Louisville Magazine

OCT 2014

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

Issue link: https://loumag.epubxp.com/i/388156

Contents of this Issue


Page 50 of 172

48 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 10.14 Tree stories below the pilot house, assistant engineer Steve Mattingly, 56, stands amid a labyrinth of pipes and valves and pressure gauges. He explains that many of the pipes and valves work to maintain ideal steam pressure, with others designed specifcally for safety — to "let of steam" in order to avoid sudden pressure buildups. "It's like a fne-tuned internal-combustion engine in cars, except all the engine parts are outside instead of inside," Mattingly says. Te steam power begins up front in the frebox, where furnaces heat three big boilers of water. Originally, men shoveled coal into the furnace. But today it's fueled more efciently (and cleanly) by burning diesel. Te water in the boilers, conveniently, is plain-old free river water. Te entire system is like a kettle of water heating on a stove. Steam coming of the boilers travels aft through steam pipes and the maze of side pipes and cut-of valves, to the steam engine in the rear. Te engine powers two Pitman arms, one on each side of the boat — one pushing while the other pulls — to turn the Belle's mightly oak-paddled wheel. "It's propulsion," Mattingly says. "Te power of steam to push the boat. It's what made steamboating in America." Before the invention of the steamboat in 1811, inland farmers and industries foated their products — say, barrels of Kentucky whiskey — down the Ohio and Mississippi to seaports like New Orleans. But wind and sails couldn't get the boats back upriver against fast-moving cur- rents and winding passages. "Steamboats changed all that," Mattingly says, "be- cause they had steam to power a paddle- wheel, to propel the boats back upsteam." Propulsion! He deftly moves a long, foor-mounted lever a bit to the right, sending the pilot wheel clockwise. "Power steering," pilot Cederholm says.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Louisville Magazine - OCT 2014