Fresh Water Systems History?

Discussion in 'History' started by Richard88, Dec 7, 2010.

Welcome to the Navy Net aka Rum Ration

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial RN website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Hi there, Currently at sultan and doing a presentation on Fresh Water Systems, i'm wondering if any one can help us out, cant seem to find much on the internet about when the systems came into play or even the history side of things of what they used to do for water, as far as i'm aware it was rain water then they carried fresh water on board, but thats as far as i can get..

    Any help would be much appreciated.

  2. Sultan. Fresh Water Systems. History.

    Don't bite. Don't bite. Don't bite............... :twisted:
  3. Well.....Once upon a time it was ice, then......
  4. Fire mains red my love,
    Fresh waters blue,
    Salt waters green my love,
    but not as green as you. :wink: :wink: :roll:
  5. In the sailing navy of Nelsons time , water (fresh ???) was stored in large wooden barrels. When a ship was put into commission, into the hold went first, pig iron ballast, then tons of shingle ballast. A 70 gun ship of the line took over 150 tons of this shingle - it was got off the local beaches. Cawsand beach was used at Plymouth.
    Next went in the fresh water barrels, lashed in & embedded in the shingle to prevent them moving about. This was known as the 'Ground Tier'
    This was sometimes very rank, by the time a barrel was opened for use.

    In about the 1880s as steam became common and boiler plant was improved to run at higher pressures, the firm of G & J Weir produced a marine evaporator,producing fresh water from seawater.
    The plant they manufactured changed very little, from its introduction to when steam disappeared from the RN. I have a 1904 Weirs evaporator handbook & the plant still looked like that in the 1960s. Weirs supplied pumps, feed water heaters & evaporators etc to nearly all the worlds navies and merchant fleet.
    Typically one evaporator will produce 8 tons per hour,at a salt content of less than 3ppm if well run . This for 23 hours /day. The other hour was occupied in the shell being blown down & descaled.
    Testing for quality involved a salinometer or testing by titration with silver nitrate.
    This quality water would rot your guts if it was drunk straight from evaporator production. Water for ships company use had chemicals added to make it drinkable. This was done by 'Tanky' a stoker usually who went round testing & checking fresh water side of things.

    Get hold of I think BR 3000 or maybe BR 3001. Sultan should have copies. Standard reference book in the RN on steam stuff

    One thing on a steam warship was that if any problems occurred as to water quality for the boilers, then fresh water production was given priority to this use, and sometimes ended with ships company on water rationing until it was sorted.

    Next comes Reverse Osmosis -- Ill leave that one for you to do
  6. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Good post Nobby.

    My guess is that once they had steam to make water by evaporation, they could also generate electrickery to drive the motors which would drive the water pumps to deliver oggin to the tap & around the same time, water passed over a steam calorifier produced hot oggin to the skippers bath also.

    How did they kill the "greeblies" in the water tanks? Chlorine tablets, same as today.
  7. There is a BR whose title is 'Potable Water'* which I believe has the history of drinking water in the RN on the first couple of pages. I think it is BR851, or something like that.

    * That is not a typo. Potable water is the posh term for water which is fit to drink. It should be pronounced 'po-tabbel' with stress on the first syllable.
  8. :geek: Fcuk all about history' all I know is that every bone fresh water tanky caused more floods than Noah in a few of my mess decks. :(
  9. In the same vein, is it not a little tongue in cheek calling it "fresh water" in many instances.
    I do not know what pussers arrangements are nowadays, but in the past there were many instances when the water we were supplied with was rather more than dubious. The water in Bahrain was disgusting and furred all the aluminium sinks in the bathroom. Worse than that it even made the tot taste suspect. Whereas at the same time the Septics were supplied with "sweet" water which I believe they paid a little extra for.
    We obviously were not worth the cost.
  10. And for what its worth, " The Evaporator Watchkeepers Lament"

    If the level is too low,
    Or the pump is running slow,
    Do not sh1t or lose your rag,
    Fcuk it, trip it, have a fag.
    When in danger or in doubt,
    Call the duty tiffy out.
  11. S boats had 1 Weirs evap and 1 Braby. IIRC the Weirs chucked out more water but the Braby was more reliable, Joe should be able to confirm or deny. (T boats have 2 braby's, dunno about Astute or V boats)
  13. The qualifying word is ---" Typically", 8 tons /hour, could vary .

    Ships ?? Forth & Ark Royal.

    BD & descale in an hour ?? , Yes I have done so personally,
    granted if you had to cut a new door gasket it would take longer.
  14. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    A few codas on this.

    In the old sailing navy the Master was responsible for fresh water. Watering, and planning where to water, was a vital task; it thus fitted with his responsibility for navigation. Casks had to be taken ashore to a place where the boat's crew would not end up as lunch for the natives, be filled from a river, and brought back on board. Quite a bit of pully-hauly there. The Master's sidekick who did the donkey work was called the Tanky, hence the use of this word for a Nav's yeoman in modern times, long after the plumbers had taken over the supply of freshers. The word was/?is also used for the Coxswain's gofer in, for instance, a Coastal minesweeper, the Coxswain's duties including managing the victualling. That put Tanky one in three for leave with the cook and the steward, each on their duty night cooking the supper, sometimes with mysterious results.

    A scuttled butt (a cask cut in half) of fresh water would be placed on deck for the ship's coy to dip into. This venue was obviously a centre for conversation and buzz-spreading (although the best galley packets would come from Slushie, stirring the pot mess below), hence 'scuttlebutt' = gossip.

    The old Indiamen out of Blackwall used to load Thames water for drinking, allegedly after some days or weeks it would clear and become potable. However even when brewed up as tea (which the Indiamen obtained at source so did not have to pay duty) some passengers disputed that.
  15. Wiers produces 5600 gallons per day, according to the book. (225 gallons=1 ton so the output is about a ton an hour)

    Braby has an outut of 137.5 galls/hour, or 3300 galls per day.

    The Braby is more reliable than the Wiers, and much quieter. On S-boats, the Braby was typically running constantly, with the Wiers used only when required to make up a shortfall. Ameroyal is injected into both the Braby and Wiers, preventing the build-up of scale, and removing the need to de-scale daily - before Ameroyal, we used citric acid.
  16. On diesel boats we a had a distiller (called murtle the turtle IIRC) that produced about 10 gallons a day when it worked,which it never did for more than an hour. We were then fitted with Reverse Osmosis Plants after re-fit in 1990 and it used to make 10 gallons an hour,we were encouraged to shower!
  17. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    Oh and I seem to remember being told (probably by Chief who had a bit of a thing about fishheads wasting his precious water) that it took ten tons of FFO to distil 1 ton of fresh water. But I stand to be corrected having cherished this nugget of (?mis-) information rather a long time.
  18. Further to my last, 'BRd 0820 Potable Water Management' is the BR I was talking about, but on perusing it, there is no mention of any history.
  19. (granny)

    (granny) Book Reviewer

  20. richard, water in the navy is quite a new thing, in the old days they only drank beer as water would'nt keep but just went rancid. There were no boilers to feed and they would wash in sea water so there was no need for fresh water. yangtze_sailor06

Share This Page