SS Governor Cobb - Development and Design

Development and Design

Governor Cobb was ordered by the Eastern Steamship Company of Charles W. Morse from the marine engine specialists W. & A. Fletcher Co. of Hoboken, New Jersey. W. & A. Fletcher had recently licenced the revolutionary steam turbine technology from the Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Company of Great Britain, and a Parsons design was utilized for Governor Cobb's powerplant.

The powerplant consisted of one large high-pressure central turbine for providing the motive power to a central propeller, and a pair of low-pressure turbines driving two outboard screws which were used for maneouvre, and which were shut down when the vessel was under way. Steam was provided by six single-ended, forced draft Scotch boilers delivering a pressure of 150 pounds. W. & A. Fletcher subcontracted the hull to the Delaware River Iron Shipbuilding and Engine Works of Chester, Pennsylvania.

Construction of the engines aroused considerable interest, and when the vessel had been completed, the Department of Naval Architecture received permission from the President of the Eastern Steamship Company, Calvin Austin, to conduct a number of tests. The tests were conducted by the Bureau of Steam Engineering, which was obliged to borrow one of only two instruments in the United States capable of determining the horsepower of a steam turbine. The turbines were found to deliver a total of 5,000 horsepower, which gave the vessel a speed of 17½ knots.

When completed, Governor Cobb was 300 feet long, with a 51 foot beam and draft of 14 feet. The ship had a double steel bottom and four decks—a main deck, saloon, gallery and dome deck. The ship had 175 staterooms, and could carry a large number of passengers. It also carried freight in the hold and on the main deck.

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