Watch An Engine Order Telegraph In Action!

Paddle Steamer Waverley in action

I know! Quell your ardour!

But wait. This is genuinely impressive. It is, according to the YouTube video that Clive, our engineer, put me on to: ‘PS Waverley ringing double full astern after coming in too quickly at Tighnabruaich pier 24/05/15’.

PS stands for Paddle Steamer – Clive loves a paddle steamer – and the Waverley is a Scottish passenger vessel, built in 1947. Lately she was restored by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society – I would be highly surprised if Clive isn’t a member – to her original glory.

The reason for digging it out is that it shows an engine order telegraph – sadly only the engine room, wall-mounted version – in action.

We happen to sell an extremely fine selection of telegraphs, which we’ve collected over the years. Ours are the more eye-popping pillar-mounted bridge versions, that the captain operates, moving the handle around the face, from Full Astern via Half, Slow and Dead Slow to Full Ahead. This desired speed/direction is mirrored on the telegraph you see in the video and determines the engine speed.

Isn’t that engine beautiful? I’m going to have to pinch this off Wikipedia…

‘Waverley is powered by a three-crank diagonal triple-expansion marine steam engine built by Rankin & Blackmore, Engineers, Eagle Foundry, Greenock, Scotland.’ Its top speed is 21.14 mph.

You might be wondering: what’s that young chap doing, standing in front of the telegraph, apparently making notes?

He writes down every single change of engine speed/direction, off the telegraph, so that if there’s a cock-up, one party can say to the other: ‘Well you told me to go that fast!’

Here’s the vid. Enjoy.

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