THE ERICSSON PROPELLER.
The progress of the experiments for the application of steam power in aid of the sails of ships, schooners, and other sailing craft, has been observed at this place with great solicitude. From a letter addressed by Capt. R.F. Stockton, of the U.S. Navy, to Commodore Stewart, which has recently appeared in the N.Y. papers, we apprehend the experiment on the ship Clarion has been entirely successful.
The effect of the application of the propeller is to insure sailing vessels five to seven miles of headway, when the wind is adverse, and, of course, a very high rate of speed if applied under normal circumstances when it is favorable. There is probably no place in the Union which will drive such immediate and extensive advantages from the invention of Mr. Ericsson as Oswego.
It is affirmed by one of our first forwarding merchants, that with the aid of this propeller, goods from New York by the Oswego route route can be delivered at Cleveland, Ohio, at less cost than the actual charges which must be advanced upon freights in their transportation from New York to Buffalo. In the cheapness of transportation for the the Western trade, the Oswego or Ontario route has always had a great advantage over the inland or Buffalo route. A very clear admission was made of this by the general combination of forwarders last year, in stating the charges by the Oswego route to be four dollars per ton less than by the inland route.
The latter route however, has always had a great advantage over the Oswego in speed, and certainly in reference to time. The freight vessels from Oswego bound to the Upper Lakes were all schooners. From Buffalo a large portion were steamers. The prevalent winds upon the lakes are westerly. Perhaps in the season of navigation they are from that quarter more than two thirds of the time. While, therefore, the descending passage from the Upper lakes to Oswego, was usually as quick as was desirable, the ascending trip was often tedious and dilatory. This was a serious objection to Western Merchants desirous of receiving their goods at early dates. They were desirous of despatch and certainty, and to obtain them submitted to heavy charges beyond those demanded on the Oswego route.
But with the Ericsson propeller applied to our lake vessels, the Welland canal becomes navigable for steam vessels and freights from New York by the Oswego route can be delivered at Cleveland as soon, or sooner than they can be delivered at Buffalo. Thus, while the Oswego route will continue to enjoy all the advantage of its superior cheapness, it will equal the inland route in certainty and surpass it in speed. For the sale of those not familiar with our localities we would state that the main difference between the routes consists in about 125 miles of canal navigation west of Syracuse heavily charged with tolls, and the same length of the free navigation of Lake Ontario.
There is another difference also of growing importance. On one route the demand for freight is from Buffalo West, and the Western carriage of course regulates the charges both Westward and Eastward. This demand, in consequence of the greatly accommodating produce of the fertile west, with our present tonnage cannot be met. The heft of the charges is therefore thrown on the descending freights, and goods and salt for the Upper Lakes will hereafter be taken at comparatively light rates.
The western produce will always preferably seek this route - for the sake of economy, if from no other consideration. But as the Oswego Mills must always employ a large amount of tonnage in supplying them with wheat from the Upper lakes, they will at all times be able to carry goods and salt to the West at exceedingly low rates.
Here it is a matter for consideration with the advocates of the enlargement of the Erie Canal. The grand object to be gained is the western trade; and yet it is very certain that should the state realize the full results of the Seward and Ruggles policy in extending our debt to 40 millions, yet the channel it will have provided, will not equal that which nature furnishes, and through it the bulk of the Western trade will refuse to pass.
We learn with pleasure that two vessels at this port are about being fitted out with Ericsson propellers, and the necessary machinery. one of them is a new vessel, the keel of which is about being laid at S. Doolittle's ship-yard. The other one of our present craft. So that ere long Lake Erie will be visited by steam vessels from Lake Ontario.