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Encyclopedia Dubuque

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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa.




Difference between revisions of "STEAM SLEIGHS"

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STEAM SLEIGHS. Bizarre transportation scheme in the early Midwest. Dependency on the [[MISSISSIPPI RIVER]] for communication led to frontier hardships when the frozen river prevented ships from reaching settlements like Dubuque. In 1835 J. D. Carson and Jonathan Haines announced plans to solve winter transportation and communication problems by harnessing steam power to sleighs. A route would run between Galena, Dubuque, and settlements north along the river.  
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STEAM SLEIGHS. Dependency on the [[MISSISSIPPI RIVER]] for communication led to frontier hardships when the frozen river prevented ships from reaching settlements like Dubuque. In 1835 J. D. Carson and Jonathan Haines announced plans to solve winter transportation and communication problems by harnessing steam power to sleighs. A route would run between Galena, Dubuque, and settlements north along the river.  
  
 
The first test of the steam sleigh was made in January 1836, on the Fever River. With doors closed and stoves on board, the craft offered protection from cold weather. A watertight hull was used in the event the ice beneath the sleigh collapsed. The inventors claimed the power of the steam engine would be enough to drive the sleigh out of water and onto firm ice. Newspapers of the period heralded the fact that by operating on ice the trip could be made on a level surface needing no repair or maintenance.  
 
The first test of the steam sleigh was made in January 1836, on the Fever River. With doors closed and stoves on board, the craft offered protection from cold weather. A watertight hull was used in the event the ice beneath the sleigh collapsed. The inventors claimed the power of the steam engine would be enough to drive the sleigh out of water and onto firm ice. Newspapers of the period heralded the fact that by operating on ice the trip could be made on a level surface needing no repair or maintenance.  

Latest revision as of 21:04, 17 May 2018

STEAM SLEIGHS. Dependency on the MISSISSIPPI RIVER for communication led to frontier hardships when the frozen river prevented ships from reaching settlements like Dubuque. In 1835 J. D. Carson and Jonathan Haines announced plans to solve winter transportation and communication problems by harnessing steam power to sleighs. A route would run between Galena, Dubuque, and settlements north along the river.

The first test of the steam sleigh was made in January 1836, on the Fever River. With doors closed and stoves on board, the craft offered protection from cold weather. A watertight hull was used in the event the ice beneath the sleigh collapsed. The inventors claimed the power of the steam engine would be enough to drive the sleigh out of water and onto firm ice. Newspapers of the period heralded the fact that by operating on ice the trip could be made on a level surface needing no repair or maintenance.

The initial trial of the sleigh was disappointing when the engine proved too small to propel the sleigh. The inventors neither took out a patent on their contraption nor did they unveil another model. Continued population growth in communities like Dubuque soon encouraged the development of RAILROADS, and steam sleighs were quickly forgotten.

See: PATENTS