Welcome to Cargo Hatch #2 Museum!
mine and other exhibits on dispaly in museum #2
The second of two museums aboard the ship is located in cargo hold #2, on the upper tween deck. This museum contains many exhibits that are represenative of the tools and technology that the common to merchant marine serives in the 1940's. There are also exhibits that represent the dangers of merchant service during World War II. A torpedo and an anti ship mine are displayed to show how German submarines sank nearly six million tons of Allied shipping in the first six months of 1942. Some examples of counter measures used to protect the ship, such as the degaussing unit and directions for its use, are on display. There is also a memorial listing the names of the heroic merchant mariners who gave their lives, during World War II, bringing critical supplies to Allied Forces. Addionally, there are other exhibits that feature tools and techniques used in navigating a World War II Victory ship. These include celestial navigation by sextant, a radio direction finder, azimuth circle, taffrail log speedometer, recording fathometer, and a dead reckoning device. There are also several jeeps on display as examples of some of the cargo the S.S. Lane Victory transported during times of war.
One of the center piece exhibits of museum #2 is a triple expansion steam engine; a type of marine steam engine that began to see wide spread use starting in the 1880's. The engine gets its name from the fact that high pressure steam is "used" or expanded 3 times to move reciprocating pistons that turn the crankshaft causing the ship's screw to rotate. High pressure steam is admitted to the high pressure cylinder. As the steam expands it pushes on the high pressure piston causing it to move and turn the crank shaft. The "used" steam is now at an intermediate pressure and admitted to the intermediate cylinder where the steam is "used" for the 2nd time. Again as it expands, the steam now moves the intermediate piston. The twice used steam is now at a low pressure and admitted to the low pressure cylinder. Here it is "used" for the third and final time. Again the steam expands in the low pressure cylinder to move the low pressure piston. Each successive piston is larger than the prior piston as the steam needs to expand over a larger surface area to accomplish the same amount of work as the prior higher pressure piston. The steam, finally at a pressure too low to used further, is routed to the condenser to be liquified and sent back to be heated by the boilers again. Though replaced by steam turbines in many naval vessels in the 1920-30s, the triple-expansion engine continued to see wide spread use in commercial vessels and ferries where high speed was not a driving requirement. The Liberty ships, built during World War II, were powered by a 2500 HP triple expansion engine. Turbines were in short supply during the early 1940's and prioritized for warship construction. Many Liberty ships, with their triple expansion powerplants, continued to serve in the world's merchant fleets until the 1960's.
Image showing the triple-expansion steam engine used in the filming of The Sand Pebbles
The engine on display is a twenty ton, 1000 HP engine built in 1920 by the Vickers Co, of England. It originally powered a fishing trawler that was converted into convoy escort vessel during World War II. The ship eventually reentered commercial service until it was broken up in Vancouver, British Columbia. The engine was moved to a Burbank Fox Studio where it was used during the filming of the 1961 movie, The Sand Pebbles, starring Steve McQueen and Candice Bergman. It was later sold to a San Diego collector and eventually acquired by the S.S. Lane Victory. Hundreds of hours of volunteer labor were required to restore the engine to its present condition, led by Chief Engineers Gene Allen and Jim Higman. The exposed piston rods and crankshaft move quietly without vibration when driven by an electric motor for display.