Steamboatin' 101

By Lloyd Beckmann,
Beckmann Steam and Electric Boatshop, Limited

An introduction and refresher text for all steamers, with emphasis on steam powered watercraft.  Much of this text was originally published in Steamboat News, later Steamboating Magazine by the International Steamboat Society.  We are indebted to Bill Mueller, Editor and Publisher, for his kind permission to reproduce those portions of the text here.

Steamboatin' 101 Part 1

Since the initial publication of this text, in May, 1990, the growth of the live steam hobby has been dramatic.  During the decade since, we have built and delivered over one hundred steam boats, completely outfitted and as hulls to be completed by dedicated hobbyists. 
The number of steamboat meets around the world has likewise increased to a point where one is more than hard pressed to attend even a portion of them.  The original core of steamboaters has grown to include persons who never realized that this "steamboatin'" was going on.. 
Thanks are due to the brave magazine publishers and to the manufacturers of steamboats, without whom the development and expansion would never have occurred.  As we make a detailed observation today of steamboatin' it is now easy to see why the steam hobby must exist.  This opinion was shared by only a few, just a decade ago.
Quoting from the initial article in steamboatin' (Steamboat News):  "Without our support of (and assistance to) newcomers, our fascinating hobby stands in danger of extinction."  Gratefully we are long past that point. The sweat and tears of many who have labored hard have made our steamboatin' hobby a growing success.

Interest in a continuing steam primer series coincides with our long-standing intention to compile a beginner's book on the subject of steamboating.  We have found that many persons have an interest in steamboating, growing either from their basic interests in boating or in things mechanical, but have no means of learning some of the most basic information that will enable beginners to get started.
In this series, we will look at the technical aspects of steamboating, and also attempt to convey the social and cultural aspects of the hobby.  The ever-growing
list of annual steamboat meets through-

out the United States and many other countries, as well as the many informal local gatherings, attest to the steamboater's concern for the company of others and adds significantly to the hobby's enjoyment.
This series will attempt some semblance of logical progression, but will frequently digress to include interesting aspects of steam boating,  Inquiries, comments, suggestion, complaints, and the like will be most welcome.  These will, in general, not be dealt with on an individual basis, but will serve to form the content of the series.

Next  "Selecting a Steamboat Hull

              Steamboatin' 101 Table of  Contents         

Part 2    Selecting a Steamboat Hull
Part 3    Steam Boilers
Part 4    Balance, The Efficient Way
Part 5    The Single Cylinder Steam Engine
Part 6    The Compound Steam Engine
Part 7    Steam Engine Valves
Part 8    The Steam System, Diagram and Valves
Part 9    Continuing System Description
Part 10  Steam Boiler and Engine Accessories
Part 11  Finishing Touches