Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/551

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THE GROWTH OF THE STEAM-ENGINE.

interested in the subject, experimented with a screw made of wood, and fitted in a boat built with funds furnished by a Mr. Wright, a London banker. He exhibited it on the Thames and on the Paddington Canal for several months. In February, 1837, by an accident, a part of the screw-blade was broken off, and the improved performance of the boat called attention to the advisability of determining its best proportions.

PSM V12 D551 Side wheel ocean steamer 1850.jpg
Fig. 58.—The Side-Wheel Ocean-Steamer, 1850.

In 1837 Smith exhibited his courage and his faith in the reliability of his little steamer by making a coasting-voyage in quite heavy weather, and the performance of his vessel was such as to fully justify the confidence felt in it by its designer.

The British Admiralty soon had its attention called to the performance of this vessel, and to the very excellent results attained by the Archimedes, a vessel of 237 tons burden, which was built by Smith and his coadjutors in 1838, and tried in 1839, attaining a speed of eight knots an hour. By the performance of the Archimedes, the advantages of screw-propulsion, especially for naval purposes, were rendered so evident that the British Government built its first screw-vessel, the Rattler, and Brunel adopted the screw in the iron steamer Great Britain, which had been designed originally as a paddle-steamer.

98. Simultaneously with Smith, Captain John Ericsson was engaged in the same project.

He patented, July, 1836, a propeller which was found at the first trial to be of such good form and proportions as to give excellent results.

His first vessel was the Francis B. Ogden, named after the United States consul at Liverpool, who had lent the inventor valuable aid in his work. The boat was forty-five feet long, eight feet beam, and drew