The introduction of steam-launches and small pleasure-boats driven by steam-power is of comparatively recent date, but their use is rapidly increasing. Those first built were heavy, slow, and complicated; but, profiting by experience, light and graceful boats are now built, of remarkable swiftness, and having such improved and simplified machinery that they require little fuel and can be easily managed. Such boats have strong, carefully-modeled hulls, light and strong boilers, capable of making a large amount of dry steam with little fuel, and a light, quick-running engine, working without shake or jar, and using steam economically.


The sketch [to the right] represents the engine built by a New York firm for such little craft. This is the smallest size made for the market. It has a steam-cylinder3 inches in diameter and a stroke of piston of 5 inches, driving a screw 26 inches in diameter and of 3 feet pitch. The maximum power of the engine is four or five times the nominal power. The boiler is of the form shown in the illustrations of semi-portable engines, and has a heating-surface, in this case, of 75 square feet. The boat itself is like that seen [above], and is 25 feet long, of 5 feet 8 inches beam, and draws 2.5 feet of water. These little machines weigh about 150 pounds per nominal horse-power, and the boilers about 300...

Source: A History of the Growth of the Steam-Engine, by Robert H. Thurston, A. M., C. E., Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, N. J.; Member of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders of Scotland, Associate British Institution of Naval Architects, etc., etc. Published; New York: D. Appleton and Company, 549 and 551 Broadway. 1878.


The "Armina" - Columbia Yacht Club, New York.


Site Coordinator: Lori Niemuth Last updated: December 27, 2007