Steamboats of The Mississippi - Boiler Explosions

Boiler Explosions

In the forty years to the mid-century mark, there were some 4,000 fatalities on the river due to boiler explosions. Some 500 vessels were wrecked by the peril. Early boilers were riveted of weak iron plate. Vessels at the time were not inspected, or insured. Passengers were on their own. Meanwhile, the explosions continued: the Teche in 1825, with sixty killed; the Ohio and the Macon in 1826; the Union and the Hornet in 1827; the Grampus in 1828; the Patriot and the Kenawa in 1829; the Car of Commerce and the Portsmouth in 1830; the Moselle"" in 1838.

Mark Twain noted a bad boiler explosion which occurred aboard the steamboat Pennsylvania in 1858. Among the injured passengers was Henry Clemens, his brother, whose skin had been badly scalded. Twain came to visit Henry in an improvised hospital. This is how he described the long painful death of his brother: “For forty-eight hours I labored at the bedside of my poor burned and bruised but uncomplaining brother...and then the star of my hope went out and left me in the gloom of despair...” On February 24, 1830, as the Helen McGragor prepared to pull away from the Memphis waterfront, the starboard boiler blew. The blast itself and flying debris killed a number of people, and about thirty others were scalded to death. The boiler explosions aboard the Sultana in 1865 near Memphis, resulted in loss of life which exceeded that of even the Titanic, and is considered the worst maritime disaster in US history.

Read more about this topic:  Steamboats Of The Mississippi

Other articles related to "boiler explosions, boiler":

Locomotive Boiler Explosions in The UK
... Hewison (1983) gives a comprehensive account of British boiler explosions, listing 137 between 1815 and 1962 ... Boiler explosions generally fell into two categories ... The first is the breakage of the boiler barrel itself, through weakness/damage or excessive internal pressure, resulting in sudden discharge of steam over a wide area ...
Shipwrecks Of The Inland Columbia River - Boiler Explosion
... Steamboat boiler explosions had been a common problem on the Mississippi River system well before the steamboats began serious operations in the Pacific Northwest in the 1850s ... Considerable work was done in the 1840s and 1850s to understand what caused boiler explosions, and these came down to many causes, including general wear and ... People noticed early on that most of boiler explosions occurred just as steamboats were leaving (or sometimes arriving at) a landing ...

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