Paddle boats Information

A paddle steamer is a ship or boat driven by a steam engine that uses one or more paddle wheels to develop thrust for propulsion. It is also commonly a type of steamboat. Paddle steamers usually carry the prefix "PS". Although generally associated with steam power, paddleboats or paddlewheelers have also been driven by diesel engines, animal power, or human power.

The paddle wheel was the first practical form of mechanical propulsion applied to a boat, but has now been almost entirely superseded by the screw propeller and other, more modern forms of marine propulsion.

The paddle wheel is a large wheel, generally built of a steel framework, upon the outer edge of which are fitted numerous paddle blades . The bottom quarter or so of the wheel travels underwater. Rotation of the paddle wheel produces thrust, forward or backward as required. More advanced paddle wheel designs have featured feathering methods that keep each paddle blade oriented closer to vertical while it is in the water; this increases efficiency. The upper part of a paddle wheel is normally enclosed in a paddlebox to minimise splashing.

Wikipedia, Paddle boats, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paddle_steamer (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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