The old steamer BALTIC which has done good service on our lakes in days gone by, is being remoddled and will come out in the spring a propeller, with Capt. Whitaker's new invention of side screw-wheels. The work is being pushed forward rapidly and a good deal of interest is manifested by lake men, in this new invention, as it is certain, should the experiment prove successful, to work a revolution in the building of lake craft. The engines which are finished pieces of workmanship, are being built at the foundry and machine shop of Barton & Gilbert. The BALTIC, which is owned by Capt. Arthur Edwards, will be under the command, during the present season, of Capt. Averill, formerly of the propeller CHARTER.
Buffalo Daily Republic
Friday, March 3, 1854
Whittaker's Side-Propellers.---We are disposed to attach very great consequence to the application of steam power, employed upon the BALTIC, upon this lake. A our request, Capt. Whittaker has prepared the following memoranda of his invention and its operation. We solicit for it, the attention of naval constructors, and Engineers.
"The BALTIC left Buffalo June 22nd. 1854--average speed to Cleveland, (distance 180 miles,) 11 miles per hour; pressure of steam carried on starboard boiler, from 35 to 40 pounds; on larboard boiler, from 45 to 55 pounds; number of revolutions per minute on larboard engine, from 60 to 72; number of revolutions on sterboard engine, from 41 to 65; average steam carried on the two boilers, less than 45 pounds, about one-half of the pressure of steam usually carried on propellers.
"The BALTIC should have a boiler sufficient to carry 80 pounds of steam, when running. Notwithstanding the low steam she carried, she ran at a higher rate of speed, than other propellers carrying 75 pounds of steam. The BALTIC's engines work steam and water, when they should work dry steam, which is a loss of power The cause is supposed to be small steam pipes. The unequal pressure of steam on the two boilers, shows clearly, a loss of power---as they do not produce the same number of revolutions, and travel of wheel. We are aware that the boilers and engines should be so connected, with feed and steam pipes, that they should work equal pressure, and the same number of revolutions per minute. And we should so arrange all passage boats, and also freight vessels. Notwithstanding all of the above losses, the application of the propellers evidence of the improvement and increase of power over the paddle-wheel, we will compare the BALTIC's running with the steamboat MICHIGAN's---a boat of much less tonnage and a less draft of water. She has a condensing beam engine of 10 foot stroke, and 44 inch cylinder, new boilers, capable of carrying 30 pounds of steam, with safety, and we have no doubt they did carry near that amount, when running with the BALTIC, on the 22nd. inst. The MICHIGAN was beaten about one mile an hour by the BALTIC. Dimensions of the BALTIC's engines---36 inch stroke and 22 inch cylinder. We are of the opinion that the BALTIC's boilers are capable of keeping up 60 pounds of steam, when running. her speed is quite sufficient for a business boat, when carrying 45 pounds of steam. The improvement applied to the BALTIC, stands upon its own merits, and is now in practice. Her engine, propellers, brackets, and guards, have been well tested, light and loaded, in gales of wind and heavy seas. On her last trip from Chicago, she encountered a heavy gale of wind, and a heavy sea, with a cargo of 30,000 bushels of oats, and 165 head of fat cattle. her engines, propellers, brackets, and guards, stood firmly, nothwithstanding she was changed from a paddle wheel boat, with very different guards, to those we should place upon new boats. Another great advantage we find in the side propeller over the paddle wheel boat and the stern wheel propellers. The propeller in the stern causes the vessel to roll, much nore than the paddle wheel boat; while the application of propellers to the side, causes the boat to roll much less than paddle wheel boats, as is already proven in the performance of the BALTIC, in gales of wind and heavy sea. The reason is, that the propeller lifts the boat when half of the wheel is kept above the water line; when we stop one engine, the one in motion will lift that side of the boat about a foot.
"The proof of an improvement in the application of steam is, in the amount of power produced with the least steam. In the application of steam to the side propellers in the BALTIC, we find that 45 pounds produce as much power and speed as the stern wheel propeller does when carrying 75 pounds of steam. Another important advantage is, that we can apply as many propellers upon the sides of light sharp passage boats as we please. They will work full power, without interfering with each other, and will occupy but very little weight or room. The speed of the BALTIC is as great when carrying 45 pounds of steam applied to her side propellers, as it was with her paddle wheel engine, when carrying 100 pounds of steam. her paddle wheel engines weighed about 200 tons more than the present engines of the BALTIC. The present engines and propellers occupy no part of the hull of the boat; and but one-half of the space of the paddle wheels. In river boats, we would place the engines, wheels, and boilers, in the space the paddle wheels now occupy. In case even two engines and two propeller were used, they would give boats of the Mississippi and its tributaries, the entire room of the deck and hull for freight, and save from one to two hundred tons weight of engines. All large, sharp, passenger boats, should have from four to six propellers to give them a very high rate of speed."
The Democracy, Buffalo
Monday, July 10, 1854