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Bishop, J. Leander (John Leander), 1820-1868 / A history of American manufactures from 1608 to 1860 : exhibiting the origin and growth of the principal mechanic arts and manufactures, from the earliest colonial period to the adoption of the Constitution ; and comprising annals of the industry of the United States in machinery, manufactures and useful arts, with a notice of the important inventions, tariffs, and the results of each decennial census
Volume 3 (1868)

Manufactures of New York and Brooklyn,   pp. 119-216


Page 124

REMARKABLE MANUFACTORIES OF NEW YORK.
efforts to improve upon all that had.been previously done. He now built
the engines of the North Carolina, South Carolina, and Robert Fulton,
steamships, and repaired the Savannah. The Savannah was finished in
1817, and will be remembered as having made the voyage to Liver-
pool in 1819, and as being the first steamship that crossed the Atlantic
Ocean. Her original cylinder was on exhibition at the World's Fair,
in New York, in 1853-diameter 44 inches, 5 feet stroke.
There was tiow found to be a demand for increased accommodations
on the Hudson River, and the steamboats North River, Fire Fly, and
Chief Justice Marshall, were built for that trade-each of them having
boilers made of copper-as there was then no iron of suitable quality
manufactured for the purpose, nor was it believed that this metal had
the requisite tensile strength to stand the pressure. At this period
wood was universally used for generating steam ; and, with the flames
extending out of the smoke-stacks of the steamboats at night, as they
passed up and down the river, they were the wonder and awe of the
ignorant and superstitious who beheld them. About this time anthra-
cite coal was being developed to a limited extent in Pennsylvania, and
Mr. Allaire entertained the opinion that it was possible to use it as a
fuel for making steam. Most of his associates in steamboating reso-
lutely opposed his theories on that subject; but he at length prevailed
upon them to allow him to make the experiment, and the Car of Nep-
tune was laid up to have new and suitable grate bars put in her furnace
for that purpose. Such was the prejudice against this new innovation,
that the firemen of the boat refused to attempt to burn " black stone,"
declaring it an impossibility, and Mr. Allaire was obliged to take some
of his best workmen from his shop to assist him, and he (being chief
fireman) did actually, after most herculean exertions, succeed in getting
the boat to Albany in eighteen hours. Notwithstanding this trial had
demonstrated that it was possible to use anthracite coal as fuel to make
steam, Mr. Allaire's associates were too conservative to aid in developing
a better method of accomplishing the purpose, and steamboats con-
tinued to light the heavens in their nightly voyages on the Hudson
River for a longer period-wood being the only fuel that was deemed
practicable.
Mr. Allaire continued in the business on his own account until the
year 1842, always exerting himself to his utmost to improve and sim-
plify the steam engine, giving his personal attention to details, and
instructing his subordinates to invariably reject imperfect castings, and
to permit no piece of machinery to pass their inspection unless it was
perfect of its kind. During the year last named Mr. Allaire associated
others with him, who formed a joint-stock company, incorporated under
124


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