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Note for English lenguage Readers: This is the second part (out of four) of the transcription, from the Special Supplement of the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, of an study of the strength of the U.S. Navy in 1898; the year of the war against Spain.
The Supplement of the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN is of public domain, but we have requested the permission from this notable American magazine due to the norms that we follow in this web page.
It will take about 10 days to complete the four parts of the magazine. The first three photos belong to the Spanish revue EL MUNDO NAVAL ILUSTRADO, as indicated in this introduction.
Dotted lines in the text are illegible in the original. We hope the support of the readers to complete full text.
El presente articulo es el segundo de cuatro que completara la transcripción integra, excepto la portada, del Numero 1.165, Vol. XLV, del SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, fechado el 30 de abril de 1898, que es un Suplemento especial dedicado al estado de la U.S. Navy en aquel año en que se enfrentaría, y derrotaría, a la Armada española.
El citado suplemento tiene 40 páginas y unos ochenta documentos que serán íntegramente transcritos en estos cuatro post.
Aunque es de dominio publico, debido a la fecha en que se publico, hemos solicitado el correspondiente permiso a la redacción de SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, y nos ha sido concedido.
Al final de la transcripción, que llevara aproximadamente 10 días, todo aquel que quiera la copia en Word de esta podrá pedirla contactando con esta web.
Aunque queda un poco fuera de nuestro marco de actuación, la composición de la flota que diezmo la Escuadra del Almirante Cervera es de indudable interés técnico e histórico y ayuda a comprender la debacle. Con lo cual fue también notable en nuestra Vida Marítima.
Algún lector ha enviado una interesante critica sobre la redacción en ingles de este articulo. Noten los lectores que la traducción del original siempre implica la perdida de valor del documento, por perder la fidelidad exacta en la transcripción, por lo que en el futuro siempre trataremos de dar la copia en el idioma original, rogando de la amabilidad de los lectores el uso de los traductores disponibles en la red,
Photo 1.- The “IOWA”. Photo from the Spanish magazine EL MUNDO NAVAL ILUSTRADO. Year 1898. Curiously, in the original magazine, the name of the ship given is “YOWA”.
Photo 2.- The “TEXAS”. Photo from the Spanish magazine EL MUNDO NAVAL ILUSTRADO. Year 1898.
Photo 3.- The “CINCINATTI”. Photo from the Spanish magazine EL MUNDO NAVAL ILUSTRADO. Year 1898.

VOL. XLV. NUM. 1165.
April 30, 1998.
Munn & Co…. Editors and Propietors.
Published Weekly at 361 Broadway. New York.
Catalogue of valuable papers published in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN SUPPLEMENT furnished free on request.
First Class Sea-Going Battleship IOWA.
The “IOWA” has the distinction of being the first modern first-class sea-going battleship built for the United States Navy, and she is also the largest and fastest of our fleet of ships of the line.
Our readers will doubtless observe that the «IOWA» bears a general resemblance to the «MASSACHUSSETS» and her class, and they will ask why the “IOWA” should be designated as the first modern sea-going battleship of our navy. As a matter of fact, however, the «INDIANA,» «MASSACHUSSETS» and «OREGON” are listed on the naval register as coast defense battleships, and, although they would be capable of crossing the Atlantic and giving a good account of themselves in a fight upon the high seas, they were not specifically designed for such service. Those elements of a battleship which make her a good sea boat in heavy weather have been somewhat sacrificed in these boats in favour of extremely heavy guns and massive armor plates, and it is this concentration of guns and armor which renders the «MASSACHUSSETS» and the vessels of her class the most powerful fighting ships in the world.
The design of the «IOWA» is based upon that of the «MASSACHUSSETS,» but with a view to giving her better sea-going qualities her freeboard has been raised about 8 or 9 feet, or about the height of one deck, from her bow back as far as the rear 8-inch gun turrets. The forward pair of heavy guns with their turrets have been raised to the same extent, the axis of these guns being now about 26 feet above the water line at normal draught, and therefore well out of the reach of the heavy seas which would be liable to roll green water over the same pair of guns in the «MASSACHUSSETS» if she were steaming head to sea in heavy weather. The freeboard forward in the «IOWA» is about 20 feet and aft it is about 12 feet. The latter is the greatest freeboard of the «MASSACHUSSETS,» which has a flush deck fore and aft for the whole length of the vessel.
The «IOWA». is 360 feet long, 72 feet beam, and she has a displacement loaded of 11.410 tons. Three thousand tons of the weight is devoted to armor, which ranges in thickness from 2 ¾ inches to 15 inches. The protection to the hull and machinery is afforded by a steel belt of 14 inches maximum thickness, covering over 70 per cent of the load line. This belt extends from 4 feet 6 inches below the load line to 3 feet above it. Above this belt to the main deck between the 12-inch gun turrets, a belt of 4 inch armor is worked to cause shell loaded with high explosives to break up before entering the vessel. On top of the 14-inch armor a horizontal deck 2 ¾ inches thick is worked, and from the ends of the side armor to the extremities of the vessel a similar deck 3 inches in thickness is provided. Above the armor decks, belts of cellulose, to prevent the inrush of water, in the event of the vessel being injured, are provided.
The hull is built on the cellular system, with inner bottom, and great attention has been given to the subdivision of the vessel into a large number of watertight compartments, each provided with its own means of pumping and draining.
The general disposition of the guns and turrets is similar to that of the «INDIANA» type. The heaviest guns of the main armament, of 12-inch caliber, are located in two large turrets of 15-inch Harvey steel, which lie on the center line of the ship at each end of the armored citadel. Between the main turrets and well out on the sides of the ship are four smaller turrets, each of which carries two 8-inch rifled guns, which discharge an armor-piercing shell weighing 250 pounds that is capable of penetrating eight inches of steel at
a distance of two miles. On the main deck is a battery of eight 4-inch rapid-fire guns which discharge their 33 pound shells with such rapidity that five of them from any one gun can be in the air traveling toward the mark at the same time. In addition to these, the «IOWA” carries in her military tops and on the superstructure deck, and in various commanding- positions upon the bridge, twenty 6-pounders, four 1-pounders and four Colts, all of which are rapid firers and could pour a perfect hail of shot and shell upon the shelterless and the lightly protected parts of a hostile ship.
The snip is driven by a set of twin-screw triple expansion engines of 12.105 horse power at a maximum speed of 17,1 knots in hour. With her large bunker capacity of nearly 1,800 tons, she is capable of steaming continuously at a cruising speed of 10 knots for thirty-one consecutive days, in which time she would cover 7,500 knots. The increased size of the ship and the extra accommodation afforded by the spar deck forward allows of the crew being berthed with a greater degree of comfort than is possible in ships of a lower freeboard like the «INDIANA.» A striking feature is the unusual height of the smokestacks, which tower 100 feet above the grate bars. They were carried up to this height to secure a powerful natural draught and reduce the forced draught air pressure in the stokehold.
This noble vessel is at present doing duty with Admiral Sampson’s fleet of battleships, cruisers and torpedo boats at Key West.
First-Class Double-Decked-Turret Battleship «KENTUCKY.»
The designs for that splendid trio the “INDIANA,” “MASSACHUSSETS” and «OREGON» showed a great advance in armor and guns upon anything building or afloat at the time the designs were published. To flank the 13-inch guns of the main battery with eight 8 inch armor piercing rifles placed within four heavily plated turrets at an elevation of 26 feet above the water line….departure from existing ideas as daring as it was novel; and European designers expressed a doubt that the ships could ever carry go heavy an armament successfully. The «INDIANA» had had her trials and justified the confidence of her designers. Indeed, on every point but one she has more than fulfilled expectations. In the gunnery trials, however, it was found that the arc of training of the 8-inch and 6-inch guns would have to be somewhat reduced on account of interference.
In official circles this was not altogether unexpected, as the experience of certain European ships had shown that the effect of the blast of the heavy guns extended over a wider area than had been supposed at the time the designs of the «INDIANA» class were drawn up. By reference to the deck plan on page 10, it will be seen that the 8-inch guns were originally intended to fire full ahead or full astern, and also through a considerable arc of training on the opposite beam. To do this latter they had to fire across the top of the 13-inch gun turrets. In the gunnery trials it was found that if the 8 inch gun were laid any nearer to the 13inch gun turrets than 80 degrees forward of the beam, the effect of the blast was so powerful as to render the sighting hoods of the latter untenable.
It was therefore suggested that stops be placed on the turrets to prevent their training any nearer to the axis of the ship than 10 degrees. At the same time the blast of the 13 inch guns, when fired on the maximum train abaft the beam, necessitated the sacrifice of the axial fire of the 6 inch guns. These modifications, which are shown in the diagram, page 10, are not so serious as they might at first sight appear, for naval engagements will very seldom be carried out in an end-on position; and for broadside firing the whole of the battery of the «IINDIANA» is still available. The difficulty of interference was foreseen at the time the plans of the “KEARSARGE” were drawn up, and it was overcome with characteristic ingenuity in the following way.
It was decided to dispense with two of the 8-inch turrets altogether, and place the remaining pair upon the main 13-inch turrets, as shown .in the accompanying engraving. By this arrangement the remaining four guns of the new design were rendered actually more effective, as far as their arc of training was concerned, than the eight similar guns of the «INDIANA.» This is evident from a comparison of deck plans of the two types, from which it will be seen that the «INDIANA» is incapable of dead ahead or dead astern fire with her 8-inch guns, and that her maximum concentration of fire from the whole eight of them is four on either broadside. The «KEARSARGE,” on the other hand, can not only concentrate an equal number of 8-inch guns on each broadside, but can swing each pair through an unbroken arc of 270 degrees ahead or astern. Experiments recently carried out at Indian Head on an improvised platform showed that there would be no inconvenience experienced in the 13-inch turrets from the blast of the superposed 8-inch guns. Moreover, the turning gear and ammunition hoists of the 8 inch guns on the «KEARSARGE» have an unparalleled protection afforded to them by the 15 inch armor of the turrets and barbettes upon which they stand, whereas the base of the «INDIANA´s» 8 inch barbettes is plated with comparatively light armor; and should a shell penetrate and burst within them, it might disable the guns altogether. From these considerations it is evident that the sacrifice of power in removing four of the 8 inch guns is more apparent than real.
At the same time it should be mentioned that in spite of its many and obvious advantages, there are serious objections urged against the double turret by naval experts, the chief of which is that in placing guns on a ship it is a risky policy to put «too many eggs into one basket.» It is an accepted axiom in warship design that the various gun stations of a ship should be as widely separated as possible, with a view to localizing the damage inflicted by a successful shot.
If the lower half of a double-deck turret should be crippled, the upper turret would also be placed hors de combat, and a light shell which was incapable of penetrating the 15 inch armor of the lower turret might pass through the 9-inch armor of the upper turret and wreck the turning gear below, thereby disabling the four guns. There is a further objection urged by the gunners in the fact that the two sets of guns must be trained together, whereas it might frequently be desirable in the course of a fight to train the 13-inch guns upon one part of the enemy and the lighter guns upon some other part. The whole question, however, was well thrashed out by the experts at the time the ships were designed, and it was considered that the advantages more than offset the objections which were raised against the system.
Next to the turrets the most novel feature in these ships is the powerful broadside battery of fourteen 5-inch rapid-fire guns which it has been possible to substitute for the four 8-inch guns and turrets and the four slow-firing 6-inch guns of the «INDIANA.” This battery is shown in the engravings ranged within a central battery on the main deck between the two turrets.
There are seven guns on each broadside, each gun firing through an arc of 90 degrees. Though the shell for the 5-inch gun weighs only 50 pounds as against 250 pounds for the shell of the 8-inch gun, so great is the rapidity of fire from the former gun, that three times the weight of metal will be thrown in a given time from the rapid fire battery. In one minute of a sea-fight one side of this battery alone could pour into the enemy fifty-six shots, or nearly 3,000 pounds of steel, at a velocity of 2,300 feet a second, and with a battering or crushing effect of 102,704 foot tons—a force sufficient to lift the ship itself bodily 9 feet in the air. The subjoined table (see attached file) gives a detailed analysis of the total broadside.
The «KENTUCKY» and her sister ship, the «KEARSARGE,» are under construction by the Newport News Shipbuilding Co., of Newport News, Va. They were both launched March 24, 1898, and they are now being rushed to completion in view of the present international crisis.
First-Class Battleship “ALABAMA.”
The «ALABAMA» is one of three first-class battleships, identical in design, which were authorized June 10, 1896. Of these the «ALABAMA» is building at Cramps yard, the «ILLINOIS» at Newport News and the «WISCONSIN» at the Union Iron Works, San Francisco.
All three are about half completed and, of course, work is being pushed forward on them with all possible speed.
The science of warship design is nothing if it is not progressive, and it is gratifying to note that the «ALABAMA» class show the same advance upon the «KENTUCKY» class of 1895 as the ships did upon the «INDIANA» type before them. As compared with the «KENTUCKY» the 8-inch gun has disappeared altogether, and the weight and power of the secondary .battery has been greatly increased. Moreover, the seagoing qualities as compared with the former ships have been improved by adding a spar deck for the first three-quarters of the ship’s length, thereby increasing the freeboard from 13 feet in the «KENTUCKY» to 30 feet in the «ALABAMA.»
The main battery is the same and consists of four 13-inch guns which fire art 1,100 pound shell with a muzzle energy of 33,627 foot-tons, equal to the perforation of 34 ½ inches of wrought iron. The forward pair are carried above the spar deck at an elevation of 26 ½ feet above the water line. At this great height they could be fought in any weather, even when going head on to a heavy sea, which is probably more than can be said for the forward guns of ships with a freeboard some seven or eight feet lower.
The spar deck extends as far as the after end of the central battery. The after turret is carried above the main deck, or some 7 or 8 feet lower than the forward turret, thereby increasing the stability of the ship.
The turrets are of what is known as the elliptical type. They are oval in plan, with the front plates slightly inclined and the rear plates vertical. This form is adopted as being lighter and giving more room for the handling of the guns and their loading appliances. In the old form of circular turret there was more room than was necessary at the sides and too little at the rear of the guns. The diameter of the stationary barbette is made somewhat larger than the shorter axis of the turret, and the center of gravity of the revolving parts is in the axis of rotation: so that the turret, in spite of its considerable overhang at the rear, is balanced and can be turned by its engine without serious retardation, even when the ship has a heavy list. Of the three sighting hoods, the center one is for the man who tarns the turret, whose sole work it is to keep the guns always upon the target, as far as their lateral direction is concerned. The hoods on each side are occupied by the «gun pointers,» who give the gun the proper elevation or depression.
The removal of the 8-inch guns and turrets has enabled the strength of the secondary battery to be enormously increased, the fourteen 5-inch rapid-fire guns of the «KENTUCKY”» giving place to a battery of fourteen 6-inch rapid-fire guns in the «ALABAMA.» These fire a 100-pound shell, as against the 50-pound shell used by the smaller gun, and their rapidity of fire is only slightly less. Each of these guns will have a muzzle energy of 3,204 tons and will be capable of penetrating 15,6 inches of iron. In addition to its greater weight, the battery will be superior to that of the «KENTUCKY,» because its guns are more widely separated and the protection afforded to the gunners is more complete. Eight of the guns will be enclosed within a central battery on the main deck, whose protection will consist of a continuous wall of 5 ½ inches of steel. Forward in the bows on the same deck will be two more 6 inch guns, similarly protected, and four other 6-inch guns, two on each side, will be mounted on the spar deck above this casement. The latter will also be protected with 6 inches of steel, and they will be capable of firing dead ahead and dead astern as well as on the broadside. The combined energy of one broadside of the 6-inch battery alone will amount to about 134,568 foot-tons per minute—sufficient, when imparted to bursting shells, to tear the unprotected and lightly protected parts of an enemy’s ship to pieces, and quickly turn the gun positions into a mere shambles. To these is added a battery of sixteen 6-pounders and four 1-pounders. There are also four broadside torpedo tubes protected with 6 inches of steel armor.
A feature which is a novelty in our navy, though it has been used in many of the later ships abroad, is the placing of the smokestacks abreast of each other instead of on the axis of the ship.
In concluding our notice of these fine ships, it should be pointed out that they maintain the reputation of our naval constructors at the high level at which it was placed by the appearance of the plans of the «INDIANA» type some eight years ago. Like them, they carry heavier armor and heavier guns for a given displacement and speed than any ships in the world.
This is best shown by a comparison with the “MAJESTIC” of the British navy. The “MAJESTIC” has a displacement, loaded, of about 15,000 tons to about 11,500 tons for the «ALABAMA.» In spite of this disparity, the «ALABAMA» carries four 13-inch guns, as against four 12-inch for the «MAJESTIC;» she has fourteen 6-inch rapid-fire guns, as against twelve; she is protected with 16 ½ inches of side armor, as against 15 inches (9 inches side armor, 4 inches on Slopes of deck); she has 17-inch turret armor, as against 6-inch, and her speed is only 1 ½ knots less.
To this is to be added the fact that, being a smaller ship, she presents a smaller target to the enemy, and that, drawing 4 feet less water, she can navigate harbors and rivers and channels into which her bulky antagonist dare not enter. Against this, of course, is to be offset the greater coal capacity and larger stores of ammunition carried by the “MAJESTIC” and rendered necessary by the long distances which the British ships may have to traverse. But even after making such allowances it must be admitted that the above comparison bears eloquent testimony to the excellence of the ships turned out by Chief Constructor Hichborn and his associates.
Second-Class Battleship «TEXAS.»
The «TEXAS,» authorized in 1886, was the first battleship to be built in the reconstruction of the new navy. She is rated as a second-class, her displacement being 6,315 tons, or not much more than one-half that of the «ALABAMA.» Her plans were purchased in England as the result of a competition instituted by the naval department of the United States, in which Mr. William John, a naval architect of considerable note, was successful. There was considerable discussion as to the merits of the plans, subsequent to their purchase, and, as a result, the ship was not laid down until 1889, the plans in the meantime receiving certain modifications.
The construction was undertaken at the Norfolk navy yard; the launch took place June 28, 1893, and the ship did not go into commission until August 15, 1895.
The «TEXAS» represents a type of battleship which was popular at the time when her plans were drawn. In those days the heaviest suns were frequently placed amidships in a central armor-plated redoubt, the object being to reduce the protected area and enable a greater thickness of armor to be used. In the “TEXAS” the two 12-inch guns, which constitute her principal battery, are sponsoned out one on each side of the ship, and they are placed diagonally to the axis, with the smokestack standing between them, the starboard gun lying somewhat astern and the port gun somewhat ahead of the smokestack. The object of arranging the guns en echelon, as it is called, was to enable them to obtain an all-round fire, both guns being able to fire at the same time dead ahead or astern or on the same broadside.
This arrangement has given place to the plan adopted in our later ships, like the «INDIANA» and «ALABAMA,» in which the main battery is disposed at opposite ends of the ship and on its longitudinal axis. The advantages of the latter plan are that the guns are more widely separated and are not in danger of being both disabled by one lucky shell from the enemy’s big guns, that a more complete all-round fire is obtained, and that a larger area of the ship can be protected with armor. For it is evident that in the case of the «TEXAS» if a hostile ship took up her position off the port bow or the starboard quarter, only one of the heavy guns could be trained on her, the smokestack interfering with the training of the other gun.
Of course, two could play at that game, and the «TEXAS» would manouver to keep her opponent from placing herself in those positions. In this her good speed, nearly 18 knots, and her quick turning ability would be of great assistance. The 12-inch guns are supplemented by a battery of six 6-inch rifles, two being carried in sponsons on the gun deck on each broadside and two others on the main deck, one forward and one aft. These are supplemented by a numerous battery of smaller rapid-fire and machine guns. The turrets are armored with 12 inches of steel and their bases are enclosed by a diagonal redoubt armored with 12-inch steel plates, which serves to protect the hydraulic machinery used for operating the guns. The boilers and engines are protected by a nickel-steel belt of armor 12 inches thick, extending 2 feet above the designed water line and 4 ½ feet below it, having a length of 116 feet. There is a protective deck built of 2-inch steel above the armor belt.
In spite of the proverbial bad luck which has followed her from the first, the «TEXAS» is said to be a popular ship with her officers and crew. She has a good freeboard and carries her guns high above the water—an invaluable quality at all times—and she is one of the steadiest ships .in the navy, presenting an excellent gun platform. She now forms one of the Flying Squadron, under Commodore Schley, at Hampton Roads, for which her high speed and handiness render her well adapted.
The cruisers are the light cavalry of the navy. As their name implies, their duty is to cruise the seas keeping touch with the enemy’s fleets and acting as the «eyes» of the line-of-battle ships. They are also intended for the double duty of attacking an enemy’s commerce and defending that of the country whose flag they carry. Fleets of merchant vessels or of transport ships will be «convoyed» by cruisers from port to port. Upon the cruiser will devolve the duty of hunting down, capturing or sinking the armed merchantmen, known as auxiliary cruisers, and the regular cruisers of the enemy, and she must be ready at any time to make a dash at her topmost speed with important naval dispatches.
For these special duties she requires to be a good sea boat with high freeboard, adapted for steaming at a high rate of speed in all weathers. She must be furnished with powerful engines, and her lines must be fair and fine; she must have a large coal supply, enabling her to keep the sea for lengthy periods; she must have ample berthing space for a numerous crew, some of whom will have to be placed aboard her prizes to carry them to a home port; and, finally, she must be armed with a powerful battery of medium caliber guns, to enable her to fight ships of her own class.
These many requirements have evolved the swift protected cruiser of to-day (see Fig I. page 3) with its high speed, light armor, and moderate armament. Out of the protected cruiser, which relies entirely upon a curved deck to keep out the shells, has come the armored cruiser (Fig, II. page 3), in which an attempt is made to combine the speed of the cruiser with something of the offensive and defensive powers of the battleship. A belt of thin side armor is added, the guns are heavier, and are placed behind heavier armor, while the feature of high speed is maintained. The earlier ships of our navy were entirely of the cruiser class, and at the present time these ships constitute the most numerous portion of our fleets.
The Armored Cruiser «NEW YORK.»
Perhaps it is safe to say that there is no more widely known and popular ship in the new navy than the great armored cruiser «NEW YORK.» Certainly there is none more handsome, unless it be that other imposing armored cruiser, the «BROOKLYN,» for which she formed the prototype. Her imposing proportions, great power and high speed did much at the time of her appearance to advertise the excellent quality of the ships of which our new navy was being composed. She was selected to represent the United States at the great naval gathtering at Kiel, on the occasion of the opening of the Baltic Canal, where she won unstinted praise from the many naval experts who inspected her.
The «NEW YORK» was authorized in 1888, and was built under a programme which called for eight new vessels, the most important of which was to be an armored cruiser of 7,500 tons displacement. As actually built, the «NEW YORK» is larger, displacing 8,300 tons. She was built by the Cramp´s Company from designs furnished by the Bureaus of Construction and Steam Engineering, and it is no .exaggeration to say that from the day she was put into the water she has been an unqualified success. Her length is 380 feet 6 ½ inches; beam, 64 feet 10 inches; and mean draught, 23 feet 3 ½ inches. Her ram bow and high freeboard are conspicuously noticeable as the vessel is seen at anchor, the 8-inch rifles she carries being 25 feet above the water.
She has two of these rifles in a barbette forward on the main deck, two in a similar barbette aft, and two are carried in broadside amidships. She has also twelve 4-inch rapid-fire guns on the gun deck protected by 4 inches of steel, eight rapid-fire 6-pounders, two rapid-fire 1-pounders, four Ghatling guns, and two field guns for lauding parties; she also carries two torpedo tubes. The men working the rifles in the barbettes are protected by 10 inches of steel armor, and the revolving turrets are 7 inches thick. The protective deck is 3 inches thick on-the flat and 6 inches on the sloping sides, which incline from 1 foot above to 4 feet 9 inches below the water line. To the protection afforded by this deck is added the protection of a vertical belt of steel 4 inches thick, which extends amidships at the water line in the wake of the engines and boilers.
A novel arrangement of the engines was inaugurated on the «NEW YORK.» Each of the twin screws is driven by two complete triple-expansion engines working on the same shaft, a coupling being placed between each pair of engines. This was done with a view to using only the after engines for cruising purposes, the forward ones being uncoupled. The high pressure cylinders are 33 inches the intermediate 47 inches, and the low pressure cylinders 72 inches in diameter, the stroke of all cylinders being 42 inches.
Steam is furnished by six double-ended main boilers and two single-ended auxiliary boilers, with a total heating surface of 32.958 square feet. On her trial trip the ship averaged 21 knots for four consecutive hours.
The naval board having charge of the trial, of which Rear Admiral Belknap was president, said it «feels justified in recording its opinion that in the “NEW YORK” the navy of the United States will possess a vessel which, as a combination of superior speed, good armored protection, disposition of battery, excellent sea-going qualities, and rare habitability, leaves little ifanything to be desired for the purpose she was designed to fulfill.» At the conclusion of the trial the forward engines were uncoupled and the vessel was run for eight hours under two engines and four boilers, with which she logged about 16 knots an hour.
One of our illustrations shows the “NEW YORK» when she was travelling at her full speed of 21 knots or 24 miles an hour, and it shows very clearly the wave line and the mass of broken water thrown up at the stern. The photograph showing a stern view of the vessel was taken while the cruiser was in dry dock No. 2 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, being prepared for her hurried trip to Brazil during the recent rebellion.
The two propellers are of manganese bronze, 16 feet in diameter and of 20 feet pitch. This view shows the great sweetness of the lines aft, a feature which contributes at once to her beauty and high speed.
The Armored Cruiser «BROOKLYN.»
The act of Congress of July 19, 1892, which authorized the construction of the «IOWA,» so called for the construction of one armored cruise of the general type of the «NEW YORK.» The construction of both ships was undertaken by the Cramp Shipbuilding Company, the plans being furnished by the government bureau.
The «BROOKLYN» is an improved and enlarged «NEW YORK” as will be seen from the following comparison: (See attached file).
Her coal capacity, moreover, is 1,461 tons, as against 1,290 tons for the “NEW YORK.” As regards armament, the «BROOKLYN» carries eight 8-inch guns, as against six of this caliber carried on the «NEW YORK,» and her broadside battery of rapid-fire guns is of far greater weight and power. In the “NEW YORK” this battery is carried on the gun deck and is well distributed throughout the full length of the ship.
It consists of 4-inch rapid-fire guns, which fire a 33-pound shell with a muzzle energy of 915 foot-tons; but on the «BROOKLYN» the main rapid-fire battery is made up of much more powerful weapons, the new 5-inch rapid-fire gun being used. This fires a 50-pound shell with a muzzle velocity of 2,300 feet per second and an energy of 1,834 foot-tons, the muzzle penetration being 13 inches of iron.
Eight of these guns are carried on the gun deck and protected by Harveyized steel, and four are carried on the main deck above, upon which are also six of the 8-inch rifles.
At first glance one is struck with the odd appearance of the three unusually lofty smokestacks and the exceptionally high forecastle deck. Warships, however, are not built for appearance; and these two features, though they may retract from her beauty as compared with the «NEW YORK,» make her a much more effective fighting machine. The lofty forecastle enables her to carry her forward pair of 8-inch guns some 8 feet higher than the «NEW YORK,» or about 30 feet above the water line, and she could fight them when steaming against a head sea that would be apt to flood and put out of action the same guns on a ship with a lower freeboard. This is a very valuable feature in a ship that will often have to chase an enemy that is steaming against the wind. The lofty smokestacks give the result which is usually obtained by the use of forced draught—a device which experience has proved liable to be destructive to the boilers. In the forced draught system, the cold air impinging on the tube-plate, when the furnace door is opened for firing, causes severe expansion and contraction strains, and frequently starts leakage at the tube ends. There is less difficulty of the kind attaching to natural draught, and experience in the mercantile marine has shown that as good results can be obtained by lengthening the smokestacks as by the employment of the forced draught system.
In addition to the forward pair of 8-inch bow-chasers, the forward pair of 5-inch guns on both the main and gun decks are sponsoned well out from the sides of the ship, enabling them to fire dead ahead; moreover, she can concentrate the fire of the two pairs of 8-inch guns which are carried on either beam amidships, the barbettes being carried well out from the ship for this purpose. The ship can converge the same weight of gun fire astern, and on the beam it is still heavier, being increased by the addition of the two 5-inch guns amidships.
The important feature of interference has been carefully provided for, and no gun will be hampered by the blast from the others.
The «BROOKLYN» has the large coal supply of 1,461 tons, which will give her a radius of action of 6,088 knots at a 10-knot speed. The protection consists of a protective deck 3 inches thick on the flat and 6 inches on the slopes. The belt is 3 inches thick and between belt and slopes is a protection of coal. The water line is further protected by working in a water-excluding material, prepared from cocoa fiber, along the sides of the vessel. In the next naval operation of the United States we may confidently look for great things from this handsome and formidable ship.
The Protected Cruiser «COLUMBIA.»
The protected cruiser «COLUMBIA» differs from the armored cruisers «NEW YORK» and “BROOKLYN” in her greater speed and her lighter armor and guns. She was authorised at the same time as the «INDIANA” type of battleships, The act calling for «a protected cruiser of about 7,300 tons displacement, to have a maximum speed of 21 knots.»
Both the «COLUMBIA» and her sister ship the «MINNEAPOLIS,» authorized in the following year, created a considerable sensation both when their designs were first made public and when they achieved then-phenomenal trial speeds. The «COLUMBIA» was designed to act as a commerce destroyer. Hence she was given great length, 412 feet, fine lines and extreme horse power, the indicated horse power on the trial being 18.509. Her protection consists of a steel deck 3 inches on the flat and 4 inches on the slopes. The armament is light for a ship of her size, consisting of two 6-inch guns at the bow, one 8-inch gun at the stern, for stopping a more powerful enemy who might be giving chase, and a broadside battery of eight 4-inch rapid-fire guns.
One of the most interesting features of this vessel lies in the machinery, with its triple set of screws and three independent triple-expansion engines. One screw (see illustration, page 19) is located immediately in front of the helm on the axis of the ship, and is of 10 degrees more pitch than the others. The two other screws are located one on each side of the stern, about 15 feet forward of the middle screw, and about 4 feet 6 inches above it, the shafts inclining outward and upward, while the middle shaft is inclined slightly downward. The two side screws were set to the pitch found most advantageous on actual trial. By the triple screw arrangement the chances of a breakdown are lessened.
If twin screws had been used, over 9,000 indicated horse power would have had to pass through one shaft to obtain the 18.509 horse power developed at the trial. With three screws, each shaft is subjected to a strain not exceeding 6.170 horse power per shaft. The shafting is of forged steel, 16 ½ inches diameter. For ordinary cruising, using the central screw alone, a speed of about 15 knots is obtained; with the two side screws alone a speed of 17 to 19 knots can be maintained, and with all three screws at work at full power a high speed of 22,08 knots was got out of the vessel. The screws are disconnected when not driven by the engines, so as to reduce their resistance.
It was claimed by some critics of the «COLUMBIA» that although she showed a remarkably high speed on her trial trip, she would not be capable of maintaining a high continuous sea speed on a lengthy trip across the Atlantic. The government bureaus responsible for her design and her builders were equally satisfied that she could stand the test of an ocean voyage and eventually the Secretary of the Navy ordered her to cross from Southampton to New York at full speed.
She left Southampton shortly after noon on Friday, July 26, 1895, and reached Sandy Hook the following friday, the distance of 3.090 knots having been covered in 6 days 23 hours 49 minutes, at an average speed of 18,41 knots an hour. The trial was made under natural draught throughout the whole trip. It had originally been intended to use forced draught on the last day, but the force of coal passers was insufficient to bring the coal from the more remote bunkers on the last day fast enough to supply the fires.
The Protected Cruiser «MINNEAPOLIS.»
The “MINNEAPOLIS” was authorized in the year following the authorization of the “COLUMBIA.” She is called a sister ship, though she varies from the earlier vessel in some details of design and in her outward appearance, which is greatly changed by the substitution, of two smokestacks of large diameter for the four smaller stacks on the «COLUMBIA.» She carries 221 tons of coal more than the earlier ship, and her boilers are provided with one-seventh more grate area. On her trial trip she showed herself faster, covering the course at a speed of 23,07 knots, as against 22,8 knots achieved by the «COLUMBIA,» her engines indicating 20.862 horse power.
The accompanying illustration is from a photograph taken while the ship was running at her highest speed on her trial trip. The course was laid out from Cape Ann, Mass., to Cape Porpoise, Me., and was marked by eight government vessels anchored along it. Everything was favourable to the trial, the weather being calm for the greater part of the time.
When within two or three miles of the starting point forced draught was put on and she entered the course at, the rate of 23 knots. With her speed varying from 21 to over 24 knots, the first half of the course was completed. The ship then executed a long turn, and at high speed entered the other end of the course for the second run. The early portion of the return trip was made at the rate of 25,2 knots, and when the entire distance of nearly 88 marine miles was completed, the average speed, as deduced with the corrections for tide , was 23,073 knots per hour.
The illustrations of both the “COLUMBIA” and the “MINNEAPOLIS” are of special interest on account of the great speed at which they were taken. They have line is very clearly defined, as is the crest of broken water thrown up by the triple screws.
Protected Cruiser “CINCINNATI.”
The «CINCINNATI» and her sister .ship the «RALEIGH» were authorized in 1888, and by the direction of the Secretary of the Navy were constructed at the government navy yards, the «CINCINNATI» at Brooklyn and the «RALEIGH» at Norfolk.
The «CINCINNATI» is 300 ft. long, 42 ft. beam and has a draught of 18ft., with a displacement of 3,213 tons. With an indicated horse power of 10.000, she has a speed of 19 knots. Her bunker capacity is 460 tons, and her maximum draught, loaded for sea, is 20 ft. 2 in. The engines were constructed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and it is claimed that in cost per horse power and in performance they compare favourably with the engines built by contract. The ship is driven by twin screws, and the engines are of the triple-expansion type with four cylinders, the high pressure, intermediate and the two low pressures. Two low-pressure cylinders were used on account of the difficulty in finding room for one large cylinder, on account of the narrowing of the ends of the ship. The armament is heavy, consisting of ten 5-inch rapid-fire guns and one 6-inch slow-fire gun, together with a numerous battery of smaller rapid-fire and machine guns. The 6-inch gun is mounted on a bow chaser on the forecastle deck, and two of the 5-inch guns are mounted at the same height on the poop, one on either beam. Of the other 5-inch guns, two are carried on the gun deck forward beneath the forecastle deck, two aft on the same deck beneath the poop and the other four are carried amidships in the open waist of the vessel. The guns beneath the forecastle and poop are sponsoned well out from the sides of the vessel, so as to allow them to fire respectively dead ahead and dead astern.
The disposition of the guns is excellent, and as all of them but one are of the rapid-fire type, these ships are among the most formidable fighting machines for their size in the navy. Judging them on the basis of weight of shell thrown in a given time per ton of displacement, they are unsurpassed, unless it be by the United States cruiser «OLYMPIA» or the recently acquired «NEW ORLEANS.»
Protected Cruiser «CHICAGO.»
This very handsome vessel was the largest and most powerful of the three protected cruisers which formed the nucleus of the new navy, the others being the twin ships «ATLANTA» and “BOSTON.” Like them, she was contracted for by John Roach, of Philadelphia, and partly constructed in his yards. After his failure she was completed by the government.
The “CHICAGO” is 325 feet long, 48 feet 2 inches in beam and draws 19 feet of water, with a displacement of 4,500 tons. As originally built, she carried the rig of a bark, and it; was under this rig that she went as flagship of the White Squadron to European wafers, where she attracted much attention on account of her handsome model and fine proportions. The praise bestowed upon her was well merited, as will be seen from the accompanying engraving of the flagship. Unlike the «ATLANTA» and «BOSTON” she has a high freeboard, the heavier guns being carried a deck higher above the water than on those ships, and this renders her a dry and comfortable ship in bad weather, and allows more liberal berthing space for the crew, who number, all told, 376 men.
The main battery was made up of four 8-inch guns, eight 6-inch and two 5-inch slow-firers, and a secondary rapid-fire battery of seven 6-pounders, two 1-pounders, and three machine guns. The 8-inch guns were mounted on the main deck in sponsons carried well out to secure a good train forward and aft, and they were protected by shields. Below on the gun deck were the 6-inch and 5-inch guns in broadside, the two forward and the two aft guns being also sponsoned out. The secondary battery was variously distributed throughout the ship.
In the remodeling of the ship, which is being carried out at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the 6-inch and the 5-inch slow-fire guns are being replaced by a battery of 5-inch rapid-fire guns, thereby greatly increasing the offensive power of the ship. The secondary battery has also been changed, as shown in the tabulation accompanying the illustration of the ship.
The machinery was of a novel type. There were two large compound engines, the cylinders of which were placed one on each side of the center line of the ship and connected to overhead athwartship walking-beams, which served to drive the crankshafts on the opposite side of the ship. Thus the starboard cylinder drove the port screw shaft and vice versa. The boilers were of the externally fired return-tube cylindrical type, the furnaces being bricked up around the outer shell. These engines and boilers gave good service during the six or seven years that the «CHICAGO» was in commission, but they are now to be replaced by m o d e r n triple-expansion engines and nickel-steel boilers, the latter, by the way, the first of the kind to be used in the navy…
(To be continued in Part III)



  1. An editorial in the September 2016 issue of Scientific American attacked U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump for alleged «anti-science» attitudes and rhetoric. This marked the first time that the publication forayed into commenting on U.S. presidential politics.

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