USS Monitor: Oil Reservoirs

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Image source: https://wiki.opensourceecology.org/wiki/Steam_Engine_Research/Lubrication

What’s an Oil Reservoir?

Oil reservoirs are a tool commonly found on USS Monitor‘s engine. Also known as an oil cup or lubricating cup, they were used on steam engines to keep valves and levers constantly lubricated. The diagram below shows how they directly screwed into valve joins. 

 While there were many ways to oil engine parts, the kind we have found on Monitor are the “wick feed” variety (top left corner). The oil soaks the wick and slowly but continuously drips oil into the valve joins.    Read more

Dahlgren Gun Tools: an In-Depth Look at Treatment, Part III

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Gun tool after salts have been removed and after chemical cleaning

In this blog post we’ll continue the discussion about one of USS Monitor’s gun cleaning tools, and the conservation treatment it has undergone.

Review

In Part I, I discussed the purpose of the gun tool and how the treatment plan for the gun tool was developed. Part II delved into what steps were taken to preserve the textile found on the iron handle. I also touched on the importance of removing salts from marine archaeological objects and how the desalination process was adjusted for a composite organic & inorganic object. Finally, I explained how we stabilize waterlogged wood in conservation.   Read more

Make a little birdhouse in your….tank farm?

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Photo of an Eastern Blue Bird in The Mariners’ Park. Photo courtesy of Rand Milam/The Mariners’ Museum and Park.

We’ve had our fair share of animal interactions in the Conservation Lab. With the Park surrounding the Museum, and the tank farm (outdoor tanks for storing large objects) so close to the woods, we expect to get the occasional turtle, goose, or squirrel coming to inspect our work. What we didn’t expect was to have a several-year-long battle with….bluebirds.

For anyone who doesn’t know, bluebirds are small, brightly colored birds that nest in tall trees, and have 2-4 broods (times they lay their eggs) each summer. My stepmom loves bluebirds and sets up a birdhouse for a bluebird family in the backyard every year, so I’m always keeping an eye out for these feathered friends.   Read more

Dahlgren Gun Tools: an In-Depth Look at Treatment, Part II

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Image of gun tool before treatment.

In this blog post we’ll continue the discussion about one of USS Monitor’s gun cleaning tools, and the conservation treatment it has undergone.

Review

In Part I, I discussed the purpose of the gun tool. I also showed how the way the gun tool was constructed made it impossible for me to disassemble the tool and treat the metal and wooden parts separately. This meant I was going to have to think outside the normal conservation treatment box and treat the wood and metal parts together. I also mentioned that I found textile wrapped around the iron handle and that I’d have to take extra steps to ensure it was preserved through treatment.    Read more