The Western River Steamboat

Front Cover
Texas A&M University Press, 2004 - History - 188 pages
The first Western steamboat was built in 1811 in Pittsburgh, and thousands more were constructed in the years before the Civil War. These waterborne vehicles helped define the nineteenth-century trans-Appalachian West. Decades of incremental changes created a distinctive watercraft, and the steamboat became perfectly suited to the conditions of the Western rivers, transforming the West from a wilderness into a place of economic significance. In The Western River Steamboat, nautical archaeologist Adam I. Kane traces the development of this once commonplace vessel. Kane describes the importance and impact of the steamboat in American history and complements his historical analysis with clear, concise technical explanations of the construction and evolution of Western river steamboats. Using photographs, drawings, and charts to help readers visualize the early steamboats and the study of their remains by archaeologists, Kane explains how the rivers dictated the design of the hull, why stern wheels replaced side wheels, how hogging chains kept hulls from buckling, and why safety valves were of little use when engineers regularly overloaded them. Anyone intrigued by the vessel that chan
 

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User Review  - jztemple - LibraryThing

An academic but nevertheless interesting look at the steamboats of the American west from their start till about the time of the Civil War. Kane using nautical archeology and research to show how the ... Read full review

Contents

WESTWARD ONBOARD A STEAMBOAT
3
STEAMBOAT ARCHAEOLOGY
33
AN UNPROMISING BEGINNING STEAMB0ATS181120
44
TRIALERRORAND ADAPTATION STEAMBOATS182035
59
COLONIZING THE WEST STEAMBOATS183560
84
CONCLUSIONS
126
Western River Steamboat Construction and Tonnage 181180
131
TABLE OF STEAMBOAT MEASUREMENTS FROM 1850
133
GLOSSARY
143
NOTES
151
BIBLIOGRAPHY
165
ILLUSTRATION CREDITS
175
INDEX
179
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

ADAM I. KANE works as a nautical archaeologist at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vermont. He holds a master's degree in anthropology from Texas A&M University. He has done extensive fieldwork at archaeological sites throughout the United States and has written numerous technical reports.