Archive for March, 2009

C.S.S. Manassas

Posted in Armored Devices, Ships on March 31, 2009 by secondmdus

After Ross Winan’s 1858 Cigar Ship, the idea of cigar-shaped vessels of war was widely circulated – coverage of his invention in Scientific American helped sparked the development of the David Boats, and perhaps F.D. Lee’s Torpedo Ram – which never got its iron shield, but was of similar shape and size.  While Winan’s sons tried to interest the U.S. and Russian Government in cigar-shaped gunboats, the Confederacy took a more direct approach with the C.S.S. Manassas.

This link has several great renderings of the Manassas well as several period engravings.

U.S.S. Alligator

Posted in Submarines (Pre-1900) on March 31, 2009 by secondmdus

The Alligator was an early Civil War submarine built by a Frenchman – this site has a short history of the submarine and some nice images of the inventor’s hand drawn plans.

A Steam Dinosaur

Posted in Traction Engines on March 31, 2009 by secondmdus

This is a link to a great story about the remains of what is perhaps the world’s oldest traction engine found buried and abandoned in the depths of an old mine.

Canada’s First Locomotive

Posted in Trains on March 29, 2009 by secondmdus

Yet another ancient steam engine – the Samson – Canada’s first locomotive …

Peppersass/ Mt. Washington Cog Railroad

Posted in Uncategorized on March 29, 2009 by secondmdus

This text comes from the website of the Mt. Washington Cog Railway, giving its history and of a unique steam engine – its first locomotive …”His dream began in 1852 when, after becoming lost near the summit of Mount Washington, Sylvester Marsh knew that there had to be a better way for people to reach the highest mountain peak in the Northeast. Upon his return home, he immediately started working on a plan to build the world’s first mountain climbing cog railway.

Marsh, a native of Campton, New Hampshire, had made his fortune in Chicago’s meat-packing industry and was considered by his contemporaries to be a creative and inventive thinker. However, upon first presenting his idea to members of the New Hampshire Legislature, they laughed at him and said that he “might as well build a railway to the moon.” Undaunted, Marsh began the task of building his mountain climbing railway, along with investors Herrick and Walter Aiken, a father and son team from Franklin, New Hampshire. The task was not an easy one, as equipment and materials had to be hauled by oxen for 25 miles to Bretton Woods, and then another 6 miles through thick forest to the base of Mount Washington. On July 3, 1869, ‘Old Peppersass’, now on display at the Base Station, became the first cog-driven engine to climb the 6,288-foot Mount Washington.” —  see for image on the engine – the railroad has great images of the road, its engines, and the view from the top  – have not had the chance to ride this train – has to be an incredible experience.

Mayall Revolving Cannon (1860s)

Posted in Civil War Guns, Unconventional Artillery on March 24, 2009 by secondmdus

Would you believe … imagine a cannon that was like a giant six chambered revolving pistol and you have the Mayall Revolving Cannon.  This one caught my eye on an online art site – several of which are selling large prints of the patent drawing of the gun – perfect if you are going for a outlandish weaponry vibe in you home …,M1

One has to wonder if the Mayall Gun suffered the same issues as Colt Revolving Rifles early on – think you are firing one, and you get all of them at once.

Here is a link to a short bio of Mayall.

As time permits, the Mayall gun is interesting enough for a closer look!

List of Confederate Patents

Posted in Uncategorized on March 24, 2009 by secondmdus

Came across the link while searching for Confederate Patents – it gives the full text of an out of print book called the Patent Office Pony that has lots of historical information in regard to the history of the US Patent Office, as well as a list of all known Confederate Patents … -main link – – sadly few (a handful of the originals remain thanks to the fires in Richmond at the end of the war …

Curiosities of Locomotive Design

Posted in Uncategorized on March 15, 2009 by secondmdus

This link is to a chapter from a 1907 book showing designs of unusual steam engines.

The Vasa

Posted in Uncategorized on March 13, 2009 by secondmdus

Since I was a child I have been fascinated by ships – one of my favorite school projects was a report on the Vasa – it is a truly amazing story – a Swedish flag ship that sunk on its maiden voyage in the 1600s, and was preserved in mud.   It was raised in the 1960s, and now can be seen at the Vasa Museum …


Posted in Ships on March 13, 2009 by secondmdus

While their is some regarding the claim of it being the first ironclad, the Kobukson, also known as the Turtle Ship was certainly an interesting approach to ship design in Korea in the 1500s – pity the poor boarding parties who ventured onto the straw mats atop the ship only to find that they were camouflage for sharply pointed metal spikes covering its turtle shaped hull -


The 2nd link  has an image of the cannons used on these ships – they shot giant metal tipped arrows …!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 196 other followers