Westinghouse & Paper Steam Boats

In my research I have found but two references to Westinghouse's interest in paper boats. Perhaps there are more? Can you help me? I quote a paragraph from the periodical Paper World of October, 1883,

"The Westinghouse Engine Company having made a special application of their engine for marine purposes, for which it seems peculiarly adapted, have built a number of boats this season which have proved to be very fast and have also made a number of heavy engines for towing and pleasure steamers, and their success in this line has induced them to try the experiment of having paper boats constructed, in which to introduce and use their steam engine which, although of comparatively recent introduction to the mechanical world, has already won for itself an established place in the front rank of the many steam motors now in successful operation. For test purposes an order was given to Messrs. Waters and Sons for the construction of the boat which we have just described. The special aim of the Westinghouse Engine Company, in this direction is, if possible, to build pleasure boats which shall attain to a greater rate of speed than any thing now known. All their boats thus far have been made of wood, and should the paper launch now in their hands prove to be a success in this respect and practical otherwise,- of which there seems to be little doubt, - a large demand will speedily be created for the construction of paper launches."

Meanwhile, the NY Times on 25 May 1883 notes that

"A Lansingburg firm has almost completed a paper steam boat for a Pittsburgh company. Its length is 20 feet. It has seating capacity for 25 persons and a carrying capacity of three tons. The sheathing is a solid body of paper, three-eights of an inch thick."

This is fascinating stuff and perhaps a precursor to reports from 1891 of them building a prototype whale boat for the Navy. The Paper World article has an illustration of the proposed paper steam launch, which is reproduced below. I suspect it may be more an artist's vision than reality, but then I'm still looking for information on the result of this experiment.


Paper Steam Launch


XX If you've got some comments, mail me at the address on the home page.

Return to Main Page


© Ken Cupery 2011