Put in your water and shovel in your coal.
Put your head out the window, watch them drivers roll!
I'll run her till she leaves the rail,
Cause we're eight hours late with the western mail!
From the US folksong Casey Jones, attributed to Newton and Seibert (1909)
THE development of the American west, to a very large extent, depended upon the steam locomotive. Not only did the coal-driven trains of the transcontinental railroad transport the mail, but such items as tools, produce, and people were carried by this service.
Long before Casey Jones, and long before the taming of steam, people had investigated the physics of the steam engine. In fact, as briefly discussed in Chapter 3, demonstrations of thrust produced by steam escaping from a vent may be the first historical application of the rocket principle.
In 50 BC, Hero of Alexandria constructed an "aeropile," which consisted of a boiler and two vertical pipes that were attached to a horizontal axle on which a hollow sphere was mounted. A vent was located within the sphere.
The boiler was filled with water. A fire was lit under the boiler; steam rose into the hollow sphere and was forced out of the vent. The reaction to this "thrust" caused the aeropile to spin, much to the delight of onlookers.
Perhaps, if this device had been productively employed in the Greco-Roman world, the Industrial Revolution would have dawned 1,500 years earlier! But alas, the application of the aeropile might have reduced the need for menial labor, and slavery was a sociologically important institution in the classical world.
Many centuries after Hero, engineers realized that the vented steam could be impacted against the blades of a turbine, and so the steamboat was born, in which the spinning turbine was itself attached to a paddlewheel. These water craft successfully competed with and ultimately replaced sailing ships. In the nineteenth century, the spinning turbine was attached to a wheel axle, miles of track were laid and the first coal-fueled locomotives began to chug across the landscape. Today, a new type of steamship is being considered. This one uses a very different type of steam and will travel between planets, not just across a continent. It is called a solar-thermal rocket.
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Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.