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A Shell Handling Room on the Cruiser OLYMPIA

By Patrick McSherry 

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Located a deck below OLYMPIA's Dynamo Room, and accessed via a hatch is the forward shell handling room. The shell handling room was simply a room central to a series of magazines - magazines for each of the ammunition types required by the ship's different sizes of guns - where shells were brought out and started on their ascent to the guns via hoists and elevators. The shell handling room is located on the lowest deck in the vessel, on the same level as the engine and boiler rooms.

Primitive Sonor equipment aboard the Cruiser Olympia

Primitive Sonar system

Forward and to either side of the shell handling room are magazines. The aft bulkhead has the remains of elevators for smaller projectiles. The center of the shell handling room is dominated by a device that was a primitive form of sonar for detecting submarines.

The bulkheads in the space are covered with painted cork. The purpose of this finish was to aid in eliminating the danger of sparks, and insulate the space from heat in adjacent areas. The cork, however, though it did not exist in 1898..

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