Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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George Beadon

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Capt. George Beadon, R.N.

1860 'Captain Beadon's Experimental Steamer—The inventor of the Ichthyon writes that his passage from Bristol Harbour to Keynsham, on Thursday, was highly succesful. He says:- " I left Bristol at 5 p.m., on Thursday last, with only one propeller and one engine, and, against the opinion of engineers and others, the Ichthyon braved the rapid freshes of the Avon, which have been unusually strong for this season of the year during the past four or five days. She reached Keynsham by 9 p.m., against this tremendous current, and has added another plume to the catalogue of her many virtues, that of being perfect double boat, in every sense of the word. With the safety-valve gone of one boiler, and with broken shaft.,' scotched but not killed,' she performed her task.".'[1]

Note: A photograph of the Ichthyon is available online, here[2]

1860 'Ichthyon—A few days since we had an opportunity of seeing the experimental model steamship of Captain Beadon, R.N., of Creechbarrow, Somerset, on her way to London, via our canal and the river Thames. On reaching her destination, she will be taken to the Serpentine and undergo the scrutiny of those who have made such subjects their particular study. The system on which such ships are to be constructed is entirely different from that which has hitherto been adopted. The under part of the ship consists of two or more tubular vessels united with the superstructure or hull, somewhat resembling the double war canoes of Polynesia. The foremost end of each tubular vessel is fitted with a strong fixed axle projecting from its centre. Upon each axle is placed a revolving conical stem having spiral blades extending from the base to the apex of the cone. These are under the bows of the ship, and when turned round by steam or other power, produce the effect of pectoral fins. The mechanical action is to bore through the water, by which operation the fluid is not raised in iront, nor is resistance accumulated before the vessel in motion, however great the speed may be. It is supposed that many improvements in naval architecture will arise from the application of this principle, the conical stem propeller having the qualifications both of a screw and paddle-wheel, without the disadvantages of either. It acts without causing vibration or shaking in the vessel, and is equally effective whether it be entirely or partially immersed. When a vessel is built for tbe purpose, the conical stem propeller produces a waveless course ; and it will work through masses of weeds and even mud banks without being fouled. The vessel can be stopped and turned in her own length by the conical propeller, in a manner that cannot be effected in any other. Many other advantages are mentioned by Captain Beadon as attending his mode of constructing vessels, and he also states that a speed of 32 miles an hour might be maintained with a conical stem of 20 feet base, when turned at the rate of 80 revolutions a minute. Captain Beadon has already received many approving testimonials, and is quite confident that his system will be well received by the scientific world.'[3]

1860 'A Marine Novelty. - A model steam-boat, called the Ichthyon, designed and built by Captain Beadon, R.N., has during the past few days been plying the Serpentine, London. It is upon the principle of the double canoe, and appears admirably adopted for testing the merits the peculiar form of screw and mode of propulsion adopted by the inventor. This twin-boat is, in fact, raised out the water and supported upon two pontoons of cylindrical form two feet in diameter, and 18 feet long. These pontoons or tubes are each fitted with solid conical spiral screw at the stem, driven by a direct centre shaft worked in the usual manner. The propellers are made to act together, or in opposite directions, in such a way that the vessel is driven by one or both, and may turned in a sweep of little more than her own length. This model is only three tons burden, roughly built, and very imperfectly fitted with machinery, and towed two barges from Bristol, laden with 90 tons of stone, in shallow water at the rate of three miles an hour. The Ichthyon was designed rather for the navigation of canals, but the principle of construction appears to secure the steadiness and stability, as well as other advantages necessary to gunboats and larger vessels of war.'[4]

1866 'The Cigar Ship.— ln Vice-Chancellor Wood's Court on Thursday, Capt. Beadon applied for an injunction against Mr. Winans, the constructor of the cigar ship launched early this year, on the ground that the defen- dant had infringed a patent obtained by the plaintiff in 1852 for a contrivance somewhat similar to the conical revolving bow and screw propeller blades, rotating round a shaft moved by internal machinery, which, as our readers are aware, is one peculiarity of Mr. Winans' curious vessel. It seemed that the plaintiff had never made any use of his patent, which was about to expire, and defendant's counsel stated that the cigar ship was constructed as a purely scientific experiment in ignorance of any patent taken out by the plaintiff, who, with full knowledge two years ago of what the defendant was doing, had allowed him to proceed with his experiment. — The Vice-Chancellor said that but for the circumstance that the defendant was about at once to take the ship out of the jurisdiction, a very much more favourable case on behalf of the plaintiff than that which was here shown would be required to induce the Court to grant an injunction anterior to the hearing. Having regard to all the circumstances, to the fact that the defendant had a residence in this country, and that this alleged infringement was not carried out in the way described by the plaintiff, the case was much too vague for the Court to depart from the ordinary practice in patent cases. There would be no order upon the present motion.— Costs to be costs in the cause.'[5]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser - Wednesday 5 September 1860
  2. [1] Royal Collection Trust, photograph of 'Ichthyon'
  3. Devizes and Wiltshire Gazette - Thursday 13 September 1860
  4. Kentish Independent - Saturday 20 October 1860
  5. Bury and Norwich Post - Tuesday 29 May 1866