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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 89.djvu/895

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Fupnlar Science Monthly


��Captain Lester A. Blake did not lose hope of her recovery, notwithstanding the fact that- no vessel had e\er before been salvaged while lyintc under ninety feet of water fifteen miles out at sea. Associated with Captain Blake in the \enture are Theodore W'l'Us, a na- \\\\ architect, and William Wallace \\'otherspoon, who introduced the com- pressed air method of floating sunken ships.

The Washingtonian is a steel ship ap- proximateh- four hundred and twenty- eight feet long, with a fifty-foot beam. She is di\ided into eight watertight com- partments between decks and has a watertight double bottom, extending practically the whole length of the ship. That portion of the hull which lies abo^•e the side of the hatch-openings nearest the surface formed a pocket into which compressed air was pumped. The double bottom proved to be an independent source of buoyancy.

Fortunately, the Washhigtonian has vents extending to her upper or shelter deck. These vents lead to the several

��outlets already established on the floats, and thence to the \arious parts of the sunken ship. The wrecking tug could thus leave the scene of the wreck when weather conditions prohibited working, simply by detaching the hose con- nections.

The accompanying illustrations show the way in which the vessel is to be raised. Air will first be blown into the double bottom, giving sufficient buoy- ancy to lift the ship off the seabed. To prevent her from turning bottomside-up a control tank with a lifting capacity of many tons will be attached by an ad- justable purchase to the foremast. This will act as a lever to pre\-ent the shij) from upsetting. Finalh-, air is forced into the space between the decks and the upturned side, to bring the port side of the ship just le\el with the surface.

As soon as the Washingtonian is brought to the surface she will be towed inside the Delaware Capes where she will be grounded. It will then be a com- paratively easy matter to right her.




��The salvors predicted that the ship would occupy three different positions as she rose to the surface. A control tank attached to the foremast prevents her from turning bottomside up

��compartments, interdeck spaces, and the various tanks. The first step in salvaging the craft is the locating of the two distributing bases, one forward and one aft. To these bases flexible rubber hose, strongly protected by wire netting, was led to a surface float upon which indi\idual connections were placed. The float was pemianently anchored over the wreck. The compressed air from the pumps on the wrecking boat was sent through flexible hose connected with the

��The water will be pumped out, her wound repaired and she will be re- floated.

The scarcity of ships and the high freight rates ha\-e Viecn two factors inspiring the sa\ing of the ship. At the time the ^■essel was sunk she was valued, outside of her cargo, at a rough half million dollars. Today, if she were re- floated and able to carr\- large cargos of munitions, she could bring a price as high as two million dollars.

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