Fireman (steam engine)

Fireman (Steam Engine)

Fireman (steam engine)

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Fireman or stoker is the job title for someone whose job is to tend the fire for the running of a steam engine.

On steam locomotives the term fireman is usually used, while on steamships and stationary steam engines, such as those driving saw mills, the term is usually stoker (although the British Merchant Navy did use fireman). Much of the job is hard physical labor, such as shoveling fuel, typically coal, into the engine's boiler.

Royal Navy

The Royal Navy used the rank structure Ordinary Stoker, Stoker, Leading Stoker, Stoker Petty Officer and Chief Stoker. The non-substantive (trade) badge for stokers was a ship's propeller. "Stoker" remains the colloquial term used to refer to a Marine Engineering rating, despite the decommissioning of the last steam-powered vessel some years ago.


On steam railways, firemen were also usually responsible for cleaning the ash and dust from the boiler prior to lighting the fire, adding water to the engine's boiler, making sure there is a proper supply of fuel for the engine aboard before starting journeys, starting the fire, raising or banking the fire as appropriate for the amount of power needed along particular parts of the route, and performing other tasks for maintaining the locomotive according to the orders of the engineer (US) or driver (UK). Some firemen served these duties as a form of apprenticeship, aspiring to be locomotive engineers themselves.

Mechanical stoker

A mechanical stoker is a device...
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