The tug W. L. Ewing (US No. 26841) was built during April of 1868 in Chicago by John Gregory. She was registered with a tonnage of 43.92 tons. Her original owners were C. T. Taylor and and Charles Pierce, both of Chicago.
Chicago Evening Post, May 27, 1868
Chicago Evening Post, May 9, 1868
The new tug boat Ewing, owned by Mr. Charles Taylor, left the city this morning at ten o’clock, for Milwaukee, running against time, as a trial for speed.
Racine Journal, May 13, 1868
Very Near A Race.—Last Sunday afternoon the tug Wm. Ewing, of Chicago, came streaming into the harbor, with colors flying and whistle blowing, on her return trip from Milwaukee. She remained in the harbor an hour, and then, escorted by the Margaret (US No. 17959), she started for home. As both boats left the harbor, there was a perceptible increase in their speed, which gradually increased until both both boats were rushing through the water at a high old rate. No race, you know. Gradually the Margaret drew ahead, and then commenced running across the bows of the other boat, until she had completely turned her around. If it had only been a weekday, we would have shown those Chicago fellows what a fast tug is The Ewing is a good boat and a fast fast boat, but she would never would do for Racine.
She was involved in a collision with the the schooner Lizzie Throop (US No. 14678) on the Chicago River in an attempt to pass the State Street bridge on June 26 1868. The schooner was laden with lumber and employed the tug Little Giant (US No. 15304) to tow her up the river to her dock. They proceeded through the Rush street bridge, and the tug intended to pass through the north draw of the State street bridge, when, seeing the propeller Mendota (US No. 16323) backing up through the north draw, just before reaching that point the tug, with her tow, crossed over to the south side, meaning to make that channel. At this point of time she collided with the W.L. Ewing, going down the river. The headway of the Little Giant, was stopped but, the schooner being in motion, she ran upon the Little Giant and became injured.
The Court found the Little Giant in fault and not holding herself under control, but in keeping up a speed of four or five miles an hour, when she ought to have seen the approaching vessels. It was also her duty, the north draw being obstructed, to have stopped, or to have taken immediate precautions to avoid a collision, especially as she had to pass to her wrong side. The Ewing was in fault in pursuing through the north draw, and in running at an improper rate in a river crowded with craft, and especially in a state of case, which could be seen, where the upmost caution was required to be used.
In the course of his opinion the Court gave notice that in all cases it would be treated as a fault on the part of a vessel in passing up and down the river, should it, without the accustomed permission being given by signal, pass from its proper side in going through the bridge, especially at State Street bridge. The Court … speed and the disregard of ordinary prudence so common on the part of tugs.
He considered it to be the duty of tugs to do something more than make its trips in the shortest possible time, and to best one another. In this case the Ewing was running at the rate of from eight to ten miles an hour.
Chicago Tribune, April 17, 1873
The tug Ewing is going into the dock to have a new stern bearing put on, the old one being worn out.
Chicago Tribune, October 21, 1873
The whole of tug W. L. Ewing, C. J. Taylor and W. H. B. Dean to the Vessel Tug Company,
Chicago Tribune, May 29, 1881
Accident to the Tug W. L. Ewing.
The Vessel Owners’ Towing Association tug W. L. Ewing while towing two schooners out into the lake yesterday slipped her concentric and had to be towed back to her dock.
Chicago Tribune, August 29, 1881
Yesterday morning about 3 o’clock the tug W. L. Ewing collided with the schooner Lincoln Dall (US No. 15577) stoving in the port bow of the schooner and causing damage estimated at between $500 and $600. The accident happened a mile or two north of the Water-Works Crib out in the lake. A dense fog prevailed at the time preventing the Captain of the tug from properly judging the distance of the vessel. The W. L. Ewing towed the Dall into port.
Chicago Tribune, August 3, 1882
Summons have been issued from Justice Wallace, answerable on the 10th inst., against the tugboats Robert Dunham, W. L. Ewing, and Martin Green, for violating the smoke ordinance.
Chicago Tribune, March 30, 1892
STEAM-JETS ON CAPT. DUNHAM’S TUG.
Society for the Prevention of Smoke Ready for Further Experiments.
The tug W. L. Ewing of the Dunham Towing and Wrecking company has been fitted with thirteen steam-jets of the Western Smoke Preventer company’s device for the first trial in the experiments by the Society for the Prevention of Smoke. This tug was turned over to the society by Capt. Dunham two weeks ago and the work is only just completed. There are not many devices that can be successfully applied to so shallow an affair as a tug boiler. The boiler on the Ewing is about like the average for a Chicago tug boiler. The furnace is only thirty-one inches high and the boiler is patched in many places. It is an old affair, but representative of its class.
The Western Smoke Preventer company’s device consists of a narrow tube through which a jet of steam is injected into the fire-box. It passes through a wider tube. which is open at both ends, one end being outside of the fire-box, the other inside. The stream being injected with some force into the furnace and the mouth of the steam tube being wiyhin the wide tube, the air from outside is sucked in through the water tube with great force and sent over the fire to mix with the gases that are distilled from the fuel. It is the same principle that is employed in all steam-jet devices., the peculiarity of this one being that it has a brass drum outside, through which the air that is sucked in passes in a zig-zag line and by which the loud hissing sound of the steam-jet, which is so disagreeable to engineers and often causes them to turn off the device, is deadened.
As the fitting up of the tug Ewing is purely experimental, a much greater number of steam jets has been put on than will all probability be required to stop the smoke if it can be stopped at all. On a locomotive engine the usual number of these steam jets is six or seven, but on this tug no less than thirteen are being put on, of which there are on the starboard side, four on the portv side, and six in front. The direction of the jets is at a slight angle downward. Those on opposite sides are set so that the jets will dovetail and cover the entire grate surface. It is thought all of the jets will not be needed. Each one has a valve, so that the experiment may be made with accuracy, and the number of jets required be correctly ascertained.
In addition to these steam jets a retort has been passed inside along the front wall of the furnace. Through the retort runs a coil of pipe that connects with those which feed the steam jets. In the coil the steam is to be superheated before it is thrown into the fire.
The smokestack has been provided with a circular pipe with sixteen small holes, through which steam will be ejected in such a way as to form a cone, pointing upwards. This is to be used to force the draft in addition to the ordinary blower.
Some of those who do not want to do away with smoke have called Engineer White of the Society for the Prevention of Smoke a theorist. If they had seen him with his overalls on climbing in and out of the fire-box and directing all the work or doing it himself on the tug they would have begun to think he was a practical man. “I feel quite confident we shall succeed in stopping the smoke on the tug,” said Secretary Phelps.
Chicago Tribune, April 17, 1892
The Western Smoke-Preventer Tested Again on Capt. Dunham’s Tug.
A second test was made Friday with the Western Smoke-Preventer on Capt. Dunham’s tug W. L. Ewing. While the first test was entirely satisfactory as far as the smoke was concerned the objection was made by Capt. Dunham that the noise of the steam jets made it difficult for the engineer to hear the signals. An effort was made to reduce the noise, and it was to show that this had been accomplished that the second test was made. The only change made consisted in pushing the steam nozzle father in through the air pipe, so as to throw the noise inside the furnace.
To a considerable extent this purpose was accomplished. The noise was reduced materially. In part this was owing, perhaps, to the fact that the better provision had been made to feed the steam jets than existed at the time of the first test. It was clearly shown that the noise did not interfere with the engineer in any way. The signals could be heard in the engine-room with great distinctness. When the engineer opened the valve to find out how the water stood even that sound could be heard distinctly, although it was quite similar to that if the steam jets. Altogether the objection that the noise would stand in the way of adopting the device for smoke prevention was shown to be entirely groundless.
Chicago Tribune, July 12, 1892
GIVING THEM NOTICE.
Smoke Prevention Society Sending Out Warnings.
The Society for the Prevention of Smoke yesterday sent letters to nineteen general managers of railroads entering Chicago and the head of tug lines operating in the river and harbor notifying them that if locomotives and tugboats are not fitted with smoke consuming or preventing devices by Sept. 1 vigorous prosecutions will follow.
The report mentioned in the letter outlines the tests made of smoke preventing devices upon tugboats furnished by the Dunham Towing and Wrecking company under the agreement between the towing company and the Society for Prevention of Smoke March 16, 1892. The boat, W. L. Ewing, was placed at the disposal of the society and was fitted successfully with the Western Smoke Preventer, a device furnished by Theodore Lustig, and the Triumph Smoke Preventer.
After going into detail of the tests made the report summarizes the results as follows:
- So far as tests made by the society go, the Western Smoke Preventer was the only one which was to any degree worth considering successful from the point of view of smoke prevention. In specifying this, however, the Western Smoke Preventer is to be taken as illustrative of a class of devices of which probably any one would give practically the same results as those reached by it. In other words, it was thoroughly demonstrated that a smoke prevention device involving the energetic forcing of air and steam into the fire box in several several small streams would successfully prevent the emission of dense smoke from a tug boat under all classes of work from the lightest to te heaviest. During the trials named above the tug Ewing was submitted to as heavy work as is ever brought upon a tug boat of its class and with the smokiest fuel made use of on the Chicago River. It was also run under light loads and the fact established beyond question that smoke, by devices of this class, could be completely and effectually prevented.
Engineering News and American Railway Journal, July 21, 1892
SMOKE PREVENTION ON CHICAGO TUG BOATS.
The following notes on trials of smoke-preventing devices, showing that at least one device, the Western smoke preventer, was very effective, are taken from a report by Mr. C. F. White, Consulting Engineer to the Society for the Prevention of Smoke:
The boat W. L. Ewing was fitted successively with the Western smoke preventer, a device furnished by Theodore Lustig, and the Triumph smoke preventer. The general proportions of the boiler are the same as on most of the tugs plying on the Chicago River. It is a marine boiler of which the firebox is 4 ft. 8 ins. wide, 4 ft. long, 31 ins. deep, measuring from the grate bars to the crown sheet, which is flat on top and rounded at the corners. The Western smoke preventer consists briefly of 1¼-in. syphon, by means of which a small jet of stream forced the mingled steam and air into the firebox through tubes placed in the sides and in the end of the firebox for that purpose.
Four were placed upon the left hand side of the fire box, three upon the right hand side, and six through the firebox head. Tests showed that not more than nine of these jets were necessary for the most complete prevention of smoke. Probably less than nine would be sufficient in most cases. Working tests were made, using first Indiana block coal and afterward a grade of Pittsburg coal known as Black Horse. The device furnished by Theodore Lustig consisted of a cast iron box placed on the grate bars in the middle of the furnace opposite the fire door. This box was sup plied with two small steam jets designed for the double purpose of assisting the flow of air through apertures near the top of the box, and of preventing the box from being melted by the furnace heat. Mr. Lustig stated that it was his intention to have these boxes manufactured of fire clay instead of cast iron, as being more durable. This device was tested April 22, and was not successful from the point of view of smoke prevention. On very light work it was not necessary. On heavy work it was found to have little or no effect upon the volume of dense smoke.
The Triumph smoke preventing device consisted of a heavy cast iron retort placed in the furnace directly over the fire dcor. Steam was admitted to this retort where it was superheated and from which it was injected over the fire and downward in three small streams. This device was tested May 2, 1892, with results quite similar to those obtained with the Lustig device. Under heavy firing the volume of dense smoke was diminished very little indeed. On the tug Miller arrangement designed by Mr. Millikin was not successful in operation.
The three devices last named are therefore dismissed from consideration as being unsuccessful from the introduction of practical difficulties, or for non-effectiveness in prevention of smoke. So far as tests made by the society go, the Western smoke preventer was the only one which was to any degree worth considering successful from the point of view of smoke prevention. In specifying this, however, the Western smoke preventer is to be taken as illustrative of a class of devices of which probably any one would give practically the same results as those reached by it. In other words, it was thoroughly demonstrated that a smoke prevention device involving the energetic forcing of air and steam into the firebox in several small streams, would successfully prevent the emission of dense smoke from a tug boat under all classes of work from the lightest to the heaviest. During the trials, the tag Ewing was submitted to as heavy work as is ever brought upon a tug boat of its class and with the smokiest fuel made use of on the Chicago River. It was also run under light loads and the fact established beyond question that smoke, by devices of this class, could be completely and effectually prevented.1
The W. L. Ewing was surrendered on September 22, 1904 at Chicago as “Abandoned, unfit for service.”
1871 Owned William Dean, Chicago, IL.
1876 Owned VOT Co., Chicago.
1887 Owned Dunham Towing & Wrecking Co.
1899 Owned Dunham Towing & Wrecking Co.
1Chicago Tribune, June 23, 1884
TUGS AND SMOKE.
The Trial in Court Yesterday.
The fifteen cases of violation of the smoke ordinance were called in the Armory Police Court before Justice Foote yesterday. City Attorney Grinnell said that an agreement had been made between himself, the city’s representative, and the tag-owners whereby a fine of $50 was to be assessed in each case, but that said fines should be suspended for ten days. Justice Foote accordingly fixed the fines at that amount. The defendants are the following:
Edward Van Dalson, S. Dunham, John Byron, William Walsh, J. Wilson, Lake Michigan and
Lake Superior Transportation Company, Frances F. Munson and Oscar Burdick, Charles Crane, Chicago Dredging and Dock Company, Git Rowell, J. L. Higgle, C. H. MoCormick, 0. B. Green Dredging Company, James L. Beckwith and Arthur R. Atkins. John A. Crawford.
The defendants promised to try a smoke and spark-consumer, which had been tested on the Chicago and Alton Railroad within the city limits for a year and given satisfaction. Judge Dearborn, of that road, said it would no doubt be successful, and that the tugs had tried it to some extent within the past few days.
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