TEXAS was the last US battleship with coal fired boilers. In 1910, when TEXAS was being designed, the 14inch guns were cutting edge technology but fueling the boilers with coal was antiquated. The Navy was transitioning from coal to fuel oil but like any technology change, there is always the last model

The boiler produced steam was more than just fuel for the engines. Steam operated the turbines that turned the generators to make electricity for the lights, powered the electric motors in the machine shop, sterilized medical instruments, sounded the whistle/siren, provided heat for compartments, heated water for washing clothes, bathing the crew and cleaning the dishes.

Above:  1912-1925
Below:  1926-1945
  1945:  In the Boiler Room  
Walter Zessin, Boiler Room Chief Machinist Mate told me the boiler room crew drank from the boiler feed water tanks because it was the best water aboard.

Firing the 14inch guns had adverse affects in the boiler room. Mr. Zessin talked about the fire inside the boilers would be drawn into the boiler rooms because the air pressure in the boiler rooms was reduced to less then the pressure inside the boiler burners. For the boilers to operate, the boiler rooms were pressurized by air blown in from the ship's exterior. (To enter a boiler room, you have to go through an air lock). When the 14inch guns fired, the external air supply was disrupted creating a vacuum, reducing the air pressure in the boiler rooms below that in the boilers.
  Coal/Oil: 1912 to 1925  
February 1914:  Journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers
The boiler system comprised 4 boiler rooms with 14 boilers, of which 8 were superheated. They were riveted construction and operated at a maximum pressure of 295psi but were tested to 450psi. Though designed as coal burners, each boiler had 6 oil burners which were used when the ship needed to operate at high speed. To communicate with other parts of the ship, the four boiler rooms had 13 different voice tubes. Each boiler room was pressurized by having each boiler matched with a 23,000cfm electric operated blower. For the crew to enter-exit the room, they had to pass through an air lock.

Operating coal fired boilers was much more labor intensive as compared to the later oil fired ones. In March 1918, 140 of the 1,464 crew aboard were for passing coal to the boilers.

In 1918, if TEXAS had oil fired boilers, she would not have been sent to Great Britain, for operations in the North Sea. Due a shortage of fuel oil in Britain, only the coal burning US battleships were sent. While in the British ports, 4 boilers were always under full steam. On 21 November 1918, when TEXAS was making ready to depart from Firth of Forth, Scotland to meet the incoming surrendering German High Seas Fleet, the 10 remaining boilers were made ready and cut in over 2 1/2 hours.
Deck Log - 1 March 1918
  Boiler Data  
   1914 "General Information 'U.S.S. TEXAS'', finished plans nos 37 and 38"  
  Speed Trial Data:  October 1913, Rockland Maine  
February 1914:  Journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers
  Fuel Oil:  1926 thru 1945  
When the ship was modernized in July 1925 - November 1926, the 14 coal/fuel oil boilers were removed and replaced with 6 super-heated oil fired boilers. (The super-heating was removed in 1931). The six boilers were from the 12 Dyson boilers in storage at Norfolk Navy Yard intended for placement in the cancelled NORTH CARPLINA class. The boilers were still riveted construction and operated at a maximum pressure of 295psi. The power source to run the blowers for pressurizing the rooms changed from electric motors to steam turbines.

The change in boiler fuel (solid to liquid) significantly altered the fuel storage location. The total capacity increased by 56,000 cubic feet from 144,000 to 200,000. Of the storage change, 44,000 was eliminated from 3rd deck, and the storage area below 3rd deck increased by 110,000 cubic feet from 90,000 to 200,000.

Below is the 1925 USN drawing showing the arrangement of the boiler rooms with oil fired boilers

The drawing incorrectly shows the steam exit for the engine just aft of frame 77 instead at the forward end of the Boiler Room 1 and 2

  Making the Conversion  
  The mid-ship area was gutted from the main deck to hold. The change also completely altered the uptake system inside the ship and a replacement of the two exterior uptakes with a new single uptake.

The forward boiler room was eliminated with most of the vacated space converted into electronic spaces (Plot Room on 2nd platform and Hold,, Interior Communications on 1st platform, and Main Communications on 3rd deck). Boiler Room #2 forward bulkhead was moved forward 14 feet.
***Red: Plotting and Secondary Battle Telephone Switching Room
***Gray: Oil tank
***Purple: Cofferdam

The boiler rooms were now better protected. The new boilers were installed farther above the keel than the original boilers to provide a third hull plate on the bottom. On the sides, the number of bulkheads was increased to six, with the addition of two new ones. One of the bulkheads was the torpedo blister on the exterior and the other was gained with the subdivision of the fuel tanks next to boiler rooms into two compartments.
  Main Deck  

  2nd Deck  

  3rd Deck  

  1st Platform  

  2nd Platform  



Started 11 May 1999 by Chuck Moore, FTV (1st Texas Volunteers) a Battleship Texas volunteer group - Donate Your Time And Support The Battleship Texas