The origin of the paddle wheel for propelling vessels antedates the Christian era. The earliest application of steam to turn the paddle wheel was anticipated by Roger Bacon. The attempt of Blasco de Garay in 1543, if it was made as asserted, is the earliest on record. Papin is said to have experimented with his engine in a model boat in 1707, on the Fulda at Cassel. Jonathan Hulls patented a marine steam engine Dec. 21, 1736, proposing to employ his vessel in towing. He published a descriptive.pamphlet in 1737, containing a sketch (fig. 1) of a Newcomen engine, with a system of counterpoises, ropes, ratchets, and grooved wheels, giving a continuous motion. William Henry of Chester co., Pa., tried a model steamboat on the Conestoga river in 1763. The count d'Auxiron, a French nobleman, assisted by M. Perier, made a similar attempt in 1774, and Perier repeated the experiment in 1775. The marquis de Jouffroy was engaged in the same work from 1776 to 1783, using a larger vessel and meeting with encouraging success. James Rumsey was engaged in experiments in the United States as early as 1784, and in 1786 drove a boat on the Potomac near Sheppardstown at the rate of 4 m. an hour by means of a water jet forced out at the stern.
Rumsey subsequently went to England and continued his experiments on the Thames. (See Rumsey, James.) John Fitch worked at this problem at the same time with Rumsey, and had an experimental steamer on the Delaware in 1786. His propelling instruments were paddles suspended by the upper ends of their shafts and moved by a series of cranks. This boat (fig. 2) was 60 ft. long. Another vessel in 1790 made many trips on the Delaware, reaching an average speed of 7½ m. an hour. It was laid up in 1792. In 1796 Fitch resumed his experiments at New York, using a screw. (See Fitch, John.) In 1788 three Scotch gentlemen, Miller, Taylor, and Symington, obtained a speed of 5 m. an hour with a steamboat on Dalswinton loch. In this vessel two connected hulls were driven by a single paddle wheel placed between them and turned by a small engine. In 1789 a larger vessel, propelled by an engine of 12 horse power, attained a speed of 7 m. an hour. In 1801 Symington constructed for Lord Dundas a steamboat for towing on the canal, named the Charlotte Dundas, which was used successfully in 1802. It had a stern wheel driven by an engine, 22 in. in diameter of cylinder and of 4 ft. stroke.
It drew vessels of 140 tons burden 3½ m. an hour, but was laid up soon afterward in consequence of a fear that the banks of the canal might be seriously injured by the waves. Robert Fulton, an American artist, and subsequently a civil engineer, built a steamboat on the Seine in 1803, assisted by Chancellor R. Livingston. (See Fulton, Robert.) Fulton had known William Henry in the United States, and seems to have been familiar with the work of contemporary inventors, and he had visited England, where he found others at work upon the same problem. In 1804 Col. John Stevens experimented with encouraging success with a small vessel driven by a high-pressure engine, a sectional boiler, and a single screw. He also tried twin screws, the steamboat having a length of 68 ft. and a breadth of 14 ft. This machinery (fig. 3) is retained in a good state of preservation at the Stevens institute of technology, Hoboken, N. J. Placed in a new hull on the Hudson in 1844, this engine produced a speed of 8 m. an hour.
The experiments of Oliver Evans have been mentioned under Steam Carriage. Fulton, after studying the subject abroad, returned to the United States in 1806, and with Livingston had a boat built in which he placed machinery made by Boulton and Watt in England. The craft was 130 ft. long, of 18 ft. beam, 7 ft. depth, and 160 tons burden. The hull was built by Charles Brown of New York. The engine had a steam cylinder 24 in. in diameter and a stroke of 4 ft. The boiler was 20 ft. long, 7 ft. deep, and 8 ft. wide. The wheels were 15 ft. in diameter, with floats of 4 ft. length and 2 ft. dip. This steamboat, the Clermont, made a successful trip to Albany in 1807, leaving New York at 1 o'clock P. M. on Monday, Aug. 7, stopping at Livingston Manor (Clermont) from 1 o'clock Tuesday until 9 A.M. Wednesday, and reaching Albany at 5 P. M. on that day. The average speed was nearly 5 m. an hour. The return trip, on Thursday and Friday, occupied 30 hours, the rate of speed being 5 m. an hour.
Fig. 1 - Hulls's Steamer, 1T36.
Fig. 2. - Fitch's Steamboat, 1786.
Fig. 3. - Col. John Stevens's Steam Engine, Boiler, and Screws, 1804.
Fig. 4. - Engine of the Clermont, 1S07.
The Clermont, lengthened 10 ft., and with machinery slightly altered, made regular trips to Albany in 1808, and was the first steamboat ever made commercially successful. Almost simultaneously with Fulton's Clermont, Stevens brought out the Phoenix, a side-wheel steamer having hollow water lines; in the following year it was provided with feathering paddle wheels. This steamer could not ply on the Hudson, as Fulton and Livingston held a •monopoly of the navigation of that river, and the Phoenix was taken by sea around to the Delaware river. This was the first sea voyage ever made by a steam vessel. From this time the steamboat was rapidly introduced. Fulton with his coadjutors placed a fleet upon the Hudson river and Long Island sound, and Stevens worked with his sons upon the Delaware and the Connecticut, and finally in the waters of New York also. In 1811 Fulton and Livingston began building steamers at Pittsburgh. In 1812 the Comet, built by Henry Bell, inaugurated regular steam navigation on the river Clyde in Scotland. This steamboat was 40 ft. long, 10½ ft. wide, and of 25 tons burden. The engines, of three horse power, drove two pairs of paddle wheels. The speed attained was about 5 m. an hour.
In 1825 James P. Allaire of New York built compound engines for the Henry Eckford, and subsequently constructed similar engines for several other steamers, of which the Sun made the trip from New York to Albany in 12 hours 18 minutes." Soon afterward Erastus W. Smith introduced this form of engine on the great lakes, and still later they were introduced into British steamers. The machinery of the steamer Buckeye State was constructed at the Allaire works, New York, in 1850, from the designs of John Baird and Erastus W. Smith, the latter being the designing and constructing engineer. The steamer was placed on the route between Buffalo, Cleveland, and Detroit in 1851, and gave most satisfactory results, consuming less than two thirds the fuel required by a similar vessel of the same line fitted with the single-cylinder engine. The steam cylinders of this engine were placed one within the other, the low-pressure exterior cylinder being annular. They were 37 and 80 in. in diameter respectively, and the stroke was 11 ft. Both pistons were connected to one cross head, and the general arrangement of the engine was similar to that of the common form of beam engine. The steam pressure was from 70 to 75 lbs., about the maximum pressure adopted a quarter of a centiirylater on transatlantic lines.
Thissteam-| er was of high speed as well as economical of fuel. - Ocean navigation by steam, begun by Stevens in 1808, was made an assured success by the voyage of the Savannah in 1819, from Savannah, Ga., to Russia via England. In this vessel both sails and steam were used. She returned to New York, direct from St. Petersburg, in 26 days. Between 1821 and 1825 John Bab-cock, Robert L. Thurston, and Capt. Northup ran steamers from Newport, R. L, to Providence and to New York. In 1825 the steamer Enterprise went to Calcutta from England, and in 1836 it was proposed to establish "lines of steam vessels between New York and Liverpool. In 1838 the Sirms, a ship of 700 tons and 250 horse power, sailed from Cork, April 4; and the Great Western, a comparatively powerful steamer of 1,340 tons, 236 ft. in length, with engines of 450 horse power, paddle wheels 28 ft. diameter and 10 ft. length of floats, sailed from Bristol April 8. Both vessels arrived at New York April 23, the Sirius in the morning and the Great Western in the afternoon.
At this time Ericsson, Smith, and others were again experimenting with the screw, and Ericsson soon brought it into general use in the United States. His first boat was successful as a tugboat on the Thames in 1837. (See Steam Engine.) The first naval screw vessel, the Archimedes, built for the British navy in 1840, was so perfectly successful that comparatively few paddle steamers were subsequently built. The earliest regular transatlantic line of steamers, the Cunard line, sent its first vessel, the Britannia, of 1,350 tons, from Liverpool, July 4, 1840. In 1847 Capt. R. B. Forbes took out the first transatlantic screw steamer, the Massachusetts, and introduced steam vessels into Chinese waters, sending out hulls and machinery from the United States in sailing vessels. - Attempts have been made within a few years to revive the system of hydraulic propulsion first tried a century ago by Rumsey. Chain propulsion has in some instances proved very satisfactory. A chain or wire rope is laid in the bed of the river, or along the proposed route of the steamer, and passes over a drum worked by steam engines on the vessel, which is hauled along, taking in the chain at the bow and passing it out astern.
In this arrangement loss by slip or oblique action is avoided, and a very satisfactory degree of economy is attained. Here, however, but little lateral movement of the vessel is permitted, and only one vessel can make use of the chain. - The most successful steam vessels in general use are the screw steamers of transoceanic lines. These are from 350 to 450 ft. long, usually propelled from 12 to 15 knots (14 to 17½ m.) an hour, by engines of from 3,000 to 4,000 horse power, consuming from 70 to 100 tons of coal a day, and crossing the Atlantic in from 8 to 10 days. These vessels are now invariably fitted with the compound engine and surface condensers. The largest vessel yet constructed is the Great Eastern, fig. 5, begun in 1854 and completed in 1859, by J. Scott Russell, on the Thames, England. This ship is 680 ft. long, 83 ft. wide, 58 ft. deep, 28 ft. draught, and of 24,000 tons measurement. There are four paddle and four screw engines, the former having steam cylinders 74 in. in diameter with 14 ft. stroke, the latter 84 in. in diameter and 4 ft. stroke. They are collectively of 10,000 actual horse power. The paddle wheels are 56 ft. in diameter, the screw 24 ft. The steam boilers supplying the paddle engines have 44,000 sq. ft. (more than an acre) of heating surface.
The boilers supplying the screw engines are still larger. At 30 ft. draught this great vessel displaces 27,000 tons. The engines were designed to develop 10,000 horse power, driving the ship at the rate of 16½ statute miles an hour.
Fig. 5. - Great Eastern.