Steamboat

Steamboat

Overview

A steamboat or steamship, sometimes called a steamer, is a ship in which the primary method of propulsion is steam power
Steam engine
A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid.Steam engines are external combustion engines, where the working fluid is separate from the combustion products. Non-combustion heat sources such as solar power, nuclear power or geothermal energy may be...

, typically driving propeller
Propeller
A propeller is a type of fan that transmits power by converting rotational motion into thrust. A pressure difference is produced between the forward and rear surfaces of the airfoil-shaped blade, and a fluid is accelerated behind the blade. Propeller dynamics can be modeled by both Bernoulli's...

s or paddlewheel
Paddle steamer
A paddle steamer is a steamship or riverboat, powered by a steam engine, using paddle wheels to propel it through the water. In antiquity, Paddle wheelers followed the development of poles, oars and sails, where the first uses were wheelers driven by animals or humans...

s. Steamships usually use the prefix designation
Ship prefix
A ship prefix is a combination of letters, usually abbreviations, used in front of the name of a civilian or naval ship.Prefixes for civilian vessels may either identify the type of propulsion, such as "SS" for steamship, or purpose, such as "RV" for research vessel. Civilian prefixes are often...

 SS, S.S. or S/S.

The term steamboat is usually used to refer to smaller steam-powered boats working on lakes and rivers, particularly riverboat
Riverboat
A riverboat is a ship built boat designed for inland navigation on lakes, rivers, and artificial waterways. They are generally equipped and outfitted as work boats in one of the carrying trades, for freight or people transport, including luxury units constructed for entertainment enterprises, such...

s; steamship generally refers to larger steam-powered ships, usually ocean-going, capable of carrying a (ship's) boat.
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Timeline

1807   Robert Fulton's first American steamboat leaves New York City for Albany, New York on the Hudson River, inaugurating the first commercial steamboat service in the world.

1809   Robert Fulton files a patent for improvements to steamboat navigation

1811   The first steamboat to sail the Mississippi River arrives in New Orléans, Louisiana.

1849   Regular steamboat service from the west to the east coast of the United States begins with the arrival of the SS ''California'' in San Francisco Bay, 4 months 22 days after leaving New York Harbor.

1854   The San Francisco steamer sinks, killing 300 people.

1865   The steamboat ''Sultana'', carrying 2,400 passengers, explodes and sinks in the Mississippi River, killing 1,700, most of whom are Union survivors of the Andersonville and Cahaba Prisons.

1962   The Old Bay Line, the last overnight steamboat service in the United States, goes out of business.

 
Encyclopedia

A steamboat or steamship, sometimes called a steamer, is a ship in which the primary method of propulsion is steam power
Steam engine
A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid.Steam engines are external combustion engines, where the working fluid is separate from the combustion products. Non-combustion heat sources such as solar power, nuclear power or geothermal energy may be...

, typically driving propeller
Propeller
A propeller is a type of fan that transmits power by converting rotational motion into thrust. A pressure difference is produced between the forward and rear surfaces of the airfoil-shaped blade, and a fluid is accelerated behind the blade. Propeller dynamics can be modeled by both Bernoulli's...

s or paddlewheel
Paddle steamer
A paddle steamer is a steamship or riverboat, powered by a steam engine, using paddle wheels to propel it through the water. In antiquity, Paddle wheelers followed the development of poles, oars and sails, where the first uses were wheelers driven by animals or humans...

s. Steamships usually use the prefix designation
Ship prefix
A ship prefix is a combination of letters, usually abbreviations, used in front of the name of a civilian or naval ship.Prefixes for civilian vessels may either identify the type of propulsion, such as "SS" for steamship, or purpose, such as "RV" for research vessel. Civilian prefixes are often...

 SS, S.S. or S/S.

The term steamboat is usually used to refer to smaller steam-powered boats working on lakes and rivers, particularly riverboat
Riverboat
A riverboat is a ship built boat designed for inland navigation on lakes, rivers, and artificial waterways. They are generally equipped and outfitted as work boats in one of the carrying trades, for freight or people transport, including luxury units constructed for entertainment enterprises, such...

s; steamship generally refers to larger steam-powered ships, usually ocean-going, capable of carrying a (ship's) boat. The term steam wheeler is archaic and rarely used. In England, "steam packet", after its sailing predecessor, was the usual term; even "steam barge" could be used. group=notes>Steam tonnage in Lloyd's Register
Lloyd's Register
The Lloyd's Register Group is a maritime classification society and independent risk management organisation providing risk assessment and mitigation services and management systems certification. Historically, as Lloyd's Register of Shipping, it was a specifically maritime organisation...

 exceeded sailing ships tonnage by 1865. The French transatlantic steamer "La Touraine" was probably the last of her type to be equipped with sails, although she never used them.
Steamships in turn were overtaken by diesel-driven ships in the second half of the 20th century. Most warships used steam propulsion from the 1860s until the advent of the gas turbine
Gas turbine
A gas turbine, also called a combustion turbine, is a type of internal combustion engine. It has an upstream rotating compressor coupled to a downstream turbine, and a combustion chamber in-between....

 in the early 20th century.

Terminology


Today, nuclear-powered
Nuclear navy
Nuclear navy, or nuclear powered navy consists of ships powered by relatively small onboard nuclear reactors known as naval reactors. The concept was revolutionary for naval warfare when first proposed, as it meant that these vessels did not need to stop for fuel like their conventional...

 warships and submarine
Submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

s, although powered by steam-driven turbines, are not usually referred to as steamships.

Screw-driven steamships generally carry the ship prefix
Ship prefix
A ship prefix is a combination of letters, usually abbreviations, used in front of the name of a civilian or naval ship.Prefixes for civilian vessels may either identify the type of propulsion, such as "SS" for steamship, or purpose, such as "RV" for research vessel. Civilian prefixes are often...

 "SS" before their names, meaning 'Steam Ship' (or 'Screw Steamer' i.e. 'screw-driven steamship', or 'Screw Schooner' during the 1870s and 1880s, when sail was also carried), paddle steamer
Paddle steamer
A paddle steamer is a steamship or riverboat, powered by a steam engine, using paddle wheels to propel it through the water. In antiquity, Paddle wheelers followed the development of poles, oars and sails, where the first uses were wheelers driven by animals or humans...

s usually carry the prefix "PS" and steamships powered by steam turbine may be prefixed "TS" (turbine ship). The term steamer is occasionally used, out of nostalgia, for diesel
Diesel engine
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

 motor-driven vessels, prefixed "MV
Motor ship
A motor ship or motor vessel is a ship propelled by an internal combustion engine, usually a diesel engine. The name of motor ships are often prefixed with MS, M/S, MV or M/V.- See also :...

".

Early developments


1543 is the date given for a paddle steamer said to have been devised by Blasco de Garay
Blasco de Garay
Blasco de Garay was a Spanish navy captain and inventor.De Garay was a captain in the Spanish navy in the reign of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. He made several important inventions, including diving apparatus, and introduced the paddle wheel as a substitute for oars...

 in Spain, a myth that is now well discredited.

In October 1652 Oliver Cromwell's spy master John Thurloe received a report that a Frenchman in Rotterdam, referred to as 'a subtle mathematician', was having a ship built to his design "which is to go with certain instruments without sail, with incredible strength and swiftness, either with or against the wind." Unfortunately the Frenchman died before the ship was completed.


The French inventor Denis Papin
Denis Papin
Denis Papin was a French physicist, mathematician and inventor, best known for his pioneering invention of the steam digester, the forerunner of the steam engine and of the pressure cooker.-Life in France:...

, after inventing the steam digester
Steam digester
The steam digester is a high-pressure cooker invented by French physicist Denis Papin in 1679. It is a device for extracting fats from bones in a high-pressure steam environment, which also renders them brittle enough to be easily ground into bone meal...

 (a type of pressure cooker
Pressure cooking
Pressure cooking is a method of cooking in a sealed vessel that does not permit air or liquids to escape below a preset pressure. Because the boiling point of water increases as the pressure increases, the pressure built up inside the cooker allows the liquid in the pot to rise to a higher...

) and experimenting with closed cylinders and pistons pushed in by atmospheric pressure, designed and built a steam pump analogous to the pump advertised by Thomas Savery
Thomas Savery
Thomas Savery was an English inventor, born at Shilstone, a manor house near Modbury, Devon, England.-Career:Savery became a military engineer, rising to the rank of Captain by 1702, and spent his free time performing experiments in mechanics...

 in England during the same period. In his writings, including his correspondence with Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a German philosopher and mathematician. He wrote in different languages, primarily in Latin , French and German ....

, Papin proposed applying this steam pump to the operation of a paddlewheel boat. During a stay in Kassel
Kassel
Kassel is a town located on the Fulda River in northern Hesse, Germany. It is the administrative seat of the Kassel Regierungsbezirk and the Kreis of the same name and has approximately 195,000 inhabitants.- History :...

, Germany, in 1704, he completed a paddlewheel boat, probably pedal-powered. When he left for England in 1707, hoping to sell the British on his idea of steam-powered navigation, he used his paddlewheeler to navigate down the Fulda River
Fulda River
The Fulda is a river in Hesse, Germany. It is one of two headstreams of the Weser . The Fulda is 218 km in length....

 as far as Münden. Although Papin was probably the first to have so clear a conception of a steamboat, he found no backers in London.

In 1736, Jonathan Hulls was granted a patent
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

 in England for a Newcomen
Thomas Newcomen
Thomas Newcomen was an ironmonger by trade and a Baptist lay preacher by calling. He was born in Dartmouth, Devon, England, near a part of the country noted for its tin mines. Flooding was a major problem, limiting the depth at which the mineral could be mined...

 engine-powered steamboat (using a pulley instead of a beam, and a pawl and ratchet to obtain rotary motion), but it was the improvement in steam engines by James Watt
James Watt
James Watt, FRS, FRSE was a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer whose improvements to the Newcomen steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world.While working as an instrument maker at the...

 that made the concept feasible. William Henry
William Henry (delegate)
William Henry was an American gunsmith from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and a delegate for Pennsylvania to the Continental Congress in 1784, 1785, and 1786.-Biography:...

 of Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, having learned of Watt's engine on a visit to England, made his own engine. In 1763 he put it in a boat. The boat sank, and while Henry made an improved model, he did not appear to have much success, though he may have inspired others.


In France, by 1774 Marquis Claude de Jouffroy and his colleagues had made a 13-metre (42 ft 8 in) working steamboat with rotating paddles, the Palmipède. The ship sailed on the Doubs River in June and July 1776, apparently the first steamship to sail successfully. In 1783 a new paddle steamer, Pyroscaphe
Pyroscaphe
Pyroscaphe was an early experimental steamship built by Marquis de Jouffroy d'Abbans in 1783. The first demonstration took place on 15 July 1783 on the river Saône in France...

, successfully steamed up the river Saône
Saône
The Saône is a river of eastern France. It is a right tributary of the River Rhône. Rising at Vioménil in the Vosges department, it joins the Rhône in Lyon....

 for fifteen minutes before the engine failed, but bureaucracy thwarted further progress.

From 1784 James Rumsey
James Rumsey
James Rumsey was an American mechanical engineer chiefly known for exhibiting a boat propelled by machinery in 1787 on the Potomac River at Shepherdstown, now West Virginia, before a crowd of local notables, including Horatio Gates...

 built a pump-driven (water jet
Water jet
Water jet has several meanings including :* Water jet cutter, a tool for cutting virtually any material* Water jet cleaning and surface preparation, a tool for cleaning and surface preparation using ultra-high pressure waterjet...

) boat and successfully steamed upstream on the Potomac River
Potomac River
The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, located along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. The river is approximately long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles...

 in 1786; the following year he obtained a patent from the State of Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

. In Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, John Fitch
John Fitch (inventor)
John Fitch was an American inventor, clockmaker, and silversmith who, in 1787, built the first recorded steam-powered boat in the United States...

, an acquaintance of Henry, made a model paddle steamer in 1785, and subsequently developed propulsion by floats on a chain, obtained a patent in 1786, then built a steamboat which underwent a successful trial in 1787. In 1788, a steamboat built by John Fitch operated in regular commercial service along the Delaware river between Philadelphia PA and Burlington NJ, carrying as many as 30 passengers. This boat could typically make 7 to 8 miles per hour, and traveled more than 2000 miles (3,218.7 km) during its short length of service. The Fitch steamboat was not a commercial success, as this travel route was adequately covered by relatively good wagon roads. The following year a second boat made 30 miles (48.3 km) excursions, and in 1790 a third boat ran a series of trials on the Delaware River
Delaware River
The Delaware River is a major river on the Atlantic coast of the United States.A Dutch expedition led by Henry Hudson in 1609 first mapped the river. The river was christened the South River in the New Netherland colony that followed, in contrast to the North River, as the Hudson River was then...

 before patent disputes dissuaded Fitch from continuing. In 1789, Rumsey obtained backing in England for his water-jet propelled boat Columbia Maid but at his death in 1792 no great progress had been made with it.

Meanwhile, Patrick Miller of Dalswinton
Patrick Miller of Dalswinton
Patrick Miller of Dalswinton, just north of Dumfries was a Scottish banker and shareholder in the Carron Company engineering works and an enthusiastic experimenter in ordnance and naval architecture, including double- or triple-hulled pleasure boats propelled by cranked paddle wheels placed...

, near Dumfries
Dumfries
Dumfries is a market town and former royal burgh within the Dumfries and Galloway council area of Scotland. It is near the mouth of the River Nith into the Solway Firth. Dumfries was the county town of the former county of Dumfriesshire. Dumfries is nicknamed Queen of the South...

, Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, had developed double-hulled boats propelled by manually-cranked paddlewheels placed between the hulls, even attempting to interest various European governments in a giant warship version, 246' long. Miller sent King Gustav III of Sweden an actual small-scale, 100' long version called "Experiment"; as thanks, the king despatched a snuff-box containing Swede seeds. The snuff-box, richly illustrated with maritime scenes, is now in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. "Sea-spook" is the Swedish naval architect Chapman's comment on it.
Miller engaged engineer William Symington
William Symington
William Symington was a Scottish engineer and inventor, and the builder of the first practical steamboat, the Charlotte Dundas.-Early life:...

 to build his patent steam engine into a boat which was successfully tried out on Dalswinton Loch in 1788, and followed by a larger steamboat the next year. Miller then abandoned the project. Ten years later Symington was engaged by Lord Dundas
Thomas Dundas, 1st Baron Dundas
Thomas Dundas, 1st Baron Dundas FRS , known as Sir Thomas Dundas, 2nd Baronet, from 1781 to 1794, was a powerful figure in the Kingdom of Great Britain, now remembered for commissioning the Charlotte Dundas, the world's "first practical steamboat".-Biography:Thomas was the only son of Sir Lawrence...

 to build a steamboat. In March 1802, his Charlotte Dundas
Charlotte Dundas
The Charlotte Dundas is regarded as the world's "first practical steamboat", the first towing steamboat and the boat that demonstrated the practicality of steam power for ships....

towed two 70-ton barges 30 km (18.6 mi) along the Forth and Clyde Canal
Forth and Clyde Canal
The Forth and Clyde Canal crosses Scotland, providing a route for sea-going vessels between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde at the narrowest part of the Scottish Lowlands. The canal is 35 miles long and its eastern end is connected to the River Forth by a short stretch of the River...

 to Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

. This vessel, the first tow boat, has been called the "first practical steamboat", and the first to be followed by continuous development of steamboats. Although plans to introduce boats on the Forth and Clyde canal were thwarted by fears of erosion of the banks, development was taken up both in Britain and abroad, including Robert Fulton
Robert Fulton
Robert Fulton was an American engineer and inventor who is widely credited with developing the first commercially successful steamboat...

's North River Steamboat
North River Steamboat
The North River Steam Boat or Clermont was the first commercially successful steamship of the paddle steamer design. It operated on the Hudson River between New York and Albany...

of 1807 and Henry Bell's PS Comet
PS Comet
The paddle steamer PS Comet was built for Henry Bell, hotel and baths owner in Helensburgh, and began a passenger service in 1812 on the River Clyde between Glasgow and Greenock, the first commercially successful steamboat service in Europe.-History:...

 of 1812. P.S."Thames", ex "Argyle" was the first sea-going steamer in Europe, having steamed from Glasgow to London in May 1815. P.S."Tug", the first tugboat, was launched by the Woods Brothers, Port Glasgow, on 5 November 1817; in the summer of 1817 she was the first steamboat to travel round the North of Scotland to the East Coast.

North America


In 1787, John Fitch
John Fitch (inventor)
John Fitch was an American inventor, clockmaker, and silversmith who, in 1787, built the first recorded steam-powered boat in the United States...

 built the first recorded steam-powered boat in the United States. He experimented with side-mounted paddle wheels, but in 1791 used and patented oars instead.

The first successful application of steam power to navigate a paddle wheel boat in North America occurred in 1793 when Samuel Morey
Samuel Morey
Samuel Morey was an American inventor, who worked on early internal combustion engines and was a pioneer in steamships who accumulated a total of 20 patents.-Early life:...

 demonstrated his steamboat on the Connecticut River near Orford
Orford, New Hampshire
Orford is a town in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 1,237 at the 2010 census. The Appalachian Trail crosses in the east.-History:...

, New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

.


Robert Fulton
Robert Fulton
Robert Fulton was an American engineer and inventor who is widely credited with developing the first commercially successful steamboat...

 was the first to operate steamboats commercially. Fulton may have become interested in steamboats at the age of 12 when he visited William Henry during a trip to Britain and France in 1777. He built and tested an experimental steamboat on the River Seine in 1803, and was aware of the success of Charlotte Dundas. Before returning to the United States, Fulton ordered a steam engine
Watt steam engine
The Watt steam engine was the first type of steam engine to make use of steam at a pressure just above atmospheric to drive the piston helped by a partial vacuum...

 from Boulton and Watt
Boulton and Watt
The firm of Boulton & Watt was initially a partnership between Matthew Boulton and James Watt.-The engine partnership:The partnership was formed in 1775 to exploit Watt's patent for a steam engine with a separate condenser. This made much more efficient use of its fuel than the older Newcomen engine...

, and on return built what he called the North River Steamboat
North River Steamboat
The North River Steam Boat or Clermont was the first commercially successful steamship of the paddle steamer design. It operated on the Hudson River between New York and Albany...

(later known as Clermont). In 1807, she began a regular passenger service between New York City and Albany, New York
Albany, New York
Albany is the capital city of the U.S. state of New York, the seat of Albany County, and the central city of New York's Capital District. Roughly north of New York City, Albany sits on the west bank of the Hudson River, about south of its confluence with the Mohawk River...

, 240 km (149.1 mi) distant, which was a commercial success. She could make the trip in 32 hours. In 1808, John and James Winans built Vermont in Burlington, Vermont
Burlington, Vermont
Burlington is the largest city in the U.S. state of Vermont and the shire town of Chittenden County. Burlington lies south of the U.S.-Canadian border and some south of Montreal....

, the second steamboat to operate commercially.

In Canada, in 1809, PS Accommodation
PS Accommodation
The Canadian paddlewheeler Accommodation was the first successful steamboat built entirely in North America.Financed by brewer John Molson, she was constructed by John Jackson and John Bruce in Montréal in 1809, using engines built in Forges Saint-Maurice, Trois-Rivières...

, built by the Hon. John Molson
John Molson
John Molson was an English-speaking Quebecer who was a major brewer and entrepreneur in Canada, starting the Molson Brewing Company.-Birth and early life:...

 at Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, and fitted with engines made by the Eagle Foundry, Montreal, was running successfully between Montreal and Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, being the first steamboat on the St. Lawrence. Unlike Fulton, Molson did not show a profit. Molson had also two paddle steamboats "Swiftsure" of 1811 and "Malsham" of 1813 with engines by B&W. The experience of these vessels, especially that they could now offer a regular service, being independent of wind and weather, helped make the new system of propulsion commercially viable, and as a result its application to the more open waters of the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

 was next considered. That idea went on hiatus due to the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

.

United States steamboats


The use of steamboats on major US rivers soon followed Fulton's success. In 1811 the first in a continuous (still in commercial passenger operation as of 2007) line of river steamboats left the dock at Pittsburgh to steam down the Ohio River
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

 to the Mississippi
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 and on to New Orleans. In 1817 a consortium in Sackets Harbor, New York
Sackets Harbor, New York
Sackets Harbor is a village in Jefferson County, New York, United States. The population was 1,386 at the 2000 census. The village was named after land developer and owner Augustus Sackett, who founded it in the early 19th century.The Village of Sackets Harbor is within the western part of the...

 funded the construction of the first US steamboat, Ontario, to run on Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded on the north and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, and on the south by the American state of New York. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, was named for the lake. In the Wyandot language, ontarío means...

 and the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

, beginning the growth of lake commercial and passenger traffic. The river pilot and author Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

, in his Life on the Mississippi
Life on the Mississippi
Life on the Mississippi is a memoir by Mark Twain, of his days as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War, and also a travel book, recounting his trip along the Mississippi many years after the War....

, described much of the operation of such vessels.

Steamboat traffic including passenger and freight business grew exponentially in the decades before the Civil War. So too did the economic and human losses inflicted by snags, shoals, boiler explosions, and human error.

For most of the 19th century and part of the early 20th century, trade on the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 was dominated by paddle-wheel steamboats. Their use generated rapid development of economies of port cities; the exploitation of agricultural and commodity products, which could be more easily transported to markets; and prosperity along the major rivers. Their success led to penetration deep into the continent, where Anson Northrup
Anson Northrup
Anson Northrup was a 100 hp sternwheel riverboat named for her captain who navigated the Red River of the North to Fort Garry on 10 June 1859....

in 1859 became first steamer to cross the U.S.-Canadian border on the Red River
Red River of the North
The Red River is a North American river. Originating at the confluence of the Bois de Sioux and Otter Tail rivers in the United States, it flows northward through the Red River Valley and forms the border between the U.S. states of Minnesota and North Dakota before continuing into Manitoba, Canada...

. They would also be involved in major political events, as when Louis Riel
Louis Riel
Louis David Riel was a Canadian politician, a founder of the province of Manitoba, and a political and spiritual leader of the Métis people of the Canadian prairies. He led two resistance movements against the Canadian government and its first post-Confederation Prime Minister, Sir John A....

 seized International
International
----International mostly means something that involves more than one country. The term international as a word means involvement of, interaction between or encompassing more than one nation, or generally beyond national boundaries...

at Fort Garry
Fort Garry
Fort Garry, also known as Upper Fort Garry, was a Hudson's Bay Company trading post at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers in what is now downtown Winnipeg. It was established in 1822 on or near the site of the North West Company's Fort Gibraltar. Fort Garry was named after Nicholas...

, or Gabriel Dumont was engaged by Northcote at Batoche. Steamboats were held in such high esteem that they could become state symbols; the Steamboat Iowa (1838) is incorporated in the Seal of Iowa
Seal of Iowa
The Great Seal of the State of Iowa was created in 1847 and depicts a citizen soldier standing in a wheat field surrounded by symbols important in early historical Iowa, including farming, mining, and transportation with the Mississippi River in the background...

 because it represented speed, power, and progress.

At the same time, the expanding steamboat traffic had severe adverse environmental effects, in the Middle Mississippi Valley especially, between St. Louis and the river's confluence with the Ohio
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

. The steamboats consumed much wood for fuel, and the river floodplain and banks became deforested. This led to instability in the banks, addition of silt to the water, making the river more shallow and causing unpredictable, lateral movement of the river channel across the wide, ten-mile floodplain. The river became both wider and more shallow, endangering navigation. Boats designated as snagpullers to keep the channels free had crews that sometimes cut remaining large trees 100–200 feet or more back from the banks, exacerbating the problems. In the 19th century, the flooding of the Mississippi became a more severe problem than when the floodplain was filled with trees and brush.

Most steamboats were destroyed by boiler explosions or fires, and many sank in the river, some to be covered over by silt as the river changed course. From 1811-1899, 156 steamboats were lost to snags or rocks between St. Louis and the Ohio River. Another 411 were damaged by fire, explosions or ice during that period. One of the few surviving Mississippi sternwheelers from this period, Julius C. Wilkie, was operated as a museum ship
Museum ship
A museum ship, or sometimes memorial ship, is a ship that has been preserved and converted into a museum open to the public, for educational or memorial purposes...

 at Winona, Minnesota
Winona, Minnesota
Winona is a city in and the county seat of Winona County, in the U.S. State of Minnesota. Located in picturesque bluff country on the Mississippi River, its most noticeable physical landmark is Sugar Loaf....

 until its destruction in a fire in 1981. The replacement, built in situ was not a steamboat. The replica was scrapped in 2008.

The Belle of Louisville
Belle of Louisville
The Belle of Louisville is a steamboat owned and operated by the city of Louisville, Kentucky and moored at its downtown wharf next to the Riverfront Plaza/Belvedere during its annual operational period...

is the oldest operating steamboat on the western rivers of the United States. She was laid down as Idlewild in 1914.

Four major commercial steamboats currently operate on the inland waterways of the United States. They are the steamers "Chautauqua Belle
Chautauqua Belle
The steamer Chautauqua Belle is an authentic Mississippi River-style sternwheel steamboat owned and operated by U.S. Steam Lines Ltd, operating on Chautauqua Lake in Western New York. Originally financed and built by Captain James Webster, the vessel was constructed on site in Mayville, New York,...

" at Chautauqua Lake, New York
Chautauqua Lake
Chautauqua Lake is located entirely within Chautauqua County, New York, USA. The lake is approximately long and wide at its greatest width. The surface area is approximately 13,000 acres . The maximum depth is about 78 feet...

, Minne Ha-Ha at Lake George, New York
Lake George, New York
Lake George, New York may refer to:*Lake George , a lake*Lake George , New York, a town*Lake George , New York, a village within the town and situated next to the lake...

, operating on Lake George; the Belle of Louisville
Belle of Louisville
The Belle of Louisville is a steamboat owned and operated by the city of Louisville, Kentucky and moored at its downtown wharf next to the Riverfront Plaza/Belvedere during its annual operational period...

in Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...

, operating on the Ohio River; and the Natchez in New Orleans, Louisiana, operating on the Mississippi River. For modern craft operated on rivers, see the Riverboat
Riverboat
A riverboat is a ship built boat designed for inland navigation on lakes, rivers, and artificial waterways. They are generally equipped and outfitted as work boats in one of the carrying trades, for freight or people transport, including luxury units constructed for entertainment enterprises, such...

 article.

From 1844 through 1857, luxurious palace steamer
Palace steamer
Palace steamers were luxurious steamships that carried passengers and cargo around the North American Great Lakes from 1844 through 1857. One was the Niagara, which was destroyed by a fire during an 1856 voyage.- Source :*...

s carried passengers and cargo around the North American Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

. Great Lakes passenger steamers
Great Lakes passenger steamers
The history of commercial passenger shipping on the Great Lakes is long but uneven. It reached its zenith between the mid-19th century and the 1950s. As early as 1844, palace steamers carried passengers and cargo around the Great Lakes...

 reached their zenith during the century from 1850 to 1950. The is the last of the once-numerous passenger-carrying steam-powered car ferries
Train ferry
A train ferry is a ship designed to carry railway vehicles. Typically, one level of the ship is fitted with railway tracks, and the vessel has a door at the front and/or rear to give access to the wharves. In the United States, train ferries are sometimes referred to as "car ferries", as...

 operating on the Great Lakes. A unique style of bulk carrier
Bulk carrier
A bulk carrier, bulk freighter, or bulker is a merchant ship specially designed to transport unpackaged bulk cargo, such as grains, coal, ore, and cement in its cargo holds. Since the first specialized bulk carrier was built in 1852, economic forces have fueled the development of these ships,...

 known as the lake freighter
Lake freighter
Lake freighters, or Lakers, are bulk carrier vessels that ply the Great Lakes. The best known was the , the most recent and largest major vessel to be wrecked on the Lakes. These vessels are traditionally called boats, although classified as ships. In the mid-20th century, 300 lakers worked the...

 was developed on the Great Lakes. The St. Marys Challenger, launched in 1906, is the oldest operating steamship in the United States; and quite possibly the world. She runs a Skinner Marine Unaflow 4 cylinder reciprocating steam engine as her power plant.

Canada


In Canada, the city of Terrace, British Columbia
Terrace, British Columbia
Terrace is a city on the Skeena River in British Columbia, Canada. The Kitselas people, a tribe of the Tsimshian Nation, have lived in the Terrace area for thousands of years. The community population fell between 2001 and 2006 from 12,109 with a regional population of 19,980 to 11,320 and...

, celebrates "Riverboat Days" each summer. Built on the banks of the Skeena River
Skeena River
The Skeena River is the second longest river entirely within British Columbia, Canada . The Skeena is an important transportation artery, particularly for the Tsimshian and the Gitxsan - whose names mean "inside the Skeena River" and "people of the Skeena River" respectively, and also during the...

, the city depended on the steamboat for transportation and trade into the 20th century. The first steamer to enter the Skeena was Union in 1864. In 1866 Mumford attempted to ascend the river, but it was only able to reach the Kitsumkalum River. It was not until 1891 Hudson's Bay Company
Hudson's Bay Company
The Hudson's Bay Company , abbreviated HBC, or "The Bay" is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and one of the oldest in the world. A fur trading business for much of its existence, today Hudson's Bay Company owns and operates retail stores throughout Canada...

 sternwheeler Caledonia successfully negotiated Kitselas Canyon
Kitselas Canyon
Kitselas Canyon, also Kitsalas Canyon is a stretch of the Skeena River in northwestern British Columbia, Canada, between the community of Usk and the Tsimshian community of Kitselas. It was a major obstacle to steamboat travel on the Skeena River....

 and reached Hazelton
Hazelton, British Columbia
Hazelton is a small town located at the junction of the Bulkley and Skeena Rivers in northern British Columbia, Canada. It was founded in 1866 and has a population of 293...

. A number of other steamers were built around the turn of the 20th century, in part due to the growing fish industry and the gold rush
Gold rush
A gold rush is a period of feverish migration of workers to an area that has had a dramatic discovery of gold. Major gold rushes took place in the 19th century in Australia, Brazil, Canada, South Africa, and the United States, while smaller gold rushes took place elsewhere.In the 19th and early...

. For more information, see Steamboats of the Skeena River
Steamboats of the Skeena River
The Skeena River is British Columbia’s fastest flowing waterway, often rising as much as in a day and can fluctuate as much as sixty feet between high and low water. For the steamboat captains, that made it one of the toughest navigable rivers in British Columbia...

.


Sternwheelers were an instrumental transportation technology in the development of Western Canada. They were used on most of the navigable waterways of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, B.C. and the Yukon at one time or another, generally being supplanted by the expansion of railroads and roads. In the more mountainous and remote areas of the Yukon and British Columbia, working sternwheelers lived on well into the 20th century.

The simplicity of these vessels and their shallow draft made them indispensable to pioneer communities that were otherwise virtually cut off from the outside world. Because of their shallow, flat-bottomed construction (the Canadian examples of the western river sternwheeler generally needed less than three feet of water to float in), they could nose up almost anywhere along a riverbank to pick up or drop off passengers and freight. Sternwheelers would also prove vital to the construction of the railroads that eventually replaced them. They were used to haul supplies, track and other materials to construction camps.

The simple, versatile, locomotive-style boilers fitted to most sternwheelers after about the 1860s could burn coal, when available in more populated areas like the lakes of the Kootenays
Steamboats of the upper Columbia and Kootenay Rivers
From 1886 to 1920, steamboats ran on the upper reaches of the Columbia and Kootenay in the Rocky Mountain Trench, in western North America. The circumstances of the rivers in the area, and the construction of transcontinental railways across the trench from east to west made steamboat navigation...

 and the Okanagan
Steamboats of Lake Okanagan
Lake Okanagan, also called Okanagan Lake, is the largest lake in the Okanogan River drainage, which is tributary to the Columbia River basin, and is the core of the Okanagan region of British Columbia, Canada. During its early days of settlement and development, lack of roads the region made the...

 region in southern B.C., or wood in the more remote areas, such as the Steamboats of the Yukon RiverYukon or northern B.C.

The hulls were generally wooden, although iron, steel and composite hulls gradually overtook them. They were braced internally with a series of built-up longitudinal timbers called "keelsons". Further resilience was given to the hulls by a system of "hog rods" or "hog chains" that were fastened into the keelsons and led up and over vertical masts called "hog-posts", and back down again.

Like their counterparts on the Mississippi and its tributaries, and the vessels on the rivers of California, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Alaska, the Canadian sternwheelers tended to have fairly short life-spans. The hard usage they were subjected to and inherent flexibility of their shallow wooden hulls meant that relatively few of them had careers longer than a decade.

In the Yukon
Yukon
Yukon is the westernmost and smallest of Canada's three federal territories. It was named after the Yukon River. The word Yukon means "Great River" in Gwich’in....

, two vessels are preserved: the S.S. Klondike
SS Klondike
The SS Klondike was the name of two sternwheelers, the second now a national historic site located in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. Both ran freight between Whitehorse and Dawson City along the Yukon River from 1921-1936 and 1936-1950, respectively....

 in Whitehorse and the S.S. Keno in Dawson City. Many derelict hulks can still be found along the Yukon River
Yukon River
The Yukon River is a major watercourse of northwestern North America. The source of the river is located in British Columbia, Canada. The next portion lies in, and gives its name to Yukon Territory. The lower half of the river lies in the U.S. state of Alaska. The river is long and empties into...

.

In British Columbia, the Moyie
Moyie (sternwheeler)
The Moyie is a paddle steamer sternwheeler that worked on Kootenay Lake in British Columbia, Canada from 1898 until 1957.After her nearly sixty years of service, she was sold to the town of Kaslo and restored...

, built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1898, was operated on Kootenay Lake
Kootenay Lake
Kootenay Lake is a lake located in British Columbia, Canada and is part of theKootenay River. The lake has been raised by the Corra Linn Dam and has a dike system at the southern end, which, along with industry in the 1950s-70s, has changed the ecosystem in and around the water...

 in south-eastern B.C. until 1957. It has been carefully restored and is on display in the village of Kaslo, where it acts as a tourist attraction right next to information centre in downtown Kaslo. The Moyie is the worlds oldest intact stern wheeler. While the SS Sicamous and SS Naramata (Steam tug & icebreaker) built by the C.P.R. at Okanagan Landing on Okanagan Lake in 1914 have been preserved in Penticton at the south end of Okanagan Lake
Okanagan Lake
Okanagan Lake is a large, deep lake in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. The lake is 135 km long, between 4 and 5 km wide, and has a surface area of 351 km². The lake's maximum depth is 232 meters near Grant Island...

.

The SS Samson V is the only Canadian steam-powered sternwheeler that has been preserved afloat. It was built in 1937 by the Canadian federal Department of Public Works as a snagboat for clearing logs and debris out of the lower reaches of the Fraser River and for maintaining docks and aids to navigation. The fifth in a line of Fraser River snagpullers, the Samson V has engines, paddlewheel and other components that were passed down from the Samson II of 1914. It is now moored on the Fraser River as a floating museum in its home port of New Westminster, near Vancouver, B.C.

The oldest operating steam driven vessel in North America is the RMS Segwun
RMS Segwun
RMS Segwun is the oldest operating steam driven vessel in North America, built in 1887 to cruise the Muskoka Lakes in the District of Muskoka, Ontario Canada, a resort area with many lakes and rivers. Early in the 20th century Muskoka was poorly served by roads...

. It was built in Scotland in 1887 to cruise the Muskoka Lakes, District of Muskoka, Ontario, Canada. Originally named the S.S. Nipissing, it was converted from a side-paddle-wheel steamer with a walking-beam engine into a two-counter-rotating-propeller steamer.

Good reference works on the history of these vessels include Art Downs' British Columbia-Yukon Sternwheel Days (1992 Heritage House Publishing Company, Surrey, B.C.), Robert D. Turner's Sternwheelers and Steam Tugs (1998, Sono Nis Press, Victoria, B.C.), Edward Affleck's A Century of Paddlewheelers in the Pacific Northwest, the Yukon and Alaska (2000, Alexander Nicolls Press, Vancouver, B.C.) Graham Wilson, Paddlewheelers of Alaska and the Yukon (1999, Wolf Creek Books, Whitehorse, Yukon) and Robin Sheret's Smoke, Ash and Steam (1997, Western Isles Cruise and Dive Co., Victoria, B.C.).

Vietnam



Seeing the great potential of the steam powered-vessels, Vietnamese Emperor Minh Mang
Minh Mang
Minh Mạng was the second emperor of the Nguyễn Dynasty of Vietnam, reigning from 14 February 1820 until 20 January 1841. He was a younger son of Emperor Gia Long, whose eldest son, Crown Prince Canh, had died in 1801...

 attempted to reproduce a French-made steamboat. The first test in early 1839 was a failure as the boiler was broken. In the second test two months later, the engine performed greatly. Encouraged by the success, Minh Mang ordered the engineers to study and develop steam engines and steamers to equip his naval fleets. At the end of Minh Mang's reign there were 11 steamboats produced in total. They were classified into 3 classes: heavy, medium and light. However, his successor could not maintain the industry due to financial problems, worsened by many years of social unrest under his rule.

Lake, estuary and sea-going steamers



The first commercially successful steamboat in Europe, Henry Bell's Comet
PS Comet
The paddle steamer PS Comet was built for Henry Bell, hotel and baths owner in Helensburgh, and began a passenger service in 1812 on the River Clyde between Glasgow and Greenock, the first commercially successful steamboat service in Europe.-History:...

of 1812, started a rapid expansion of steam services on the Firth of Clyde
Firth of Clyde
The Firth of Clyde forms a large area of coastal water, sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean by the Kintyre peninsula which encloses the outer firth in Argyll and Ayrshire, Scotland. The Kilbrannan Sound is a large arm of the Firth of Clyde, separating the Kintyre Peninsula from the Isle of Arran.At...

, and within four years a steamer service was in operation on the inland Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond is a freshwater Scottish loch, lying on the Highland Boundary Fault. It is the largest lake in Great Britain by surface area. The lake contains many islands, including Inchmurrin, the largest fresh-water island in the British Isles, although the lake itself is smaller than many Irish...

, a forerunner of the lake steamers still gracing Swiss lakes. Today the 1900 steamer still sails on Loch Katrine
Loch Katrine
Loch Katrine is a freshwater loch in the district of Stirling, Scotland. It is roughly 8 miles long by 2/3 of a mile wide and runs the length of Strath Gartney...

, while on Loch Lomond PS Maid of the Loch
PS Maid of the Loch
PS Maid of the Loch is the last paddle steamer built in Britain. She operated on Loch Lomond for 29 years and is now being restored at Balloch pier.-Construction:...

 is being restored, and in the English Lakes the oldest operating passenger yacht, SY Gondola (built 1859, rebuilt 1979), sails daily during the summer season on Coniston Water.

On the Clyde itself, within ten years of Comet's start in 1812 there were nearly fifty steamers, and services had started across the Irish Sea
Irish Sea
The Irish Sea separates the islands of Ireland and Great Britain. It is connected to the Celtic Sea in the south by St George's Channel, and to the Atlantic Ocean in the north by the North Channel. Anglesey is the largest island within the Irish Sea, followed by the Isle of Man...

 to Belfast
Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

 and on many British estuaries. By 1900 there were over 300 Clyde steamer
Clyde steamer
The era of the Clyde steamer in Scotland began in August 1812 with the very first successful commercial steamboat service in Europe, when Henry Bell's began a passenger service on the River Clyde between Glasgow and Greenock...

s. The paddle steamer Waverley
PS Waverley
PS Waverley is the last seagoing passenger carrying paddle steamer in the world. Built in 1946, she sailed from Craigendoran on the Firth of Clyde to Arrochar on Loch Long until 1973...

, built in 1947, is the last survivor of these fleets, and the last seagoing paddle steamer in the world. This ship sails a full season of cruises every year from places around Britain, and has sailed across the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

 for a visit to commemorate the sinking of her predecessor, built in 1899, at the Battle of Dunkirk
Battle of Dunkirk
The Battle of Dunkirk was a battle in the Second World War between the Allies and Germany. A part of the Battle of France on the Western Front, the Battle of Dunkirk was the defence and evacuation of British and allied forces in Europe from 26 May–4 June 1940.After the Phoney War, the Battle of...

 in 1940.

People have had a particular affection for the Clyde puffer
Clyde puffer
The Clyde puffer is essentially a type of small steamboat which provided a vital supply link around the west coast and Hebrides islands of Scotland, stumpy little cargo ships that have achieved almost mythical status thanks largely to the short stories Neil Munro wrote about the Vital Spark and her...

s, small steam freighters of traditional design developed to use the Scottish canals and to serve the Highlands
Scottish Highlands
The Highlands is an historic region of Scotland. The area is sometimes referred to as the "Scottish Highlands". It was culturally distinguishable from the Lowlands from the later Middle Ages into the modern period, when Lowland Scots replaced Scottish Gaelic throughout most of the Lowlands...

 and Islands. They were immortalised by the tales of Para Handy
Para Handy
Para Handy, the anglicized Gaelic nickname of the fictional character Peter Macfarlane, is a character created by the journalist and writer Neil Munro in a series of stories published in the Glasgow Evening News under the pen name of Hugh Foulis....

's boat Vital Spark
Vital Spark
The Vital Spark is a fictional Clyde puffer, created by Scottish writer Neil Munro. As its captain, the redoubtable Para Handy, often says: "the smertest boat in the coastin' tred"....

by Neil Munro
Neil Munro (Hugh Foulis)
Neil Munro was a Scottish journalist, newspaper editor, author and literary critic. He was born in Inveraray and worked as a journalist on various newspapers....

 and by the film The Maggie
The Maggie
The Maggie is a 1954 British comedy film. Directed by Alexander Mackendrick and written by William Rose, it is a story of a clash of cultures between a hard-driving American businessman and a wily Scottish captain.It was produced by Ealing Studios, at a time when rural Scotland was seen as a...

, and a small number are being conserved to continue in steam around the west highland sea lochs.

The Clyde sludge boats had a tradition of occasionally taking passengers on their trips from Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

, past the Isle of Arran
Isle of Arran
Arran or the Isle of Arran is the largest island in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland, and with an area of is the seventh largest Scottish island. It is in the unitary council area of North Ayrshire and the 2001 census had a resident population of 5,058...

, down the Firth of Clyde
Firth of Clyde
The Firth of Clyde forms a large area of coastal water, sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean by the Kintyre peninsula which encloses the outer firth in Argyll and Ayrshire, Scotland. The Kilbrannan Sound is a large arm of the Firth of Clyde, separating the Kintyre Peninsula from the Isle of Arran.At...

, and one has emerged from retirement as , offering outings from Southampton
Southampton
Southampton is the largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated south-west of London and north-west of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest...

, England.

Built in 1856, PS Skibladner
Skibladner
PS Skibladner is a paddle steamer operating on the lake of Mjøsa in Norway.Skibladner is a sidewheel design, and her maiden voyage was on 2 August 1856, making her the world's oldest paddle steamer still in timetabled service...

is the oldest steamship still in operation, serving towns along lake Mjøsa
Mjøsa
Mjøsa is Norway's largest lake, as well as one of the deepest lakes in Norway and in Europe as a whole, after Hornindalsvatnet. It is located in the southern part of Norway, about 100 km north of Oslo...

 in Norway.

The 1912 steamer TSS Earnslaw
TSS Earnslaw
The TSS Earnslaw is a 1912 Edwardian vintage twin screw steamer plying the waters of Lake Wakatipu in New Zealand. It is one of the oldest tourist attractions in Central Otago, and the only remaining passenger-carrying coal-fired steamship in the southern hemisphere.-History:At the beginning of the...

 still makes regular sight-seeing trips across Lake Wakatipu
Lake Wakatipu
Lake Wakatipu is an inland lake in the South Island of New Zealand. It is in the southwest corner of Otago Region, near its boundary with Southland.With a length of , it is New Zealand's longest lake, and, at , its third largest...

, an alpine lake near Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown is a resort town in Otago in the south-west of New Zealand's South Island. It is built around an inlet called Queenstown Bay on Lake Wakatipu, a long thin Z-shaped lake formed by glacial processes, and has spectacular views of nearby mountains....

.

Swiss lakes are home of a number of large steamships. On Lake Lucerne
Lake Lucerne
Lake Lucerne is a lake in central Switzerland and the fourth largest in the country.The lake has a complicated shape, with bends and arms reaching from the city of Lucerne into the mountains. It has a total area of 114 km² , an elevation of 434 m , and a maximum depth of 214 m . Its volume is 11.8...

, five paddle steamers are still in service: Uri (built in 1901, 800 passengers), Unterwalden (1902, 800 passengers), Schiller (1906, 900 passengers), Gallia (1913, 900 passengers, fastest paddle-wheeler on European lakes) and Stadt Luzern (1928, 1200 passengers, last steamship built for a Swiss lake). There are also five steamers as well as some old steamships converted to diesel-powered paddlewheelers on Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva or Lake Léman is a lake in Switzerland and France. It is one of the largest lakes in Western Europe. 59.53 % of it comes under the jurisdiction of Switzerland , and 40.47 % under France...

, two steamers on Lake Zurich
Lake Zurich
Lake Zurich is a lake in Switzerland, extending southeast of the city of Zurich. It is also known as Lake Zürich and Lake of Zürich. It lies approximately at co-ordinates ....

 and single ones on other lakes.

From 1850 to the early decades of the 20th century Windermere
Windermere
Windermere is the largest natural lake of England. It is also a name used in a number of places, including:-Australia:* Lake Windermere , a reservoir, Australian Capital Territory * Lake Windermere...

, in the English Lakes, was home to many elegant steamboats used for private parties and watching the yacht races. Many of these fine craft were saved from destruction when steam went out of fashion and are now part of the collection at Windermere Steamboat Museum
Windermere Steamboat Museum
The Windermere Steamboat Museum was formed by the boat collector G. H. Pattinson, and was located on the former Sand and Gravel Wharf between Bowness-on-Windermere and the town of Windermere, on the eastern shore of Windermere in Cumbria, England. In 2007, the museum was taken over by the Lakeland...

. The collection includes SL Dolly, 1850, thought to be the world's oldest mechanically powered boat, and several of the classic Windermere launches.

Ocean-going steamships



The first steamship credited with crossing the Atlantic Ocean between North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 was the American ship SS Savannah, though she was actually a hybrid between a steamship and a sailing ship. The SS Savannah left the port of Savannah, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia
Savannah is the largest city and the county seat of Chatham County, in the U.S. state of Georgia. Established in 1733, the city of Savannah was the colonial capital of the Province of Georgia and later the first state capital of Georgia. Today Savannah is an industrial center and an important...

, on May 22, 1819, arriving in Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, on June 20, 1819; her steam engine having been in use for part of the time on 18 days (estimates vary from 8 to 80 hours). A claimant to the title of the first ship to make the transatlantic trip substantially under steam power is the British-built Dutch-owned Curaçao, a wooden 438 ton vessel built in Dover
Dover
Dover is a town and major ferry port in the home county of Kent, in South East England. It faces France across the narrowest part of the English Channel, and lies south-east of Canterbury; east of Kent's administrative capital Maidstone; and north-east along the coastline from Dungeness and Hastings...

 and powered by two 50 hp engines, which crossed from Hellevoetsluis
Hellevoetsluis
Hellevoetsluis is a small city and municipality on Voorne-Putten Island in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland...

, near Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

 on 26 April 1827 to Paramaribo
Paramaribo
Paramaribo is the capital and largest city of Suriname, located on banks of the Suriname River in the Paramaribo District. Paramaribo has a population of roughly 250,000 people, more than half of Suriname's population...

, Surinam on 24 May, spending 11 days under steam on the way out and more on the return. Another claimant is the Canadian ship SS Royal William
SS Royal William
SS Royal William was a Canadian steamship that is sometimes credited with achieving the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean to be made almost entirely under steam power, using sails only during periods of boiler maintenance, though the British-built Dutch-owned Curaçao crossed in 1827.The...

in 1833.

The British side-wheel paddle steamer was the first steamship purpose-built for regularly scheduled trans-Atlantic crossings, starting in 1838. The first regular steamship service from the East Coast
East Coast of the United States
The East Coast of the United States, also known as the Eastern Seaboard, refers to the easternmost coastal states in the United States, which touch the Atlantic Ocean and stretch up to Canada. The term includes the U.S...

 to the West Coast of the United States
West Coast of the United States
West Coast or Pacific Coast are terms for the westernmost coastal states of the United States. The term most often refers to the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Although not part of the contiguous United States, Alaska and Hawaii do border the Pacific Ocean but can't be included in...

 began on February 28, 1849, with the arrival of the SS California (1848)
SS California (1848)
The SS California was one of the first steamships, to steam in the Pacific Ocean and the first steamship to travel from Central America to North America. She was built for the Pacific Mail Steamship Company which was founded April 18, 1848 as a joint stock company in the State of New York by a...

 in San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay is a shallow, productive estuary through which water draining from approximately forty percent of California, flowing in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers from the Sierra Nevada mountains, enters the Pacific Ocean...

. The California left New York Harbor
New York Harbor
New York Harbor refers to the waterways of the estuary near the mouth of the Hudson River that empty into New York Bay. It is one of the largest natural harbors in the world. Although the U.S. Board of Geographic Names does not use the term, New York Harbor has important historical, governmental,...

 on October 6, 1848, rounded Cape Horn
Cape Horn
Cape Horn is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile, and is located on the small Hornos Island...

 at the tip of South America, and arrived at San Francisco, California, after a four-month and 21-day journey. was built in 1854–1857 with the intent of linking Great Britain with India, via the Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the...

, without any coaling stops. She would know a turbulent history, and was never put to her intended use. The first transatlantic steamer built of steel was S.S. "Buenos Ayrean", which started a service in 1879.

As early as the 1820s, side-wheel steamers plied the waters of Narragansett Bay
Narragansett Bay
Narragansett Bay is a bay and estuary on the north side of Rhode Island Sound. Covering 147 mi2 , the Bay forms New England's largest estuary, which functions as an expansive natural harbor, and includes a small archipelago...

, Buzzard's Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, and Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound is an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, located in the United States between Connecticut to the north and Long Island, New York to the south. The mouth of the Connecticut River at Old Saybrook, Connecticut, empties into the sound. On its western end the sound is bounded by the Bronx...

 between the ports of southern New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 and New York City. Eventually most of the steamship lines that traversed "The Sound" came under the control of J. P. Morgan
J. P. Morgan
John Pierpont Morgan was an American financier, banker and art collector who dominated corporate finance and industrial consolidation during his time. In 1892 Morgan arranged the merger of Edison General Electric and Thomson-Houston Electric Company to form General Electric...

 who consolidated them into the New England Steamship Company, probably better known by the name of its most famous route, the Fall River Line
Fall River Line
The Fall River Line was a combination steamboat and railroad connection between New York City and Boston that operated between 1847 and 1937. It consisted of a railroad journey between Boston and Fall River, Massachusetts, where passengers would then board steamboats for the journey through...

, which transported Astors, Vanderbilts, and the elite of the Eastern Establishment between New York City, Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, and their palatial summer 'cottages' at Newport, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is a city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States, about south of Providence. Known as a New England summer resort and for the famous Newport Mansions, it is the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport which houses the United States Naval War...

. The last of the great paddle steamer fleet was put out of business by a combination of competition from railroads and automobiles, labor troubles, and the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 economy in 1937; however, service on "The Sound" between Providence
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

 and New York City continued with screw steamers, until brought to an end in early 1942 by the menace of World War II German U-boat
U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

 attacks.

The first steamship to operate on the Pacific Ocean was the paddle steamer
Paddle steamer
A paddle steamer is a steamship or riverboat, powered by a steam engine, using paddle wheels to propel it through the water. In antiquity, Paddle wheelers followed the development of poles, oars and sails, where the first uses were wheelers driven by animals or humans...

 Beaver, launched in 1836 to service Hudson's Bay Company
Hudson's Bay Company
The Hudson's Bay Company , abbreviated HBC, or "The Bay" is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and one of the oldest in the world. A fur trading business for much of its existence, today Hudson's Bay Company owns and operates retail stores throughout Canada...

 trading posts between Puget Sound
Puget Sound
Puget Sound is a sound in the U.S. state of Washington. It is a complex estuarine system of interconnected marine waterways and basins, with one major and one minor connection to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Pacific Ocean — Admiralty Inlet being the major connection and...

 Washington and Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

. The California Gold Rush
California Gold Rush
The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The first to hear confirmed information of the gold rush were the people in Oregon, the Sandwich Islands , and Latin America, who were the first to start flocking to...

, trade and U. S Mail contracts to the west coast of the United States brought the steamships of the U.S. Mail Steamship Company
U.S. Mail Steamship Company
U.S. Mail Steamship Company was a company formed in 1848 by George Law, Marshall O. Roberts and Bowes R. McIlvaine to assume the contract to carry the U. S. mails from New York, with stops in New Orleans and Havana, to the Isthmus of Panama for delivery in California...

 and other lines carrying passengers to the Isthmus of Panama
Isthmus of Panama
The Isthmus of Panama, also historically known as the Isthmus of Darien, is the narrow strip of land that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, linking North and South America. It contains the country of Panama and the Panama Canal...

 crossing first by canoes and mules later by the Panama Railroad when it was finished in 1855. From Panama City
Panama City
Panama is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Panama. It has a population of 880,691, with a total metro population of 1,272,672, and it is located at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, in the province of the same name. The city is the political and administrative center of the...

 the Pacific Mail Steamship Company
Pacific Mail Steamship Company
The Pacific Mail Steamship Company was founded April 18, 1848 as a joint stock company under the laws of the State of New York by a group of New York City merchants, William H. Aspinwall, Edwin Bartlett, Henry Chauncey, Mr. Alsop, G.G. Howland and S.S. Howland...

 steamers carried them and high value cargo to and from California.

Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States used steamships (such as the USS Mississippi
USS Mississippi (1841)
USS Mississippi, a paddle frigate, was the first ship of the United States Navy to bear that name. She was named for the Mississippi River. Her sister ship was . Her keel was laid down by the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1839; built under the personal supervision of Commodore Matthew Perry. She was...

) to help force Japan to open its ports
Late Tokugawa shogunate
, literally "end of the curtain", are the final years of the Edo period when the Tokugawa shogunate came to an end. It is characterized by major events occurring between 1853 and 1867 during which Japan ended its isolationist foreign policy known as sakoku and transitioned from a feudal shogunate...

 up to American trade in 1853. This was a contributing factor to the Meiji Restoration
Meiji Restoration
The , also known as the Meiji Ishin, Revolution, Reform or Renewal, was a chain of events that restored imperial rule to Japan in 1868...

.

By 1870, a number of inventions, such as the screw propeller, the compound engine, and the triple expansion engine made trans-oceanic shipping economically viable. Thus began the era of cheap and safe travel and trade around the world.

The 1894 Battle of the Yalu River, a major engagement in the First Sino-Japanese War
First Sino-Japanese War
The First Sino-Japanese War was fought between Qing Dynasty China and Meiji Japan, primarily over control of Korea...

, marked the first naval battle between steamship fleets.


was the largest steamship in the world when she sank in 1912; a subsequent major sinking of a steamer was that of the , as an act of World War I. Launched in 1938, was the largest passenger steamship ever built. Launched in 1969, (QE2) was the last passenger steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a scheduled liner voyage before she was converted to diesels in 1986. The last major passenger ship built with steam engines was the Fairsky, launched in 1984.

is the last remaining steam trawler in Britain. She was built in Aberdeen, including the last steam engine built there, and was launched in 1955 as a fishery research vessel. Accommodation was provided for researchers, including a computer cabin. Currently she is berthed at Edinburgh Dock, Leith
Leith
-South Leith v. North Leith:Up until the late 16th century Leith , comprised two separate towns on either side of the river....

, by Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, and is subject of a restoration project.

Most luxury yachts at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries were steam driven (see luxury yacht
Luxury yacht
The term luxury yacht, “Superyacht” and "Large Yacht" refers to very expensive, privately owned yachts which are professionally crewed. Also known as a Super Yacht, a luxury yacht may be either a sailing or motor yacht.-History:...

; also Cox & King yachts
Cox & King yachts
Cox & King were a British firm based in London in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They also had offices and later a shipyard in Wivenhoe, Essex...

).
Thomas Assheton Smith was an English aristocrat who forwarded the design of the steam yacht in conjunction with the great Scottish marine engineer Robert Napier.

is a classic 1920s yacht commissioned by Horace Dodge, co-founder of Dodge Brothers of automobile fame.
The yacht was launched on April 2, 1921, and spans 258 feet (78.6 m). The Delphine can reach 15 knots (29.4 km/h) under power from her two quadruple steam expansion engines, each of 1500 HP. Interactive images including those of her original engines can be viewed here: VR Panoramic images of The SS Delphine After a full restoration she now cruises the Mediterranean under charter. A full history can be viewed on the official website.

The turbine
Turbine
A turbine is a rotary engine that extracts energy from a fluid flow and converts it into useful work.The simplest turbines have one moving part, a rotor assembly, which is a shaft or drum with blades attached. Moving fluid acts on the blades, or the blades react to the flow, so that they move and...

 steamship Royal Yacht Britannia
HMY Britannia
Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia is the former Royal Yacht of the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. She was the 83rd such vessel since the restoration of King Charles II in 1660. She is the second Royal yacht to bear the name, the first being the famous racing cutter built for The Prince of Wales...

, now retired from service, is berthed nearby at Ocean Terminal, Leith.

After the demonstration by Charles Parsons
Charles Parsons
Charles Parsons may refer to:* Charles Algernon Parsons , British engineer known for his invention of the steam turbine* Charles Parsons , professor in the philosophy of mathematics at Harvard University...

 of his steam turbine
Steam turbine
A steam turbine is a mechanical device that extracts thermal energy from pressurized steam, and converts it into rotary motion. Its modern manifestation was invented by Sir Charles Parsons in 1884....

-driven yacht, Turbinia, in 1897, the use of steam turbine
Steam turbine
A steam turbine is a mechanical device that extracts thermal energy from pressurized steam, and converts it into rotary motion. Its modern manifestation was invented by Sir Charles Parsons in 1884....

s for propulsion quickly spread. Most capital ships of the major navies were propelled by steam turbines in both World Wars and nuclear marine propulsion
Nuclear marine propulsion
Nuclear marine propulsion is propulsion of a ship by a nuclear reactor. Naval nuclear propulsion is propulsion that specifically refers to naval warships...

 systems aboard warships, submarines, and such vessels as the NS Savannah
NS Savannah
NS Savannah, named for SS Savannah, was the first nuclear-powered cargo-passenger ship, built in the late 1950s at a cost of $46.9 million, including a $28.3 million nuclear reactor and fuel core, funded by United States government agencies as a demonstration project for the potential...

relied on turbines as well.

Thames steamboats




There are few genuine steamboats left on the River Thames
River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...

; however, a handful remain.

SL Nuneham
The SL (steam launch) Nuneham is a genuine Victorian
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

 steamer built in 1898, and operated on the non-tidal upper Thames by the Thames Steam Packet Boat Company. It is berthed at Runnymede.

SL Nuneham was built at Port Brimscombe on the Thames and Severn Canal
Thames and Severn Canal
The Thames and Severn Canal is a canal in Gloucestershire in the south of England, which was completed in 1789. It was conceived as part of a canal route from Bristol to London. At its eastern end, it connects to the River Thames at Inglesham Lock near Lechlade, while at its western end, it...

 by Edwin Clarke. She was built for Salter Bros at Oxford
Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

 for the regular passenger service between Oxford and Kingston. The original Sissons triple-expansion steam engine was removed in the 1960s and replaced with a diesel engine. In 1972, the SL Nuneham was sold to a London boat operator and entered service on the Westminster Pier to Hampton Court service. In 1984 the boat was sold again – now practically derelict – to French Brothers Ltd at Runnymede as a restoration project.

Over a number of years French Brothers carefully restored the launch to its former specification. A similar Sissons triple expansion engine was found in a museum in America, shipped back to the UK and installed, along with a new coal-fired Scotch boiler, designed and built by Alan McEwen of Keighley
Keighley
Keighley is a town and civil parish within the metropolitan borough of the City of Bradford in West Yorkshire, England. It is situated northwest of Bradford and is at the confluence of the River Aire and the River Worth...

, Yorkshire. The superstructure was reconstructed to the original design and elegance, including the raised roof, wood panelled saloon and open top deck. The restoration was completed in 1997 and the launch was granted an MCA passenger certificate for 106 passengers. SL Nuneham was entered back into service by French Brothers Ltd, but trading as the Thames Steam Packet Boat Company.

Impact on American Economy


The steamboat greatly contributed to the growth of the American economy during the early-to-mid-19th century due to its ability to lower freight rates, cut transportation time, and create jobs.

Prior to the inception of the steamboat, wagons and river vehicles were the primary modes of transportation. River transportation was much cheaper than wagons. According to Douglass North, wagon rates were over 300% more expensive than upstream river rates and over 2,500% more expensive than downstream river rates from 1784 to 1820.

Before the advent of steamboats, the primary methods of river transportation were rafts, flatboats, and keelboats. River transport by rafts or flatboats was considered to be difficult, hazardous, and costly. Although they were relatively inexpensive for downstream transport, transporting upstream via foot or horse was very costly. The voyages were also time-consuming. A 1,000-mile voyage downstream took approximately 1 month and the same voyage upstream took 3–4 months.

The steamboat was first introduced in 1809 and the first steamboat was in operation in the western rivers in 1811. Although the steamboat did not reduce the hazards of river transportation, they played a substantial role in reducing the freight costs. Two developers of the steamboat, Robert Fulton and Robert Livingston, attempted to secure monopoly rights over the usage of the steamboats in the western rivers; however, their attempt was blocked by the courts. This ensured that steamboats operated in a competitive environment. The freight costs decreased due to the competition and the savings were passed on to the customers. According to Haites, Mak, and Walton, "freight rates per hundred pounds from New Orleans to Louisville plummeted from approximately $5.00 to 25 cents, between 1815 and 1860 ... costs reductions downstream were also highly significant, with rates declining from $1.00 to just above 32 cents (per hundred pounds) over the same period." Besides the decrease in cost for transporting goods, the steamboat offered a quick method of transporting goods far distances, which previously wasn’t economically feasible without the steamboat.

The steamboats also led to job creation in certain areas. Besides the decrease in freight rates and transportation time, an entirely new support industry was born. The steamboats required many services and facilities as part of their maintenance, which in turn required skilled workers. According to the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library, shipyards and steamboat services became one of the quickest ways to ensure a town's commercial success and economic growth.

See also


  • Chain steam shipping
    Chain steam shipping
    Chain steam shipping is a little known chapter in the history of shipping on European rivers. The chain steamers pull themselves upstream along a fixed chain lying on the ground of a river. The chain was raised from the riverbed to pass over the deck of the steamer. The chain was moved by a heavy...

  • Howard Steamboat Museum
    Howard Steamboat Museum
    The Howard Steamboat Museum is located in Jeffersonville, Indiana, across from Louisville, Kentucky. Based in the old Howard home, it features items related to steamboat history....

  • Julia Dean
    Julia Dean
    The Julia Dean was the name of two river steamboats on the Mississippi River.- Steamer Julia Dean:Sternwheel packet, wooden hull, built at McKeesport, Pennsylvania, 1850, 117 tons. 138.5' x 24' x 3.8'. Ran the Pittsburgh-Zanesville trade from 1850-1853. Built for N.W. and George Graham of N.W....

  • Motor Ship
    Motor ship
    A motor ship or motor vessel is a ship propelled by an internal combustion engine, usually a diesel engine. The name of motor ships are often prefixed with MS, M/S, MV or M/V.- See also :...

     or Motor Vessel, a ship propelled
    Marine propulsion
    Marine propulsion is the mechanism or system used to generate thrust to move a ship or boat across water. While paddles and sails are still used on some smaller boats, most modern ships are propelled by mechanical systems consisting a motor or engine turning a propeller, or less frequently, in jet...

     by an engine
    Internal combustion engine
    The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

    , usually a diesel engine
    Diesel engine
    A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

    . The name of motor ships are often prefixed with MS, M/S, MV or M/V.
  • Steam yacht
    Steam yacht
    A steam yacht is a class of luxury or commercial yacht with primary or secondary steam propulsion in addition to the sails usually carried by yachts.-Origin of the name:...

  • Steamboats of the Mississippi
    Steamboats of the Mississippi
    Steamboats played a major role in the 19th Century development of the Mississippi River and its tributaries by allowing the practical large-scale transport of passengers and freight both up- and down-river. Using steam power, riverboats were developed during that time which could navigate in...

  • Steamship Historical Society of America
    Steamship Historical Society of America
    The Steamship Historical Society of America is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1935 as a means of bringing together amateur and professional maritime historians in the waning years of steamboat services in the northeastern United States...

  • Naphtha launch
    Naphtha launch
    A naphtha launch, sometimes called a "vapor launch", was a small motor launch, powered by a naphtha engine. They were a particularly American design, brought into being by a local law that made it impractical to use a steam launch for private use....

  • :Category:Steamboat articles by route

Further reading

  • Edward Affleck, A Century of Paddlewheelers in the Pacific Northwest, the Yukon and Alaska (2000, Alexander Nicolls Press, Vancouver, B.C.)
  • B.E.G. Clark, Steamboat Evolution, A Short History (www.lulu.com ISBN 978-1-84753-201-5)
  • B.E.G. Clark, Symington and the Steamboat (www.lulu.com ISBN 978-1-4457-4936-5)
  • Art Downs, British Columbia-Yukon Sternwheel Days (1992 Heritage House Publishing Company, Surrey, B.C.),
  • Hunter, Louis C.
    Louis C. Hunter
    Louis C. Hunter was a professor of economic history at American University. His most famous work, Steamboats on the Western Rivers, an Economic and Technological History, was published in 1949....

    (1949). Steamboats on the Western rivers: an economic and technological history. Harvard University Press. The standard history of American river boats. ACLS e-book
  • Paul F. Paskoff. Troubled Waters: Steamboat Disasters, River Improvements, and American Public Policy, 1821-1860 (2007)
  • Robin Sheret, Smoke, Ash and Steam (1997, Western Isles Cruise and Dive Co., Victoria, B.C.).
  • Robert D. Turner, Sternwheelers and Steam Tugs (1998, Sono Nis Press, Victoria, B.C.),
  • Graham Wilson, Paddlewheelers of Alaska and the Yukon (1999, Wolf Creek Books, Whitehorse, Yukon)
  • Bernard Dumpleton,"The Story of the Paddle Steamer", Venton, Melksham, 1973.
  • Andrea Sutcliffe, "STEAM", New York, 2004.

Commercially operating steamboats


Museums and museum boats

  • Steam narrow boat President The coal-burning steam narrow-boat President is owned by the Black Country Living Museum, and tours the English canals in summer.

Historical image collections


Associations, information and other links