Many of our newspapers do great injury to community by publishing flaming accounts ot projects with which they are not acquainted, and attempting criticisms about machines in a way calculated to deceive the public. It requires a mass of scientific historical information about inventions, and great reflection to form a correct judgment about new inventions and discoveries. The public has had occasion to know that within three years! Some professors of chemistry, and editors of some reputation were deceived, and did deceive the public about the decomposition of water and the formation of a new light. At the present moment there'is a new ship at one of our docks getting in very, large en gines, which are to be ' operated by hot air. The hull of this ship is very fine ; independent of any power but wind, she must sail well, but there is a grand furor among the press (because it is something singular) to give the best and most flourishing accounts about it. One day recently the wheels of this steamer moved, and straightway every daily paper in our city noticed the important event next day. Here is the substance of the language used by them all : " Fire was applied to the furnaces for the first time yesterday afternoon, and resulted in the triumphant succcess of the experiment. At the start the wheels made three turns per minute, and shortly afterwards reached five turns per minute, at which speed she continued working for several hours, and would be kept in motion the whole of the night. This is much more than the most ardent friends of the invention had reason to expect." In respect $ news, some of our newspapers do very well, but when they touch upon scientific matters, inventions and new discoveries in mechanics and engineering, they utter, as the above quoted lines show, the most consummate nonsense. Those who reported the wonderful event must have been along time headed up in barrels; surely they had never seen a steamboat in all their lives. We thus judge because the paddle wheels ol a steamboat sometimes move, and to our knowledge we have never seen a record made of the same as an important event. If the moving of the wheels of the " caloric ship " " is much more than the most ardent friends of the invention had reason to expect," why in the name of common sense did they build it, for a mule could have turned them ; but the proprietors expect a great deal more, and will no doubt obtain it : time, however, will try all, better far than tongue can tell.
This article was originally published with the title "The Caloric Steamship" in Scientific American 8, 17, 136 (January 1853)