The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), Sept. 7, 1871

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p.2 The Steamer Spartan - The following explanation of the accident to the steamer Spartan has been furnished on the part of the Inland Navigation Company:- We are glad to learn that the steamer Spartan arrived into port this morning, having sustained no damage. She leaves tomorrow (Friday) at the usual hour for Toronto and Hamilton. The accident was caused by the light on Pigeon Island having exploded. The lighthouse keeper had a small light placed in it, which deceived the captain, he supposing the usual light to be lit, and it showed so dim that he had given it a good berth. This is the second time this season that the light on Pigeon Island has exploded, and we hope it will be looked after by the proper authorities. It would be much better when such accidents do occur for the lighthouse keeper to make a large fire on the beach in front of his lighthouse than to try and make a lighthouse out of a hand lamp.

The Steamer Spartan - The schooner Gazelle arrived at the wharf at one o'clock this morning, having on board the cargo of the Spartan, which vessel also arrived about an hour afterwards. Captain Dix, of the Gazelle attributes the accident to the Spartan entirely to the insufficiency of the light on Pigeon Island. He states that last night while off the island the light, owing to its small size and the prevalence of a mist, appeared to be at such a far off distance, that, although he was intimately acquainted with the position of the island, he should have been deceived by it, and considers the captain and mate of the steamer to be entirely blameless for the occurrence of the accident. It is also reported in connection with the light on Pigeon Island that the lighthouse keeper had repeatedly reported the defect in its working. It is a revolving light, and when the lamp is in order, it emits a very brilliant light. Upon the night of the accident the small size of the light was rendered less conspicuous by the revolutions of the lamp, and the deception was greater. The Spartan is said to have received but little damage, and will at once resume her regular trips.


A large number assembled at Mr. David Bell's shipyard yesterday morning to witness the launch of the iron revenue steamer Gallatin, and their patience was rewarded with the sight of a successful launch. Although the time appointed was nine o'clock it was not till eleven that the last block was knocked away, and the Gallatin gracefully and gently, but rapidly, slipped into the water. The christening was done in the usual manner, Miss Mary Bell breaking a bottle of champagne over the vessel's bow. One incident occurred which caused a great deal of amusement the moment after the boat reached the water. As she rolled over on her port beam she threw a large wave upon the wharf on the opposite side of the creek, drenching some forty men and boys thoroughly, and, although an amusing scene to those on the near side, the bath was anything but agreeable to the unwary recipients. A moment later the Gallatin was on her keel, and the water again still. This is the last of the six iron steamers built at this port the present year, all of which have been a credit to the builders and enhanced Buffalo's reputation for boat-building. Among the spectators were Captain J.W. White, U.S.N., Superintendent of Construction, and Lieutenant John Braum, U.S.N., Assistant Superintendent of Construction. The former gentleman has had his residence in Buffalo nearly all the time since the laying of the keel of the Gallatin.

The Gallatin will have machinery similar to what is described below:- The stern of the boat to which the machinery is now applied is cut away underneath about as much as for the ordinary screw. The latter has a screw nearly horizontal, the shaft of the Fowler wheel is perpendicular in the stern, and the wheel works on a horizontal plane. This one has three arms, each with its adjustable blade. Experiments were made with four and two, but three were found to be most economical. The wheel is 4 1/2 feet in diameter. The extremity of each arm is inserted by a moveable joint in the centre of a thin, strong steel blade standing perpendicular. The blades are 28 inches in depth, 12 inches at the top and 10 at the bottom, and slightly rounded at the counters. The blades stand with their sides towards the centre shaft. Above the arms there is an eccentric on the shaft, which is held fast as the wheel revolves. From the ring or shaft around the eccentric strong rods extend to outer edges of the blades. Now, as the shaft revolves, the blades, as they pass around the circle, change their set, so to speak - that is, the edge of a blade to which the eccentric rod is attached moves from and toward the shaft. As a blade moves forward it acts upon the water much as a man's hand does when he is swimming. It may be said to hook or pull upon the water and pull the boat forward. As the blade goes to the rear its angle upon the arm or radius is changed, and in passing around the rear of the shaft the blade drives the water to the rear, pushing the boat forward. In the revolution there are two points at which the blade is parallel with the keel and exerts no power.

We have described the boat as moving straightforward upon the line of her keel. The eccentric is governed by a wheel on deck, just like the ordinary steering-wheel. If it be desired to change the course of the vessel the eccentric is shifted. This shifts the set of the blades, and the line of force exerted is put at any desired angle with the keel. In an instant, with a whirl of the wheel, the power is exerted at right angles with the keel, and the boat whirls round. Or, without a word or signal to the engineer, this power is completely reversed, and the wheel is pulling straight astern. In a few seconds the boat is going astern. There is no reversing gear of the engine. The power can be exerted in any direction - that is, at any angle with the keel, with an easy turn of the wheel, which two fingers can govern. There is no rudder on the boat. The steering is done by shifting the direction of the power. The Ericcson screw works in a plane vertical to and at right angles with the keel. The Fowler wheel works in a horizontal plane. The latter can adjust the breadth and depth of its blades, so as to exert the same power with half the draught. It can place the blades below the ice, and, at the same time, farther from the bottom than the screw works.

[Buffalo Courier, Sept. 1st]

p.3 Sandusky, Ohio, Sept. 6th - At the regatta today at Put-in-Bay, the Toronto yacht, Ina, owned by Colonel Shaw, won the first prize, doing the distance, 30 miles, in 3 hours 49 min. 45 sec. The Zoe, of Toledo, was second, and the Coral third. A smart breeze was blowing from the south-west, and the weather was beautifully fine.

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Sept. 7, 1871
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Daily News (Kingston, ON), Sept. 7, 1871