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Bessemer Saloon Steamer, 1874

Bessemer Saloon Steamer, 1874


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38.3 MB (10.8 MB compressed)

4200 x 3184 pixels

35.6 x 26.9 cm ⏐ 14.0 x 10.6 in (300dpi)

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The SS Bessemer (also called the Bessemer Saloon) was an experimental Victorian cross-Channel passenger paddle steamer with a swinging cabin, a concept devised by the engineer and inventor Henry Bessemer, intended to combat seasickness. Bessemer, a severe seasickness sufferer, devised in 1868 the idea of a ship whose passenger cabin, the Saloon, would be suspended on gimbals and kept horizontal mechanically to isolate the occupants from the ship's motion: an idea he patented in December 1869. The ship sailed from Dover to Calais on a private trial in April 1875. On arrival, it sustained damage to a paddlewheel when it hit the pier at Calais, due to its failure to answer to the helm at slow speed. The first and only public voyage took place on May 8, 1875, the ship sailing with the swinging cabin locked. After two attempts to enter the harbour, it crashed into the Calais pier again, this time demolishing part of it.

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