The Power of Steam
Steam boilers are still important in today’s world. They are used to power items like laundry cleaning services, water heaters, and even whole-house heating systems. However, the boiler was never so important as during the industrial revolution and the invention and heavy use of steam-powered trains and boats. About 100 years ago, boiler manufacturers focused heavily on the invention of boilers for these two uses.
There were many reasons why people liked steam boilers better than coal-powered trains and boats. Steam power is cleaner that coal, and does not pollute the air with thick, dirty smog. Steam boilers were also easier to use, as the hot water was able to power trains and boats effectively and without problems.
The basic design for ancient steam boilers produced by old boiler manufacturers looked something like this:
In a steam engine, the firebox contained the fuel source for the water tank. Often this source was powered by wood, oil, or coal. Specialized tubes carry the heat from the firebox into the chamber with the water. These tubes and the entire boiler were insulated with some insulating material to keep the inside of the box hot and the outside cool.
Depending on the amount of heat produced by the firebox, the water chamber inside the boiler had different levels of pressure. One common problem with these older boilers is that they often overheated, creating too much pressure, which could cause the boiler to explode. Exploding boilers were extremely dangerous, and could injure or even kill the boiler operators.
The steam collected inside the water box was then pushed into the locomotive engine of the train or boat, causing the internal pistons of the engine to fire and move the train or boat. The steam was then released into the air to relieve the pressure inside the boiler to prevent explosions.