120-ton Wrought Iron Beauty

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<em>Monitor</em> Turret out of alkaline solution
USS Monitor‘s revolving gun turret, July 27, 2015, as viewed from a work platform inside the conservation lab. Image courtesy of Jonathon Gruenke, Daily Press

Good morning to all our readers. We’ve been very busy in the Batten Conservation Complex inside the USS Monitor Center over the past few weeks preparing to drain USS Monitor‘s 90,000-gallon revolving gun turret treatment tank for assessment.

Well guess what? The tank is now drained and Monitor‘s gun turret is visible in the open air for the first time in over three years. The excitement in the lab is palpable, and we have an ambitious two-week (July 27 – August 7) work window within the lab.

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Pay no attention to that turret behind the curtain…..or, door!

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Today marks the beginning of the USS Monitor Center’s  two-week turret survey! The largest tank in  the Batten Conservation Complex is now drained and will stay that way until August 6th.

While the conservation staff is giving the turret some TLC, visitors are welcome to tour and explore all the facets the USS Monitor Center has to offer and to take a once-in-a-lifetime tour of the Wet and Dry Labs.

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Oaktoberfest (Sort of…) and a Toast

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Gary with his hard-earned trophy.

A few years ago, one of our former conservators Elsa posted about the successful effort to disassemble the port gun carriage excavated from inside USS Monitor‘s gun turret. And last summer, Kate added a post about long-term efforts to stabilize the wooden internal components from the carriage.

One of my favorite pictures from the earlier posts shows former staff guru Gary hoisting an oak gun carriage side from the Wet Lab’s overhead crane for documentation and photography. Here it is in case you missed it:

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Rolling right along

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Peeking around the door of the condenser tank.
Peeking around the door of the condenser tank.

After spending last week with the Monitor’s main steam engine, we are turning our attention to her condenser this week. Today we drained the tank and removed the anodes and reference electrodes.  Like the engine, the condenser just keeps looking better and better. Unfortunately the condenser isn’t really visible from our viewing platform, but it can be seen via our webcams. You will have no trouble seeing the turret from the viewing platform or the webcams once its tank is drained on July 27.

Just a quick snapshot of what you seeing looking into the condenser tank through the doorway. Official photographs will be taken tomorrow. Happy Monday.

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An Oldie, But a Goodie

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Engine Forward
Monitor’s main steam engine is perched on its treatment rig within the 35,000-gallon treatment tank. The valve chests are visible on the lower left and lower right, reversing gear eccentrics are positioned dead center and top, and the engine’s cast iron support bed spans the entire top portion of this picture.

This week we’ve been very fortunate to spend some quality time with one of our oldest and dearest friends: USS Monitor‘s vibrating side lever steam engine. Much like our favorite ironclad, this salty lady is over 150 years old but keeps looking better every year.

We took the following pictures on Monday. Please remember that the engine currently sits upside down in the treatment tank.

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