'The First Steam Boat, the Comet, Built by Henry Bell, 1811', c 1855.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Tinted lithograph by Schenck and Macfarlane, Edinburgh. The 'Comet' was the first paddle steamer to operate commercially in Europe. She was designed by Henry Bell and built of wood by John Wood and Co at Port Glasgow in 1812. Her engine was built by John Robertson. 'Comet' was designed to be used as a pasenger ferry on the Clyde between Glasgow and Helensburgh. In 1816 she was in operation on the Firth of Forth and in 1819 was used to establish steam communication between the West Highlands and Glasgow. She ran aground at Craignish Point, near Fort William, in December 1820.