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USMMA Operations Status: Normal

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USMMA Boilers Undergo Maintenance and Repair

As part of the ongoing maintenance efforts at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, the boilers located in Fulton Hall are being inspected and repaired. The work includes inspection of all systems, cleaning of both fire- and water-sides, repair of damaged or leaking tubes, and the cleaning and inspection of burner components, just to name a few.

The boilers in these pictures provide steam heat, mainly for academic buildings. They are Kewanee Classic III series Scotch package boilers, which have a three pass design and a rear combustion chamber that is completely surrounded by water, commonly called a “wetback” system. The three pass design refers to the number of times hot gases from the furnace pass through the water reservoir. As the hot gases pass through the tubes, they heat the water, then exhaust through our very tall, antique smokestack by the welding shop.

According to The Kewanee Boiler Company, which was founded in Kewanee, Illinois in 1868 by Valerius D. Anderson, (previously known as a manufacturer of steam pressure cookers), the company started producing boilers for buildings and home heating in the early 1870’s. In 1906, the company “introduced a smokeless boiler, which was a major breakthrough in the growing fight to reduce smoke and soot in cities. By the 1920’s, Kewanee was the largest manufacturer of heating boilers in the world. In WWII, Kewanee continued to produce not only locomotive and marine boilers, but also floating mines, net floats, and synthetic rubber tanks for the war effort.”

The Kewanee boilers at USMMA are horizontal fire-tube boilers, and are very similar to those used on most steam locomotives and in marine applications. Due to their widespread use aboard ships, they are known as “Scotch-marine” boilers.

Just like a vessel going to the shipyard for periodic maintenance and repair, the service to these boilers will ensure they are operational for many years to come. 

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