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A Catechism of the Steam Engine by Bourne

Which expands it sideways until it fills the dovetail groove


_A._--The

materials for wheel tires are first swaged separately, and then welded together under the heavy hammer at the steel works; after which they are bent to the circle, welded, and turned to certain gauges. The tire is now heated to redness in a circular furnace; during the time it is getting hot, the iron wheel, turned to the right diameter, is bolted down upon a face plate or surface; the tire expands with the heat, and when at a cherry red, it is dropped over the wheel, for which it was previously too small, and it is also hastily bolted down to the surface plate; the whole mass is then quickly immersed by a swing crane in a tank of water five feet deep, and hauled up and down till nearly cold; the tires are not afterward tempered. The tire is attached to the rim with rivets having countersunk heads, and the wheel is then fixed on its axle.

530. _Q._--Is it necessary to have the whole tire of steel?

_A._--It is not indispensable that the whole tire should be of steel; but a dovetail groove, turned out of the tire at the place where it bears most on the rail, and fitted with a band of steel, will suffice. This band may be put in in pieces, and the expedient appears to be the best way of repairing a worn tire; but particular care must be taken to attach these pieces very securely to the tire by rivets, else in the rapid revolution of the wheel the steel may be thrown out by the centrifugal force. In aid of such

attachment the steel, after being introduced, is well hammered, which expands it sideways until it fills the dovetail groove.

531. _Q._--Is any arrangement adopted to facilitate the passage of the locomotive round curves?

_A._--The tire is turned somewhat conical, to facilitate the passage of the engine round curves--the diameter of the outer wheel being virtually increased by the centrifugal force of the engine, and that of the inner wheel being correspondingly diminished, whereby the curve is passed without the resistance which would otherwise arise from the inequality of the spaces passed over by wheels of the same diameter fixed upon the same axle. The rails, moreover, are not set quite upright, but are slightly inclined inward, in consequence of which the wheels must be either conical or slightly dished, to bear fairly upon the rails. One benefit of inclining the rails in this way, and coning the tires, is that the flange of the wheels is less liable to bear against the sides of the rail, and with the same view the flanges of all the wheels are made with large fillets in the corners. Wheels have been placed loose upon the axle, but they have less stability, and are not now much used. Nevertheless this plan appears to be a good one if properly worked out.

532. _Q._--Are any precautions taken to prevent engines from being thrown off the rails by obstructions left upon the line?

_A_.--In most engines a bar is strongly attached to the front of the carriage on each side, and projects perpendicularly downward to within a short distance of the rail, to clear away stones or other obstructions that might occasion accidents if the engine ran over them.


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