The Steam Navy of England: Past, Present, and Future Harry Williams R.N. Author
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The issue of this edition gives me the opportunity of expressing my satisfaction with the effect former editions of the work have produced on professional public opinion. This is evidenced by the judicious, impartial, and searching criticism to which the book has been subjected by the Press of the United Kingdom. Inferen-tially, there is proof that most of the Reviewers were experts ; men with a large knowledge of the many subjects dealt with—subjects intimately and directly connected with the welfare and efficiency of the British Navy. And this materially enhances the value of the very favourable reception the book has met with from both the Home and Foreign Press.But there is other evidence cf a still more gratifying character, that this work has had an influence on the Naval Service. For instance : in all vessels fitted with the old type of boilers the excessive forced draught once used has been practically abandoned, and a moderate forced draught, represented by a half-inch air pressure, substituted, being about equivalent to a Strong natural draught. This change, which has been adopted, was recommended nearly three years ago in Part II.—Chapters I. and II.—of the First Edition of this book. The consequence is, that we very seldom, if ever, hear of the breakdown of the boilers of ships of the size of third-class cruisers and upwards, which, before the change was made, was a matter of almost daily occurrence.Further: In Part II.—Chapter III., Page 105—it is suggested that there are three special points which must be kept in view in the design and construction of all boilers intended to be worked safely under forced draught, with high air pressures. Here again, though less than three years have elapsed since this was first published, the great engineers of this and other countries have accepted the challenge, and the various types of water-tube boilers have been produced to meet the difficulties. So far as our Navy is concerned, these boilers have to be tested experimentally, and until this is done nothing positive can be stated about them ; but looking to the general design, and the provision made to arrange for the three, special points I have referred to, it is very probable tha.t these boilers will be successful in doing safely what is required of them. The suggestions with reference to the personnel of the Navy do not appear to' have much influenced our Naval Administrators, but we cannot expect the adoption of very drastic changes until they have been very thoughtfully considered. Also, it is natural that many of our old naval men should come to the consideration of this subject with minds full of prejudice against any-new system founded on the recognition of the fact that, so far as our warships are concerned, the old seamanship of masts and sails is dead. But I have the satisfaction of knowing that not a few of our most distinguished naval officers hold, on this subject, the same views as myself. Therefore, we must hope that the progress in this matter will be sure, even if it be slow.


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