The 19 century saw the acceleration of the Industrial Revolution in Britain as steam power took over from water power as the main driving force.

This excellent book by Alan McEwan, who himself only recently retired as an active participant in the repair of industrial boilers working up to the position of MD of one of the few specialists companies undertaking this activity, records in intimate detail 33 incidents of boiler explosions. Both the technical causes and social impact – as most accidents resulted in deaths leading to the first official moves to inspect boilers on a regular basis – are addressed within its pages.

Boiler explosions in textile mills, bleachworks, ironworks, traction engines, railway locomotives and one example of a marine boiler explosion are all addressed in great detail including many illustrations, many from the author’s own collection.

Steel Times International will be drawing on some of the examples of explosions in ironworks in its future History pages.

‘Historic Steam Boiler Explosions’ by Alan McEwen Sledgehammer Engineering Press Ltd ISBN 978-0-9532725-2-5 A4 Hardback 185 pages Price £24.95 web e-mail