Digest>Archives> February 1996

Pages from the Past . . . This Boat Will Roll


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This Boat Will Roll

We found this story in the June 9, 1897 edition of the New York Herald Newspaper while researching old lighthouse stories. Although, not about lighthouses, we found it interesting and thought we should share part of the story with our readers. We hope you find it as fascinating as we did.

"A Canadian inventor has devised a craft which he is confident will solve the problem of quicker ocean travel a force of fifty men are now working on the vessel in Polson's shipyards in Toronto. It is expected it will be launched in two weeks.

The new boat is the invention of a lawyer named F.A. Knapp. In it, he says, he will be able to cross the Atlantic Ocean in forty-eight hours, and thus completely revolutionize all present methods of navigation.

It is a delightful picture Mr. Knapp draws. Fancy leaving New York on Monday morning and on Wednesday morning finding yourself in Liverpool. It seems a dream and sounds like a story form Jules Verne. Yet, if Mr. Knapp is right, this dream is no great distance from realization.

Like many other inventors, Mr. Knapp had great difficulty in getting anyone to believe in the utility of his invention. In fact for several months after the completion of a model of the craft, men who were interested in solving the problem of quicker ocean passage scouted the idea. Some of them, plainly told the inventor that the principal when applied to a structure large enough to carry passengers and freight would be found to be faulty. Nothing daunted, he continued his experiments and some led to improvements..."

The story went on to say ..."The stationary paddles on the outside of the cylinder of this vessel will correspond with the paddles on a paddle wheel boat...Inside the third cylinder a platform will be constructed, on either side of which engines of 150 horse power will be placed. By means of friction these engines will cause the outside cylinders to revolve rapidly, while the inside of the cylinder retains its equilibrium.

It is intended to provide passenger accommodation within the inside, or third cylinder. The present idea of the inventor is to utilize the space between the inner and outer surface for storage of cargo.

In case the present craft proves a success it is Mr. Knapps intention to immediately construct a giant boat, 750 feet in length, with an outside cylinder 150 feet in diameter.

Mr. Knapp is quite confident of the ultimate successful issue of his idea." Editors Comment: When is the last time you rode on a vessel like this?

This story appeared in the February 1996 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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