Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Steamship
(978 words)

For millennia human beings traveling on the water in boats, ships, or on rafts had to rely on their own muscle power or that of animals, along with wind energy or the power of flowing water. They used poles to punt, oars to row, shovel blades to paddle, ropes to be towed by cattle, horses, or human beings on the shore (Bow hauling), sails for propulsion by the wind, or simply the current of a river.

A crucial change was brought about finally by the adoption of the piston steam engine toward the end of the 18th century, after it proved itself in various forms on land. But the use of a steam engine by it…

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Scholl, Lars-Ulrich, “Steamship”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 22 February 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_018177>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180208



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