Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/546

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528
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

THE GROWTH OF THE STEAM-ENGINE.[1]
By Professor R. H. THURSTON,

OF THE STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY.

V.

STEAM-NAVIGATION (continued).

93. The prize gained by Fulton was, however, most closely contested by Colonel John Stevens, of Hoboken, who has been already mentioned in connection with the early history of railroads, and who had been, since 1791, engaged in similar experiments.

In 1789 he had petitioned the Legislature of the State of New York for an act similar to that granted Livingston, and stated that his plans were complete, and on paper.

In 1804, while Fulton was in Europe, Stevens had completed a steamboat (Fig. 53) sixty-eight feet long and fourteen feet beam, which combined novelties and merits of design in a manner that was

PSM V12 D546 John stevens screw steamer 1804.jpg
Fig. 53.—John Stevens's Screw-Steamer, 1804.

the best possible evidence of remarkable inventive talent, as well as of the most perfect appreciation of the nature of the problem which he had proposed to himself to solve.

The machinery of this interesting vessel is carefully preserved among the collections of the Stevens Institute of Technology. Its boiler, shown in section, in Fig. 54, is of what is now known as the water tubular variety. The inventor says in his specifications: "The principle of this invention consists of forming a boiler by means of a system or combination of small vessels, instead of using, as is the common mode, one large one: the relative strength of the materials

  1. An abstract of "A History of the Growth of the Steam-Engine," to be published by D. Appleton & Co.