A Clyde Puffer is a steam coaster, 66 feet, 6 inches long, which could carry cargo and deliver it without needing external equipment to unload it. The length of a puffer was determined by the 70 foot locks in the Forth and Clyde canal. Puffers were named for the very simple steam engines that the earliest canal-based boats used. These were simple single-cylinder engines with no condensers – this meant that steam used was simply exhausted to the atmosphere through the funnel, leading to a distinctive ‘puff-puff’ sound. Later puffers used compound engines with condensers, but the name puffer remained, and continued to be used even for diesel-engined puffers. Essentially a puffer is a mini-bulk carrier. M.V. Spartan is the last surviving puffer built by Hays of Kirkintilloch. She was built in 1942 for the Royal Navy as VIC (Victualling Inshore Craft) 18, and carried supplies for the fleet. In peacetime the boat was renamed Spartan, and worked on Clyde & west coast, shipping bricks from Irvine to Arran and Coal from Troon to Rothesay. In 1961 Spartan’s steam engine was removed and replaced with a diesel engine, her accommodation improved, and her current steel wheelhouse and modern funnel added.
Object no :
MMTR001a, b, c, d, e
Collection :
Creator :
Hays of Kirkintilloch
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Dimensions :
length 20.27m
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Location :
Related site :
Accession number :
Copyright :
Scottish Maritime Museum
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