Engineer.ln'chief Geo. W . Melville, in his annual report for 1895. recommends that the sl1m of $300,000 be spent in providing the cruiser Atlanta with new mil chinery andaltering her.from a single toatwin-screw comship. According to Hrassey's Naval Annual, the Atlanta is a st,eel cruiser of 3,189 tons displaceqIent and 16'00 knots speed. She carries two 8 inch gun!;!, six 6 inch, two 6 pounder quick-fire guns, two 3 pounder quick fire guns, and eight smaller quick-fire guns. It seems that, though her present engines are of an obsolete type, the hull is "an excellent one, and wen worth new machinery." With machinery of 5,400 horse power (her present horse power is 3,511). of the same type as that in the lIewly constructed Marble head, the report states that we should" then possess a cruiser equal to any of her class afioat." The new machinery would weigh 142 tons less than the old; it would enable the ship to carry more coal; and it would give her 2 knots higher speed, equivalent to between 18 and 19 knots an hour. The S/l.me changes are recommended for the Boston, a sister sbip. The Chicago is at present being r60 reengined. In these days of high speed cruisers, the above ad- authordition of 2 knots to the speed of these boats will practically add two new ships to our navy. The value of liqnid fuel for marine purposes is being determined by a series of t.ests on one of the torpedo boats of the Maine. It is recomml'nded that one of the gunboats building at Newport News be made use of to carry out these experiments on a larj!er scale. Naval. designers the world over have for some time past recognized the fact that if the use of liquid fuel can be rendered practicable in the navy, it will largely agreeincrease the radius of action of seagoing ships. To the United States the que??tion of the use of petroleum fuel is of double i'mportance. both on account of the ahundance of our supply of this combustible and even more on account of our paucity of coaling stations. The range of action of the modern warship is limited by her coal capacity and the distance of her field of operations from the nearest coaling station. A nation which possesses few of these must provide its ",hips with specially large bunker space, as in the case of the cruiser Columbia. Any device which Will i enlarge the fuel endurance of wa.rips will be specially valuable to the United States; and there is nothing in sight to-day which would so effectually do this as the substitution of oil for coal in marine boilers. Speaking of the use otwater tube boilers in the navy, Mr. Melville recognizes the necessity for a boiler lighter than the well known Scotch boiler; and while admit- ting that many types of the water tube systelll have proved successful on shore. he is of ,the opinion that "no single type has yet made its appearance which can be regarded as an altogether satisfactory sllbsti tute for the Scotch pattern." In view of the fact that the two cruisers Powerful and Terrible, of 14.000 tons displacement, now building for the English navy, are to be furnished with boilers of this type, the above statement by so distinguished an authority is significant. Mr. Melvi1le evidently con siders that for use in large sbips the water tube boiler is yet in the experimental stage; and his opinion is shared by many naval experts on the other side, who strenuously opposed their adoption in these two costly ships.
This article was originally published with the title "The United States Bureau of Steam Engineering"