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.
The Royal Navy
used the rank structure Ordinary 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.
A mechanical stoker is a device... Read More