The Engines


The two engines at Ryhope are identical, apart from one being a mirror image of the other. They are described as double-acting, compound rotative beam engines. ‘Compound’ means that the engine has more than one cylinder; high pressure steam from the boiler enters the high pressure cylinder then passes via any intermediate cylinders to the low pressure cylinder, so as to get as much energy from the steam as possible – there are two stages in the Ryhope engines. ‘Double-acting’ means that steam acts alternately on the top then the bottom of the piston – in other words steam pushes the piston down, then pushes it up.

  • High pressure cylinder: 27½ inches diameter by 5 feet 4 inches stroke.
  • Low pressure cylinder: 45 inches diameter by 8 feet stroke.
  • Stop valve working pressure: 35 lbf/in².
  • HP cylinder inlet pressure: 30 lbf/in².
  • Condenser vacuum: 26 inches Hg.
  • Weight of beam: 22 tons.
  • Length of beam between pump rod centres: 33 feet.
  • Weight of flywheel: 18 tons.
  • Diameter of flywheel: 24 feet.
  • Design working speed: 10 strokes/minute.
  • Pump stroke: 10 feet 8 inches.
  • Delivery: 40,000 gallons/hour against 243 feet head.
  • Main well shaft: 15 feet diameter by 257 feet deep (approx).
  • Staple well shaft (elliptical): 14 feet major axis, 10 feet minor axis, by 140 feet deep (approx).
  • Coal consumption: 1¼ cwt/hour for steady steaming of one boiler
  • The engines were built by R & W Hawthorn of Newcastle at the cost of £9,000.