The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
St. Catharines Journal (St. Catharines, ON), November 25, 1841

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New Era In Lake Navigation - We were highly gratified, on Tuesday last, by the inspection of a new steam and sail vessel, built at Oswego, for Messrs. Bronson & Crocker, enterprising merchants and forwarders, of that town. The dimensions, we are informed, are - width, 20 feet 2 inches; length, 95 feet; draft, 5 feet, when partly laden; burden 141 tons; she is sloop rigged, with her cabins on deck - one very neatly fitted up for passengers, and the others for the crew - a desideratum but seldom found, in the common run of schooners. Her primary novelty, however, is the Ericsson propeller - built at Auburn State Prison, under the superintendence of Messrs. Dennis & Wood, who carry on an extensive business in that line, near the prison - the machinery of which, lies in a very small compass, weighing only 4 to 5 tons. Her general appearance shews strength and solidity, being a handsome, compact looking vessel, commanded by Capt. Rufus Hawkins, an intelligent, gentlemanly man, who gave every facility to strangers, to inspect her thoroughly. The engineer, Mr. Taylor, very readily explained every thing relative to the machinery. There are safety valves to the engine, and a patent regulating dial, which are essentially necessary in all high pressure engines. The screws or paddles on each side of the rudder, are about five feet in diameter, acting on the principle of skulling. When the vessel is laden, these screw act wholly under water; but at the time of our examination, there was about one foot visible. The engine is supposed to be about 15 horse power; but being constructed on a new principle, it is difficult to ascertain this, to any certainty. It appeared to us that the power was inadequate for a vessel of so large tonnage; which we doubt not will be taken into consideration when others are built; or by those who own schooners and who wish them supplied with the Ericsson propeller, which we understand to be quite practicable.

The Vandalia - for that is her name, after the capital of Illinois - left Oswego, in very unfavorable weather, with a cargo of 130 tons of merchanize, for Hamilton and Niagara. Not withstanding the violent head winds and unusual roughness of the lake, she pursued her course in good style, between four and five miles per hour, which speed increased to seven and eight as the gale lessened, and her canvas was brought into use. she steers, as helmsmen term it, delightfully - the movement of the screws assisting rather than retarding, the operation of the rudder. This point was satisfactorily ascertained in the circuitous route of the canal, from Port Dalhousie to St. Catharines, where we had a full opportunity of testing the merits of this ingenious and novel invention. She glided along, without any perceptible motion of the water, so that not the least injury to the banks of the canal need by apprehended from the swell of water, which arises from the paddles of an ordinary steamer.

After passing one of the smallest locks on the canal, at this place, with ease, and staying an hour or two, for the inspection of the inhabitants generally, she returned to Port Dalhousie, on her route back to Oswego. We cordially wish her owners every success, and fully anticipate, now the experiment has been tried and so successfully answered their expectations, that next season we shall hail a large number of vessels constructed on the same principle - believing that the route from New York, via Oswego and the Welland Canal, to the "Far West", must and will be patronized and encouraged by the Western merchants, who consult their own interests, now that promptitude and certainty, in the receipt of their goods, will be insured - which is the grand desideratum in commercial affairs.

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November 25, 1841
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Peter Warwick
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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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St. Catharines Journal (St. Catharines, ON), November 25, 1841