Prairie Wood Steamboats

By: Brynn Hastings

The History Of Steamboats

Before trains, cars, trucks and airplanes existed, rivers were used for travel. They carried people and goods from one place to another. River travel was often slow because speed of travel depended on the river current. That all changed with the introduction of steam powered boats in the late 1700's and early 1800's. Steam-powered boats could travel at a speed of up to five miles per hour. They soon changed all river travel and trade, and dominated the waterways.

Advanteges of having a Prairie Wood Steamboat

In the 1800's Steamboats were used to carry goods, like supplies and food. They were faster than any other boat to get things across the ocean. Today, they have the same purpose except can be used as transportation for people, cars, equipment and much more. Steamboats are very useful and very dependable.

Disadvantages of steamboats

Steam propulsion is highly dangerous, and the early steam engines could be a problem. To power a steam engine, you must produce heat to boil water and make steam. You must then pressurize the steam. It is the pressure, trapped in boilers, that creates the power to drive a piston and subsequently a wheel. Engineers had to estimate how much pressure boilers could withstand. They didn't always estimate correctly, and explosions were common.

who Created the Steamboat

The first successful steamboat was the Clermont, which was built by American inventor Robert Fulton in 1807. John Fitch built four more steamboats, but they were expensive to build and to operate. Because they were so expensive, his steamboats were unsuccessful.

The Impact of the Steamboat

Before the invention of the steamboat, river travel was typically one way. Boats could easily travel with the current of the river, but any travel in the opposite direction had to be done on land. Steamboats changed this, allowing boats to easily travel against strong currents and increasing the speed of upriver transportation.The increased power afforded by a steam engine allowed steamboats to carry more cargo. This allowed operators to increase their profits from shipping, more goods, and passengers, and it also allowed the development of armored warships. Union steamboats proved valuable for securing the Mississippi River and other major waterways.

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