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The Ships of the Future

N.B., September, 1906

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N.B., September, 1906.

During the seventeen years that have elapsed since "The Ships of the Future" was printed, I have made several experiments (though only on a small scale, and therefore not entirely conclusive) with the system of floats—free to move vertically as described therein—with disappointing results.

Then I read in "Pearson's Magazine" of Mr. Linden's experiments in Italy with flaps (called by him "fins") fixed at bow and stern of a boat, and their partial success. I recognised at once that Mr. Linden's method was the right one for the use of wave power for moving boats, being simple and direct.

Therefore, I wish those who read "The Ships of the Future" to regard them (all floats having been removed) as being propelled by steam power—it moving the drums, they moving the vertically-positioned paddles—non-splashing—wasting no energy —except momentarily at the turn at each end, etc., etc., or else— perhaps preferably—by the Turbine system, which I have not read enough of to understand. In connection with this request, I may state that I had written half of "The Ships of the Future" before the idea of using wave power occurred to me.

As another and independent branch of the subject, I would here state that I think that in the future that it is not impossible that unsinkable cargo ships on a large scale, moved chiefly by wind power, with rows of low masts, set at various angles, with sails made of steel, on the Venetian blind principle (thus with no "bellyings"), manned with less than one-tenth of the usual crew—in proportion to cargo—(nearly all work being done by machinery) will be used. For such ships there would be no bad weather—no trouble for officers or crews, but everything and everybody always comfortable.

E. Fairburn 20.8.06