Early Transportation | Teen Ink

Early Transportation

March 11, 2008
By Ross Myers BRONZE, Griffith, Indiana
Ross Myers BRONZE, Griffith, Indiana
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Can you believe how much transportation has changed over the last one hundred and fifty years? It all started with the invention of the wheel to the invention of the steam ship. The biggest years in transportation would have to be in the 1800’s, when all of the ships, submarines, and cars were invented. From swimming the United States went into steam ships. From walking the United States went into cars. From holding your breath under water the United States went into a submarine. It’s just so amazing how much transportation has changed over the last 150 years.

First, the invention of steam ships was an interesting path. The first person to attempt to build the steam ship was John Fitch. His attempts were descent but it wasn’t good enough. Patrick Miller and William Symington were the next to try to make a steam ship. “In the year 1801 Symington built the first practical steamboat, the Charlotte Dundas” (Think Quest). Symington was working with an interesting double acting engine, invented by James Watt.

The next person to try the steam boat was Robert L. Stevens. He was the first person to build a steam boat that traveled on rivers. After Stevens there weren’t any significant changes in the way steam boats were built. “In 1827, he built the North America. This was one of his most successful ships” (Think Quest). He used two engines inside this great ship. The boats fastest speed was 16 miles per hour.

The last Steam ship inventor was Robert Fulton. Fulton was considered the simple genius of steam ships. He was called that because he took already invented parts into one ship. Robert used one of Watt’s engines, the best engine that was available at the time. Then he used some technical features that were invented by John Fitch. After he combined those parts he was able to travel from New York to areas near Florida three times faster that anyone before him.

Next is the subject of cars. The first person to attempt to build a car was Richard Trevithick, in the year 1803. He tried a four wheeled machine with a steam powered engine. His original thoughts were just to take passengers from place to place. But, his job in England didn’t give him enough money to continue his construction. Although, in England there was other reasons that a car couldn’t be built. It was mostly because the cars engines and wheels destroyed the road. Some of the cars under extreme heat and pressure made the car explode. “So there was a Red Flag Law that ended further development in the automobile” (Encyclopedia A).

The next inventor, in the United States, was Oliver Evans in the year 1805. Evans was riding his steam boat and had a wonderful idea. He took his boat out of the water and put four heavy steel wheels of them. The boat then turned into a boat driving up a hill. Evans boat-car was an amazing twenty short tons. It was amazing that the pressure didn’t also destroy the roads.

Then there was another inventor named Sylvester H. Roper. He developed a much smaller version of Evans car. His car looked much more like the cars that we drive today. It was in the year 1860 that Roper first thought of making a new car. The main thing he did was he took a lot of useless metal off of his boat. Roper thought that a boat needed more parts than a car needed. So that’s what he did. That was the only thing that he did that made a difference from Evan’s car.

Last thing about cars was about all of the disadvantages of a steam car. One of the main disadvantages was that it took to long to fire up the heat boiler. Alas inventors did find a way to fix it. They also had to be small enough to maneuver on the roads. So they had to make small high powered engine. The main problem was the cost of those high powered engines. Since the price was so overwhelming the steam car disappeared until 1924 when the Stanley brothers made a new car.

Next, is regarding the submarines. The first wooden submarine was not the best because it floated. The first metal boat was built by Robert Fulton. He made a 100% copper covered submarine. Fulton tried to sail his submarine to France He did make but France didn’t show much interest at all. At the time in the year 1800 the United States didn’t have much interest either. Even though the submarine did sink some ships for each nation neither had any interest at the time.

Next, are the submarines used by the confederate army during the Civil war. The Hunley was the first submarine to sink a ship during the war. The Hunley carried an explosive attached to the tip of the submarine. After the Hunley rammed into the Union ship Housatonic in Charleston Harbor it exploded. The Union ship went down immediately. The only bad side was that the Hunley went down with the ship.

Lastly, about submarines is about John P. Holland’s gas powered submarine. In 1898 Holland made a 53 foot submarine powered by gasoline and electric batteries. This submarine was fast. It could go up to a speed of six knots. The United States Navy bought his submarine. This was the Navy’s first submarine. At first they weren’t to sure about the gasoline inside a machine under water. Inventors thought that it would leak into the ocean. Fortunately it never did spring a leak.

In conclusion, transportation has really changed over the last 150 years. All of the cars, ships, and submarines were created by inventors who had an incredible vision and fortitude. From the steamship, to the submarine, to the gas powered automobile, the evolution of transportation is arguably a fascinating topic of research. In 150 years transportation will still be a unique and appealing subject.

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