Special Feature:

San Jacinto Battleground State Park

Battleship Texas Hard Hat Tour

La Porte (Houston), Texas

January 18, 2003

Engineering Spaces 2

Boiler Room, Forward Condenser Room

After pausing at the blower room, the tour continued down into the boiler room itself. Just outside the blower room's hatch, the passageway was interrupted with an airlock system, necessary when the blower was operating to keep positive pressure in the boiler spaces. The hatches on either side of the airlock contained a small window and a spring-loaded release valve used to equalize the tiny compartment with either the normal pressure in the drying room passage or the higher pressure in the boiler space. We then proceeded down a very narrow and steep stair - nearly a ladder - into the boiler room. The boiler room is undergoing restoration, and we were able to see pre- and post-restoration equipment. Of particular interest to me was the apparatus used to heat the oil so that it could be sprayed via injectors into the boiler. A circular process; the boilers generated the steam necessary to heat the oil to burn it. What I wasn't expecting was the presence of periscopes on the boilers. The FTV expert explained to us that the periscopes were used to check the uptakes for the presence of smoke without having to be notified by someone topsides.

Another stop on the tour involving the engineering systems was a brief excursion into the lower condenser room, accessed by a hatch and ladder from the forward dynamo room. The condenser room provided the function its name implies; condensing steam back into water which then began the cycle anew. I also had the opportunity to sneak a look into an adjacent compartment whose hatch was open; it later turned out to be a provisions compartment. The condenser room was also notable in that it took us to our deepest access in the ship; located on the "hold" deck, we were standing at the double bottom, separated from the sea only by holding tanks between the layers of steel.

The Photos

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Boiler Room

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Forward Condenser Room

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For More Information:

San Jacinto Battleground State Historical Park

USS Texas Volunteers Hard Hat Tour Information

USS Texas History and Information

A Photo Tour of USS Texas

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