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The Steamboat Montana and the Opening of the WestHistory, Excavation, and Architecture$
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Annalies Corbin

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813032542

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813032542.001.0001

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Construction and Engineering

Construction and Engineering

(p.86) 5. Construction and Engineering
The Steamboat Montana and the Opening of the West

Annalies Corbin

Bradley A. Rodgers

University Press of Florida

A scale model of the stern section of the Montana, based on measurements, drawings, and photographs compiled during the archaeological project, was developed specifically to answer questions concerning the engineering of the vessel. As an added bonus, the activity of model construction provided much-needed insight into how the Montana was constructed. It seems likely from the model construction that the Montana was built in simple prefabricated pieces and assembled on the ways. This method would have been cost effective and efficient given the ship's abnormally large size and the constraints imposed by it. The engines on the Montana were powerful for their size, converting the 130 to 160 pounds (59 to 75.6 kg) of steam pressure supplied by the boilers to locomotive power. The Montana was driven by two of these engines: one mounted on each set of cylinder timbers, port and starboard. The Montana carried boilers specially developed for western river use called flue boilers. Just as steamer hulls and engines had been adapted to the particular exigencies of a riverine environment, the western river flue boiler was a regional variation of accepted boiler technology. And like the other components of the western river steamer, it was designed to contend with the harsh elements of river use while advancing engineers' aims to make boats that were powerful, light, and maneuverable.

Keywords:   Montana, steamboats, shipbuilding, scale models, engines, flue biolers

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