Thread: Vane propellers
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Old 01-13-2007, 02:38 PM
Michael Gillespie Michael Gillespie is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Missouri
Posts: 24

During the War Between the States, Commander William D. Porter listed several reasons why propellers were not "practicable" for use on the Western Rivers. One reason was that "the sand in the water cuts away rapidly the journals under water." The vane propeller that Alan describes would have eliminated that problem since the shafts were above the water line.

Porter's other objections, by the way, were that the shallow rivers would not permit a large enough propeller diameter for larger steamers to obtain the necessary speed (relative to the speed of the engines in 1862), and debris in the river frequently broke off the blades. He said that small tugs built for the river fleet had all lost their propellers within three weeks of their launching.

Porter concluded: "I am, therefore, of the opinion that propellers can not be made serviceable in Western waters, for, if they could, the shrewd Western river men would have had them in use."
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