Author(s): Sara Wright
Paddlewheel riverboat, showboat, sternwheeler: call it what you will, the steamboat revolutionized American travel in the 1800s. It was an era in which young boys dreamed of becoming river pilots and Mark Twain immortalized the Delta Queens that travelled up and down the Mississippi River. In this colorful history, steamboat enthusiast Sara Wright explains the factors that made the era perfect for the development of the steamboat industry, and looks at the people who were crucial to the development of the steam engine and paddle boat - including the important part played by the many African Americans who worked the river. Wright also examines the technology of these floating mansions, from firebaskets and cannons to radars and whistles to steam pressure gauges and other innovations.