Pittsburgh, Oct. 26

The steam boat built at this place by Mr. [Roosevelt] & Co proceeded a few days ago on its first voyage.  I see it noticed in the seaport papers as an object of importance; but from [some?] remarks I perceive that they are unacquainted with the extent of the commerce that is already carried on here.  If several should be fitted out (as is intended I believe) they would be of great importance to the town, and to this part of the country — of so much, that if a non-intercourse be maintained with other nations (as is expected) this town will enjoy the means of acquiring wealth to a greater extent than any seaport town on the continent.  

On account of the [cheapness?] of fuel here, steam may be applied with great advantage to a thousand purposes; might it not be well therefore to examine whether there could not be some improvement in the mode of its application.
In the boat of Mr. Rosevelt, as is usual in this country, the steam operates by filling and exhausting the two ends of the cylinder, alternately which contains the piston; not according to the manner explained in our system of philosophy, by expansion and condensation.  

The new method has been brought to great perfection; otherwise it is in its nature much inferior to the old, because by it the contracted power of the steam is entirely lost.  That power as equal to the weight of the atmosphere, or (to make the matter plain to our mill wrights) it is equal to the power of a head of water thirty feet high, acting upon a surface the size of the piston, which may be two or three feet in diameter.

Steamboat Adventure
Made possible by the Rivers Institute and the
History Department of Hanover College.


How to cite this article:  "Pittsburgh, Oct. 26," Western Spy (Cincinnati, Ohio), 16 Nov. 1811, p. 2, available at http://history.hanover.edu/texts/1811.