National Geographic : 1892 Mar 18
ihe Evolution of Navigation. were slowly increased in size and number of rowers until three, four and even five banks of oars, one over the other, were used. They were often from 150 to 175 feet long, and from 18 to 26 feet in breadth, drawing from 10 to 12 feet of water and some times carrying two hundred rowers and several hundred men. All these ships were without decks, whether sailing on the Mediterranean or Atlantic. They sailed by day, putting into harbor at night, and never losing sight of land unless driven by stress of weather. At first they sailed only with the wind, but by slow degrees they learned to tack; then decks were built over the stern and prow, leaving the mid-ships exposed to the high seas. This class of vessels, sometimes with banks of oars, continued until the middle of the last century. In the early part of the fifteenth century smaller but stronger vessels of better material were built for the voyages of discovery undertaken by the Portuguese. At this time also the mariner's compass was brought into general use, having been introduced from Arabia; eighty years later it found its way to England. Two of the ves sels of Columbus were decked only at the prow and stern, and the three were manned by one hundred and twenty men. The Armada of Queen Elizabeth was formed of merchant vessels fitted up as men-of-war, and not until the time of Charles the First were there any regular ships of war in England or, probably, in other countries. Commerce was usually carried on by companies, with rules regulating the quantity of goods to be exported, so that the market should not be overstocked and unremunerative prices obtained. Sometimes the merchant was owner of the vessel, who adventured with his cargo and sailed in his own ship. The ships were constructed with little reference to speed, sailing forty or fifty miles a day.* The steam engine came into use near the middle of the eight eenth century in England, and two generations passed before it was used on vessels. The first steamboat ran on the Hudson in 1807, in England in 1812. Then another generation passed before the ocean was crossed by the Sirius and Great Western in 1833. These ships sailed from seven to eight knots an hour. Ten years later iron ships were built; then came the propeller, the inven * The breadth was about one-fourth the length, and not until within forty years were the proportions of one-tenth or one-twelfth of the breadth obtained.
1892 May 15
1892 Feb 19