The First Steamers.

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The First Steamers.

Across the Atlantic, too, on the Hudson River, there was launched in 1807 a first small and primitive paddle-wheel steamer, the Clermont, which found a British counterpart five years later in the Clyde-Wilt Comes, and in 1818 a hybrid cargo-boat, the Savannah, crossed the Atlantic partly under steam power and partly under sail.

But these three were comparatively distant fore-runners of the modern steamer.

In water as in land transport, the new power was only slowly feeling its way towards maturity.

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Progress of Steam: the First Locomotive

But with every year that passed more workmen became qualified, more improvements were made, and more and more pioneers took up steam power.

At the end of Watt's life - he died in 1817 - his machines- were still being made individually by hand, but with far more accuracy and in far larger quantities; and from the 1820's onwards a succession of inventions of machine tools - planing machines, jigs, hammers, wheel-butting engines - made it possible for semi-skilled workers to turn out the machinery which previously only the very best artisans had been capable of making. Increased accuracy and decreased... see: Progress of Steam: the First Locomotive

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