Electrokinetica The Electro-mechanical Museum

The Belliss and Morcom High-Speed Engine and Generator

The plant itself

Complete plant

Complete plant

ECC dynamo

ECC dynamo

This steam-engined generating set employs a Belliss and Morcom vertical twin compound engine. Sets of this design were used both on land and sea for all manner of duties, being capable of rapid start-up and long periods of unattended operation. The Belliss and Morcom high-speed enclosed design was the first to employ closed-circuit pressure lubrication to the main bearings and connecting rods, and in this regard was the pioneer of the modern lubrication system. Speed is regulated by a centrifugal governor controlling both the steam valve and the cutoff by means of a linkage to the piston valve. The engine drives a four-pole compound-wound 60-kilowatt dynamo built by the Electric Construction Company, rated to deliver 267 amperes at 225 volts when running at 600 revolutions per minute. The complete generating set is assembled on a single cast iron bed, thus dispensing with the need of an inner bearing on the dynamo and hence simplifying alignment of the main parts. A shunt field rheostat is provided for adjustment of the output voltage, along with a wheel-operated brush rocker. The plant is operational and was steamed by Steve and Lucien immediately prior to relocation into storage. It will benefit from attention to certain parts prior to recommissioning; the commutator requires skimming, the steam valve needs rebuilding and the gland packing is due for replacement

See Steve starting the engine up. As the cylinder block warms up the drain cocks are closed and the speed can be increased. Watch video: Warming up the Belliss

The boiler

Steam has previously been raised by a twin-drum watertube boiler obtained with the plant. This is comprehensively equipped with Saacke fully automatic water-level and pressure controls, Saacke oil-fired burner and Grundfos centrifugal feed pump. It is likely that extensive renovation will be required on the boiler before it can be submitted for inspection. We hope to make a thorough internal inspection soon; if the results are not promising it may be more satisfactory to transplant the controls and auxiliaries onto a sound boiler shell.

Adam dismantling boiler

Adam dismantling boiler

Edward fitting skates

Edward fitting skates

Steve detaching pipework

Steve detaching pipework

On the Move!

The combined weight of the engine and generator complete on its bed is approximately six tons. It was necessary to pull it out of its original location to within reach of the crane, a process which was at first hampered by the original concrete plinth and grouting. This was so tough and so well keyed into the iron channel section of the bed that even after it was successfully detached from the footings a further two hours were spent with a demolition breaker releasing the last of the concrete from inside. Only then could the plant be put on skates and winched out. Then the boiler required pulling out, another six tons or so. With all the bits and bobs plus the Firle place lighting set we put over twenty tons on the lorry that day.

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