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Specification of Letters Patent No. 696, dated April 14, 18838.

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, William A. Lighthall, of Albany, New York, 
have invented or discovered certain new and useful Improvements 
in Steam-Engines intended for propelling vessels, which combined 
improvements I designate as "Lighthall's improved horizontal and 
steam engine," and that I am desirous of obtaining a patent for 
the said improvements.

The following explanations refer to the drawings 1 and 2 
accompanying this specification A a the working beam, B, B, the 
connecting rod, C the crank, and end of the shaft, c c the crank, 
E E the piston rod and link to the lower end of the beam, F the 
yoke, G g the brace to support the yoke, H the connecting rod 
from the beam to the bell crank of the air pump, I the bell crank 
for working the air pump, J the connecting rod from the bell 
crank to the piston of the air pump, K K the air pump and 
reservoir, L L L the condenser, foot valve, and connection to the 
air pump, M the steam pipe, N the exhaust pipe to the condenser, 
O O the valve rods, P the eccentric wheel and rod, o the rock 
shaft for working the valves, R R the cut off valve, T T the 
keelson or keelsons, E e the piston rod, U the center of crank 
motion, X the center or fulcrum of the beam, Y the pin or journal 
of the connecting rod, 1, 2, the yoke, 3 the point of coupling 
with the connecting rod, 4 4 the cylinder.

The following being a description of the aforesaid improvements 
will be more clearly understood by referring to the drafts or 
drawings herewith submitted. To obviate many serious 
inconveniences and existing defects in the present form and 
disposition of the steam engines now in use, I have combined the 
leading characteristics of the beam engine, with those of the 
horizontal engine, in order to embrace the advantages of both and 
avoid the defects of either, and I accomplish this object in the 
following manner. I lay the cylinder (or cylinders if a double 
power be required) horizontally on or upon the keelson T T, and 
place the working beam A a at the proper distance in a vertical 
position, with its lower end a at such a height as to range with 
the piston rod E e in the same manner as when the working beam is 
horizontal and the cylinder erect. If the length of the working 
beam when thus vertically placed corresponds with the height of 
the shaft C and the center of crank motion then the arrangement 
is completed and the desired effect produced. But if the size of 
the wheel and other circumstances require the shaft to be placed 
lower than on a horizontal level with the upper end of the 
working beam, I then bend or incline the upper half or arm of the 
working beam to such an inclination or angle that a line drawn 
from the center or fulcrum X of the working beam, to that point 
where the central line of the connecting rod would intersect it 
shall be at right angles to a line drawn from the center of the 
shaft U to the said point of intersection and consequently to the 
center of crank motion; or in other words if a line be drawn from 
center U of the shaft, to the center of the pin or journal Y of 
the connecting rod in the working beam, then a line drawn from 
the center or fulcrum X of the beam, intersecting at right angles 
the former line will give, the requisite bend of the beam or the 
necessary deviation from its vertical and rectilinear direction, 
with sufficient accuracy for all practical purposes.

The proper bend or inclination of the working beam and the 
requisite length of "yoke" hereafter specified and the proper 
positional relation between the center of beam vibration and the 
center of crank motion, can be obtained by other methods or rules 
equally well known as that which I have adopted.

But as in this case considerable accuracy would be required to 
make the angle of the working beam to correspond exactly with the 
height of the shaft, and it may be necessary and even preferable 
to use a straight working beam already on hand. I then apply to 
the beam a "yoke" 1, 2 which is or may be the segment of a 
circle, of which the upper arm of the working beam X Y is the 
radius, and of such length as to remove the point 3 of its 
coupling with the connecting rod B so many degrees forward as it 
would otherwise be necessary to bend the working beam. This 
"yoke" may be attached to any working beam in a vertical position 
and will be the same in effect as though the working beam itself 
were bent to the angle required.

To secure the "yoke" in its place a strong brace G g is attached 
from the upper arm of the working beam, say about the center of 
its length to the forward end of the yoke near the point 3 of its 
coupling with the connecting rod which brace will give in all 
cases the necessary firmness. Thus it will be seen that the yoke 
is a substitute for the curved, bent or deflected beam, and the 
"yoke" as applied to the beam might be carried out to its full 
extent and thus the working beam would become a circle or wheel 
in which the greatest levity would be obtained with the greatest 

It will appear that by the improvement above specified, "the 
yoke" that the cylinder may in all cases be laid horizontally 
upon the keelson or keelsons placing it and all the other 
machinery so low that its weight instead of being as it now is a 
necessary and unavoidable incumbrance will act in a great measure 
as judiciously stowed ballast.

That in vessels of war or armed steamers all the essential and 
vital parts of the machinery will be completely protected from an 
enemy's fire, and that the acting enginer can perform his duty 
not only with safety but with that self possession which personal 
security could alone insure.

Should additional power be required, two cylinders similarly 
placed on opposite sides of the beam in line with each other 
might be worked upon the same beam, or one could be doing the 
work while the other was undergoing repairs, almost essential for 
vessels navigating the ocean.

In vessels calculated for shallow waters, by the application of 
the yoke or the bent working beam, any length of stroke may be 
obtained with the cylinder lying horizontally on the keelson 
without any loss of power, and with the cylinder thus firmly 
attached to the keelsons there will be less jar and of course 
less strain and injury to the vessels than when the cylinder is 
raised or supported on the deck beams or on a frame at a distance 
from the keelson.

The arrangements of the essential improvements having been 
described it is quite unnecessary to specify in detail the slight 
variations which might be required or deemed expedient to be made 
in the relative situation of its minor parts. Such changes may be 
made in a variety of ways and would naturally suggest themselves 
to an engineer or to any person at all skilled or acquainted with 
the subject upon inspecting or referring to the drawings herewith 

In this specification I claim as my original invention, discovery 
or improvement,

1. Working the beam vertically in combination with the horizontal 

2. The relative and combined disposition of the cylinder, the 
beam working vertically, with it and the crank, to wit, the 
cylinder lying horizontally on or upon the keelson or keelsons at 
right angles to the lower end of the working beam, while the 
upper end of said beam is in connection with and gives motion to 
the crank upon the shaft.

3. The curved or bent working beam, working vertically in 
combination with the horizontal cylinder in their relative and 
combined disposition as herein before intended to be described, 
and as shown in the drafts or drawings accompanying this 

4. To avoid bending the working beam in cases in which it is 
desired to place the shaft lower than on a horizontal level with 
the upper end of the working beam, I claim the yoke herein before 
specified in combination and connection with the vertical working 
beam, working vertically and also in combination with those 
combined disposition of parts, as set forth and described in the 
first and second foregoing claims.

All of which together with the drawings and models herewith 
presented is respectfully submitted.


Signed in the presence of

James T. Platt, Alex. Hamilton, Jr., Hamilton Morton.