Proposed triple hulled paddle-wheeled boat, 1787.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Patrick Miller (1731-1815) originally described this boat in a pamphlet in 1787. It was to be propelled by paddle-wheels turned by men. His friend, Alexander Nasmyth (1758-1840) made the drawings. Human stamina, however, proved inadequate to propel the craft for more than a few minutes. Miller later commissioned mining engineer William Symington (1763-1831) to build a steam engine to power another experimental craft. Engraving from 'A sketch of the origin and progress of steam navigation from authentic documents' by steam navigation pioneer Bennet Woodcroft (1803-1879) published in London in 1848.