By H. F. King
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Extra info for Aeromarine Origins - Putnam
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The steamer had a flat bottom 73 and was provided for about two thirds or three quarters of its whole length, measured from the stern forward, with four or five very shallow strips (one can hardly call them keels) running longitudinally, and closed at their forward ends. Into each of the channels thus made there was injected air by an air pump, under a slight pressure, only just sufficient to overcome the "head" water, and thus air travelled along the channels and escaped at the stern. In order to keep down the species of ebullition, there was a projecting work at the stern which earned for the boat the name of "Smoothing Iron".
It is understood, for example, that the earliest record at the Admiralty Experiment Works concerning air lubrication of ships is a letter dated November 23, 18 75, from Wm. Froude to Dr B. 1. ' Proposals and letters are, of course, welcome material in any book such as this; but there is nothing like the record of actual achievement to give sinew; and, viewed against mere suggestions, that which I now relate appears larger than life itself. The fact is that, even before Scott Russell was writing in 18 65 of 'proposals', a vessel with an unquestionably air-lubricated hull was in regular public service.