The following poem, reprinted with gratitude from Vol. XXIII, No. 1, of "The Compass", house organ of the Marine Sales Dept., Socony-Vacuum Oil Company Inc., New York, appeared more than twenty years ago. It sounds as if it might have come from the pen of the famous American poet/humourist Ogden Nash, but unfortunately its author is unidentified. Steam engineers, however, might do well to remember some of the hints that it contains.
Set the burners open wide,
Do not touch the valves at side,
Keep the pressure on the pump
And up the bally steam will jump.
If the smoke is black and thick,
Open up the fans a bit;
If the smoke is thick and white,
To slow the fans will be quite right.
For when sufficient air is given,
No smoke ascendeth up to heaven;
And if the jets refuse to squirt
Assume the cause is due to dirt.
Should the flame be short and white
You have combustion clear and bright,
But should the flame be yellow and long
Combustion is entirely wrong.
A wise man to his heater sees
And keeps it at 200 degrees;
To have it more is not quite wise,
Because the oil may carbonize.
If you keep the filters clean
No drop in pressure will be seen,
And should the pump kick up a ruction
There's likely air within the suction.
There's more to this than what's shown here,
If to the rules you do adhere;
Junior engineers should know them,
Or their boilers may explode them!
Return to Home Port or Toronto Marine Historical Society's Scanner
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.