The USS Midway is one of the most storied aircraft carriers in the history of the US Navy. Commissioned eight days after “VJ Day” in 1945 in Newport News, Virginia, the Midway saw 47 years of active service before being decommissioned in 1992. It is now a floating museum ported in San Diego, CA and one of the best attractions for Naval historians on the West Coast.
After the conclusion of the Navy Gold Coast Convention, I was excited to climb aboard for a couple hours to get a closer look at the historic vessel’s internals.
I found a rich history of marine valves and piping systems that included brands that no longer exist and a look under the hood of a steam-powered carrier engine room – a rarity in this modern world of nuclear-powered vessels.
Here’s a few of my favorite valves of the USS Midway:
42” Bronze Gate Valve – The Chapman Valve Manufacturing Company
Three of these bad boys stand guard in the museum’s main engine room. They act as the main flow control for the intake to the engine’s condenser, which cooled steam back into fresh water after moving the ship’s turbines.
A scoop leveraged the ship’s motion to force cool sea water into the condenser. Once through, the sea water moved past an extensive series of monel-condenser tubes which housed the steam, and then the water moved past a second 42” Navy gate valve and back out to sea through an outlet.
For times when the ship travelled in reverse, Naval architects added a second scoop that faced the opposite direction. Two massive check valves were placed downstream from the gates to prevent backflow between the two inlets. It’s a beautifully simple system that utilizes one of the ship’s most readily available commodities (sea water) to ensure the Midway stayed steaming.
3″ Bronze 3 Way, 3 Port Plug Valve Mil-V-24509 – Ardox Corp, Scot Division
Several of these 100 pound Navy plug valves lined the walls as I descended to the engine room. Most were set up with extensive reach rod assemblies and Resun gear operators, allowing for control from higher decks. However, I was able to snap this picture of the bare stem version.
Scot has since moved away from Navy valves into pumps, but their handiwork is on full display in the Midway.
3″ Bronze 180 Degree Scupper Valve with 90 Degree Gag – Steam Specialties
I found a bunch of Steam Specialties and Tate Andale scupper valves throughout the USS Midway. Scupper valves, also known as storm valves, are a special type of check valve designed for moving waste water. This four bolt, flanged version had a reach rod assembly attached to its gag (control).
8″ High Performance Butterfly Valve and 2-1/2″ Hose Globe in Diesel Fuel System
This diesel fuel manifold is on the main deck of the Midway. Directly behind it is a hose globe valve for filling or offloading fuel from a tank onshore.
You’ll also notice the purple color in the background which represents a jet fuel manifold. On deck, yellow paint was used for Diesel, and purple for J5 Jet Fuel.
2-1/2″ Cla-Val Relief Valve and Milwaukee Navy Gate Valve