Saturday, January 22, 2011

One popular historic North American transportation subject I have always hd a fascination with, was the era of historic paddle wheel steam boats that used to work on the various rivers, lakes and waterways around America during the 1800's and early 1900's.

Paddle wheel steamers, were built for the most part with hulls designed for operation in shallow waters. They came in two variations, sidewheel and sternwheel The example shown here, is a "Sternwheel" model.Some where used for transporting passengers, while others had less glamorous dutties like pushing barges and hauling freight. Paddle wheels eventually gave way to propellers or "Screws" as they are sometimes refered to. Just as on the railroads, the marine steam engines and boilers eventually gave way to diesel propulasion.

In more recent decades, there have been a small number of steam powered "Replica" sternwheel paddle boats, as well as some small modern diesel powered character replica examples equipped with underwater propellers and free rotating paddle wheels.
The later examples, are often equipped with fake twin smokestacks.

There have also been a number of large diesel powered modern paddle wheel boats, used as gambling casino's on the Missisippi River today.

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