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or finish, both are the same-of its stroke. Lead is given in order that steam may be admitted between the piston and the cylinder head, toward the completion of the stroke, as a means of cushioning the piston and thereby tempering the sudden reversion of its motion; the same effect is, however, more economically produced by closing the exhaust from the cylinder at an earlier period in the finish of the piston's stroke, thus making use of the confined dead steam in its
Fig. 1.—The Main Valve; showing admission and exhaust
ports, the cylinder and piston.
compressible resistance as a cushion; this earlier closing is spoken of as the “cut-off” of the exhaust.
Cut-off more commonly has reference to the closing of the port for admission of live steam to the cylinder
and the point in the travel of the valve at which the cut-off occurs is fixed by the position of the link in the link-block, as will be explained later—when we have taken up the action of the valve gear; this position of the gear is, in turn, determined by the notch of the quadrant in which the reverse lever is placed. Fig. I is a simple sketch illustrating the theory of the main valve of an engine.
But it doesn't make any difference what kind of a valve is used in connection with the Walschaert gear any more than it does with the Stephenson link motion, and the former may be substituted on any engine in place of the latter gear without making any change in the valve, or cylinders, or any part of the steamdistributing mechanism. But, although either inside admission or outside admission valves may be used with the Walschaert gear, as the user may prefer, a better all 'round design of this gear can be produced when an outside admission valve is specified.
There is a difference, though, in "setting-up” the Walschaert gear as between the valves of inside and outside admission; a difference only in the position of the eccentric in its relation to the main crank-pin, and the connections, as they must be made, between the radius rod and valve-stem, and the combination lever; these points, however, will be explained at the proper time.
Fig. 2 represents the idea of “direct motion” in the valve-actuating mechanism, and is the simplest form of the common steam engine, with fixed cut-offs and non-reversible, and it will be the engine in the
Direct Valve Motion
Fig. 2.—The Simplest Form of Steam
rough—the rough ashlar—that we are to develop, for, while this engine will run, and do very well under certain conditions, it is a wasteful power-producer and is limited to the last degree in the work expected of an engine: it can only turn its crank in one direction, and uses approximately as much steam each time that it turns that crank against a light load as it does when working against a heavier load. We are to supply those deficiencies noted, and bring it up to an equivalent of the engine that is on each side of a modern locomotive.
With any engine, the port opening for admission of steam to the cylinder must be one-fourth of the cycle of motion ahead of the piston. Therefore, if the connection from eccentric to valve is through a direct line of motion, as shown, without any levers interposed or "rocker-arms” to reverse the direction of movement, then, with the main-pin in the position as shown in Fig. 2, the eccentric must be located at E, one-fourth of the wheel's circle, or 90 degrees, ahead of the crank-pin-assuming the engine to be running forward—to the right.
But before going further it is best to explain how to take the expression, in hearing it said that an eccentric is “ahead” or “behind” the main crank-pin:
B Go Ahead
C Back up
Fig. 3.–Location of Stephenson Eccentrics on Axle, in
Relation to the Crank-Pin.
Fig. 3 is intended to represent the Stephenson link and eccentrics; any movement of the link-block A, gives a corresponding movement to the valve, so, if the link EE should be lowered, eccentric B would actuate the valve, and as this represents an "indirect motion" engine—that is, whichever way the link
block is moved it will cause the valve to travel in an opposite direction, on account of the rocker-arms— not shown—the engine would run forward. As the wheel revolved to the right eccentric B would follow in the same direction and one-fourth of a turn behind the main-pin, and be said to be “a quarter behind the main pin,” which it always is with indirect motion and outside admission valves, while with direct motion, such as is shown in Fig. 2, the eccentric is alwayswith the same kind of valve—a “quarter ahead of the
Referring again to Fig. 3, if the link EE was raised, eccentric C would control the motion of the link-block A, and, through a reverse action of the rocker-arms, the valve; the engine would run backward—to the left-and, through the changes in conditions, the “back-up” eccentric C would now be following the main-pin; so that whichever way the wheel is being turned the eccentric that actuates the valve is a “quarter” behind the pin, in common locomotive design.
On locomotives having but one eccentric, as with those of the Walschaert type, the eccentric follows, or precedes, the main-pin according to the direction in which the wheel is turning: it may do either; so, during the course of this article when the location of the eccentric is mentioned as being ahead of, or follow