The Ross Winans Reconstruction

aving accumulated hundreds of hours constructing Jules Verne's Nautilus from a careful study of the novel's text and the submarine Hunley based on analysis of the photographs and drawings that have been released over the years, in 2006 I decided to apply the same techniques to the yacht Ross Winans.
     The information available is sometimes contradictory, but careful study should yield a reasonably accurate result.  This page will provide background notes as the reconstruction proceeds in the coming months. 

Test frame and layout

The Engineer articles42-44 provide by far the most comprehensive information on the yacht, but careful study shows some ambiguity and some missing details.  Fitting everything together has proven to be a trial and error process, with much rework required.
The three engines, looking forward The Winans left no plans, but I believe the patents capture details from the plans.  I am using patents 55516 and 57835, augmented by the description in The Engineer44, to reconstruct the engines and crankshaft.Animation, looking aft

The render at left shows the engines, looking forward.  The mounting frames, valve chests, and steam plumbing are not shown.  The shaft end on the right side actually supports the trim weight, pictured below.

The animation at right is looking aft.


The trim ballast engine, described in patent 57834 and The Engineer44, is located at the after end of the engine room.  This patent contains some of the strongest evidence that the patent drawings were made from the yacht plans.  Some drawing details are not referenced in the patent text but match Ross Winans descriptions in The Engineer.  The incomplete reconstruction here is looking aft into the main saloon area.  The watertight bulkhead is not shown. 

Ballast engine reconstruction

Patents 58744 and 31845 and the description in The Engineer42 led to the reconstructed rudderhead chambers at the extreme ends of the hull.

Rudderhead and end bulkhead
Rough study construction of the main saloon The description of the main saloon in The Engineer43 appeared complete until I read the Holland & Sons daybook records78 of the yacht's furnishings.  The daybooks list furnishings for "ladies' berths" that are mentioned nowhere in The Engineer.  The Illustrated London News36 article does place these berths along the sides of the saloon.  George Dodd in Railways, Steamers and Telegraphs87, published in 1867, gives the most telling description of the saloon: “literally a tunnel, 25 ft long; and the smaller sitting-rooms and sleeping berths are packed into curious nooks and curved recesses”.  What at first seemed a large room suddenly became a challenge as illustrated by the rough study rendering at left.

This is a work-in-progress.  Check back soon for more.

(Source references are in the bibliography on the main cigar ships page.)

Comments and questions are welcome. E-mail me.

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This page and its content © Copyright 2007 Michael & Karen Crisafulli. 
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16 Apr 07