Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/469

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THE GROWTH OF THE STEAM-ENGINE.

tance of one hundred and fifty miles in thirty-two hours running time, and returning in thirty hours. The sails were not used on either occasion.

This was the first voyage of considerable length ever made by a steam-vessel, and the Clermont was soon after regularly employed as a passenger-boat between the two cities.

Fulton, though not to be classed with James Watt as an inventor, is entitled to the great honor of having been the first to make steam-navigation an every-day commercial success, and of having thus made the first application of the steam-engine to ship-propulsion which was not followed by the retirement of the experimenter from the field of his labors before success was permanently insured.

89. The engine of the Clermont (Fig. 52), was of rather peculiar

PSM V12 D469 The engine of the clermont 1807.jpg
Fig. 52.—Engine of the Clermont, 1807.

form, the engine being coupled to the crank-shaft by a bell-crank, and the paddle-wheel shaft being separated from the crank-shaft, but connected with the latter by gearing. The cylinders were twenty-four inches in diameter and of four feet stroke. The paddle-wheels had buckets four feet long, with a dip of two feet.

An old drawing made by Fulton's own hand, showing this engine as it was improved in 1808, is in the relic-corner of the lecture-room of the author at the Stevens Institute of Technology.

The voyage of this steamer to Albany was attended with some ludicrous incidents, which found their counterparts whenever subsequently steamers were for the first time introduced.

90. Mr. Colden, the biographer of Fulton, says that she was described by persons who had seen her passing at night, "as a monster moving on the waters, defying wind and tide, and breathing flames and smoke."

This first steamboat used dry pine-wood for fuel, and the flame rose to a considerable distance above the smoke-pipe, and, when the fires were disturbed, mingled smoke and sparks rose high in the air.

"This uncommon light," says Colden, "first attracted the attention of the crews of other vessels. Notwithstanding the wind and tide were averse to its approach, they saw with astonishment that it was rapidly coming toward them, and, when it came so near that the