The Comet; Hist390 Blog1750-1850

Henry Bell was one of the most popular inventors of his time, not only for the functionality of his inventions, but for the progress and productivity of his that they offered. He was an engineer out of Scotland who trudged forth in creating machinery of optimal power that used both science and technology. Bell’s early interest in steam power and the advancement it provided allowed for him to research and develop his most successful project in the steam passage boat. In 1812, Bell set forth and released the first steam powered boat subsequently named The Comet. The vessel traveled at five miles per hour on a three horsepower steam engine. It allowed for transport across channels in record times compared to the previous wind directed ships.

The document attached is an original advertisement for this particular ship when it was first released, found on the Helensburgh Heritage Trust website containing historical technologies produced, and or reconstructed in Scotland.  The advertisement states that the ship is strictly for passengers, and that the travel schedule is set for transportation between Glasgow, Greenwich, and Helensburgh which allowed travel from Scotland to England and back. This advertisement offers “elegance, comfort, safety and speed” which was ideal for passengers considering most transportation via ship allowed none of these accommodations or luxuries. Initially, the steam boat was petitioned to the British government for use of transporting the necessary supplies for armed forces from province to province. When the vessel was inspected, it was further devised as a good source of transportation for people rather than supplies and weapons. The fact that it traveled quicker and more smooth than cattle ships assisted in the acquired method of travel for aristocrats and the wealthier class. Soon it became an all inclusive method of transportation for all classes and individuals.

The creation of the steam powered boat was a successful invention at best. Advancement in the power and energy used to produce the power evolved to created the vessels that we know today as freight ships, ocean liners, and cruise ships. Without the initial technology created by Bell, our ships today wouldn’t have the productivity or usefulness necessary to ship. Bell’s inventive nature could even attribute to the technology that our military carriers and vessels have today. The science behind calculating the wind and knots in accordance with water pressure and steam accumulation per mile is extraordinarily technical. I know I don’t have the scientific nor mathematic mind to accomplish such feats. Bell could be considered a pioneer of modern nautical technology with his innovation of the Comet.

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