I sailed briefly on a ship with 7 cylinder reversing Cooper Bessemers. I went there after being on the steam job. When they started the mains for the first time, I stepped behind the big 3rd engineer. I thought the thing was going to come apart with the banging and crashing. It caught on 1 or 2 cylinders, tried to rotate on the bed plate then caught.
Pre-ISM, I had her then. Bridge control job, this ship had taken more then one Captain to their knees when it didn't reverse and go astern.
All of the piping had little soup cans hanging below the joints, it leaked so bad. They collected all the oil and dumped it back in the sump tank.
When they were maneuvering you could bump the rack to give more fuel to get it started, but bump the right way or she'll stall.
It never happened to me because I was only there 2 weeks, every once in awhile it would run backwards with exhaust pouring through the intake.
Previous to this, the Captain, who had been ashore for 2 years, was approaching their home dock. He throws the telegraphs astern and.....nothing. Cleaned out all the new cribbing LOL
I eventually returned to the steamer, we were alongside at the shipyard for boiler cleaning. Myself and one of the other engineers were on the aft deck at tea time, when this ship appeared, heading in like a bat out of hell to tie up behind us. I commented to the other engineer that we may not have to worry about refit.
If that thing doesn't go astern he's going to sink us. The other fellow started laughing because he worked on it for a stretch.