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Ship's wheel by Brown Bros Co. Ltd Rosebank Ironworks, Édimbourg. beautiful ships steering wheel.
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Mahogany and brass steering wheel Brown's brothers Edinburgh. With eight spokes and brass ring embossed with Brown's Patent Telemotor & Steam Tiller". Rosebank Ironworks Edinburgh. Diameter 93 centimeter.
Most steamships of any size in the 20th Century had a system where the rudder is connected to a ‘steam tiller’ a reciprocating steam engine geared to the rudder post. The most common make of steam steering gear was made by Brown Brothers of Edinburgh. It was used on ships as large as Titanic. The steering engine or steam tiller was duplicated and either set could be engaged or disengaged according to requirements. In the case of the three Olympic Class ships the steering engines were built by Harland & Wolff themselves but Brown Brothers Telemotors were used.
The steam tiller was controlled hydraulically with a connection to the wheelhouse by piping and the steering wheel operated two pistons. With the wheel amidships hydraulic pressure was the same in both lines, on turning the wheel to Starboard pressure would be increased in the right hand line and decreased in the left. A censor in the steering flat would open a valve on the steering engine and apply steam until pressure was equalised in the system. If you turned the wheel till the pointer on front of the pedestal was at 5 degrees then the steam tiller would operate until pressure in the lines was equalised and 5 degrees of helm was on.
On Titanic there was also an electrically operated helm indicator which sensed the rudder position and relayed this to an indicator on the bridge. The steering wheels on Olympic, Titanic and Britannic were duplicated, the wheel in the forward part of the bridge was only used in port and was connected by shafting to the main Telemotor control and wheel which was in the wheelhouse. The forward wheel could be disconnected by a clutch, which could only be engaged or disengaged when the helm was midships. There was a steering wheel with Telemotor control in docking bridge this was only for emergency use. The Waverley Clyde paddle steamer uses Browns Steam Steering gear and Telemotor.
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