In 1801 the London newspapers contained the announcement that an experiment had taken place on the Thames, on July 1st, for the purpose of propelling a laden barge, or other craft, against the tide, by means of a steam-engine of a very simple construction.
“The moment the engine was set to work the barge was brought about, answering her helm quickly, and she made way against a strong current, at the rate of two and a half miles an hour.”
In 1802 a new vessel was built expressly for steam navigation, on the Forth and Clyde Canal, under Symington’s supervision, the Charlotte Dundas, which was minutely inspected on the same day by Robert Fulton, of New York, and Henry Bell, of Glasgow, both of whom took sketches of the machinery to good purpose.
This boat drew a load of seventy tons, at a speed of three and a half miles an hour, against a strong gale of wind. Under ordinary conditions she made six miles an hour, but her admitted success was cut short by the Canal Trust, who alleged that the wash of the steamer would destroy the embankment.