Free Wind or Bought Wind: Shifting Power Generation at Sea

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Shifting Power Generation at Sea over Two Centuries


Historian and author John Laurence Busch will chronicle the long evolution from natural power to artificial power at sea, breaking down the development from both a “steamboat” and “steamship” perspective. 

Then he will analyze modern-day efforts to re-introduce various forms of natural power to modern, artificially-powered commercial vessels, and the rationale for doing so.

The Savannah is more than a “steamship.” She is the first example of globalized high technology in history. And her hybrid-power configuration just might be making a comeback.

This will include an analysis of the types of fuel used to power the “new mode of transport,” as well as efforts by the “old mode of transport” (i.e., sail) to compete, which led to a very long battle for supremacy at sea.

The presentation will analyze modern-day efforts to re-introduce various forms of natural power to modern, artificially powered commercial vessels.

Finally, the possibility that other high technologies will revert to some or a greater share of natural power generation will be explored, and how studying the initial development of these inventions might help show the way forward.



  Date and Time

  Location

  Contact

  Registration



  • Cedar Rapids Public Library (downtown)
  • 450 5th Ave SE
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • United States 52401
  • Room Number: Beems Auditorium B (second floor)
  • Click here for Map
  • Starts 26 September 2019 02:16 PM
  • Ends 10 October 2019 05:16 PM
  • All times are US/Central
  • No Admission Charge
  • Register


  Speakers

John Busch

Topic:

Free Wind or Bought Wind? Shifting Power Generation at Sea over Two Centuries

At the beginning of the 19th century, the human race remained—practically speaking—in the same place it had been for millennia.  To wit, humans were beholden to the omnipotence of Nature, meaning the only way to move themselves from one place to another was by natural means.  On land, this meant foot, hoof, or wheel, all of which were powered by animals; on water, it was either human-driven paddles or wind-driven sails.  There was little reason to believe human locomotion would ever be any different.

Then, in 1807, an American named Robert Fulton built and ran the first commercially successful “steamboat” in history.  In so doing, Fulton achieved something epically important: he proved that humans could create an artificial power to alter where they were, and when they were there, to practical effect.  No other invention had achieved such a thing, and accordingly, steamboats may be considered the first “high technology” in history.

But the transition from sail energy to steam energy was not immediate, or easy.

This presentation will demonstrate the long evolution from natural sail power to artificial steam power, breaking down the development from both a “steamboat” and “steamship” perspective.  This will include an analysis of the types of fuel used to power the “new mode of transport,” as well as efforts by the “old mode of transport” (i.e., sail) to compete, which led to a very long battle for supremacy at sea.
 
Then, the presentation will analyze modern-day efforts to re-introduce various forms of natural power to modern, artificially-powered commercial vessels, and the rationale for doing so. 
 
Finally, the possibility that other high technologies will revert to some or a greater share of natural power generation will be explored, and how studying the initial development of these inventions might help show the way forward.

Biography:

John Laurence Busch is an independent historian who focuses upon the interaction between humanity and technology, with a particular specialization in the first generation of steam-powered vessels.  He has devoted years of research to discovering the true story of Captain Moses Rogers and the steamship Savannah

This led him to scour archives and libraries from Portland, Maine to Savannah, Georgia, and many locales in between, to piece together the life and career of Moses Rogers, as well as the actors and events that resulted in the formation of the Savannah Steam Ship Company, and the construction of the steamship Savannah.

This research inevitably continued across the Atlantic Ocean, where John searched the archives of the United Kingdom, and with the assistance of others, the archives of other European countries which experienced this “Wonder of the Age” called the steamship Savannah.

The result is STEAM COFFIN, the most descriptive account of the saga of Captain Moses Rogers and the steamship Savannah ever written.  The foundation for such a story rests upon the contents of never-before-published manuscripts and newspaper articles, which provide an abundance of new details illuminating the actions and attitudes of those who participated in, and witnessed, the creation and voyage of the Savannah.

John’s careful weaving together of many disparate sources results in a narrative that recalls both the fabric and style used in storytellings of old.  It also shows just what Captain Moses Rogers and the steamship Savannah accomplished for posterity.





Agenda

4:30 pm Register, Networking

5:00 pm Program begins

Food and beverages are available at the Library for purchase ahead of the program. 



Program Poster click here

Steam Coffin book reviews click here