Babcock & Wilcox Forged Steel Boiler Header – 1926

Babcock & Wilcox Forged Steel Boiler Header – 1926

Usage conditions apply
This is a 1926 example of a boiler header made by the Babcock & Wilcox Company of Providence, Rhode Island. Boiler headers are metal fittings that connect the water tubes inside a boiler. Their purpose is to distribute water into the lower ends of the tubes and to extract heated water and steam from the upper ends.
This example (shown at the right of the image) was made of forged steel and was intended for boilers with high steam pressures of 1,400 pounds per square inch. The header has a rectangular cross section with rounded corners. The forged steel walls are approximately one inch thick. A section of a single steel water tube is seen projecting to the upper right. It was inserted into the header and expanded to make a tight and strong seal.
Early (ca 1870) boilers operated at much lower pressures, and headers were then made of cast iron. Such a header (309871) is shown at the left of the image.
George H. Babcock and Stephen Wilcox, Jr. were inventors and established Babcock, Wilcox & Company in 1867 to manufacture water tube boilers. The company continues in business as of 2016.
Object Name
Boiler, Steam
header, boiler
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Babcock & Wilcox, New York, New York
Steam Engines
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Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Power Machinery
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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