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Frédéric Sauvage devoted all his time and money on work to develop the screw propeller, and Augustin Normand saw that it might be usefully applied to a new ship which he was planning, the Napoléon. Normand and Sauvage came to an agreement, whereby Normand would cover the costs of a trial, but would reserve the rights to modify the design.
Between January and July 1843 Normand worked with the respected British marine engineer John Barnes to carry out trials of eight designs of propeller. Sauvage had recommended a helicoid with a single turn of the spiral, but to Sauvage's dismay, Normand and Barnes showed that their developments, with several blades, were superior to Sauvage's.