The annexed engravings are sectional views for explaining a mode for propelling vessels by the direct effect of the products of combustion applied to propel the vessel. The proposer of this plan is Alexander Gordon (of Scotland we believe) somewhat famous as the author of a work on the propulsion of steam carriages on common roads. The London Mining Journal states, in 1846 it noticed this plan which has been patented. The nature ot the invention consists in propelling vessels by the action of the products of combustion raised in a closed furnace supplied with air by blowers, impinging on water from a pipe at the stern, thus driving the vessel forward. It is stated that several competent and influential gentlemen in England, together with a rich ship-builder, have urged Mr. Gordon to introduce hi s invention, and the Lords of the Admiralty have offered the use ot a screw steamer to make a trial. Mr. Gordon has issued a pamphlet, wherein he lays down his principles as iollows:—1st. Heat is the propelling power. 2nd. The locomotive powers ot the locomotive and rocket are derived solely from heat; steam is the result of part of the transmission of heat to water, and the engine transmits this power; the rocket is impelled by the direct products of combustion; he applies the product ot heat to impel a vessel by applying the direct products of combustion to force it forward, upon the principle of a rocket's action in water. A, figure 1, is the chamber of combustion, there may be a number of them; B is a boiler siii r-wtmihs;*; lilts AuuteS, It teeeive&its heat by radiation, and makes a small quantity ot steam to work the blowers, D, by a small steam engine, C. The air is forced in by the pipes, d d. The furnaces are to be supplied with fuel only once in two hours, through the cap, a; the blast is to be turned off while the fire is thus being fed. The heated gases pass through the funnel, E, to act upon the water at the stern of the vessel upon the same principle as Rumsey first employed water, only he torced it in by a pump which was worked by a steam engine. In figure 2 is shown the method which the Marquis of Worcester employed to force up water by the direct agency of steam. A is the steam boiler, the steam of which acts directly on the water in the vessel, B, which forces it up into the receptacle, C. Mr. Gordon calculates that a cubic foot of anthracite coal in combustion will exert a force equal to 473,600,000 lbs. raised 1 foot high, but in the boilers ot steamships he asserts, it never exceeds 85,000,000 lbs., leaving a balance of 388,600,000 lbs. against machinery. Heated air, he also al-ledges, is more economical then steam, saving more than 2J lbs. of coal out of every 8 used. " One-half the heated air," he says, " escapes out of the chimney of steam boilers, and as much as 20 per cent, is lost, which does not enter the water," and thus Mr. Gordon asserts that only about 30 per cent, of the force of heat generated under a steam boiler is ob- j tained by using the steam. All this 70 per cent, he is going to save by the hot carbonic aeid gas—4;he products of combustion—applied directly to the propulsion of a vessel as re-presented. There is not too much truth in the assertion that " about 50 per cent, of the heat passes up the chimney," but we do not know what reme-dy to devise excepting the complete combus-tion of the fuel and plenty of heating surface to absorb the heat. We do not see how Mr. Gordon's plan will operate at all. As far back as 1827 a gas and heated air engine was patented by Mr. Ward, of Baltimore, Md.— We believe that Mr. Fulton, of Baltimore, four years ago, proposed to drive vessels by hot water forced through tubes towards the stern of the vessel, but we have never before seen or heard of anybody but Mr. Gordon who proposed to drive a vessel by smoke. It is very evident that a fire would not burn well in a stove if the chimney pipe dipped down into a tub of water, and no one who understands the law of gaseous absorption would propose it. The reason why a chimney draws (we use the common term) is owing to the atmosphere being a gaseous element, which absorbs, (by a law now well understood) , or receives another gas into its bosom. This is not the case with water, therefore, Mr. Gordon employs a blower to force the air in, consequently the force of the blower is all the power he can have to drive his vessel. But then, as the blower is to be propelled by heat radiated from the furnace, and as the furnace will not draw through the water, we do not see how the smoke principle can be made to operate at all. Mr. Gordon asserts that he will save three-fourths of the fuel, one-halt of the cost of attendants, the great tonnage of the coal, three-fourths of the first cost of machinery, three-fourths of the annual expense of maintainance, and effect a great saving of life and property. In short, a new era in ship propulsion is about to be ushered in by Mr. Alexander Gordon, by sub-stituting carbonic acid gas for steam, and applying it directly to propel a vessel by allowing it to issue at the stern through a funnel, almost like the re-action water-wheel
This article was originally published with the title "Heat for Propelling Ships"