Page images

steamship Princeton, and two revenue two cylinders. These cylinders are cutters.

placed two at each side of the vessel, in Among the steps contemplated in the an inclined position, leaning towards the advancement of ocean steam navigation centre of the vessel. The piston rods, in Europe, that which has attracted most moving in guides, are connected with public notice, is the iron steamship built the cranks by long links or connecting by the Great Western Steamship Com- rods. Each of the cylinders eighty inch pany. This vessel and its machinery diameter and six feet stroke, and they are said to have been planned and con- are supplied with steam by eight boilers. structed under the superintendence of J. This machinery is said to have the nomK. Brunel," the engineer of that compa- inal power of twelve hundred horses. ny, and of the railway connecting Lon- The machinery and other appointdon with Bristol. This stupendous ments of this leviathan of the deep bestructure is remarkable as being not ing long since completed, and all being only the largest ship ever constructed ready for sea, it will naturally be asked of iron, but the largest of any kind that why she is not afloat?—why this grand ever floated on water. She is three project is not in practical operation ?hundred and twenty-one feet in length,t why this stupendous production of art fifty-one feet six inches in width, and and science stands immovable in the dock thirty-one feet six inches in depth; she in which the builder put her together? measures three thousand six hundred Will it be credited that those in whom this tons.

company put their trust for guidance in One of the difficulties which have pre- this novel experiment, have actually eisented themselves in the adaptation of ther miscalculated or omitted to calculate the endless screw to the propulsion of at all, the space requisite for the vessel to steamships is, that the velocity neces- move through in passing from the dock! sary to be given to the screw is in every And that she now lies encaged, crying, case much greater than the speed with like Sterne's Starling, “I cannot get out!" which the engines can be worked. Sev- Bent on astonishing the Yankees, and eral expedients were proposed to sur filling the human race with amazement mount this. Some suggested the use at such a monster-ship as eyes never beof engines similar to locomotives; oth- fore beheld, the aspiring engineer was ers proposed to convey the power of the either unable or unwilling to calculate engines to the screw by toothed gear- the conditions necessary to liberate the ing, by which the velocity might be in- megatherion! To do this it would have creased in any desired proportion; while been necessary to compute certain matothers again proposed that the engines ters of a very sublunary kind, such as should act upon a drum or cylinder of the immersion, the width and height of greater diameter than the shaft of the the works, and to take into account the screw, and that this drum and the shaft dimensions of the dock. Such calculashould be connected by an endless band tions, it is true, were not as likely to or chain. In this way the velocity would startle as the exhibition of a ship the be increased in the ratio of the diameter sixteenth of a mile long, nor were they of the shaft to the diameter of the drum. as likely to draw upon the engineer the The last is the expedient adopted in the wondering eyes of mankind; but, humpresent case. The drum and shaft (con- ble as they were, they were indispensastructed like a rag-wheel) are connected ble, and they were neglected or wrongly by an endless chain. The drum is executed. placed on the main shaft driven by the It was not until all the arrangements engines, and this shaft carries upon it for the first voyage were made, and the two cranks, each of which is driven by day and hour advertised at both sides of

Not, as is sometimes erroneously supposed, the inventor of the block machinery and engineer of the Thames Tunnel, but a son of that distinguished man.

* There are now (August, 1844) two steamboats on the Hudson of greater length, though less in their other dimensions. The “ Empire” measures 330 feet, and the “Knickerbocker" 324 feet in length. These are truly magnificent vessels in every point of view, and we may possibly on a future occasion scize an opportunity of giving some information to our “ neighbors” on the other side of the Atlantic respecting their per. formances, which will open their eyes to what has been already and may be hereafter accomplished by American engineering.

the Atlantic, not for the first voyage on- enough for the swell of the ocean ;—that ly, but for the second, and the third, and she may stretch over the trough of the the fourth, that it was discovered that sea and balance herself on the crest of the dock obstinately refused to open it- the wave, but that the weight of her cenself wide enough to eject the monster- tre in the one case and of her extremiship, and that the rigid material of the ties in the other, will produce a destrucvessel just as pertinaciously resisted the tive strain upon her ;-that, in short, contraction necessary to escape. In vain without being large enough to convert was expedient after expedient suggested. the waves of the ocean into a ripple, she It was easier to astonish the world by is too large to glide along their accliviproducing an enormous vessel, than to ties like a sea-fowl. It is a question, get it practically afloat when built. however, on which it is vain to theorize,

We cannot refrain from expressing either in a commercial, nautical, or meour admiration of the forbearance and chanical sense. Experience alone, and good-natured indulgence with which this that not of one but many voyages, can piece of unparalleled professional igno- give us data on which we can safely rance or culpable negligence has been reason. Meanwhile we are glad to see treated by the engineering profession so grand an experiment tried, and equal. and by the press in this country. Re- ly glad that we have ourselves no capiverse the case, and suppose that instead tal invested in it. of occurring at Bristol, it happened at The United States steamship PrinceNew York; instead of being committed ton is an experiment in some respects by a British, it had been chargeable up- similar to that to which we have just ad. on an American engineer,-how endless, verted, but presenting to the world a how unmitigated would have been the much more promising result, and indiridicule, what sneers against American cating in its progress and details the engineering, and what self-complacent presiding influence of a master hand. references to the British steam navy This splendid ship is, like the former, would have followed. But seriously, it supplied with a subaqueous propeller. A is too bad to see capital and property ig- wheel, fourteen feet in diameter, is placed norantly and rashly trifled with after this on an axis projecting in a horizontal difashion. At the time we write this we rection from the stern of the vessel parlearn that no expedient has yet been allel to the line of the keel. The face suggested to surmount this difficulty, ex- of the wheel is therefore presented sterncept one which would cost the company wards, and is vertical when the ship the sum of fifteen thousand pounds ster- floats in calm water. The thickness of ling to carry into effect !

the wheel or the space included between On the question of the ultimate suc- its face and under surface, is forty-two cess of this experiment, opinion, as ne- inches. The material is a metallic comcessarily must occur in such a case, is position which resists oxidation. With somewhat divided. Her extraordinary a motion of continued rotation this promagnitude is in some respects a disad- peller, by a series of spiral plates or vantage. A traffic in passengers is al- vanes attached to the circumference of ways more successful with frequent trips a hoop twenty-six inches broad and eight and smaller loads than with long inter- feet diameter, supported on the shast by vals requiring accumulated supplies. The a number of twisted arms, acts upon the convenience of the public is obviously water so as to drive it sternwards, on a better consulted by the former species principle nearly similar to that by which of arrangement. Besides, in this case the sails of a wind-mill are affected by opportunities will be offered, twice a the atmosphere, only that in the latter month, of sailing by the Cunard line. case the air is the agent and the sails Will the large accumulation of cabin- the object acted on; whereas in this passengers which is indispensable to case the propeller is the agent and the make this huge vessel pay, wait for her ? fluid the object acted on. Suppose the Again; nautical men express grave atmosphere quiescent, and the arms of doubts whether, (supposing her to suc- the wind-mill made to revolve by a ceed in a commercial sense,) she will steam-engine within the building. A curstand the Atlantic. They contend that rent of air would then be produced by she will strain herself until her joints the action of the sails contrary in direcwill be loosened ;--that her length is at tion to that current which would have the same time too great, and not great imparted to those sails the motion which they are here supposed to receive from coal of the species commonly called an. an internal power. Imagine, then, the thracite, which having an inconsiderable fluid acted on to be water instead of air, proportion of bitumen, is consumed withand the revolving sails to be augmented out flame or smoke. in number, diminished in length, and in- The inventor claims that these engines creased in speed, and we have an apt il- occupy only one eighth of the tonnage lustration of the principle of this propeller. necessary for British marine engines of

The engines which give rotation to the the common kind, of equal power, and shaft of the propeller consist of two se- are only half the weight. mi-cylinders placed with their axes hor- The design of this fine vessel and its izontal and parallel to the shaft, and their machinery was complete before a single convex surfaces downward. On the axis plank of it was laid, and that design has of the semi-cylinder is placed a solid par- been carried into effect without a single allelogram equal in length to the cylinder, deviation-a striking proof of the clearand in breadth to its radius. This par- ness of the views, and the consistency allelogram being suspended on the axis of the objects of the inventor. No blunder of the semi-cylinder, would hang in the was made in her construction. She was vertical position when not acted on by completed and put afloat, and is now and the steam, and being movable in each has been for many months in successful direction, is capable of being raised on practical operation. either side to the height of the flat top of The propeller and the other machinery the semi-cylinder. Thus this parallelo- of this vessel are the invention of Capgram is susceptible of a pendulous mo- tain Ericcson, and have been constructed tion from side to side, through an angle altogether under his direction, and acof 90 degrees. It is this parallelogram cording to his drawings-copies of which which discharges the functions of the are now before us. The propeller is not piston. Stearn is admitted and discharged an untried expedient, now for the first by proper valves on each side of it, and time essaying its wings. It was first it is thus driven from side to side al- promulged by Captain Ériccson, in Engternately with a corresponding force. land, before his visit to this continent. The discharged steam passes to a con- He constructed, in England, two experidenser, where in the usual way it is con- mental boats of about twenty horse powverted into water, and the piston is sud- er each, besides the iron steamer Robert denly relieved from its reaction.

F. Stockton, which crossed the Atlantic These semi-cylinders are placed sym- in the year 1839, and has ever since been metrically on each side of the shaft, par- continually in operation, as a steam-tug, allel to the keel, and in the bottom of the on the Delaware and Schuylkill. It has vessel. The action of the vibrating pis- also been three years in practical operatons is transmitted to the shaft of the pro- tion, in a considerable number of vessels peller by short connecting rods attached of various tonnage, carrying freight and to vibrating crank levers on the axis of passengers, on the lakes, the principal the vibrating pistons, so as to convert the rivers, and along the coast in the United reciprocating pendulous motion into one States and British provinces. The numof continuous rotation. This mechanical ber of vessels now in operation, driven arrangement, which we could not hope by Ericcson's propeller, at this side of to render intelligible without a model, the Atlantic, is above seventy. It is the presents a singularly happy combination more necessary to state this distinctly, of elegance and simplicity.

as a general impression prevails that the In the Princeton, the entire machinery Princeton is the first and only vessel so as well as the propeller is below the propelled, and therefore to be regarded as water-line; the draught of the furnaces an experiment on a new principle, rather being produced by small separate en- than the adoption of one on which expegines acting the part of blowers, a fun- rience so extensive has been obtained. nel is not needed. A short one with the It will be naturally asked why advantelescope tube motion is used in the pres- tages so great and obvious as those obent case, which may be raised or lowered tained by this invention, may not be at pleasure. The fuel used is hard equally secured by the screw-propeller

* It has often been proposed to adopt expedients for raising and lowering the funnels of war steamers; but this is, we believe, the only instance of the principle having been brought successfully into practical application. VOL. I.-NO. I.


adopted in the Great Britain. We an- G.Western had all her sails set on this ocswer, that Captain Ericcson has suc- casion. The Princeton put up no canvass. ceeded in imparting to the shaft of the Independently of the superiority claimpropeller the power of the piston by a ed for her machinery, the Princeton has simple connecting rod, without the inter- obvious advantages over all steamers vention of any mechanism by which the propelled by the common paddle-wheels. smallest portion of that power can be lost She may be rigged and worked as a or intercepted; that he has thus obtain- sailing vessel as effectually as if she were ed all the requisite velocity without re- not propelled by steam at all. No matsorting to any of the usual expedients for ter what position she may take in the multiplying the revolutions. Whereas, water; no matter how she may pitch or on the other hand, the screw requiring a roll, her wheel will exercise the same velocity from four to six times that of propelling power. the engine, the interposition of cog- As a vessel of war, she has great adwheels, leather straps, rope bands, or vantages. All her machinery being unchains, becomes unavoidable.

der the water line, is protected from In the Great Britain, the engineer, shot. She exposes no chimney to an atwith a curious infelicity of instinct, has tacking force. She can sail with a fleet out of all this catalogue of objectionable without consuming her fuel, and can expedients, selected that which is trans- therefore preserve all her powers as a cendently the most objectionable, name- steamer in the longest voyage. ly, an endless chain working round a The prospectus of a project for andrum of twenty-four feet diameter, at- other direct line of steamers has been retached to the main shaft of the engines. cently offered to the public. It is proposed The surface of this drum is cut into ca- to form a company with the title of the vities or notches corresponding with the “ American Atlantic Steam Navigation links of the chain. The smaller wheel, Company,” to be under the directorship or pinion, driven by the chain, is fixed of a body of our most respectable meron the shaft of the propelling screw, and chants. It appears that a charter was is what is called a rag-wheel, having a granted to this company about five years surface similar to that of the drum, being ago, since which time it has been, wiseabout one-fourth of the diameter of the ly as we conceive, dormant, watching, latter. Let any practical mechanic im- doubtless, the progress and collecting agine for a moment a chain of this kind the results of the experience so dearly moving at the rate of twenty-five feet paid for by the English companies. The per second !--and conveying the power directors now think that the period has of twelve hundred horses !!' The bare at length arrived when they may advanmention of this, without going into the tageously take the field. "The expemultifarious consequences which it will rience," they say, we have had in Atreadily suggest to the mind, will, we lantic steam navigation,--the more ecoconceive, be enough to demonstrate the nomical construction of steamships, extravagance of this monstrous project. the skill acquired in navigation and gen

The superior claims of Ericcson's pro- eral management, have furnished practipeller have at length forced their way to cal data for our guidance, and developed the notice of the governments of Eng. the subject so fully, that we have only to land and France, which are not easily adopt what is useful and reject what is moved to venture on novel or untried not, to insure success. projects. In these countries two frigates It is proposed that the company shall are now in preparation, in which these commence operations by the construcpropellers will be used.

tion of a steamship of two thousand On the 20th of last October, when the tons, having accommodation for seventyGreat Western was starting from New five cabin-passengers and eight hundred York for Liverpool, the Princeton was tons of measurement goods. The prostationed in the North River, and a trial jectors expect that whether she gets of speed took place between these two passengers or not, she cannot fail to ships. It is stated, that in leaving the make a freight. Battery the Great Western was about a It is proposed that subscribers shall quarter of a mile ahead, but was soon be allowed five per cent. discount on overtaken by the Princeton, which passed their freight bills. The subscribers may her, sailed round her, and passed her a therefore, if they desire, monopolize the second time before leaving the bay. The use of the ship for their own business.

"All the support the company deem the vacant tonnage be filled at the lower it necessary or expedient to ask of the rate by subscribers, it becomes a nice general government is the privilege of matter of calculation whether the comreceiving postage upon letters carried by pany as a body would not profit more by their ships.” This, we presume, is a bringing down the freight to the limit privilege which they need not ask. It which would insure fair loads at full is a right that they may assume. price, and abandoning the plan of redu

“The grand effects of carrying into cing the freightage to each other, which execution the designs of the company,'

. we fear will prove to be an expedient they observe, “ are too obvious to need more adapted to attract unwary subscriany comment. If it be important to re- bers, than to secure any substantial and tain in the hands of American citizens permanent advantage. their own European carrying trade; if It would be extreme weakness if this the prosperity and extension of com- company were wilfully to close their eyes merce depend in any degree upon the on the facts we have stated in the prefacilities of carrying it on; if the ad- ceding pages. Unless they can greatly vancement of this great city to opulence improve on the Great Western, they will and commercial rank are dear to every be surpassed in expedition by the Cunard American citizen ; then he will with steamers. Can they hope to stand against alacrity seize any and every opportunity the formidable subsidy of the British to realize such vast and permanent re- post-office enjoyed by that line? Is it sults."

really "unnecessary and inexpedient” to On these abstract propositions no dif- seek some support from the general govference of opinion can exist. If they ernment, like that which is given to the can be attained without loss to the indi- Halifax line by the English government ? viduals who devote their talents, labor, If such support, or any, is likely to be and capital to carry them out, they ought accorded, we say that so far from being tu be, and without doubt will be, encour- unnecessary

and inexpedient," it would aged and supported. But the only prac- be most necessary and most expedient, tical view which can be taken of this and would, in our judgment, prove to be enterprise must exclude mere patriotic the very life and soul of the enterprise. considerations. It must after all be re- In fine, it is to our apprehensions as plain garded, as it really is, a commercial spec- as light, that if some measure be not ulation, in which men will engage with adopted to compensate to such a company a view to profit ; and it is only by the for the want of that aid thus extended to fair expectation of profit which it may the competing line, it cannot be reasonhold oui, that it can be tested.

ably expected that a profitable and perIt is stated in the prospectus that the manent result will ensue; and we frankcost of the British Queen was ninety ly confess that we see nothing in the thousand pounds, and that of her ma- published prospectus likely to produce chinery twenty-four thousand pounds. such an effect. Whether the latter sum is included in After what has been stated regarding the former is not distinctly stated, but the Princeton, it is scarcely needful to we presume it is. It is estimated, how- say, that the serious attention of all parever, that a similar vessel, similarly ties interested in projects dependent on equipped and propelled, may now be steam navigation, should give serious completed for little more than half cost. consideration to what has been effected,

How far the privilege of carrying and is likely to be effected, by the imfreight at five per cent. below the rate provements of Captain Ericcson. But charged to non-subscribers may operate this is especially incumbent on a body favorably on the interests of the sub- like the present, which avowedly looks scribers, we do not at present very to freight as the main source profit. clearly see. If the rate of freight The machinery of Ericcson will not only charged to pon-subscribers be such as leave a large amount of tonnage available would insure full loads, then it is clear for freight, but will give the vessel inthat the privilege delusive, for the creased sailing power, and diminished owners will lose in their character of

expenses of the mechanical propelling shareholders exactly what they gain in power. We should say that if the protheir character of merchants. If the rate ject prove eventually successful at all, charged to non-subscribers be higher than its best chance is through the agency of that which would insure full loads, and these improvements.

« PreviousContinue »