The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), Dec. 4, 1841

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Application of Ericson's Propeller To Sailing Vessels.

We have, with great satisfaction, visited the new American Vessel Vandalia in company with a friend who combines practical with scientific knowledge, and by whose assistance we are enabled to give a pretty accurate description of her.

She is 20 feet 2 inches wide, and 90 feet long, and can consequently go through the Welland Canal. She carries 140 tons - draws when light 2 feet 6 inches, with her machinery- loaded, about 6 feet, depth of hold 8 feet. She is sloop rigged, with an immense main-sail and mast; the Captain admits both are too heavy, and he intends to reduce them during this winter. She has cabins on her deck, which more than make up for the room occupied by her machinery below, and which are neat and commodious. She is a splendid looking vessel; - the chimney being very far aft, by no means detracts from her appearance. She was built by Messrs Bronson & Crocker, respectable merchants and forwarders at Oswego. The builder's name is, we believe, Doolittle, and she is commanded by Captain Rufus Hawkins, - whose readiness to give every kind of information, together with Mr. Taylor, the engineer, cannot be too highly spoken of. She cost, including her machinery, about £2,500. The machinery cost about £750, and was erected by Messrs. Dimns & Wood, at Auburn. The boiler is on the locomotive principle, with about 100 pipes running through it, and when the steam is discharged into the funnel the draft is excellent, - consumes about one-third of a cord of wood per hour, and appears to be perfectly safe from accidents by fire. The Engine consists of 2 cylinders, of about 12 inches diameter each, working at 50 lbs, to about 25 horse power, and the connecting rod communicates direct with the crank on the shaft of the propellers, on which are two cogged wheels connected together to govern the motions of both shafts. - The wheels work one on each side the rudder, and are 4 feet 6 inches diameter, working towards each other, on the principle of sculling. The engine makes from 65 to 75 strokes a minute, consequently the propellers travel at that speed. The machinery does great credit to the manufacturer, and no expense has been spared. She generally works with steam at about 55 lbs. pressure, and under favourable circumstances will propel the vessel 9 to 10 miles per hour - The Captain states that the sails did not assist in the voyage from Oswego to Kingston more than one hour of time. She left Kingston for that place on Wednesday night last about 10 o'clock, arrived there early in the morning, delivered her freight and took another cargo, left about 4 o'clock the same day, and reached Kingston last night, Thursday, between 10 and 11 o'clock.

She has been to Hamilton, and up the Welland Canal with cargoes, - no perceptible motion on the Banks of the Canal more than occurs by vessels when towed up in the usual manner. She has encountered two or three heavy gales and behaved exceedingly well - she steers most admirably. The Engineer says that during the winter he shall make some alterations in the machinery, by which the consumption of fuel will be reduced, and the speed of the vessel accelerated, he thinks, fully two miles an hour.

She brought over Mrs. Murdoch and family, with their baggage,&c.

We have thus given all the particulars which appear to us to be necessary to enable our readers, especially those in the west and far west, to form an accurate judgment of this great improvement in our commercial facilities. There will be no longer any necessity for remaining in idleness, cooped up in harbour for days or weeks waiting for a wind. The Farmer and Merchant at Goderich may ship his wheat and flour, pork and ashes, on Monday morning, and be quite sure that they will arrive at Montreal as soon as a letter of advice will reach the Merchant, the risk will be diminished half, and the cost of freight in the same proportion. One of these vessels will leave Montreal loaded with dry goods, and salt, returning through the Rideau and the Welland to any of the ports on Lake Erie, the St. Clair, and the Huron, making her return voyage, with 100 tons in ten days thus contributing to reduce the expense of exporting, and diminishing the cost of our imports - adding to the riches of the farmer, extending the business of the merchant, and increasing the wealth of the Province.

The Weather - ...The Navigation may be said, however, to be now nearly closed for the season. The Steamers are withdrawn from the various routes, including the Rideau Canal.

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Dec. 4, 1841
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Rick Neilson
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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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Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), Dec. 4, 1841