Volume 7, Issue 1
March 2013
Inside This Issue
olu e 7, Is ue 1
The Masthead
The First Powerboats
Pg. 1
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The Journal of the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology
Jonathan Hull
With his paper skull;
Tried to make a machine
To go against the wind and tide,
But he, like an ass,
Couldn’t bring it to pass
So at last was ashamed to be seen
clock repairer by trade, Jonathan Hull was—for some reason—overcome with
the desire to drive boats through the water by engine-power instead of the
tried-and-true wind or muscle. Being a clock repairer, and paid no more than aver-
age working-man’s wages, he had nothing like the funds required for what was—in
the early 1700s—such an earth-shaking undertaking. Even though he somehow
managed to wangle a patent on his concept from Caroline, Queen of Great Britain,
money for such obvi-
ous nonsense was in
short supply. Never-
theless, in Decem-
ber of 1736, Hull
pressed ahead. He
very sensibly rea-
soned that—with the
huge, glacially slow
steam machines of
the day—it would be
impractical to fit an
engine in a boat for
self propulsion. In-
stead, Hull planned
on building a tug—a
steam tug. Lack of
money, prevented
successful comple-
tion of his project,
however. So it was
that the doggerel
verse came to be.
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What You Know About the First
Steamboats Is Most Likely All Wrong
By Dave Gerr, © 2013 Dave Gerr
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