The Monitor’s engine room was equipped with two steam powered Worthington pumps for clearing bilges and acting as boiler water feed pumps. Both pumps were recovered from the wrecksite and have been undergoing conservation at The Mariners’ Museum.
When they first entered the lab these pumps were covered with a hard, thick calcareous marine crust called concretion. X-radiography revealed the thickness of the concretion as well as the excellent state of preservation of the pumps and their internal components such as valves, springs, and pistons.
Both pumps have now been deconcreted and the conservation of many of the small parts has been completed.
While continuing the removal of small amounts of concretion from the starboard Worthington pump, the word “OUT” was found stamped on the outer edge of the bronze water pump plunger, indicating which way the part should be assembled. Another interesting detail was found on the valve lever which actuated the slide valve in the steam engine portion of the pump. This lever, made of cast iron, is fixed on a copper alloy drive shaft. On Tuesday, it was found that two keyways were used to fix the lever in place. The “keys” were most likely made of wrought iron, based on the slurry of corrosion products found inside.
Stay tuned for more updates on the conservation of the Worthingtons!