Part of the Acorn Archive
Hearts of Oak
Coal & Ships
SS Mooltan 1860
The drive was on to design a fast, reliable,
and economical ship and engine combination.
Not all innovation and invention was as successful as at first considered.
The Times – 27th November 1861
Southampton, Tuesday. This vessel, respecting the performances of which on an ocean voyage, great interest has been felt in nautical and engineering circles, returned to this port last night from Alexandria. One of the most novel features is the smallness of her horse power as compared with her tonnage, and the reduced size of her boilers, which are constructed on Mr. A. Lamb's patent, and which are only about half the size of the tubular boilers employed in ships of the Royal Navy for the supply of steam to engines of the same nominal horse-power. The effect of the principle adopted in the Mooltan, if successful, will be to materially reduce the consumption of coal, and hence to lessen the expenses and difficulties attendant upon ocean steam navigation. It appears that the most remarkable and successful results have been accomplished in this respect during the recent voyage of the Mooltan to and from Alexandria. On the outward voyage she was 286 hours under way, running 2,951 miles, with an actual consumption of 305 tons of coal and coming home she was 236 hours under way, consuming 325 tons of coal. The total quantity of coal consumed, therefore, during a voyage of nearly 6,000 miles. has been 630 tons, against an expenditure of about 1,200 tons in other ships of the same tonnage employed on this line. This is a saving of very nearly half, while an average speed has been maintained out and home of 10.64 knots.
The average expenditure of coal per hour was 2,574 lb, and the average power taken by the indicator, every watch, 1,230 horses. During the voyage the Mooltan's draught of water was 19ft. 4in; average midship section at this draught, 558 ft; and average displacement at same, 3,335 tons. The boilers supplied abundance of steam at 20 lb; surface condensers, average vacuum, 27.5 inches. These results must be very satisfactory to her engine-builders, Messrs. Humphrys and Tennant, and to the patentee of her boilers, and all others concerned, while they are of vast importance to every one interested in steamships. It is important to observe that these results have been obtained, over a run of nearly 6,000 miles, with the ordinary coal used by all the company's steamers, and with the ship's own stokers; and hence they should not be compared with those obtained at the trial of a ship at the measured mile, or on a few hours working of her engines at moorings, because these short trials are always made under the most favourable circumstances, with picked coal of the best quality, clean fires, and stokers of the greatest skill.
SS Mooltan - Lithograph by T.G. Dutton
Built 1860 by the Thames Iron Ship Building Co, Blackwall, London for P & O.
2,257 grt; 1,627 nrt
370ft x 39.1ft
Engines Humphreys & Tennant, Deptford; the company's first compound; single screw; 12 knots.
Clipper bows, single funnel, three masts (rigged for sail), iron hull.
8th March 1861 Registered.
At the initial sea trials, she jumped and rocked, not achieving her designed 12 knots.
20th July 1861 [ Pre Suez Canal] Maiden voyage: Southampton to Alexandria.
She was later transferred to the Suez to Calcutta route.
Her designed narrow beam produced severe rolling in cross seas and she was never successful.
1866 In spite of it’s economy, the new type of engine was found to be unreliable.
New engine and boilers installed.
15th November 1874 Laid up, London.
14th December 1880 Sold: Elles & Co, Liverpool.
1883 Sold: J. J. Wallace, London.
1884 Sold: J. Pedley, London; renamed ELEANOR MARGARET; converted to a four mast barque.
1888 Sold: J. D. Bischoff, Germany.
28th June 1891 Sailed from Newcastle-upon-Tyne for Valparaiso; Missing in the North Atlantic.