The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego County Whig (Oswego, NY), Wed., May 25, 1842

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The following notice of the Steamer Vandalia of this port, is from the pen of J.C. Busner, Esq., formerly of this place, but now editor of the Buffalo American. It is candid, and when contrasted with the snarls of the other Buffalo prints, is truly gratifying.

The Vandalia - We paid a visit on Tuesday last, to this new fashioned vessel, propelled partly by steam, and partly by canvas, and had a long conversation with Capt. Hawkins, respecting both her prospects, and her performances.

The Vandalia is one hundred and thirty-eight tons burden, and has very comfortable accommodations for a good number of passengers. She has but one mast, with a large fore-and-aft mainsail and a large jib. She was originally intended for a schooner and planned solely with the view to carry a large cargo though he Welland Canal.

After her frame was got out, it was determined to fit her up with the Ericsson propellers, and hey were placed in her without making any alteration in her model: of course she labors under some disadvantages, which it is thought may be remedied by an improved construction of model in future vessels, to be built purposely for the Ericsson propellers.

The machinery, including boiler, occupies just seventeen feet of the stern in the vessel, taking up only that part that has been heretofore used as a cabin room, and a cabin has been built on deck with much better accommodations than were to be found in the old fashioned ones below. he wheels that drive the vessel, ae directly under the counter, and act on the water as the winds of a wind mill are acted upon by the air. Capt. Hawkins tells us he can get seven and a half miles an hour out of her, and that he can make his trips between Oswego and Chicago, in one month's time, without any doubt. This would give between this city and Chicago, less than three weeks.

The Vandalia carries only eight men, all told, and consumes six cords of wood in twenty-four hours, with her machinery at work all the time. her engine cost over three thousand dollars, but engines of the same size, power and finish can now be procured for two thousand. In the rig of such vessels, too, a great improvement cam be made, as even the addition of a half squaresail would add much to her speed, and a distribution of the amount of her canvas into sails more convenient for handling, would add to the comfort of her crew, and to the ease of navigating her. It is to be remembered, that such a vessel needs no flying kites, for in light head winds she has her engine, and when the wind is fair, it must be tolerably fresh before she will need the assistance of her canvass. When she does need it, she ungears her drive wheels, and their easy play offers but little resistance to the motion of the vessel.

We have always, however, been inclined to think that this patent would prove a failure, and both the performance and fate of the Clarion of New York, tended to confirm us in the belief, still all we hope the plan will succeed, and if a mere trifle of the improvement is made in the vessels that are to follow the Vandalia, we feel assured that it will. A very short time will test the experiment.

Should the plan succeed, Buffalo will enjoy the full benefit of it, and many a vessel will during the next winter adopt the propellers. The navigation between this and the upper lakes will be rendered more certain, more speedy and more convenient, and those who are emigrating to the West, will find vessels of this class much more pleasant than crowded steam boats. Their goods and baggage will also be more directly under their own care, and the difference in time, will be more than counter-balanced by the reduction in expense.

The Vandalia with rough weather, has made an excellent trip, according to the account of Capt. Hawkins promises well. We have long known Capt. H. and are perfectly satisfied that he would not willfully give too favorable an account of the prospects or performances of his vessel.

In the evening the Vandalia left our harbor, light, and it was the opinion of those steamboat men who saw her, that her rate was quite seven and a half miles.

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Wed., May 25, 1842
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Richard Palmer
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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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Oswego County Whig (Oswego, NY), Wed., May 25, 1842