollow casting serving as a bed frame and condenser, the feed pipe from the pnmp to the boiler passing through it, so that it is surrounded on all sides by the escape steam from the exhaust port of the cylinder, which gives up its heat to the cold water. B is the cylinder mounted on hollow trunions that serve as valves and which rest in the boxes, C'. D is the steam pipe, and the steam passes from it into the trnnnion, d, Fig. 2, through the ports, c5 c1, and exerts its force on the piston ; then passing through the same side of the trunnion, which is divided into two parts by a vertical partition, e, it is exhausted through the lower ports, c2c6, into the condenser, A. The advantage of this partition is that while the steam is entering one half of the trunnion by the upper ports, the steam that gave the last stroke is being exhausted from its half of the trunnion by the lower ports, so that half of the trunnion will be ready to supply steam for the next stroke while the other is exhausting The fly wheel, G, seen in Fig. 1, with its axle, H, terminating in a crank, I, is supported in journal boxes, 0, on a frame attached to A. This crank, I, is pnt in motion by the piston rod, L, which is connected with it by means of gib and keys, J, and to a prolongation of the crank is attached by.the gib andkeys,K,the pump rod, M, working in the pump, N. Thisf pump may be cast in one piece with the cylinder, as represented, in our engravings, or it may be separated, as most convenient. E is the feed water pipe, and at every stroke of the pump piston water is drawn through it and through the pump trnnnion into the. pnmp chamber, and at the return stroke it is forced through the passage, I, Fig. 2, into the pipe communicating with the boiler. When it is unnecessary to pump water, the cock, F, Fig. 1 is opened, and the external air is pumped in and out, without in any way wearing out the pump or adding to the work of the engine. The diagram, Fig. 3, illustrates the motions of the pnmping parts ; b represents the circle described by the crank and end of the pump rod, which is represented by c; e is the trunnion box, with ports, d andj; a is the trunnion, with ports, f and g. In the position which the rod, c, is, in the diagram, it is forcing water through the lower port, g, of the trunnion, a, and through the port, j, of the box iuto the boiler, and it will be seen that all connection with the feed water pipe port or end, d, and the entrance port, f, is closed, but when the rod assumes the position indicated by dotted lines, then the water is drawn through d and finto the trunnion and pump, and cannot pass into the boiler feed pipe until the rod has assumed the required position in its stroke. It was patented Dec. 22, 1857, and further information can be obtained by addressing Messrs. Sprenkel Rice, Harrisonburg, Va.
This article was originally published with the title "Large Ships" in Scientific American 13, 44, 345 (July 1858)