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Author Topic: S.S Bessemer - aship ahead of its time.  (Read 603 times)

Brian60

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S.S Bessemer - aship ahead of its time.
« on: July 21, 2018, 08:13:31 AM »

I was given a book on Hull and the East Coast recently and I had never heard of this one!
Certainly Bessember whom the ship was named after was a designer ahead of his time. Forget the odd set up of paddle wheels, it had rudders at both ends and pointed bows at both ends, so it could enter and leave port without wasting time turning about - now how that idea caught on with the cross channel ferries!
The problem with the ship though was it was vastly underpowered which made manouvering at low speeds impossible and it had quite a few accidents. It main claim to fame though was the passenger saloon which was on a pivot using hydraulics to keep it level no matter what angle the ship rolled to. This came about because of the inventors penchant for seasickness if he even stood on a ships pier! Because of the numerous accidents it had the saloon was never even demonstrated in use and was permanently fixed.
The  ship because of its disastrous handling capability was eventually sold to new owners who insisted as part of the sale, that the ship was cut in half and a proper stern added to each half, effectively giving him two ships for the price of one  :} Now what a model this would make!

KitS

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Re: S.S Bessemer - aship ahead of its time.
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2018, 09:45:11 AM »

A ship with a tilt system????  :-)

I find that VERY interesting as I was the Tilt System Development Engineer on BR's APT project in the 70s, and that too was hydraulically powered.

Could you tell me the book's title please? I'd like to read more about that.
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Kit

Colin Bishop

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Re: S.S Bessemer - aship ahead of its time.
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2018, 10:45:50 AM »

The Bessemer is quite well documented as a failed experiment. It is difficult to understand how they thought that the stabilised saloon could ever work in practice given the technological limitations of the day and of course it was only stabilised in one direction to offset rolling whereas ships pitch and corkscrew in a seaway. During the 1930s various solutions were attempted to reduce rolling on ocean liners including anti rolling tanks and even massive gyroscopes (pics below), none of which were successful. It was not until after WW2 that movable stabilisers were introduced that could respond dynamically to heeling forces as they occurred.

I don't think there are any double ended cross channel ferries in service although some of them look that way! There have been some experiments around the world but with larger vessels you need a bridge at each end which entails expensive duplication of navigational controls. There are lot of double ended smaller vessels which have a central bridge and so only one navigation position is needed. A largish example is Wightlink's St Clare but I believe there are line of sight issues when berthing and the new Wightlink ferry Victoria of Wight, due to enter service next month has reverted to being single ended.

These days, for many routes, double ending isn't necessary as the ships are propelled by Voith units or or directional thrusters and can spin round in their own length in no time at all.
Colin
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Brian60

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Re: S.S Bessemer - aship ahead of its time.
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2018, 11:45:16 AM »

A ship with a tilt system????  :-)

I find that VERY interesting as I was the Tilt System Development Engineer on BR's APT project in the 70s, and that too was hydraulically powered.

Could you tell me the book's title please? I'd like to read more about that.
The book is called 'essence of the yorkshire coast' by malcolm barker, but the article is only 2 pages in length, really not paying 15.99 for two pages of reading! There are some articles about it on google, including a wiki page as well.

KitS

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Re: S.S Bessemer - aship ahead of its time.
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2018, 12:07:20 PM »

Thanks for that Brian60, I may get the book through my local library.

I found the Wiki pages and lots of cross sectional pics of the Bessemer too. Bizarrely the 'tilt sensor' for the system was the helmsman watching a spirit level!

Somehow I don't think that'd match the 9 deg/sec tilt rate that we managed for the APT.  :-)
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Kit

Hotglove

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Re: S.S Bessemer - aship ahead of its time.
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2018, 09:37:12 AM »

I read many years ago that the Victorians tried various gymbal suspension systems, but that a major problem was that the view from the suspended saloon of the rest of the ship rolling and pitching exaggerated the very thing they were trying to fix.
Not sure if this was true, but an entertaining thought. :-)
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Jonty

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Re: S.S Bessemer - aship ahead of its time.
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2018, 10:06:41 AM »

 From a hand-written note in my copy of Freak Ships (1936) by Stanley Rogers:
When the Bessemer was broken up the saloon was removed and set up adjoining the residence of Sir E. Reed, the naval architect who had worked with Bessemer on the design, at Hextable, Kent. The house was subsequently taken over as a horticultural college and damaged by enemy action in the 1939-45 war. Now (1950), it and the saloon are being demolished.
 
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Re: S.S Bessemer - aship ahead of its time.
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2019, 08:52:33 PM »

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