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Posted (edited)

It is very easy to dish the Dapol crane, but before 1913 there were no luffing cranes and post that date, although the design clearly received a lot of favour, not all cranes were scrapped and replaced immediately.

 

Yorkshire,%20Hull,%20King%20George%20Doc

 

This is a hand coloured view of a black and white picture (used because it highlights better what is going on).  There is no sign of any luffing cranes on the right hand side of the dock, although the left hand side may have them.  There is no date given but I would guess post WW1.

 

yorkshire,%20hull,%20duke%20of%20clarenc

 

And here the body of the crane could well have been the basis for the Dapol model, although the base is rather more spindly.   The LYR took the D of C over in 1906 for Hull to Zeebrugge sailings (having previously been joint owned with the LNWR for sailings from Fleetwood) and she was scrapped in 1930, which gives a bracket for the date of the photo.

 

Edit to add:

The tricolour funnel suggests she is in LYR livery.  Likely dates are therefore 1906 - 1914 and 1919 - 1922.

Edited by Andy Hayter
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I wonder then if the operating methods were different, perhaps with more emphasis on slewing rather than luffing?

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This Flickr photo of Kyle of Lochalsh, which popped up in this thread suggests that level luffing wasn't universal, at least at small ports which couldn't justify a big Stothert & Pitt crane. Indeed, the crane at Kyle, whilst obviously not the same as the Airfix model, is sufficiently similar in type that the Airfix/Dapol offering would be quite acceptable on many of the freelance minor quaysides found on layouts.

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Posted (edited)
On 30/07/2019 at 11:22, Corbs said:

I wonder then if the operating methods were different, perhaps with more emphasis on slewing rather than luffing?

Though a skilled crane driver would probably have been able to keep the load fairly level by co-ordinated use of the hoisting and luffing drums you're probably right.

The big advantage of a passive level luffing system (Toplis or horsehead) was that, because the load remained level, luffing required very little effort if the jib was counterweighted. The luffing drum and its cable could then be replaced with a crank mechanism connected directly to the jib that could operate far more quickly and so speed up cargo handling (This is demonstrated by the description of  a five ton crane at Middlesborough Docks in which the hoist required a 55hp motor but only an 8 hp motor for luffing with 10hp for slewing and 15hp  for travelling) 

 

This description was from 1934 and does say that "the majority of jib cranes (in docks) are of the level luffing type, in which the load lifted by the crane is kept at a uniform height while it is being transferred from ship to shore or vice-versa" This was just twenty years after Toplis' patent was granted so they clearly took the dockside crane world very quickly, no doubt helped by Stothert & Pitt's willingness to licence the patent  (the 57 cranes ar Middlesborough were built by Cowans Sheldon)

 

The alternative as you say, was to hoist the load to a height where it was clear of obstructions then swing the jib round to move it horizontally. I think that's how ship's own dericks generally worked, with a boom rather than a jib, as controlling a couple of winches on a ship's deck would be harder to coordinate than  driving a crane from a cab.

 

Thinking about it this may explain something I've been curious about. The Toplis rigging is actually pretty simple so I've  been wondering why it wasn't well known to sailors for generations . I'm not convinced it wasn't,  but if the normal method of using booms and derricks was to hoist swing and lower it wouldn't have been of such benefit and running a rope round three wooden sheave blocks  would likely have increased friction  a lot more than with a wire cable and comparatively large pulley wheels.

 

Andy's pictures of KG dock in Hull are interesting and I've looked at a few other of the same location. The cranes aren't level luffing but they do have counterweighted jibs so may be examples of early electric cranes. I don't know when they were replaced by Toplis LL cranes but these have taken over by 1960 (and were from Stothert and Pitt)

 

It is true that plenty of dockside cranes were not level luffing. That really came into its own when electrification made for faster rates of loading and unloading for general cargo so probably not at a smaller port like Kyle (and that example does appear to be a steam crane) while bulk loads like coal or gravel didn't benefit so much. I was though always surprised at how ubiquitous S&Ps products were, even at many fairly minor docks.  

It's always been that I've not liked about about the Airfix model- a least when built straight out of the box. It presumably was a model of a real crane- or possibly elements from a couple- just a rather uncommon type that was neverthelss very distinctive.  That made a busy quayside with a couple of them look rather prototype for everything. It always seemed a bit like the same quayside being served by Clyde puffers a long way from the Clyde. It may be true that puffers, especially former VICs, could be found  elsewhere but they were unusual and there were far more typical, even ubiquitous, types of coasters small enough to fit alongside most model docksides.  

I think the Airfix/Dapol model could be the basis for a more convincingly typical dockside crane.

2027135447_townquaysouthamptondetail.jpg.51fab75cd3376e6798729daea7c2e110.jpg

I found this machine in an old postcard of Southampton's town quay and, from the positon and height of the pulley tower above the cabin, think it may well have used a Toplis level luffing rig in a much smaller travellling crane. I've not yet been able to find a better image of this but it does look interesting. 

 

Cranes have always fascinated Meccano modellers and the former Meccano Magazine has been digitised http://meccano.magazines.free.fr/index.htm

Just go into keyword search and search for luffing or toplis (crane produced hundreds of results) and a lot of designs for models, most from the 1930s including a very advanced model grab crane designed with help from Stothert and Pitt,  as well as contemporary descriptions of the real thing come up.

Edited by Pacific231G
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On 04/07/2019 at 07:41, Bernard Lamb said:

For a fairly small coaster what about Robin?

At 142' long it is rather larger than a Puffer but not so big as to be impractical.

Currently moored in the RVD but due to move to Trinity Buoy Wharf.

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_07/DSC_0082.JPG.af675b0c7b9db217f50d100da686812f.JPG

Here is another photo of Robin when it was in West India Dock in London -- along with two preserved S&P cranes

CIMG7470.JPG

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At the risk of upsetting the Anti-Puffer brigade on here (!) here's a photo of a model a friend has just completed. It's to be used on our club's O Gauge layout Invermire which is based somewhere in the north of Scotland in the 1970s/80s so hopefully we're not pushing the boat out too far!

IMG-20190805-WA0004.jpg

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May as well add my 4mm scale one. Mainly produced from card.

 

WP_20160316_07_18_03_Pro.jpg.85c8367fc542acd4896520d06b43b78f.jpg

 

 

WP_20160316_07_18_51_Pro.jpg.e35a57fa92146090d328188832f06486.jpg

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On 05/08/2019 at 16:28, mike knowles said:

At the risk of upsetting the Anti-Puffer brigade on here (!) here's a photo of a model a friend has just completed. It's to be used on our club's O Gauge layout Invermire which is based somewhere in the north of Scotland in the 1970s/80s so hopefully we're not pushing the boat out too far!

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_08/IMG-20190805-WA0004.jpg.cef1d23f55c6f6c9b8fd79dd5357bdf7.jpg

Very nice model, (as is Campaman's Bonnie Lass in 00) and I like the touch of the coal dust on the deck as I understand that to have formed a large part of the cargo actually carried by  Clyde puffers.

I can't speak for anyone else but I'm certainly not anti-puffer, The Maggie is my favourite Ealing comedy,  even more than The Titfield Thunderbolt, and I've long enjoyed Neil Munro's Para Handy tales.  It's just knowing that most of their work was taking cargo around small harbours and even onto open beaches in the Highlands and Islands that makes them seem a bit out of place when they turn up in almost every model port. I know they're small and ships, even fairly small ones like The Robin, are rather large for many layouts, even in 4mm scale.   However, even a small increase in size, to maybe a hundred feet, opens up a plethora of small coasters. 

1863854423_SSTuncurry.jpg.ff1095c324f3f23563b0b0b84d783bab.jpg

The SS Tuncurry was actually an Australian coaster and sank in 1916 (though the whole crew including the ship's cat got away safely in the lifeboat)  and was about 100ft long. but the Foy of Fowey, seen here unloading coal at Pentewan,  looks comparable though she appears to have  a long raised quarterdeck. 

Coastal_steamer_Foy_of_Fowey_unloading_coal_at_Pentewan_into_Pentewan_Railway.jpg.ce311a9b497586927821e77024b8b20f.jpg

 

 

 

 

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In that last picture, has one of the derricks been braced to something on the land (rope top right of photo)?

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8 hours ago, Corbs said:

In that last picture, has one of the derricks been braced to something on the land (rope top right of photo)?

It looks like it but I've no idea why. I'm not sure if that part of Pentewan harbour was locked or tidal so, If it's tidal could it be to stop the ship from rolling to starboard at low tide?  the harbour wall would presumably stop it from rolling to port. I'm sure a small coaster like that would be perfectly capable of sitting on the ground without harm but, if the harbour ground isn't flat it might need steadying. That's pure speculation of course- my layman's knowledge of seamanship doesn't extend that far.

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Isn’t it that the derrick is unloading coal from the wagon (see basket askew in wagon) which I think is attached to the pulley, and thence to someone out of picture to the right on dry land who is controlling the swinging of the basket presumably to the ship? 

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Posted (edited)

For reasons many, varied, and deeply tedious to recount I'm looking at this on a smashed and paint-spattered phone screen so it's very hard to see exactly what's going on*, but to my eye it looks like the line has been run ashore simply to position the block directly above the tracks. 

 

Load hooked on to the working end of the whip*, held inboard during the hoist out of the hold, heavy load is eased out over the tracks, lowered, load unhooked, light load is hauled back in as it's lowed back into the hold. The weight of the load does all the work of getting it out over the dock, making it quicker easier (and safer) work for man and machine.

 

Cheers,

 

Schooner

 

*It's busier than need be around that block, and I simply can't see what's rigged how. Not that it particularly matters but tomorrow I'll have a look through a better medium to confirm what I think is going on is the case :) 

Edited by Schooner
Quite why their derrick can't just to its job and be lowered to achieve the same effect I'm not sure...
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Posted (edited)
On 29/07/2019 at 16:19, Corbs said:

Thanks David, I have added some more info to the above clip about the steam crane's use in WW2.

 

As I understand it, the practice of using lighters alongside the ship for dual loading/unloading used to be the norm in Britain, seems it fell out of favour from the 1960s.

This is a rather good film about the port of Hull in 1963, free to watch on the BFI website.

https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-the-port-of-hull-1963-online

 

Hull featured grain suction unloading, from both shore and mounted on barges, Bristol had the same I believe.

Thanks for the link Corbs.  I've just been watching the BFI film about Hull from 1963. It must have been  almost the last flowering of such traditional cargo handling before the arrival of RoRo and containers killed most of it off and, needless to say, absolutely full of Toplis level luffing cranes (by no means all Stothert and Pitt)

What I also found particularly interesting was seeing large number of cars being loaded by crane into the holds of ships  and even more so, the use of large numbers of open railway wagons internally to move cargo around inside the port. I think this may though have been a particular feature of the port's handling of timber. 

 

Sadly, little of it lasted. I was on a ship in King George dock just five or six years after this film and what I remember is that the railways within the dock were seeing relatively little use by then. I don't think I saw a single train move in the several days we were berthed there  but the apparently newly developed quays (I hadn't known that at the time) were not exactly full of ships either. 

Edited by Pacific231G

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Apologies, I was wrong above:

Coastal_steamer_Foy_of_Fowey_unloading_coal_at_Pentewan_into_Pentewan_Railway.jpg.ce311a9b497586927821e77024b8b20f.jpg.66970cfb2015cbde3d95e029e215c209.jpg

 

There are two other photos of Foy at the same docking here and here, but without buying the print the quality is too poor to be helpful. Why she's got jury-extended derricks, had the fore port guy mucked about with, got strops hanging off the cargo purchase hooks etc etc etc I don't know...

 

To bring us back on topic, here she is again....in a photo it seems I can't attach LINK

 

Cheers :)

 

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Schooner said:

Apologies, I was wrong above:

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_08/Coastal_steamer_Foy_of_Fowey_unloading_coal_at_Pentewan_into_Pentewan_Railway.jpg.ce311a9b497586927821e77024b8b20f.jpg.66970cfb2015cbde3d95e029e215c209.jpg

 

There are two other photos of Foy at the same docking here and here, but without buying the print the quality is too poor to be helpful. Why she's got jury-extended derricks, had the fore port guy mucked about with, got strops hanging off the cargo purchase hooks etc etc etc I don't know...

 

To bring us back on topic, here she is again....in a photo it seems I can't attach LINK

 

Cheers :)

 

Don't worry we're well on topic !:)

 

I very much doubt whether Archive Images own the rights to any of these photos and they're not the only ones flogging copies. This version is clearer and it looks like the line you identify as the Fore port guy is not rigged ashore though these two photos were clearly taken close together in time. 

https://www.ebay.ie/itm/CO-402-Discharging-Coal-At-Pentewan-Fowey-Cornwall-6x4-Photo/283570022818?hash=item42061729a2:g:zNEAAOSwvc1ZaNMl

 

To answer your earlier point, The crowds-ship's crew or others- are there because the photo is being taken. If you look at the photo of Foy taken from astern, the same people are now all crowded around the stern 

Edited by Pacific231G

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Pacific231G said:

Don't worry we're well on topic !:)

 

I very much doubt whether Archive Images own the rights to any of these photos and they're not the only ones flogging copies. This version is clearer and it looks like the line you identify as the Fore port guy is not rigged ashore

 

It is rigged. Start at the white sign on the left of the image, the line passes in front of that and goes back to the ship

 

The sheave (?) for the lifting system is just above the red W of the text

 

Richard

Edited by RLWP
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21 minutes ago, RLWP said:

Start at the white sign on the left of the image, the line passes in front of that and goes back to the ship

s-l1600WIP.jpg.png.37bcd1ef47ab65ac62a13f74897cf6d9.png

Sorry about the quality, as before I'm only really doing it quickly for myself to try to work out what's going where but thought I might as well share :)

 

8 hours ago, Pacific231G said:

...The crowds-ship's crew or others...

Looks like a docker or two and a lot of kids off school! But by "busy" in my post above I was actually referring to:

1665894659_Annotation2019-08-09092218.png.255ca8d72f2ca14a77b5c0819637cb0f.png1792144613_Annotation2019-08-09090149.png.54bcc0e4790a258117ab491ac173b654.png2142188678_Annotation2019-08-09092218-Copy.png.63d15b30efe8f0776c45c89a6c4511c4.png

Lots of unnecessary stuff going on, it's diverting to try to work out what and why :)

 

All in all an unusual set up - don't think I've ever seen spars lashed to derricks to extend the head like that, and I'm struggling to think of a reason why the time and effort would've been expended.*

 

Cheers all,

 

Schooner

 

*Yes yes, other than the derricks being too short to reach over a quay and provide enough height to hoist...but where? What cargo? How often? It's a lot of fuss for a sub-optimal result...

 

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Posted (edited)

You're quite right Richard, it is rigged in the second photo. I couldn't make it out at first.

They must have found it worth doing, presumably to unload the coal - onto those coal piles which are just a bit too far from the ship- more quickly. I assumed it was some kind of rope run allowing the basket to be hoisted from the hold and then run out to the coal pile. If they got it right the fall of the guy should balance the hauling in of the line connecting the basket with the winch via a pulley so requiring little effort.

There is a suggestion that a steam coaster was unusual in Pentewan, hence all the people, though I suspect it was the presence of a photographer that was unusual and the perhaps weekly arrival of the coal aboard this or another steam coaster might have been a regular traffic. Most photos of Pentewan show it being served by saling vessels but the 1910 photos of the S.S. Foy are quite late in its history. I've no idea whether the Foy took on a return load of china clay after unloading its cargo of coal. 

 

I visited Pentewan in the early 1980s and it's a fascinating place. The 2ft 6in Pentewan Railway from St. Austell and its abandonment in early 1918 are fairly well documents but even people like Don Boreham, who visited it,  failed to realise that there was a second railway there and often misidentified remains of the later railway as traces of the original . The first time I was there, quite a lot of the track from that later NG railway was still in place including some portable track running down onto the beach just to the east of the harbour . The second railway brought sand from diggings just to the east of the harbour between the top of the beach and the caravan park to a small works on the quayside and from what I saw there may have also taken sand from the beach itself. There's a bit of track including a set of points still embedded on the eastern side of the harbour. I think the later railway may have been the same 30"  gauge and made us of some of the embedded track that hadn't been lifted when the Pentewan Railway itself closed. 

Edited by Pacific231G

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8 hours ago, Pacific231G said:

You're quite right Richard, it is rigged in the second photo. I couldn't make it out at first.

 

It took a while to spot it

 

Richard

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Foy with trains and cranes:

5867697021_63694475e2_b.jpg.2139795eccb4580c7f519222bb5d3724.jpg

Captioned 'Preston Dock c.1918' - I tried to post this before but couldn't for some reason. It's a nice and relevant picture, so I thought worth sharing :)

 

Things of note on the wet side of the dock edge are the flags (Armistice?), the man aloft on the trading ketch behind Foy, and the un-modified derricks (!). I suspect the bow line is lead around the bollard like that to keep her in close whilst transferring cargo (although there's plenty of breeze pinning her to the dock!) - the kind of detail that would really make a dockside layout.

 

Cheers,

 

Schooner

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Interesting crossing detail where the left hand crane rail crosses the railway track.

A bit of a bump for the crane.

 

Gordon

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Had a look at my friend Pat's project layout last night, thought this may be of interest.

 

The model ship was mostly scratchbuilt, the hull is from a 1/142 scale Revell Trawler kit. Longer than a 'Puffer', more of a coaster.

 

The travelling crane is 009 scale.

 

IMG_4021.JPG.6f4e4c8c0a923f1dee3afd6a4b763819.JPG

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Gordon A said:

Interesting crossing detail where the left hand crane rail crosses the railway track.

A bit of a bump for the crane.

 

Gordon

Or not!

Looking more closely there's a short section of crane rail that either slides or swings into position to give a continuous rail for the crane to travel over. A similar arrangement appears in other photos of these cranes and I've seen similar "pointwork" for double Abt rack on steeper rack railways where the rack has to be unbroken.  I'm pretty sure that portal cranes have to either have double flanged or double tyred wheels (running on inset rails)  as the portal isn't rigid enough to keep single flanged wheels on either side in gauge.

 

These cranes in Preston docks look to be using double flanged wheels but they are fascinating beasts. I thought at first that they were steam cranes but, looking more closely, I think they are electric but I've no idea what the tall central tower was for. The jibs appear to be mostly fixed (non-luffing) so possibly some kind of counterweight for  the hoist.   There are a lot more images of them on the Preston Digital Archives pages on flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/rpsmithbarney/   where there is an album, Preston Docks and the Ribble, with about 1000 photos of the docks ancient and modern. Some of the cranes seem to have been used until about 1960 on a couple of quays (china clay and timber I think) long after most had been replaced with "typical" Toplis Level Luffing Cranes.

 

Preston Dock actually had an incredible range of cranes. There is at least one small steam crane mounted on an apparently unpowered, four wheel flat wagon. There are several variants on the crane above. That one is unloading china clay from SS Foy into hand pushed tubs that ran on rails along the roof of the china clay shed to be dropped through roof hatches onto the appropriate grade pile. Others were built for heavier lifts such as tipping an entire railway wagon into a ship's hold. There were also a range of typical Toplis cranes including some modern Stothert and Pitt types looking a bit like H.G.Wells' Martians with tall tubular metal bases.

There clearly was a regular coastal trade between Preston and the small North Cornish ports such as Fowey and Pentewan with China Clay going to Lancashire for the paper mills (and china?) and ships returning with coal. Some of the coasters look larger than Foy but it and similar small ships would have been able to get into smaller ports like Pentewan.

Edited by Pacific231G
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Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, Corbs said:

Had a look at my friend Pat's project layout last night, thought this may be of interest.

 

The model ship was mostly scratchbuilt, the hull is from a 1/142 scale Revell Trawler kit. Longer than a 'Puffer', more of a coaster.

 

The travelling crane is 009 scale.

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_08/IMG_4021.JPG.6f4e4c8c0a923f1dee3afd6a4b763819.JPG

Thanks for posting this Corbs. It's an excellent model. Not much larger than a puffer but a far more generic small steam coaster suitable for almost any small port. Do you know if Pat modelled it on any particular vessel or just good observation of suitable types?

 

 

Edited by Pacific231G
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