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*Interestring book on early steamboats.*

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Old 07-01-2009, 08:36 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,573
Default *Interestring book on early steamboats.*

Steamboating colleagues:
An interesting new book titled: 'THE FIRST TYCOON: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt,' T.J. Stiles, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2009, 719 Pgs. is a 'heavy' read but worth the time. The life of C. Vanderbilt (1794-1847) traces the rise of his steamboat empire from Robert Fulton through the famed 'Fulton-Livingston Steamboat Monopoly' and early financial/political affairs of the United States. Though not 'pure river steamboats' as shared here, this history traces the growth, development and engineering of steamboats on our East coast with technical expertise linking, in time, to our own inland rivers. Rich in detail with ghastly accounts of early steamboat boiler and engine development along with railroads in the 1830s. Vanderbilt nearly killed himself in an early rail disaster. Vanderbilt focused on designs for increased speed to corner the steamboat competitive market. Vanderbilt's designs were revolutionary in the use of strong 'hog bracing' for fast sidewheel steamers with walking beam engines to hit over 20 mph at 600 ft. per minute. Steamboat designs/technology were as jealously protected then as industrial/corporate trade secrets are today. A good read giving early steamboating history with 'the other side of the story' with little in the 'steamboat romance' department. It was termed the "go ahead" era focusing on speed by steamboat and rail.

Shores of northern Lake Michigan.
R. Dale Flick
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