It is not often that tugs are noticed in detail by the public or the press, but the improvements which are with every new one made in their construction and their growing usefulness, render them worthy of attention and encouragement.
The new steam tug STILLMAN WITT yesterday made a short trial trip, which was in every respect satisfactory. Notwithstanding her boiler as every new one does, foamed yet her wheel made 70 revolutions per minute, she shipped no water although the lake was somewhat rough, and she road remarkably steady in the troughs of the sea.
Her statistics are as follows: Length over all 93 ft. 6 inches; beam 17 ft.; hold 9 ft.; register 128 tons; draft of water even keel, with 25 tons fuel, 7 ft. 6 inches, diameter of propeller wheel 7 1/2 ft.; cylinders 18 inches stroke and 16 inch diameter; number of flues in boiler 120; and diameter of each 1 3/4 inches. Her wheel is of the Philadelphia pattern, and with the boiler was made here; the cylinders are 2 compactly arranged and take up little room in their perpendicular position. On the shaft of the wheel near the crank are places what are called "friction rollers" the effect of which is to prevent wear and strain upon the boxes and journals. The boiler is a "locomotive" boiler and has a water feeder, patented now beginning to come into use by which water is heated before entering the boiler, by the waste heat of the fires. The engine was made at Franklin Iron Works, Albany, and is a superior one. The hull was modelled, and the tug built by M. O'Conner of this city; and is believed by those who are good judges, not to have its superior, if its equal, on the lakes for the purposes for which such craft are intended. Capt. W. J. Ferrill, who owns and will command her, has not omitted the introduction of any particular improvement which his own or any other one's ingenuity could suggest, and the result is a tug of very great power and speed, yet small compact and remarkably manageable. He deserves, pecuniarily an equal success.
Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
July 22, 1857
NEW TUG. - A new tug, named the STILLMAN WITT, modeled and built by D. O'Conner for Capt. W. J. Ferrell made her trial trip yesterday. She is 93 feet 6 inches in length, over all; 17 feet breadth of beam, 9 feet depth of hold, and measures 128 tons. Her model is one of the finest ever seen on these waters, and excites universal admiration. Her engines are of the locomotive style, built by McGinnies & Co., of Albany. Length of cylinder 18 inches, diameter of cylinder 16 inches; length of shaft 25 feet 10 inches, diameter of wheel 7 feet 6 inches. She is furnished with the celebrated Philadelphia wheel, now recognized as the best wheel ever turned; and in addition, with friction rollers, a Scotch invention, never before used on these lakes, attached to the shaft, by which all strain and unsteadiness is avoided. Her boiler, which is also on the locomotive principle, is 21 feet long, and 4 feet 6 inch shell, furnished with 120 flues, 1-3/4 inches in diameter. In addition the boiler is also furnished with See's Patent Heater, a very ingenious contrivance, by which the superfluous heat is made use of to bring the water to a boiling point before it reaches the boiler.
The trial trip of the STILLMAN WITT was regarded as very successful yesterday, notwithstanding her boilers foamed badly, which is generally the case with all new ones. With 70 lbs of steam, she made 70 revolutions per minute, and ran from Bruce's Dock to opposite Windmill Point, and back, in about one hour. Capt. Ferrell is of the opinion that she can make 16 knots an hour, with ease. Captain Ferrell is known as the builder of crack tugs. The HAMILTON MORTON, long regarded as the best modeled and fastest traveller on either fresh or salt water, and the GEORGE O. VAIL, whose speed and beauty are every day subjects of admiration on our docks, were built by him. We invite all who takes an interest in such matters, to take a look at the STILLMAN WITT. Success to her, and to her worthy master.
We have omitted to say that the engine of the STILLMAN WITT was built under the direction of Wm. H. Lowe, who is soon expected to remove to this city.
Buffalo Daily Republic
Wednesday, July 22, 1857