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NBBI receives historic steam drum

Print Date: 6/17/2024 9:59:29 PM


The first welded steam drum is displayed in the lobby of the National Board's Inspection Training Center.

Historical welded steam drum finds home at National Board

A piece of boiler and pressure vessel history arrived April 3 at the National Board (NBBI) campus in Columbus, Ohio.

The first welded steam drum was constructed by Combustion Engineering (C-E) and was tested to failure May 2, 1930, at the C-E manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It resided there for about 80 years until being moved to Windsor, Connecticut, following a change in ownership.

After moving the drum in recent years, General Electric Steam Power sought a permanent home for it and reached out to the National Board.

“When they called to ask if we were interested, I didn’t hesitate,” said Michael Pischke, NBBI assistant executive director-administrative. “Everyone who is familiar with the history of this vessel knew we’d preserve it because it means so much to the industry we serve.”

The drum is 8 feet long, 34 inches in diameter, an inch thick, and weighs 4,000 pounds. Previously, vessels had been riveted, which was labor intensive and costly. This vessel ushered the “welded age” to the boiler and pressure vessel industry.

With its three historical plaques, the drum is displayed in the lobby of NBBI’s Inspection Training Center.

The drum is registered as a national historic landmark with both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Society for Metals.


Dieter Brazelton, NBBI facilities supervisor, brings the drum into NBBI's Inspection Training Center on April 3.