UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE.
WILLIAM A. LIGHTHALL, OF ALBANY, NEW YORK. STEAM-ENGINE.
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
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.
WILLIAM A. LIGHTHALL.
Signed in the presence of
James T. Platt, Alex. Hamilton, Jr., Hamilton Morton.