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Craft Designed to Act as Ice Crusher— Will Be Equipped with Radio at Later Date—Specifications of Latest Fire Boat

THE “John Kendall,” Detroit’s new fire boat, was placed in service last week, relieving the “James Battle” as Engine Co. 16, and the Battle relieved the “James Elliott” as Engine Co. 25—the Elliott going to dry dock for overhauling. It will then he held in reserve. The Kendall was named for the third chief of the Detroit Fire Department. He served from June 27, 1865, to January 1, 1907, when he retired. He died July 6, 1921.


The advent of the Kendall into the fire service of the motor capital of the world was attended with pomp and ceremony and by Gov. Green of Michigan, Mayor Bowles of Detroit, members of the Board of Fire Commissioners. Chief Stephen Dc May of the Detroit Fire Department, Chief Edward Rutnsey in charge of apparatus, shops and properties and several others of lesser rank. They were all on the first official trip of the fire tug up the Detroit River into Lake St. Clair where the Kendall successfully crushed twelve inches of ice. Detroit fireboats have to be ice-breakers, and the Kendall proved true to this task under a speed of six knots. Then she was backed full speed into the ice cakes to test her steering gear and she performed most successfully, with Commissioner C. Hayward Murphy at the wheel. Mr. Murphy is a navigator and saw service as Lieutenant Commander in charge of mine sweepers during the world war.

The day of the official trial the temperature was seventeen degrees. On the way back a novel experiment was tried. While the vessel was still in the throes of the ice the main engines were stopped: the boat’s headway was “killed” and the stern gun atop the tower-mast was equipped with a four and a half inch tip, directed straight astern. The full powder of the pumps was used and the back-thrust from this discharge was enough to send the boat ahead at about four or five knots. Commissioner Murphy was at the helm for this stunt also and was able to steer just the same as if the propeller had been doing its work. The boat will soon be equipped with radio—-the plans for the installation being incomplete at this writing. The accompanying photographs were made by Lieut. George Smith, arson squad detective and official photographer for the department.

The “John Kendall” was designed by Dean Herbert C. Sadler, Professor of Naval Architecture at the University of Michigan, and built by the Toledo Ship Building Company, of Toledo, Ohio. She is 135 feet overall, 29 feet beam, 15 feet 6 inches moulded depth, and 125 feet between perpendiculars; built entirely of steel with an ice crushing bow and a cruiser stern. The propelling steam engine is a 950 I.H.P., fore and aft compound condensing type, built by the Toledo Ship Building Company, size 18 inches and 36 inches, with a 27 inch stroke, turning a nine foot four bladed propeller 160 R.P.M., giving a speed of 16 miles per hour.

The deck equipment consists of two steam capstans, towing bitts, two 14 foot metal life boats equipped with outboard motors, one 750 pound and one 400 pound stockless anchors. Something new in fire boat construction has been embodied in that all railings, turret nozzles, gates handles, etc., have been chromium plated.


The fire pumping equipment consists of two 12-inch, four stage Manistee Roturbo centrifugal pumps, guaranteed to deliver 5000 g.p.m., at 200 pounds pump pressure when running at 1700 r.p.m., and 2500 g.p.m., at 300 pounds pump pressure when running at 1940 r.p.m., each direct connected to a General Electric, 800 h.p., type D-50, five-stage steam turbine. There are also two 6-inch, four-stage Manistee Roturbo centrifugal pumps each capable of delivering 500 g.p.m., at 200 pounds pump pressure when running at 2000 r.p.m. These pumps are direct connected to General Electric, type D-54, two-stage turbines.

At the acceptance tests the large pumps exceeded their guaranteed delivery by pumping:

12125 g.p.m. at 150 pounds pump pressure

10640 g.p.m. at 200 pounds pump pressure

5747 g.p.m. at 300 pounds pump pressure

The small pumps exceeded their guaranteed delivery by Dumping:

1585 g.p.m. at 150 pounds pump pressure

1229 g.p.m. at 200 pounds pump pressure

816 g.p.m. at 300 pounds pump pressure

The pumps discharge into a well gated 12-inch loop forward and an eight-inch loop aft, to which are connected by risers the sixteen 3-inch gate valves located on the deck house, eight at the forward end and eight at the after end, also to the five-6500 gal Morse Invincible Turret Nozzles, each equipped with four 1/2", four 3 1/2", three 2 1/2", 2", and 1 1/2" tips, are located: two on the roof of the pilot house, two on the after end of the deck house, and one on a tower on the after deck thirty feet above the water line. These are all controlled by horizontal valves located below deck, with stems rising through operating platforms at base of nozzles. Ross valves and flow meters are provided in the main piping.

The steam for operating the pump turbines and all auxiliary units, such as bilge pumps, boiler feed pumps, oil transfer, sanitary and circulating pumps, capstans, steering gear and fan is furnished by two Babcock and Wilcox Marine water tube boilers having a total evaporating surface of 6362 sq. ft., and a working pressure of 225 pounds per square inch, fitted with eight Cuyaure type B. & W. oil burners and arranged for forced draft of the closed stokehold type. Air pressure is maintained by a No. 4 double inlet, American Blower Company high speed forced draft fan with 24-inch diameter impeller direct connected to a 30 hjs. 1900 General Electric steam turbine. All turbines and auxiliaries discharge into a Wheeler condenser and operate on twenty-seven inches of vacuum. While under full operation no smoke or steam discharges from the stacks.

Kendall Crew.jpg
Kendall 2.jpg

Newspaper clipping. Unknown author.

John Kendal (Tug), 1929 Maritime History of the Great Lakes.png
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