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Steam navigation.

The value of steam in navigation was demonstrated by Denys Papin in a model steamboat on the Fulda, near Cassel, in 1707. This was soon destroyed by a mob of boatmen. Jonathan Hulls, of London, England, set forth the idea in a patent obtained in 1736. Bernouilli experimented with a steamboat, using artificial fins, and Genevois with one using the duck's-foot propeller, in 1757. In 1775 M. Perier navigated the Seine with a small steamboat, and in 1783 Claude, Comte de Jouffroy, constructed an engine which propelled a boat on the Saone. Immediately after the close of the Revolutionary War, James Rumsey, of Maryland, propelled a vessel by steam on the Potomac River, a fact certified to by Washington. In 1785 an association was formed to aid him, which was called the Rumsey Society, of which Benjamin Franklin was president. Nothing came of it. The next year John Fitch, a native of Connecticut, exhibited a boat on the Delaware propelled by steam; and in 1788 he applied to the Continental Congress for a patent, saying his boat

Fitch's steamboat.

could be propelled 8 miles an hour by the vapor. A stock company was formed at Philadelphia, and built a steam packetboat, which ran until the company failed in 1790. Fitch's efforts in steam navigation also failed. John C. Stevens, of Hoboken, N. J., constructed a steamboat on the waters of the Hudson that was driven by a Watt engine, moved by vapor from a tubular boiler of his own invention, and a screw propeller. The same year Oliver Evans put a steam dredgingmachine on the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers propelled by a steam paddle-wheel moved by a high-pressure engine, the first of its kind ever used. Meanwhile Robert [392]

Fulton's Clermont on its trial-trip up the Hudson.

Fulton, a professional painter, had conceived a plan for steamboat navigation while an inmate of Joel Barlow's residence in Paris. He met Chancellor Livingston in Paris, and interested that gentleman in his projects. He tried two experiments on the Seine in 1803. Fulton visited Scotland, where a steamboat was in operation, and received from the inventor a description of its construction. With these facts in his possession, Fulton planned, and, on his return to New York in 1806, built, in conjunction with Livingston, a steamboat, which he called the Clermont, the title of the latter's country seat on the manor. The vessel was 130 feet in length, 18 in width, and 7 in depth, and was of 160 tons burden. She was propelled by a Watt & Boulton engine.

Fulton was generally regarded as an unwise enthusiast, and when, on the morning of Friday, Aug. 7, 1807, the Clermont left New York on a trial-trip to Albany, bearing Fulton and a few friends who had faith in his enterprise, and the boat stopped a while on account of a slight imperfection, he was greeted by jeers from a crowd on shore. But she soon moved on out of sight of the deriding multitude, and made her way to Albany and back against wind and tide, frightening many along the shores of the river, who regarded it, as it cast forth sparks, flame, and smoke during the night, a monster of the deep. The great experiment then became a demonstration, and navigation by steam was then first successfully undertaken. From that day vast improvements have been made in steam navigation, until now steam-vessels are seen in all parts of the world, even among the ice-packs of the polar seas. the Clermont began regular trips between New York and Albany on Sept. 1, 1807, making the round trip of about 300 miles in 72 hours. On that day the following advertisement appeared in the New York newspapers: “The North River steamboat will leave Paulus's Hook (Jersey City) on Friday, the 4th of September, at nine o'clock in the morning, and arrive at Albany on Saturday at nine o'clock in the afternoon. Provisions, good berths, and accommodations are provided.”

Before the breaking out of the War of 1812-15 Fulton and Livingston had caused six steamboats to be built for navigating the Hudson and for ferrying at New York. Steam navigation was soon in operation on the rivers and lakes of the United States and quite early on the sea. In [393] 1808 Robert L. Stevens, son of John C., went in the Phoenix, then lately launched at Hoboken, around to the Delaware River; and in July, 1819, the steamship Savannah crossed the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Liverpool in twenty-six days. Six years later the steamship Enterprise went from Falmouth, England, to the East Indies, the first voyage of the kind ever made. For this achievement her commander (Captain Johnson) received $50,000. These were extraordinary voyages at that time.

The beginning of the regular navigation of the ocean between Europe and America was postponed until June, 1838, when the Great Western crossed the Atlantic from Bristol to New York in eighteen days. From that time steam navigation between the continents has been regularly kept up, and the Atlantic is now traversed by steam-vessels from New York to

A modern Ocean steamer.

Liverpool in about five and a half days. Steamships are seen on every sea. They are employed in Arctic explorations; and in the early part of 1879 a steamship made the first voyage from the waters of the Atlantic to those of the Pacific through the ocean lying at the north of Europe and Asia. The first American steam-vessel seen in the East India seas was the schooner Midas, which became a passengerboat in Chinese waters in 1844. See navigation acts.


The following is a record of the chief events in the history of commercial steam navigation. See navigation acts; Navy of the United States.

James Rumsey, of Sheppardstown, Va., invents a steamboat propelled by a steam-engine expelling water through a horizontal trunk-opening in the stern (1782). He experiments publicly in the presence of General Washington, on the Potomac River. Sept.,1784
John Fitch, of Philadelphia, Pa., launches a steamboat worked by vertical paddles, six on each side, on the Delaware River1788
Patrick Miller, of Dalswinton, Scotland, constructs a pleasure boat with paddle-wheels (1787), to which William Symington applies a steam-engine1788
John Fitch sails a steamboat 18 feet long on the Collect Pond, New York City, where the “Tombs” now stands1796
First practical steamboat, the tug Charlotte Dundas, built by William Symington, and tried on the Forth and Clyde Canal, ScotlandMarch, 1802
Robert Fulton, in connection with Chancellor Livingston, United States ambassador in Paris, builds a steam paddle-boat, 60 feet long, which is tried on the SeineAug. 9, 1803
John Stevens, of Hoboken, N. J., builds a steamboat with twin-screw propellers and an engine supplied by a flue-boiler1804
Fulton's steamboat, the Clermont, 160 tons, runs from New York to Albany in thirty-two hours, thus securing the


exclusive use of the Hudson for steam navigation under grant of legislature made in 1798Aug., 1807
Phoenix, a single-screw propeller built by John Stevens, makes the first sea voyage of a steam-vessel from New York to Philadelphia1808
First steamboat on the St. Lawrence River, the Accommodation, runs from Montreal to Quebec1809
First steamboat on the western rivers, a stern-wheeler, is built by Fulton at Pittsburg1811
Comet, first passenger steamboat built in Europe, by Henry Bell, runs on the Clyde 7 1/2 miles per hour. Jan. 18,1812
Steam ferry between New York and Jersey City1812
First steam-vessel on the Thames, brought by Mr. Dodd from Glasgow1815
First steamboat on the Great Lakes, the Ontario, built at Sackett's Harbor, N. Y.1816
Walk-in-the-Water, a steamboat for Lake Erie, launched at Black Rock (now part of Buffalo, N. Y.May 28, 1818
Savannah, Capt. Stevens Rogers, a steamboat of 350 tons, built in New York City, crosses the Atlantic from Savannah to Liverpool in twenty-six days, during eighteen of which she uses her paddles Off Cape Clear she is mistaken for a ship on fire, and pursued by the British cutter Kite. She sails from Savannah, Ga.May 24, 1819
First sea-going steam-vessel of iron, the Aaron Manby, is constructed at the Horsley Iron Works, England1821
First steam voyage to India made by the Enterprise, Captain Johnson, from London to Calcutta in 113 days, leaving FalmouthAug. 16, 1825
Fulton the First accidentally blown up at New YorkJune 4, 1829
Steamboat Royal William crosses the ocean from Quebec1831
John Randolph, first iron vessel in American waters, built by John Laird, of Birkenhead, and shipped in pieces at Liverpool, built in the Savannah River as a tugboat1834
Great Western Steamship Company formed, and keel of the Great Western (1,340 tons) laid at Bristol, England1836
Peninsular Steamship Company founded1837
Captain Ericsson's screw steamer, Francis B. Ogden, makes 10 miles per hour on the ThamesApril, 1837
First voyage of the steamship Great Western, launched July 19, 1837, from Bristol to New YorkApril 8-23, 1838
Sirius, built at London, crosses the Atlantic in 18 1/2 days, reaching New York under steam a few hours before the Great WesternApril 23, 1838
Thomas Petit Smith's propeller first tried in England on a large scale in the Archimedes of 237 tons1839

Unicorn, first steam-vessel from Europe to enter Boston Harbor, arrivesJune 2, 1840
First of the Cunard line, the Britannia, side-wheeler, crosses to Boston in 14 days 8 hours, leaving LiverpoolJuly 4, 1840
Pacific Steam Navigation Company established1840
Screw steamer Princeton built for the United States navy1843
Screw steamer Great Britain, first large ship with iron hull, designed by I. K. Brunel (3,443 tons, 322 feet long, 51 feet broad), launched July 19, 1843, sails from BristolJan. 23, 1845
Pacific Mail Steamship Company organized1847
Collins line of American steamships formed and subsidized by the United States government
(It consisted of the Arctic, Baltic, Atlantic, and Pacific, and existed eight years. The barber-shops on shipboard were a new feature.)
Inman line founded by William Inman, and the first vessel, an iron screw steamer, City of Glasgow, put in commission1850
Emigrants first carried in steamships of the Inman line1850
Allan line organized1852
First trip around the world by a merchant steamer, the English screw steamship Argo1854
Hamburg-American and Anchor lines established1856
Great Western broken up for firewood at Vauxhall1857
North German Lloyd line established1857
Great Eastern launched, Nov. 3, 1857-Jan. 31,1858
Iron-clad steamships introduced1860
French line established1862
Far East, with two screw-propellers, launched at MillwallOct. 31, 1863
Guion line established1864
Trial trip of the Nautilus, with a hydraulic propeller (Ruthven's patent, 1849) worked by steam and no paddles or screwMarch 24, 1866
White Star line begins with the Oceanic, with saloons and state-rooms amidships instead of in the stern1870
Netherlands line established, 1872; Red Star line1873
Steamship Faraday, 5,000 tons, 360 feet long, 52 feet wide, and 36 feet deep, launched at NewcastleFeb. 17, 1874
First export of live cattle by steamer, 373 head, shipped from United States to England in the steamship EuropeanJuly, 1874
Dead-meat trade between United States and England by refrigeration commences on White Star liners Celtic and Britannic1874
Bessemer saloon steamer launched at Hull, Sept. 24, 1874, makes first voyage to GravesendMarch 5, 1875
Thingvalla line established1879


Anthracite, a steamer 84 feet long, planned by Loftus Perkins, of England, with very high-pressure engines, crosses the Atlantic, 3,316 miles, in 22 1/2 days, consuming only twenty-five tons of coal1880
Cunard steamer Etruria arrives at Quarantine, port of New York, one hour before the McKinley bill goes into effect, and Captain Haines reaches the custom-house barely a minute before midnight, saving thousands of dollars in increased dutiesMidnight, Oct. 4, 1890
“Whaleback” Charles W. Wetmore steams from the head of Lake Superior to Liverpool1891
Campania, twin-screw Cunard liner, with a gross tonnage of 12,500 tons, 620 feet long, 65 feet 3 inches broad, and 43 feet deep, launched on the ClydeSept. 8, 1892
Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, twin-screw,

North German Lloyd, 649 feet long, 66 feet wide, 43 feet deep, 13,800 tonnage, 28,000 horse-power, launched at Stettin, GermanyMay 4, 1897
Oceanic, White Star liner, 685 feet long, 68 feet wide, 44 feet deep, 17,250 tonnage, launched at BelfastJan. 14, 1899
Deutschland, twin-screw Hamburg-American liner, 687 feet long, 67 feet wide, 44 feet deep, registered tonnage of 16,500 tons, 37,800 horse-power, launched at Stettin, Germany1900
[This vessel made the record voyage from Plymouth, over the long course, at an average speed of 23.51 knots per hour. On this trip 601 knots, equivalent to 692 statute miles, were covered in one day (July 30, 1901)].
Celtic, twin-screw, White Star liner, 700 feet long, 75 feet broad, 49 feet deep, 20,900 tonnage, built at Belfast, first voyage to New YorkJuly 27, 1901

Fastest Atlantic Ocean passages.

Queenstown to New YorkLucaniaCunardOct. 21-26, 18945723
New York to QueenstownLucaniaCunardSept. 8-14, 18945838
Cherbourg to New YorkDeutschlandHamburg-AmericanAug. 26–Sept. 1, 190051229
Southampton to New YorkKaiser Wilhelm der GrosseNorth German LloydMarch 30–April 5, 1898520
New York to SouthamptonKaiser Wilhelm der GrosseNorth German LloydNov. 23-29, 18975178
Havre to New YorkLa TouraineFrenchJuly 16-23, 189261426
New York to HavreLa TouraineFrenchOct. 29–Nov. 5, 18926206
New York to CherbourgKaiser Wilhelm der GrosseNorth German LloydJan. 4-10, 1900516
New York to Plymouth1DeutschlandHamburg-AmericanSept. 5-10, 19005738
Plymouth to New YorkDeutschlandHamburg-AmericanJuly 7-12, 190051546

Best records of other steamships.

Queenstown to New YorkParisAmericanOct. 14-19, 189251424
Southampton to New YorkSt. PaulAmericanAug. 8-14, 18966031
New York to SouthamptonSt. LouisAmericanSept. 1-8, 189761014
New York to SouthamptonFurst BismarckHamburg-AmericanOct. 20-27, 189861015
New York to QueenstownAlaskaGuionSept. 12-19, 188261837
Queenstown to New YorkAlaskaGuionSept. 16-22, 188362140
New York to QueenstownTeutonicWhite StarOct. 21-27, 18915213
Queenstown to New YorkTeutonicWhite StarAug. 13-19, 189151631
Glasgow to New YorkCity of RomeAnchorAug. 18-24, 188662035
New York to GlasgowCity of RomeAnchorAug. 13-19, 188561825
New York to AntwerpFrieslandRed StarAugust, 189482213

Approximate Distances: Sandy Hook (Light-ship). New York, to Queenstown (Roche's Point), 2,800 miles; to Plymouth (Eddystone), 2,962 miles; to Southampton (The Needles), 3.100 miles; to Havre, 3,170 miles; to Cherbourg (The Mole), 3,184 knots. The fastest (lay's run was made by the Deutschland, of the Hamburg-American Line, August, 1900—584 knots, or 23.02 knots per hour.

the record-breakers in thirty-five years.

The following is the succession of steamships which have broken the record since 1866, with their running time. The route in all cases was that between New York and Queenstown, east or west:

1869City of Brussels72231888Etruria61 55
1873Baltic72091889City of Paris519 18
1875City of Berlin715481891Majestic518 8
1877Britannic710531892City of Paris515 58
1880Arizona77231892City of Paris514 24
1882Alaska618371893Campania512 7
1884Oregon61191894Lucania57 23


Lost Atlantic steamships.

Name of Vessel.Owners.Nationality.Persons on Board.Date of Leaving Port.
PresidentBritish and American S. N. CompanyBritish136March 11, 1841
PacificCollins LineAmerican240Sept. 23, 1856
TempestAnchor LineBritish150Feb. 26, 1857
United KingdomAnchor LineBritish 80April 17, 1868
City of BostonInman LineBritish177Jan. 28, 1870
ScanderiaAnglo Egyptian LineBritish 38Oct. 8, 1872
IsmailiaAnchor LineBritish 52Sept. 27, 1873
ColomboWilson LineBritish44January, 1877
Herman LudwigGerman50Sept. 28, 1878
HomerBritish43Dec. 17, 1878
ZanzibarBritish48Jan. 11, 1879
SurbitonBritish33Feb. 18 1879
BcrniciaBritish45March 19, 1879
City of LimerickBritish43Jan. 8, 1881
City of LondonBritish41Nov. 13, 1881
Straits of DoverBritish27Jan. 3, 1883
ConistonBritish27Dec. 24, 1884
FerwoodBritish25Jan. 20, 1885
PrestonBritish29Jan. 20, 1885
ClandonBritish27Jan. 24, 1885
HumberBritish56Feb. 15, 1885
ErinNational Line British72Dec. 31, 1889
ThanemorcJohnston LineBritish43Nov. 26, 1890
NaronicWhite Star LineBritishFebruary, 1893

steamboats, Hudson River

1 This is equal to a record of 4 days, 22 hours, and 30 minutes between New York and Queenstown.

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