Recent developments in boat design

Mr Busk’s elastic paddle

A small Steam Boat (apparently about fifty feet long, and six or seven feet wide), belonging to Mr Wm Busk, of Pall-mall, was exhibited on Friday on the Thames. The boat was propelled easily and rapidly through the water, both with and against the tide, by a very small steam power, without the use of any paddle-wheel, by means of an elastic paddle, or fin, recently invented by Mr Busk, which was subject to a reciprocating motion wholly under water, and acting equally both ways.

When the action is not brought too near the surface, no motion seems to be occasioned in the water which could at all prejudice canal banks; and as the range of the fins, by their being placed in the narrow after-part of a boat, admits of being confined completely within the depth and breadth of the boat, no impediment need be presented to the passing of locks or bridges. The invention appears to be extremely simple and efficacious, and of very ready application to vessels of all classes and dimensions.

Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette 5 May 1825

Canal steam navigation

Experiments of rather a novel character have for some weeks been in progress on the Forth and Clyde Canal, to ascertain the merits of an invention for propelling boats on canals at greater velocities than have hitherto been attained either by steam or horses. The principle on which the experiments are founded may be thus described.

A light chain is laid in the canal, from one extremity to the other, and firmly fixed at each end. To effect motion by this means, a twin boat is used, in the trough of which a grooved wheel (receiving the chain) is made to revolve by a steam engine placed in the boat. From this description it will be evident that, as the wheel revolves, the boat is drawn forward at a speed equivalent to the power, or at precisely the same velocity as the periphery of the grooved wheel.

At first sight there appear to be several objections to the plan, not the least of which are turning the bends, and meeting and passing general craft on the canal. The experiments made on Friday the 29th ult, however, fully prove the facility with which the vessel can be steered from side to side of the canal; describing, at the same time, quicker curves than any to be met with on the Forth and Clyde navigation.

On the whole the experiments, though conducted under great disadvantages, were highly satisfactory, and such as to induce further trials. A speed of 8¼ miles per hour was attained, and there was little doubt in the minds of those who witnessed the trials, that, with a lighter engine, and a boat drawing less water, a higher velocity might be acquired at a cheaper rate than is now produced by horses.

It will be proper here to observe that it is not intended to carry passengers in the same boat that contains the engine and propelling apparatus.

Chester Chronicle 12 September 1834

India Rubber Boat

An American journal says that a Mr Caleb Williams, of New York, has just constructed a boat of this material, and that he has applied for a patent for his invention.

Huntingdon, Bedford & Peterborough Gazette 4 July 1835



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