Although the paddle wheel antedates the Christian era, the earliest recorded attempt to utilize steam to turn the paddle wheel was made by Blasco de Garay, in 1543. Denis Papin experimented on the Fulda at Ca"sel in 1707, and various other experiments were tried by Jonathan Hulls, the Count d'Auxiron and the Marquis de Jouffroy, but these experiments were of little importance when compared with those of the Americans, Willial Henry, of Chester County, Pa., James Rumsey, .John Fitch and Robert Fulton. After studying the subject of steam navigation abroad, Fulton returned to the United States in 1806, and with Chancellor R. Livingston had a boat named the Clermont built at New York by Charles Brown. The hull was of wood and was 133 feet long. the breadth of beam was 18 feet, and depth of the hold was 7 feet, and the vessel was of 160 tons burden. The ellgines were built in England by Boulton & Watt; the diameter of the cylinder was 24 inche8, and the piston had a 4 foot stroke. The boiler, which was made of copper, was 20 feet long, 8 feet wide and 7 feet high, and was ollly adapted for low pressures. The engine drove paddle wheels SitUated amidships; these wheels were 15 feet in diameter, and there were 8 buckets to each wheel, 4 feet long, and the dip was 2 feet. The Clermont may be regarded as the world's first successful steamboat. The first trip was made on August .7, 1807, from New York to Albany. Her speed nearly averaged 5 miles per hour. The next year the Clermont was enlarged, and the name of the vessel was changed to the North River. The first sea voyage ever made by a sieam vessel was made by the Phomix, a side wheel steamer with engines designed by Colonel John Stevens, built-in 1807. The steamer could not ply on the Hudson, as Fulton and Livingston held the monopoly of the navigation of that river. The Phoenix was taken by sea around to the Delaware River. This was the first sea voyage of a steamer, and after this time the evolution of the steamboat was rapid. The first war steamer was built at New York by Robert Fulton. During the war of 1812, wben our navy was making a glorious record at sea, the subject of the defense of cities and harbors wa" agitated, and Fulton was called upon to design a 8teamsbip of war, which was called the Dernologos, or Fulton the First. The hull, which was of wood, was constructed by Adam and Noah Brown in the Eastern District of Brooklyn. She was launched on October 29, 1814. As launched she was considerably modified (rom the original plans. She was 156 feet long, 20 feet deep and 56 feet broad. Instead of a small well for the padd! ? wheel, a long channel, 1J feet wide and 66 feet long,-was provided for it. On one side of the hull was a copper boiler, 22 feet long, 8 feet deep and 12 feet wide. On the other side was the engine, with olle cylinder, 48 inches in diameter and 5 feet stroke. The paddle wheel was 16 feet in(diaineter and 14 feet wide, giving a clearance of 6 inches from the sides of t.he channel. It dipped 4 feet. Her tonnage was computed at 2,475 tonsa very large vessel for that period. Her bull was designed by Samuel Humphreys, of New York, and cost $144,- 949. The boilers and engines were designed by C. W. Copeland. The engine cost $40,199 and the boiler $93,-396. Great difficulty was experienced by the commissioners in getting men to work on her. It was war times. Many of the New York shipbuilders were gone up the lakes. Material was very difficult to supply; guns were transported by land from Philadelphia, over the "miry roads of New Jersey,"as the commissioners described them. Twenty heavy cannon were thus brought to New York. As completed she was to carry thirty long 32pounders and two Columbiad 100- pounders. In June, 1815, her engine was in a condition to be tried and on July 1 she went down New York Bay to the Narruws on her first trial trip, and on July 4 of the same year she made a 53 mile passage out on the ocean and back in 8 hours and 30 minutes. The war terminating, she was moored on the flats abl'east of the navy yard in Brooklyn, where she was used as a receiving ship. On June 4, 1829, she blew up, killing and wounding a number of people. To America belongs the glory of building the pioneer transatlantic "tealllship. This was the steamer Savannah. which was built at Cor-laers Hook on the East River, New York City. She was launched August 22, 1818. She was built by Francis Tickett for Daniel Dodd. Her engines were made in America. She was intended to be used as a sailing packet between New York and Liverpool, but was purchased before being finished by William Scarborough & Company. of Savannah Ga., and fitted with machinery. It is a curious fact that the paddles were so constructed as to be folded up and placed on deck in stormy weather; the wheel was inclosed in canvas supported by an iron frame. She could carry only seventy-five tons of coal and twenty-five cords of wood. Commanded by Captain Moses Rogers and navigated by Stephen Rogers, both natives of New London, Conn., the Savannah sailed froIII Savannah, Georgia, on the 25th day of May, 1819, bound for St. Petersburg, via Liverpool. She reached the latter port on January 25, having used steam eighteen days out of twenty-six, and thus demonstrated the feasibility of transatlantic steam navigation. The machinery was afterward taken out of the Savannah and she was turned into a sailing packet. For some time she ran between New York and Savannah and was finally wrecked on the Long Isla.nd coast. For interesting details of the first tran"atIantic trip from the log book see the Scientific American Supplement, No. 636. The second ocean steam vessel was the steam brig New York, built at the foot of Newcastle Street, Norfolk, Va., in 1821, by William F. Hunter, ship joiner. She was of 281 tons burden and 50 horse power. Her owners were George Rowland (father of Mr. Thomas H. Rowland, through whose cOllrtesy we are indebted for the advertisement from the Norfolk Beacon of October 28, 1822, which we reproduce), Charles N. S. Rowland, John Allmand, Captain Richad Churchward, and William F. Hunter. The motion of the machinery was steadied by a large flywheel. The trip from Norfolk io New York was made in fifty hours. The engravilJ of the steam brig New York was made from a photograph taken from the original oil painting, which is the property of the Old Dominion Steamship Company, and is now deposited in Sailors' Snug Harbor, at Staten Island. The sailmakers' boy who helped rig the New York is still living in Norfolk, at the age of ninety-five, and states that the rough cut in the old advertisement was wade by local artists 393 diTect from the ship. Next to the Savannah and the New York comes the Royal William, which it is said was the first sea-going steaTIler that ever crosRed the ocean, propelled aU the way by steam. It was built in 1830-1831 at Quebec, Canada. and was of 1,6i5 tons burden and was intended as a packet ship between Quehec and Halifax. In 1833 she was sent to London. She arrived after a prosperous trip of twenty-five days; she was afterward sold to the Spanish government. The following were her dimen8ions: Length of deck, 169 feet; length of keel, 159 feet; extreme breadth, 47 feet; depth of hold, 19 feet; rake of post, 2 feet; rake of stern, 13 feet; draught of water, 14 feet. For detalJed aceount of this vessel see Supplement, No. 801.
This article was originally published with the title "The Early History of Ocean Steam Navigation" in Scientific American 73, 25, 392-393 (December 1895)