Базовый профессиональный английский язык методические указания




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Shipping in the 19th century

Once the extent and nature of the world's oceans was established, the final stage of the era of sail had been reached. American independence played a major role determining how the final stage developed.

To understand why this was so, it should be appreciated that Britain's North American colonies were vital to its merchant marine, for they formed a major part of its trading empire as customers for British goods. Under mercantilist economic doctrine, colonies were intended as a source of raw materials and as a market for manufactured goods produced in the metropolitan country. Maine, New Hampshire, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick were rich in naval stores and timber for inexpensive hulls, masts, and spars. And the Navigation Act as amended also granted to the merchant fleets in British North America a monopoly on the transport of goods and passengers within the British Empire. When the United States became independent in 1783 the former colonies were rigidly denied access to the British metropolitan and colonial markets. The substantial trade that had tied Boston to Newfoundland and the British West Indies was severed, leaving the Americans to find an alternative trading system as quickly as possible. New England and the Middle Atlantic states, where there were significant fleets of sailing ships, turned to the Atlantic and Mediterranean

islands as well as to Mauritius and to China. In this way, the merchants in the American ports created direct competition to the British East India Company. In doing so, they needed ships that could sail in the Far Eastern trade without the protection of the British navy and that could operate more efficiently and economically than those of the East India Company.

The British East Indiamen were extravagantly expensive to build. Contracts for their construction were awarded by custom and graft. Captains were appointed by patronage rather than education or professional qualifications. And the journeys to Canton, China, from England in East Indiamen were slow in a trade where fast passages were of value, for example, in guarding the quality of the tea being carried. American merchants were fully aware of these failings of the company and its ships. They set out to gain a foothold in the trade through innovations, particularly after the East India Company's monopoly in Britain's China trade was abolished in 1833.British shipping remained rather stagnant after the development of the East Indiaman in the 17th century. The Dutch became the innovators in the second half of the 17th century and maintained that status until the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars. The British East India Company was paying ?40 a ton for ships whereas other owners paid only ?25. In the 19th century American shipbuilders studied basic principles of sail propulsion and built excellent ships more cheaply. They also studied how to staff and operate them economically. The Americans began to see that even larger ships (that is. longer in relation to breadth) could carry more sail and thereby gain speed and the ability to sail well under more types of winds. For perishable cargoes speed meant that these fast ships reached British and European markets before those of their competitors and with a product in better condition.

In the 25 years after 1815 American ships changed in weight from 500 to 1,200 tons and in configuration from a hull with a length 4 times the beam to one with a ratio of 5 1/2 to I. The faster and thus shorter journeys meant that the shipowner could earn back his investment in two or three years. The Mayflower had taken 66 days to cross the Atlantic in 1620. The Black Ball Lines' nine-year average as of 1825 was 23 days from Liverpool to New York City. Twenty years later Atlantic ships had doubled in size and were not credited as a success unless they had made at least a single east-bound dash of 14 days or less.

The culmination of these American innovations was the creation of a hull intended primarily for speed, which came with the clipper ships. Clippers were long, graceful three-masted ships with projecting bows and exceptionally large spreads of sail. The first of these, the Rainbow, was


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built in New York in 1845. It was followed by a number of ships built there and in East Boston particularly intended for the China-England tea trade, which was opened to all merchant marines by the late 1840s. Subsequently the Witch of the Wave (an American clipper) sailed from Canton to Deal in England in 1852 in just 90 days. Similar feats of sailing were accomplished in Atlantic crossings. In 1854 the Lightning sailed 436 miles in a day, at an average speed of 18 1/2 knots. By 1840, however, it was clear that the last glorious days of the sailing ship were at hand. Pure sailing ships were in active use for another generation, while the earliest steamships were being launched. But by 1875 the pure sailer was disappearing, and by the turn of the 20th century the last masts on passenger ships had been removed.

Machine-powered transportation

The most fundamental transformation that has ever taken place in transportation was the introduction of machine power to the traction or propulsion of vehicles. Specifically, for the first time in history power was produced within a vehicle from fuels that were either part of the original lading or periodically or continuously added to its charge. Energy production took place within a machine or reactor whose motions were transformed into tractive or propulsive movement. This change may be termed the arrival of the era of machine-powered transportation.

The earliest engines were highly inefficient. They were used to pump water from mines or to refill reservoirs and later to wind cables in elevators within mines. The Boulton and Watt steam engines developed in England in the latter half of the 18th century could produce only a modest output in relation to their fuel consumption. Improvements that increased steam pressures above a single atmosphere allowed the size and weight of engines to be reduced so they might be installed in vehicles.

Like a number of machines, the steam engine was not the invention of a single person in a single place but James Watt, a builder of scientific instruments at the University of Glasgow, was most directly responsible for a successful design. Though it improved incrementally over a period of a generation, the steam engine was fully operable by 1788. Watt entered into a partnership in Birmingham in 1775 with the manufacturer Matthew Boulton, at whose Soho Works the firm constructed a total of 496 steam engines many of which were used, as the earlier steam engines of the British engineer Thomas Newcomen had been, to pump water from mines or to operate waterworks. It was only at the end of Boulton and Watt's partnership that the machinery was applied to transport vehicles.

The key to that introduction was in the creation of a more efficient steam engine. Early engines were powered by steam at normal sea-level atmospheric pressure (approximately 14.7 pounds per square inch), which required very large cylinders. The massive engines were thus essentially stationary in placement. Any attempt to make the engine itself mobile faced this problem. The French military engineer Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot had made one of the first applications of higher-pressure steam when in 1769 he developed a tricycle (with two cylinders) at first intended as a tractor for moving cannon; this is commonly thought of as the first automobile. When two proponents of steam locomotion - Richard Trevithick in Wales and Oliver Evans in Delaware and Pennsylvania - conducted the earliest successful experiments with steam locomotives in the first decade of the 19th century, they both sought to use high-pressure steam. But most of the steam engines constructed and put to use in the last quarter of the 18th century were of Boulton and Watt manufacture and were large and rather weak.

The steamboat

This cumbersome quality of early 19th-century steam engines led to their being used first on ships. In the beginning the discordant relationship of machine weight to power production was a problem, but the ability to enlarge ships to a much greater size meant that the engines did not have to suffer severe diminution. A real constraint was the pattern of natural waterways; early steamboats for the most part depended on paddles to move the vessel, and it was found that those paddles tended to cause surface turbulence that eroded the banks of a narrow waterway, as most of the inland navigation canals were. Thus, the best locale for the operation of steamboats was found to be on fairly broad rivers free of excessively shallow stretches or rapids. A further consideration was speed. Most of the early experimental steamboats were very slow, commonly in the range of three or four miles per hour. At such speeds there was a considerable advantage redounding to coaches operating on well-constructed roads, which were quite common in France and regionally available in England.

The ideal venue for steamboats seemed to be the rivers of the eastern United States. Colonial transportation had mainly taken place by water, either on the surfaces of coastal bays and sounds or on fairly broad rivers as far upstream as the lowest falls or rapids. Up to the beginning of the 19th century a system of coastal and inland navigation could care for most of the United States' transportation needs. If a successful steamboat could be

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developed, the market for its use was to be found in the young, rapidly industrializing country.

Early examples

The question of the invention of the steamboat raises fierce chauvinistic claims, particularly among the British, French, and Americans, but there seems to be broad agreement that the first serious effort was carried out by a French nobleman, Claude-Francois-Dorothee, Marquis d' Jouffroy d'Abbans, on the Doubs River at Baum-des-Dames in the Franche-Comte in 1776. This trial was not a success, but in 1783 Jouffroy carried out a second trial with a much larger engine built three years earlier at Lyon. This larger boat, the Pyroscaphe, was propelled by two paddle wheels, substituted for the two "duck's feet" used in the previous trial. The trial took place on the gentle River Saone at Lyon, where the overburdened boat of 327,000 pounds moved against the current for some 15 minutes before it disintegrated from the pounding of the engines. This was unquestionably the first steam-powered boat to operate. There were subsequent French experiments, but further development of the steamboat was impeded by the French Revolution

In the eastern United States James Rumsey, the operator of an inn at the Bath Springs spa in Virginia (later West Virginia), sought to interest George Washington in a model steamboat he had designed. On the basis of Washington's support, Virginia and Maryland awarded Rumsey a monopoly of steam navigation in their territories.

At the same time, another American, John Fitch, a former clockmaker from Connecticut, began experimenting with his vision of a steamboat. After much difficulty in securing financial backers and in finding a steam engine in America, Fitch built a boat that was given a successful trial in 1787. By the summer of 1788 Fitch and his partner, Henry Voight, had made repeated trips on the Delaware River as far as Burlington, 20 miles above Philadelphia, the longest passage then accomplished by a steamboat.

British inventors were active in this same period. Both Rumsey and Fitch ultimately sought to advance their steamboats by going to England, and Robert Fulton spent more than a decade in France and Britain promoting first his submarine and later his steamboat. In 1788 William Symington, son of a millwright in the north of England began experimenting with a steamboat that was operated at five miles per hour, faster than any previous trials had accomplished. He later claimed speeds of six and a half and seven miles per hour, but his steam engine was thought too weak to serve, and for the time his efforts were not rewarded. In 1801

Symington was hired by Lord Dundas, a governor of the Forth and Clyde Canal, to build a steam tug; the Charlotte Dundas was tried out on that canal in 1802. It proved successful in pulling two 70-ton barges the 19 1/2 miles to the head of the canal in six hours. The governors, however, fearing bank erosion, forbade its use on that route, and British experiments failed to lead further for some years.

Fulton's steamboat

Instead, Robert Fulton, an American already well-known in Europe, began to gain headway in developing a steamboat. British historians have tended to deny his contributions and assign them to his supposed piracy of British inventions. It has been shown that he could not have pirated the plans of the Charlotte Dundas, but the record remains largely uncorrected. Fulton's "invention" of the steamboat depended fundamentally on his ability to make use of Watt's patents for the steam engine, as Fitch could not. Having experimented on steamboats for many years, by the first decade of the 19th century Fulton had determined that paddle wheels were the most efficient means of propelling a boat, a decision appropriate to the broad estuarine rivers of the Middle Atlantic states. Fulton had built and tested on Aug. 9, 1803, a steamboat that ran four times to the Quai de Chaillot on the Seine River in Paris. As it operated at no more than 2.9 miles per hour-slower than a brisk walk he considered these results at best marginal.

Fulton returned to the United States in December 1806 to develop a successful steamboat with his partner Robert Livingston. A monopoly on steam boating in New York state had been previously granted to Livingston, a wealthy Hudson Valley landowner and American minister to France. On Aug. 17, 1807, what was then called simply the "North River Steamboat" steamed northward on the Hudson from the state prison. After spending the night at Livingston's estate of Clermont (whose name has ever since erroneously been applied to the boat itself) the "North River Steamboat" reached Albany eight hours later after a run at an average speed of five miles per hour (against the flow of the Hudson River). This was a journey of such length and relative mechanical success that there can be no reasonable question it was the first unqualifiedly successful steamboat trial. Commercial service began immediately, and the boat made one and a half round-trips between New York City and Albany each week. Many improvements were required in order to establish scheduled service, but from the time of this trial forward Fulton and Livingston provided uninterrupted service, added steamboats, spread routes to other rivers and


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sounds, and finally, in 1811, attempted to establish steamboat service on the Mississippi River.

The trial on the Mississippi was far from a success but not because of the steamboat itself. Fulton, Livingston, and their associate Nicholas Roosevelt had a copy of their Hudson River boats built in Pittsburgh as the New Orleans. In September 1811 it set sail down the Ohio River, making an easy voyage as far as Louisville, but as a deep-draft estuarine boat it had to wait there for the flow of water to rise somewhat. Finally, drawing no more than five inches less than the depth of the channel, the New Orleans headed downriver. In an improbable coincidence, the steamboat came to rest in a pool below the Falls of the Ohio just before the first shock was felt of the New Madrid earthquake, the most severe temblor ever recorded in the United States. The earthquake threw water out of the Ohio and then the Mississippi, filling the floodplain of those rivers, changing their channels significantly, and choking those channels with uprooted trees and debris. When the New Orleans finally reached its destination it was not sent northward again on the service for which it had been built. Steamboats used on the deeper and wider sounds and estuaries of the northeastern United States were found to be unsuited to inland streams, however wide. Eventually boats drawing no more than 9-12 inches of water proved to be successful in navigating the Missouri River westward into Montana and the Red River into the South; this pattern of steam boating spread throughout much of interior America, as well as the interior of Australia, Africa, and Asia.

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