Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Industrial relics? See what lurks in the undergrowth at Moira.

Somewhere in the dark recesses of every museum there lurk things of historical interest that never get put on display, generally because they need conservation work before being allowed to be seen by the public and there is insufficient interest or cash to ensure restoration.
At Moira Furnace we found such a Cinderella piece. On the offside of the canal, tucked behind an old shipping container and rapidly disappearing in the undergrowth, the first thing that caught our eye was

a large flywheel. A battle with brambles, cleavers and some decidedly tough grass and some more of what was obviously a piece of heavy duty machinery came in to view.

It clicked then that we were looking at the remains of a horizontal steam engine.

Taking it that the flywheel was on the far left as we looked at it we can go from left to right. Not sure what this piece was but to the right of it

was the remains of a speed regulator. At least I assume that is what it is, it looks similar to regulators I have seen on working engines.

Bearing on one end of a rod, the other end of which

disappears into a gland of some type. It was only when I transferred the pictures to the computer that I realised there was some wording cast into the face of it. Unfortunately I can only make out "Word" Packing Co.Ltd. "Word". A sad lack of observation on my part but, in my defence, I just thrust the camera into the gap and snapped the photo'. I don't think my fat head would have fitted into the gap.

The rest of the engine, which includes the valve gear, was too overgrown with brambles to get close but looked fairly complete. So where did it come from? It doesn't fit with the furnace, being of a much later design.
It looks similar to one now at The Blists Hill Museum at Ironbridge, it sits at the top of the coal mine there and is run regularly.

Not a wonderful picture of it  but it's one I took last year.
I presume then that the one in the undergrowth comes from one of the coal mines in the area. The museum at Moira was shut for the winter so there was no one to ask. Perhaps we'll never know, unless someone out there has some information?

Watch this space.............

1 comment:

Graham said...

The fact that it has a governor suggests that it was designed to run, unsupervised, at a constant speed so it was probably used to drive machinery. I doubt that it was associated with the Moira furnace because it is a much later engine than 1811.