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History of Steam on the Erie Canal   By:

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HISTORY OF STEAM ON THE ERIE CANAL.

Appeal for the Extension of the Act of April, 1871, "to Foster and Develop the Inland Commerce of the State,"

FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE CANALS AND THE COMMERCIAL COMMUNITY.

NEW YORK, JANUARY, 1873.

NEW YORK: EVENING POST STEAM PRESSES, 41 NASSAU STREET, COR. LIBERTY. 1873.

With Respects of the Author,

155 Broadway, N. Y.

HISTORY OF STEAM ON THE ERIE CANAL.

SCREW PROPELLERS FROM 1858 TO 1862.

During the maple sugar season of the spring of 1858, a well to do farmer, of western New York, whittled out a spiral or augur like screw propeller, in miniature, which he thought admirably adapted to the canal. He soon after went to Buffalo, and contracted for a boat to be built, with two of his Archimedean screws for propulsion by steam.

Although advised by his builders to substitute the common four bladed propellers, he adhered to his original design, and with one propeller at either side of the rudder called "twin propellers" she was soon ready for duty. She is the vessel known to history as the Charles Wack .

She carried three fourths cargo and towed another boat with full cargo, and made the trip from Buffalo to West Troy in seven days, total time, averaging two miles per hour. But she returned from Troy to Buffalo, with half freight, in four days and sixteen hours, net time; averaging three and one twelfth miles per hour, without tow.

This initiated the series of steamers from 1858 to 1862, and, with others that soon followed, created a general enthusiasm in behalf of steam transportation, which led to a trip through the canal that fall, on a chartered steam tug, by the Governor of the State, the Canal Board, and other notables, and with public receptions, speeches, &c., at different cities along the route.

That boat was soon followed by the S. B. Ruggles , a first class steam canal boat, built by the Hon. E. S. Prosser, of Buffalo, with a first class modern propeller, and with double the engine capacity of the former.

The P. L. Sternburg soon followed, and was a first class boat, with modern twin propellers, but with less engine capacity than the Wack .

The same season there were some local steamers built to run regularly between different cities on the line of the canal.

The following season of 1859 was the most active year the Erie Canal has ever known in regard to steam.

The C. Wack was sold to Mr. Prosser, who took out her Archimedean propellers, and substituted a modern propeller, and doubled her engine capacity, and reproduced her as the City of Buffalo .

The Gold Hunter was produced by the Western Transportation Company, of Buffalo. She was a short, oblong tub, with a square, box like bow, and rounded stern, designed only to carry machinery and coal, and was to be recessed into the stern of ordinary horse boats by cutting away an equivalent space therefrom. She was designed to make a trip on the canal, and be immediately transferred to another boat for return trip, thus to avoid the usual loss of time at the termini of the canal. She was abandoned after a brief trial.

The canal boat Niagara had the Cathcart propeller supplied, which consisted of a union of the propeller and rudder by a universal joint in the shaft, and so adjusted as to unite them for steerage purposes. This design was tried on the steamer Cathcart , upon the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, in 1858, and with considerable newspaper eclat .

The Rotary , of New York, was a new steamer for freighting purposes, with a rotary engine and common propeller. This occupied but little space, and worked prettily on exhibition.

The Eclipse , of New York, was new, and had oscillating propeller engines.

SCREW TUGS.

The Gov. King was a medium sized New York harbor propeller, and made repeated trips with three boats in tow, and one trip with five boats. She was so slow as to be unremunerative, as compared with horses.

The Western Transportation Co., after the failure of the Gold Hunter , built two powerful tugs, the Washington and Lafayette ... Continue reading book >>




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