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TB-19 Stringham

TB-19 Stringham was 225 feet long, 22 feet extreme breadth, and at 6 feet 6 inches mean draught displaced 340 tons. This is 70 tons larger than the TB-11 Farragut, twice as great as any other American torpedo boat built or building, and is within 60 tons of the weight of some of the destroyers. The design in its general features followed the English type of boat, was not a close copy of foreign plans, as had been the ease with the designs of some other boats then building.

She had four Thornycroft water-tube boilers, exhausting into three stacks, the two middle boilers having a common stack. The engines were vertical inverted, triple expansion designed to indicate 7,200 horse power, which was expected to drive the boat at least at the guaranteed speed of 30 knots per hour. This power was greater by 1,500 than that of the Farragut or any of her class, and equaled that of most destroyers. Her allowance of coal at the normal draught of water was 35 tons, and her bunkers would stow 120 tons.

She carried an unusually heavy battery for boats of her class, as in addition to two deck-discharging tubes for eighteen-inch Whitehead torpedoes, she mounted seven [later four] six-pounder, rapid-fire guns, one on top of each of the two conning towers and the other five on the between the conning towers. A turtle back was built from the forward conning tower to the stern, and the latter had a sharp rake, instead of being plumb as usual.

The officers' quarters aft consist of a cabin and state-room for the captain, a state-room each for the executive officer and engineer, and a mess-room, abaft which is a pantry and bath-room. Forward of the captain's quarters is a compartment with four berths for petty officers, and one with six berths for machinists. Forward of these is the firemen's quarters with twelve berths. Forward of the firemen's quarters is the engine room, occupying the full width of the boat for 28 feet, and then come the boiler compartments and coal bunkers, which absorb 73 feet of the length of the boat. Forward of the boilers is the galley and then the crew's quarters, with twenty folding berths, and in the extreme bow the windlass compartment.

She was one of the three destroyers contracted for in July 1897. The other boats of this trio are the Bailey, under construction at Morris Heights, N. Y., and the Goldsborough, building at Portland, Ore. They are of smaller dimensions. The Stringham was the largest and most costly torpedo boat designed for the Government, and upon completion was intended to be the piorneer of the ocean-going boats of her class. Her construction was authorized by Congress in the act approved March 3, 1897, and the contract was signed with the Harlan Hollingsworth Company July 9, 1897. The keel was laid March 21, 1898. The contract date of completion was July 29, 1899, and the price for hull and machinery, exclusive of ordnance and outfit, was $236,000.

The vessel was named after Rear Admiral Silas Horton Stringham, who died in Brooklyn at the age of seventy-eight years, after a service of sixty-seven years in the navy, starting at the age of eleven years as a mid-shipman. The torpedo boat Stringham, which the Harlan Hollingsworth Company was building for the Government, was launched on June 11, 1899. Alias Edwina Stringham Creighton, granddaughter of the late Admiral Stringham, and daughter of the late Rear Admiral Creighton, gave the vessel its name. Thousands of spectators witnessed the launching, including guests from New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, who were entertained at luncheon in the mold loft. The boat was launched with the machinery in position and was to be sent on her preliminary trial. On 02 August 1901 the new torpedo boat Stringham arrived at Newport. This was the first vessel of her class to enter the harbor.

While running her contractor's preliminary trials in November 1900 an accident happened to the torpedo boat Stringham, wrecking her starboard engine. Three runs for speed were made over the measured mile at different times, and it was when about two-thirds over the course on the third run that the wrecking of the engine occurred. Both castings, containing the four cylinders and valve chests, were damaged beyond repair. An examination after the accident showed that the bridge of the L.P. valve port, between the exhaust and the lower steam port, was broken out ; the first L.P. cylinder valve port bridge, forming the upper flat of lower steam port, was broken, and the I. P. cylinder bottom was indented inch on the side next to the lower port opening. The go-ahead eccentric and strap of L.P. cylinder was broken, and the feather securing eccentric to shaft was pulled out and seating in shaft enlarged. The L P. eccentric rod was bent, and brasses broken. The L.P. link was bent. The I. P. valve was broken and L.P. valve chipped. Pieces of the I. P. valve port bridge were carried by the steam to the second L.P. valve and did the damage to this valve, exhaust bottom casting, eccentric rod, straps, eccentric and link. The cause of the accident seems to be due, in the first instance, to the giving way of the I.P. valve port bridge. The flat surfaces of the these bridges are unstayed, and the valves sliding past them probably bite on the edges of these flats, due to their deflection from pressure, overheating, want of alignment or other unknown causes. The Stringham returned to the works using her port engine, and her trial was postponed until spring 1902.

After a number of conferences between naval officials and members of the Harlan; & Holllngsworth Shipbuilding Company of Wilmington, Del., in November 1903 the torpedo boat Stringham, which the company contracted to, was taken to the League Island Navy Yard, the vessel having been towed from Wilmington by Government tugs. The company gave notice that it would have nothing more to do with the vessel and suggested that the Government take it in charge. This the Navy Department did. Stringham was docked at the Norfolk Navy Yard for the removal of propellers and shafts. The expense of this work to be borne by the Harlan & Hollingsworth Company. Stringham was placed in reduced commission on 7 November 1905.

The Secretary of the Navy was authorized by Congress on March 3, 1905, in his discretion, to waive the statutory speed requirement of thirty knots an hour for the torpedo boat Stringham and Goldsborough, authorized and contracted for under the Act approved March third, eighteen hundred and ninety-seven; to accept said vessels, after such trial as he may prescribe, and to make final settlement therefor under the contracts for their construction, subject to such deductions from the contract prices as may in his judgment be proper, if any, on account of speed failure, giving due consideration to the losses incurred bv the contractors in endeavoring to fulfill their obligations where said losses were due to changes of modifications of plans or specifications ordered by the Department.



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