We observe that many of our cotemporaries are publishing the results of the application of steam power to certain canal boats on the Erie Canal, in such laudatory terms as to indicate that such a thing had never before been accomplished. We would remind all those who labor under this delusion that the practicability of steam as a motive power on canals was long since determined, and that boats propelled exclusively by steam and capable of carrying larger cargoes than those of the ordinary form have been successfully running on the Delaware and Raritan Canal for many years. The difficulties originally encountered in the washing of the banks from the waves produced by the propelling power have been entirely avoided in the methods adopted in this case, and the boats are moved with a much greater degree of speed than by horses, and at a much less expense. The practicability of steam canal navigation was therefore a fixed fact long before the late experiments were tried.
This article was originally published with the title "Steam on Canals" in Scientific American 13, 51, 405 (August 1858)