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Annotated Bibliography Sample

Atack, Jeremy; Bateman, Fred; Weiss, Thomas “The Regional Diffusion and Adoption of the Steam Engine in American Manufacturing.” The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 40, No. 2. (Jun. 1980): 281-308.

By 1900 almost 156,000 steam engines were used in factories. This is where the steam engine first gained popularity. The article also discusses the spread of the steam engine for various uses, one of which became known as the steamboat. In spite of the importance accorded the steam engine during nineteenth-century industrialization, little is known about its rate of diffusion in the United States. Another purpose of this paper is to enhance our knowledge about the spread of this technology. New evidence on steam power use in 1820, 1850, and 1860, combined with published census data from 1870, permits quantitative estimates of the regional variations in timing, pace, and extent of usage before 1900.

Brown, Alexander Crosby “The Old Bay Line of the Chesapeake: A Sketch of a Hundred
Years of Steamboat Operation.” William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, 2nd Ser., Vol. 18, No. 4. (Oct. 1938): 389-405.

This Article begins by talking about the Baltimore Steam Packet Company, which was organized in 1839 and incorporated by Maryland the next year. This article then goes on to talk about the “Old Bay Line” which is a path taken by steamboats in the Chesapeake Bay. The article also states that one of the earliest attempts to apply steam to the propulsion of watercraft took place on waters that flow into the Chesapeake. This article argues that the Chesapeake Bay should be recognized for steamboats being that first test took place there. Also, steamboats should be referenced to the “Bay Line Old” because this line may claim the distinction of being the oldest steamboat company in America plying over its original route.

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Foreman, Grant “River Navigation in the Early Southwest.” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 15, No. 1. (Jun. 1928): 34-55.

In this interesting article, the fact that rivers played a large part in the development of the west is stated. It includes a long discussion of the keelboat and the advances it made. It then discusses how the steamboat took over the keelboat and introduced a new era in the west. It increased the possibilities of commerce on western rivers, and gave great impetus to settlement in the country adjacent to those streams.

Gilmore, Robert Louis; Harrison, John Parker “Juan Bernardo Elbers and the Introduction of Steam Navigation on the Magdalena River.”
The Hispanic American Historical Review, Vol. 28, No. 3. (Aug. 1948): 335- 359.

This article talks about the advances in transportation. Prior to flight, the river was the primary source for passenger and freight traffic in many regions. The article then goes on to talk about early forms of river transportation by canoes constructed by the Indians. The need for more cargo transportation and less travel time is what led to the steamboat. This article discusses the problems including death and mass money loss involved in steamboat experimentation in Magdalena. These problems would have been equal to the ones the inventors in the United States would have faced.

Gray, William H. “Steamboat Transportation on the Orinoco.” The Hispanic American Historical Review, Vol. 25, No. 4. (Nov. 1945): 455-469.

Haites, Erik F.; Mak, James “Economies of Scale in Western River Steamboating.”
The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 36, No. 3. (Sep.1976): 689-703.

This article discuses how the pace of economic transformation in the State’s Economy grew rapidly by inventions, which allowed Americans to travel great distances. The transportation aids discussed in this article include canals, railroads and steamboats. Steamboats were first in this list, which became the dominant mode of transportation. Steamboats helped to reduce the actual cost of transportation in 1820-1860. Steamboats caused the colonization of the larger tributaries of rivers. Smaller tributaries were much smaller shallow, thus more expensive to navigate. This article also contains information and facts on early steamboats. This paper also analyzes 1850 cost data for a sample of 36 steamboats operating on five routes. The results indicate no economies or diseconomies of scale. Substantial differences in the cost per ton-mile are found between routes. These differences are largely explained by differences in capacity.

Harrison, John F. C. “”The Steam Engine of the New Moral World”: Owenism and Education, 1817-1829.”” The Journal of British Studies, Vol. 6, No. 2. (May 1967): 76-98.

Hunter, Louis C. “The Invention of the Western Steamboat.” The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 3, No. 2. (Nov. 1943): 201-220.

This was by far the most elaborate source I found on my topic. The article describes how the steamboat is the first great American contribution to modern technology. Soon after the steamboat was invented, it was adopted for the primary source of river transportation. Before long, the technology of the steamboat traveled all around the globe. In 1811 the steamboat was introduced to New Orleans and several steamboats were put to work. The article goes on to talk about the low-pressure boiler, which was created by Fulton, and soon replaced. With new power steamboats became even more affordable and practical.

Lynn, Martin “From Sail to Steam: The Impact of the Steamship Services on the British Palm Oil Trade with West Africa, 1850-1890.” The Journal of African History, Vol. 30, No. 2. (1989): 227-245.

In the late nineteenth century the West African palm oil trade entered a period of difficulties, characterized mainly by a fall in prices from the early 1860s. Part of the reason for this lay in the introduction of regular steamship services between Britain and West Africa from 1852. As steam came to replace sail so the palm oil trade underwent major changes. These changes can be quantified fairly precisely. One effect of the introduction of steamboats was the concentration of the British side of the oil trade once again on Liverpool, its original center. Another effect was the increase in the number of West African ports involved in the trade. The most important impact was the increase in numbers of traders in oil trade from around 25 to some 150. The resulting increased competition in the trade led to amalgamations becoming increasingly common – a process that caused the formation of the African Association Ltd in 1889. It was also to provide the context for the pressure exerted by some traders for an increased colonial presence in the 1880s and 1890s.

Mak, James; Walton, Gary M. “Steamboats and the Great Productivity Surge In River Transportation.” The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 32, No. 3. (Sep.1972): 619-640.

This article emphasizes that steamboats increased colonization around rivers. Unsettled backwoods regions were turned into agricultural lands. Steamboats wiped out some forms of river and fright transportation while others, such as flatboating, remained competitive. This article also measures the productivity change in steam boating on western rivers during a period of western expansion. Because of the quicker transportation time of steamboats, the navigation season was extended. This allowed more products and/or people to travel.

Nichols, Roger L. “Army Contributions to River Transportation, 1818-1825.” Military Affairs, Vol. 33, No. 1. (Apr. 1969): 242-249.

This article brings up interesting topics on how the army helped contribute to various aspects of the United States. One example of army technological contributions is the famous steamboat Western Engineer, designed by Major Stephen Long. This boat was creative because it sat on the water rather than in it. This allowed for shallow water travel. Although Long did not create this idea, it was one of the first models to achieve any success. Long also moved the paddle wheels from the usual position amidships, to the stern. This allowed for narrow river travel.

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