Ocean Steamships - 1882 - Crossing the Atlantic in the Late 1800's
by S. G. W. Benjamin
This is a long article written by S. G. W. Benjamin
S. G. W. Benjamin (1836-1914) In the latter 1800's the name of S. G. W. Benjamin was one of the most familiar in America's periodical Literature -- familiar before he went to Persia as a Minister and after his return. He was an author, artist, and diplomat. He was the first United States Minister to Persia, receiving his appointment in 1883, and he drew up the code used in diplomatic procedure between the two countries.
This article on early ocean steamships - their development, travel and accommodations provides great insight into the pre-twentieth century ships that brought many immigrants from Europe to North American ports.
The article is divided into five parts of roughly equal lengths.
Source of Article: S. G. W. Benjamin - October 1882 Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, Vol. XXIV, New Series Vol. II, Pages 666-678.
* See also " The Evolution of the American Yacht " and " Steam-Yachting in America," by the same author, in THE CENTURY MAGAZINE for July and August, 1882. -- ED.
Note 1: Some doubt seems to have been thrown on this statement. We quote the following from a communication by Henry Smith in the New York " Evening Post" of June 24th, 1882:
"Happening to be in Liverpool at the time of her arrival, I visited and examined the ship, machinery, etc. She was complete ship-rigged, and made no pretensions to having navigated the ocean by steam, and if I remember correctly, sailed all the passage, carrying her steam-engine with her as any other ship might do. At any rate, if she used her engine at all, it was too little to be of any account. She was not designed to navigate the ocean. It was not till 1833 that the subject of navigating the Atlantic Ocean by steam-power was seriously brought forward, and after years of vigorous and persevering labor was carried into successful operation." -- En.
Note 2: It is well known that the invention was pushed with such vigor that upward of forty propeller vessels, several being constructed of iron, were plying on our coasts, lakes and rivers before England was aware of the commercial advantages of the new mode of propulsion. -- ED.