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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Steam Power

1832 Steam Engine - Jay Leno's Garage. The comments at the end of video about Britain and steam power provide an important history lesson.

Posthip Scott got me started on steamships this morning. In 1926 the Matson Line placed three steamships in the "in the Australian trade". Can you imagine? Taking a steamship from Los Angeles to Sydney? Books, cards, booze and conversation would be your entertainment for three weeks, at least. If your companions were dull, let's hope the books weren't. So you could take a steamship to Australia in the 20's. That seems reasonable. How far back do steamships go? We had the Monitor and the Merrimac during the American Civil War, so 1860. Anything older? How about 1819?

Steamship Savannah, 1819
    The first crossing of the Atlantic by a steamship was made by the Savannah is 1819. It wasn't much of a steamship, it was a sailing ship that had a steam engine added. The steam engine drove a pair of side-mounted paddle wheels. The smokestack had a swivel to direct sparks away from the sails. The engine only ran for 80 hours on its first trip across the Atlantic. It made a big impression in Europe and it managed to return to Georgia, but that was about it.
    So I got to wondering just what a steam engine from the early 1800's looked like, which led me to Jay's Garage, which is where the video at the top comes from.

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