Joseph Bell – Engineers Report RMS Olympic June 1911

Joseph Bell Chief Engineer of ‘Olympic’ & subsequently ‘Titanic’ her sister ship, produced this report as a consequence of the ‘Olympic’ maiden voyage to New York arriving on the 24th June 1911.  The report was written by hand for his employers Ismay & Co, The Steamship Department, Liverpool.

As the original report was hand written, any transcription errors where some words were difficult to transcribe are entirely my own and for which I apologise.  I hope however that you find in the report a great deal of interest.

S S Olympic Voy 1

At New York

June 24th 1911

Messrs Ismay, Imrie & Co



I beg to report that the Engines and Boilers worked very well

during the passage from Southampton.

The speed was regulated according to instructions received and a good command of steam was maintained for the various speeds required, the Boilers being connected up as necessary when speed was accelerated to order until 24 of the Boilers were all in use, and the 5 Boilers in reserve those latter not been used during the passage.  All the Boilers worked without trouble in any form.

The Stoking controller, and Electrical Telegraph from Engine Room to Boilers Rooms worked satisfactorily and enabled the Engineer in charge to control the work in the Boiler Rooms.  As discussed these fittings are an absolute necessity for such an extensive installation of Boilers.

Reciprocating EnginesHave worked exceptionally well with little trouble being experienced with the bearings, the speed being increased gradually to order as found possible for good working.


TurbinesI was not given the slightest trouble in working, the new type of motor preventing any undue pressure in Thrust Boilers this is proved by the highest temperature of oil returning from the lubricating system in this passage.

Lubrication SystemsAre very satisfactory the bearings all line shafting being the most efficiently lubricated, a film of oil covering the whole of bearing surfaces in a manner not experienced with the ordinary method of lubrication.


Auxiliary Machinery:  Has worked very well but I have recommended some slight alterations including Air vessels in the air feed pump suction pipes from control heaters and the lift of valves of these pumps to be reduced From 1/4 inch to 1/8 of an inch; the suction pipes and several auxiliary steam pipes, also Electric Engine pipes to be more efficiently stayed; the valve seats of the Sanitary pumps have too large apertures’ causing the rubber valves [which are here used to prevent the noise of working from travelling along the discharge pipes to the Accommodation] to break, the pressure of discharge to Tank on Boat deck is 48lbs per sq inch [Seats to have smaller apertures and fitted with five small valves instead of one large one as at present]

Circulating discharge from main bearing caps and Thrust block water service to be led to sanitary pump suction [this work is all to be attended to here]


Ash EjectorsHave worked well no trouble being experienced in working.

Electric Machinery:  No difficulty has been found in the working, all the current required for `light & Power being supplied without approaching the maximum load for which Dynamos are designed.

Refrigeration MachineryWorked very satisfactory, steady temperatures being maintained as required; Ice making machines worked well; some slight trouble was experienced in regulating the Brine necessary for Water coolers under the varying output to prevent freezing up coolers, which is very usual with new installations.

Engine Room Telegraphs:  Have worked very well, they are remarkably easy in working and no adjustments have been necessary, which considering the distance of transmission is very satisfactory.

Watertight Doors:  Have always closed readily and promptly when required for testing; [I consider that a “Tell tale “indicating on the Bridge when Doors are closed would be an improvement].

Boiler Room Telephones:  Are not yet quite satisfactory and will require improved insulating from the ships structure in Engine Room.

Fourniers Indicator for Hot water Temp:  These are a great convenience and have worked very satisfactorily, their use tends to lesson the wear & tear on piping due to excessive pressure.

Steering Gear:  This is an exceptionally good fitting the three cranks and double helical gearing makes it practically noiseless in working.

Telemotors:  Have worked very satisfactorily throughout voyage no adjustments being required.

Passenger & Store Elevators:  Very satisfactory in working and much used.

Steam Whistle & Electric Control: Worked very well no adjustment being required throughout voyage.

 Ventilation Fans:  No trouble experienced in working but some additional ones required.

Insulation of Passenger Accommodation:  Some additional required in places and is being attended to.

Emergency Dynamos:  Worked efficiently and was seen as required circuits from dusk until daylight.

Electric Cranes: Worked well but some trouble was experienced at first in getting shore staff to work them in New York.

I am Gentlemen

Your Obedient Servant

J Bell Chf Engr


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