Monday, 30 March 2015

Fraser's Patent Firehearth and Coppers

Inspired by the recent post on the building HMS Terror blog here are a few images to explain my current thinking about the galley stoves of Erebus and Terror.

The various parts of the galley stove and its attachments.

The above diagram suggests the general layout but requires revision as I drew it before learning (from the above source) that pencilled amendments to the lower deck plan of HMS Terror suggest that the stove was moved a couple of feet from its original position. This change would seem to enable the cook to do his job with less risk of banging his head on that huge iron tank.

One question which has caused me considerable head scratching is the number of boilers (also referred to as "coppers") the stove had. I made the above image quite a while back when I favoured four but my best guess is now two, partly on the basis that four is excessive for such a small stove and that finding room for the drain cocks on the back would be a problem.



The best example I have found of a contemporary drawing showing a stove similar to Fraser's is this picture of Goodbehere's Improved Ship's Hearth (below), which was displayed at the Great Exhibition of 1851.


When, next month, Canada's underwater archaeology experts dive below the ice to make the first detailed examination of the wreck of HMS Erebus, they will undoubtedly return high quality images which will reveal to the world how well the above conjectures match up to reality. I'm certain that every Franklin Expedition enthusiast will wish them the best of luck for the success of the mission and that we will be struggling to contain our excitement for the publication of the results.

13 comments:

  1. Excellent drawings and labeling, Peter!

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  3. Would there be any documentation as to how much a Fraser's stove weighed, how it was put into the ship, and whether it was set down upon bricks.?

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  4. I don't have any information regarding weight or the fitting process. An estimate of the weight could be obtained by comparisons with surviving domestic ranges. Plans of closely related ships show the stove bolted to the deck and the galley floor paved with "yellow metal" - copper alloy.

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