It will be noted that there is but one edge of this valve that is required to do any work, and that is to close the valve. The eccentrics are so placed that the passage in the main valve is opened long before the main valve itself is ready to admit steam to the cylinder, so that only the outer edges are the ones to be considered, and it will be readily seen that the two valves traveling in opposite directions, any lap added to the working edge of the cut off valve will cause it to reach the edge and therefore close the port earlier than it would if there was less lap. And we might carry it to the extreme that we could add lap enough that the steam passage would not be opened at all.

In Fig. 2 is shown the method by which this is accomplished, in what is called Meyer's valve, and such as is used in the Kendall & Roberts engine. We have only one point to look after, the cut off, so we can add all the lap we wish without disturbing anything else. In this engine the lap is changed by hand by means of a little hand wheel on a stem that extends out of the rear of the steam chest. The valve is in two sections, and when it is desired to cut off earlier, the hand wheel is turned in such a direction that the right and left hand screws controlling the cut off valve move one valve portion back and the other forward, which would, if they were one valve and they should be so considered, have the effect of lengthening them, or adding lap to them. The result would be that the riding valve would reach the edge of the steam port earlier in the stroke, bringing about an earlier cut off. If the cut off is desired to be later, the hand wheel is so turned that the right and left hand screws will bring the valve sections nearer together, thus practically taking off lap.

Now this may be done by hand or it may be done by the action of a governor.

Steam Engine Valves Riding Cut Off Valves 787 2 fig2
FIG. 2

In the latter case the governor at each change of load turns the right and left hand screws to add or take away lap, as the load demands an earlier or later cut off; in other cases the governor moves a rack in mesh with a gear by which the valve sections are brought closer together or are separated. The difficulty with the case where the hand wheel is turned by hand is that the cut off is fixed where you leave it, and governing can only be at the throttle. For this reason anywhere near full boiler pressure would not be obtained in the cylinder of the engine. If the load was a constant one, and the cut off could be fixed at about one-third, causing the throttle to open its widest, very good results would be obtained, but there is no margin left for governing.

If the load should increase at such a time the governor could not control it under these conditions, and it would lead to a decrease in speed unless the lap was again changed to give a later cut off. On this account the general practice soon becomes to leave the cut off at the later point and give range to the throttle, and we come back once more to the plain slide valve cutting off at half stroke, and the only gain there is, is in a quick port opening and quick cut off. But these matters are more than offset by the wire drawing between the steam pipe and chest, through the throttle, and the fact that there is added to the friction of the engine the friction of this additional slide valve and a considerable liability to have a leaky valve.

In the case where the governor changes the position of the cut off valve a greater decree of economy would result. In this engine, of which the Lambertville engine is a type, the main valve is a long D slide, with multiple ports at the ends through which the steam enters the cylinders. It is operated from an eccentric on the crank shaft in the usual manner. The cut off valve is also operated from the motion on an eccentric fixed upon the crank shaft. The rod or stem of the cut off valve passes through the main valve rod and slide. Upon the outer end of the cut off valve rod are tappets fastened to engage with tappets on the eccentric valve rod. Connection between the cut off eccentric, therefore, and the cut off valve is only by means of the engagement of these tappets. The eccentric rod is fastened to a rocker arm having motion swinging about a pin or bearing in the governor slide, which may be raised or lowered by a cam operated by the governor. The cut off slide is of cylindrical shape and incloses a spring and dash pot with disks attached by means of which the valve is closed.

The motion for operating the valves is relatively in the same direction, the cut off eccentric having the greatest throw and greater angular advance to cause it to open earlier and quickly before the main valve is ready to admit steam. The cut off eccentric rod swinging the rocker arm, the tappets thereon engage with those upon the cut off valve rod and open the passages to the main valve, and in their movement compress the spring in the main valve. According as the speed of the engine, the rock arm will be raised or lowered so that the tappets upon the eccentric rod may keep in engagement a shorter or longer time before they disengage, thus allowing the spring that has been compressed by the movement of the cut off valve to close that valve quickly and the supply of steam to the engine, the cut off valve traveling with the main valve for the balance of the stroke. This device will give a remarkably quick opening and a quick cut off, but in view of the fact that the governor has so much to do, its delicacy is impaired and a quick response to the demands of the load changing not so likely to occur.

The cut off cannot be as quick as in some other engines, because the valves are moving in opposite directions, and while this fact would help, so far as shortening the distance to be traveled before cut off, the resistance of the valves to travel in opposite directions, or rather the tendency of the valve to travel with the main valve, hinders its rapid action.