8. Mechanical Room

The Mechanical or Engine Room

        From the text, the Mechanical Room was Separate from the Electrical or Battery Room.  “At the (bottom) was a fourth partition that separated this office (This was the Battery Room) from the Engine-Room…”


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        “This engine-room, clearly lighted, did not measure less than sixty-five feet in length, divided into two sections, the first – equipped for generating electrical power, the second – machinery for turning the propeller.”


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        Bunsen components or batteries were used for electricity and all this power was generated from the Battery Rooms.  I elected to employ two battery rooms due to the large number of Bunsen units that would have been needed to supply so much power to so many functions.  My battery units are the same size, dimensions and materials as the original type used in Vern’s time.  I only employed sufficient batteries to clearly demonstrate the rooms function.  But there is space for many more, if needed.


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        For logistics sake, I split the rooms between the two decks, one upper and one lower, both adjoining the Mechanical Room, but included a separate ladder just for the two of them for maintenance so it wouldn’t be necessary to go through the Mechanical Room.  This would not only be efficient in wiring the output electricity to the many machines in the engine room, but, should there be a hull breach in the Mechanical Room, the water could, hopefully, be kept out of the Battery Rooms.  They may loose the use of motive power, but still have light, fans and other function connected directly.

Power Upper

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        Due to the curvature of the hull and the lower section of the Mechanical Room being much more narrow than the center of the space, I found it necessary to widely use catwalks and that style of surface to support equipment and allow walkways on both levels for the crew.  To best utilize the space, I stacked pumps and to make room for the tall storage tanks.  The extensive use of catwalks and raised grated surfaces is also a tribute to de Neuville original Machine Room illustration where Nemo and Aronnax are seen standing on one.  I further used these means as suspended storage up high to better use the area near the curved top of the room.  The people walkways were used from both the upper and lower decks to give access to more storage spaces.

        To produce the power Nemo needed, I made the Bunsen batteries 2′ wide and 3′ tall (very similar to those I found depicted in my historical research), using sixteen on the upper deck, thirty-two on the lower deck for a total of 48 batteries.  Possibly the Upper bay for lighting, fans and such miscellaneous uses, and the Lower bay strictly for the motive power.  Half of the lower battery room provides space for chemicals and supplies.  I included this due to the “office” reference in the text which I mentioned above.  A portion of the upper level provides the switching equipment harnessing all the battery power for distributing to the engine room equipment and that located elsewhere in the boat.

Power Lower

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        I did remember that power was needed for not only the drive motor, but for all the lighting, water and air pumps, desalination process, fans, navigation instruments and even the electrically charged main staircase and handrail.  There is actually more space available in the two rooms for additional batteries.  One day I may look into how much power each Bunsen produced vs. how much would actually be needed by all the Nautilus systems.


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Ch 6 :   The two enormous water spouts from expelling the ballast water was clearly described.   These drenched the Abraham Lincoln deck from bow to stern, breaking loose masts and yardarms.  The pumps to propel this water so high and strongly must have been of tremendous size.  These would surly have been in the Mechanical room with very large pipes reaching to a center point in the top hull, to clear the water line.

Ch 15:   “The Nautilus pumps enable me to store air under considerable pressure.”  This statement caused me to include storage tanks just for the backup air.  Under normal circumstances, Nemo surfaced the boat to replenish fresh air from the outside, holding the tanked air for long periods submerged.

Ch 44:   “The Nautilus submerged in a vertical line, for the screw was not in gear!”


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        This insures gears and not belts are used and this was my approach to that design element.  Many illustrations from the late 1800’s show very large electric motors using belts as the driving mechanism.

        I applied a principal used in submarines from Verne’s day to the present.  I allowed open work space in the Mechanical Room for maintenance or moving the large parts and equipment.