Origins of the paddlewheel?????
We've had a lot of discussion about the first steamboats, but there has been no talk about the origins of the paddlewheel. Before Fulton put steam engines on a boat, he had to have known of a way to transfer steam power into propulsion. When the NEW ORLEANS came from Pittsburgh to Louisville, it averaged 8 mph which indicates to me that the boat must have had fairly effecient paddlewheels...they pushed the boat well and did not shake the boat apart. Where did the design of the paddlewheels come from?