cipated 800 years ago by Roger Bacon, that learned Franciscan monk who, in an age of ignorance and intellectual torpor, wrote:
For many years before even the first promising effort had been made, the minds of the more intelligent had been prepared to appreciate the invention when it should finally be brought forward, and were ready for even greater wonders than have yet been accomplished.
75. The earliest attempt to propel a vessel by steam is claimed, by Spanish authorities, as it has been stated, to have been made by Blasco de Garay in the harbor of Barcelona, Spain, in 1543.
The account seems somewhat apocryphal, and the experiment, if made, certainly led to no useful results.
76. In an anonymous English pamphlet, published in 1651, which is supposed, by Stuart, to have been written by the Marquis of Worcester, an indefinite reference to what may probably have been the steam-engine is made, and it is there stated to be capable of successful application to propelling boats.
77. In 1690 Papin proposed to use his piston-engine to drive paddle-wheels to propel vessels; and in 1707 he applied the steam-engine, which he had proposed as a pumping-engine, to driving a model boat on the Fulda, at Cassel.
In this trial he probably used the arrangement of which a sketch
is here shown. His pumping-engine forced up water to turn a water-wheel, which, in turn, was made to drive the paddles, as in Fig. 44.
- "Inventions of Engines of Motion, recently brought to Perfection," London, 1651. A number of such treatises, vaguely hinting at new motors for propulsion of vessels, appeared during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.