The Steam Pile-driver

The steam pile-driver first came about in 1840 as an extension of Nasmyth's steam hammer, which was introduced to the Royal Dockyards in England to be used to forge anchors and large iron works (Nasmyth). The director of Naval Works was involved in an extension of the Devonport Docks for the Admiralty, which involved the walling of a large portion of the shore, and this would require a vast amount of pile-driving to form a firm foundation for the great outer dock wall, a mile and a quarter in length. Nasmyth as consulted about adapting his steam hammer for pile-driving, and he already had such a plan in mind.

The steam-driven pile-driving machine was erected on a strong timber platform, which was placed on wheels so it could move along rails (Nasymth). The same boiler that supplied the steam hammer part of the apparatus also worked the small steam engine fixed to the platform for locomotion, and supplied steam for rearing the next pile to be driven. The steam was conveyed to the hammer cylinder by a jointed pipe. The pipe could be accommodated to any elevation or descent of the hammer. The weight of the cylinder, hammer-block, and guide box, supported by t



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