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A History of the Growth of the Steam-Engine

By a very light engine and boiler


of the largest of these steamers was the Grand Republic,[96] a vessel 340 feet long, 56 feet beam, and 10-1/4 feet depth. The draught of water of this great craft was 3-1/2 feet forward and 4-1/2 aft. The two sets of compound engines, 28 and 56 inches diameter and of 10 feet stroke, drive wheels 38-1/2 feet in diameter and 18 feet wide. The boilers were steel. A steamer built still later on the Ohio has the following dimensions: Length, 225 feet; breadth, 35-1/2 feet; depth, 5 feet; cylinders, 17-3/8 inches in diameter, 6 feet stroke; three boilers. The hull and cabin were built at Jeffersonville, Ind. She has 40 large state-rooms. The cost of the steamer was $40,000.

[96] Burned in 1877.

These vessels have now opened to commerce the whole extent of the great Mississippi basin, transporting a large share of the products of a section of country measuring a million and a half square miles--an area equal to many times that of New York State, and twelve times that of the island of Great Britain--an area exceeding that of the whole of Europe, exclusive of Russia and Turkey, and capable, if as thoroughly cultivated as the Netherlands, of supporting a population of between three and four hundred millions of people.

The steam-engine and propelling apparatus of the modern ocean-steamer have now become almost exclusively the compound or double-cylinder engine, driving the screw. The

form and the location of the machinery in the vessel vary with the size and character of the ship which it drives. Very small boats are fitted with machinery of quite a different kind from that built for large steamers, and war-vessels have usually been supplied with engines of a design radically different from that adopted for merchant-steamers.

[Illustration: FIG. 134.--Steam-Launch, New York Steam-Power Company.]

The introduction of _Steam-Launches_ and small pleasure-boats driven by steam-power is of comparatively recent date, but their use is rapidly increasing. Those first built were heavy, slow, and complicated; but, profiting by experience, light and graceful boats are now built, of remarkable swiftness, and having such improved and simplified machinery that they require little fuel and can be easily managed. Such boats have strong, carefully-modeled hulls, light and strong boilers, capable of making a large amount of dry steam with little fuel, and a light, quick-running engine, working without shake or jar, and using steam economically.

[Illustration: FIG. 135.--Launch-Engine.]

The above sketch represents the engine built by a New York firm for such little craft. This is the smallest size made for the market. It has a steam-cylinder 3 inches in diameter and a stroke of piston of 5 inches, driving a screw 26 inches in diameter and of 3 feet pitch. The maximum power of the engine is four or five times the nominal power. The boiler is of the form shown in the illustrations of semi-portable engines, and has a heating-surface, in this case, of 75 square feet. The boat itself is like that seen on page 386, and is 25 feet long, of 5 feet 8 inches beam, and draws 2-1/4 feet of water. These little machines weigh about 150 pounds per nominal horse-power, and the boilers about 300.

Some of these little vessels have attained wonderful speed. A British steam-yacht, the Miranda, 45-1/2 feet in length, 5-3/4 feet wide, and drawing 2-1/2 feet of water, with a total weight of 3-3/4 tons, has steamed nearly 18-1/2 miles an hour for short runs. The boat was driven by an engine of 6 inches diameter of cylinder and 8 inches stroke of piston, making 600 revolutions per minute, driving a two-bladed screw 2-1/2 feet in diameter and of 3-1/3 feet pitch. Its machinery had a total weight of two tons. Another English yacht, the Firefly, is said to have made 18.94 miles an hour. A little French yacht, the Hirondelle, has attained a speed of 16 knots, equal to about 18-1/2 miles, an hour. This was, however, a much larger vessel than the preceding. One of the most remarkable of these little steamers is a torpedo-boat built for the United States navy. This vessel is 60 feet long, 6 feet wide, and 5 feet deep; its screw is 38 inches in diameter and of 5 feet pitch, two-bladed, and is driven, by a very light engine and boiler, 400 revolutions per minute, the boat attaining a speed of 19 to 20 miles an hour. Another little vessel, the Vision, made nearly as great speed, developing 20 horse-power with engine and boiler weighing but about 400 pounds.

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