With the opening of the passenger season on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence river next summer, one of the finest side-wheel passenger steamers on the entire chain of lakes will enter the service of the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Co. The vessel is the TORONTO, just completed by the Bertram Engine Works Co., Ltd., of Toronto. It was the intention to build two steamers like the TORONTO for the Lake Ontario service of the Richelieu company, but the construction of the second vessel is delayed, pending the settlement of plans of the steamboat company regarding new vessels of canal and river type, to run down the St. Lawrence in connection with the Lake Ontario ships. As a ship marking the reconstruction of the Richelieu & Ontario Co.'s fleet, the Toronto is certainly a vessel to be proud of. She is much like the Detroit & Cleveland Nav. Co.'s steamers CITY OF ALPENA and CITY OF MACKINAC, in Lake Huron service but with inclined triple expansion engines, Howden hot draft and a successful general arrangement of power, she is capable of a speed of 20 miles an hour, and will be pronounced an especially comfortable passenger ship from the fact that there is probably no vessel in the country more free than she is from vibration.
Although the TORONTO was not finished in time for service last season and has not as yet been introduced to the patrons of the Richelieu & Ontario Co., her trials on Lake Ontario were had late in November and particulars of them have been received by the Review. In these trials the Bertram company was represented by Mr. A. Angstrom, who designed the vessel, and the steamboat company by Mr. C. B. Calder of the Dry Dock Engine Works of Detroit, acting for Mr. Frank E. Kirby, consulting engineer of the steamboat company. A part of the cabin work was incomplete, and the electric light plant and other equipment had not been installed, so that there was some insufficiency in weights for trial, but this was made up by taking aboard considerable pig iron and by carrying water ballast.
The hull of the TORONTO is constructed of open hearth steel and of the following dimensions: Length over all, 278 feet; length, keel, 270 feet; beam, molded, 36 feet; beam, over guards, 63 feet; depth, molded, 14 feet. Engines are of the triple expansion, inclined jet-condensing type, with cylinders 28, 44 and 4 inches by 72-inch stroke. The feathering paddle wheels are 22 feet outside diameter and 10 feet 3 inches face of bucket. Air and feed pumps are attached to and worked from main engine. Boilers, four in number, are of the return tubular type, 11 feet diameter and 11 feet 6 inches long over heads. Each boiler has two 411/2-inch outside diameter Morison suspension furnaces.. They are fitted with the Howden hot draft and are designed for a working pressure of 175 pounds.
Spacious and elegant passenger accommodations are provided. One hundred and forty state rooms, including four parlor rooms and large Pullman sleeping cabin, furnish sleeping accommodation for 430 passengers. The dining room, placed on an upper deck, has a seating capacity for over 100 persons. The interior finish and decorations of the spacious halls and deck saloons are most elaborately executed, the main and gallery saloons being finished in Francis I. Renaissance, with the dining room in Louis XVI. The entrance hall is decorated in Neo-Greco with modern Renaissance details, with the smoking room in Oriental treatment. The refreshment and writing rooms arc in Elizabethan paneling of prima vera natural wood finish. The main stair cases are in Honduras mahogany with wrought metal balustrades in hammered leaf work, finished antique bronze, the main newels carrying bronze figures supporting electric torches.
The vessel was given two trials, Nov. 28 and Nov. 29. The main object of the first trial (Nov. 28) was to ascertain the coal consumption— that is how many pounds of coal were consumed per indicated horse power per hour. The engines were indicated during the progress of trial (3 hours 43 minutes) with the following results: Steam by gauge, mean during trial, 155 pounds; vacuum, mean, 24 ½ inches revolutions, .34.2; mean draught of steamer during trial, 7 feet 7 3/4 inches; displacement corresponding to this draught, 1,160 net tons; coal burned, entire trial, 12,74 pounds; I. H. P., mean during trial, 1,878; coal per I. H. P. per hour, 1.82 pounds. The steamer was also run on a 19-mile course during this trial and the accurate time noted. The course was from Oakville light-house to the Toronto light on Toronto island, known as Gibraltar light. This stretch of 19 miles was covered in just 60 minutes, or at the rate of exactly 19 miles an hour. The total of engine revolutions over the 19-mile course was 2,047. The performance of the steamer during this trial was most satisfactory the engines working perfectly and the boilers furnishing steam with the greatest ease—in fact the greatest difficulty during the trial was to keep the steam from blowing off through the safety valves. On account of one of the safety valves blowing off slightly earlier than the others, the steam was kept somewhat lower than it otherwise would have been. On the subsequent trial (Nov. 29) the steam pressure was, however, kept up to that allowed by Canadian inspection law, and a maximum power trial took place. Neither the boilers nor side pipes on engine were lagged.
The second trial (Nov. 29) was made for the purpose of ascertaining the greatest number of revolutions for which the boilers could continuously and comfortably furnish steam and also to record the speed with this number of revolutions. The steamer was run on the same course as the previous day, and a record of time, revolutions, steam gauges, etc. carefully taken, the same as on the previous day, but the engines were not indicated for power. The record of this trial is as follows: steam pressure by gauge, mean over course, 175 pounds; vacuum, 23 ½ inches; revolutions, mean over course, 36.87; mean draught of ship, 7 feet 7 inches; displacement corresponding to this draught, 1,148 net tons; time over course, 58 1/4 minutes; distance, 19 miles, speed, 19.6 miles per hour.
During both trials there was a total absence of vibration in any part of the steamer. The whole of the joiner work was without the support of the interior paneling - in fact only standing on the studs - which makes the entire absence of vibration the more noteworthy. There was also an entire absence of the jerky movement of the boat, so frequently found in paddle-wheel steamers with other types of engines. The steamer handled exceedingly well - that is answered her helm quickly - and there was no noticeable heel even when the helm was hard over. It is expected that in the finished condition the stability and stiffness of the boat will be quite satisfactory, as the center of gravity would not materially change from the present position, the larger part of the temporary load put in during trials being placed on the main deck. During a previous trial to the two above recorded, the steamer met with quite a heavy sea and was on purpose run before the wind with the sea from the after quarter, when she, like all steamers of this type, accumulated a rolling motion this motion, however, being of long period and quite easy. With sea dead abeam the rolling was slight, and from all other quarters there was no rolling. The steam steering gear was used during the trials and worked most satisfactorily, the steering engine working quietly, without racing, and the gear in the pilot house could be operated with ease by a boy.
The Howden hot draft, applied to the boilers under rights of the Dry Dock Engine Works of Detroit, was operated during the two of trials and even during the full power test. The coal consumption per indicated horse power must be considered for this type of engine, particularly with the condition of the boilers (unlagged), to be entirely satisfactory, in fact lower than any on record for a side-wheel steamer—and considerably lower than that guaranteed in the builders' contract.
The Marine Review
January 15, 1899
The Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Co. announces that it will include inaugurate its daily service between Toronto and Montreal about the middle of June. The new steamer TORONTO is being put in readiness for her initial trip.
The Marine Review
May 18, 1899
Mr. Frank E. Kirby, who is still engaged by the government in looking after army transport work, says that in all probability it will be fully a year before he severs his connection with the Detroit Ship building Co. and his plans beyond that time have not been definitely determined. Mr. Kirby goes to Toronto this week to be present at the trial of the handsome side-wheel steamer TORONTO, built by the Bertram Engine Works Co. of Toronto, for the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Co. In this connection it is interesting to note that Mr. Kirby with Mr. A. Angstrom of the Bertram works, has prepared plans for a steamer to run through from Toronto to. Montreal and also for a type of steamer for service on the St. Lawrence alone, put the Richelieu company, although certain to undertake the building of more new vessels is as yet undecided.
The Marine Review
June 15, 1899