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10 July 2017:  STEAM COFFIN’s Part in Forming “Steam Bridges” Examined—


I made a presentation at the Bridge Conference, held at the Museum of Iron in Coalbrookdale, Shropshire, United Kingdom.  This conference, sponsored by the University of Birmingham's Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, sought to explore the concept of the bridge and its effects throughout history.  Accordingly, my presentation was entitled:


"Steam Bridges: Revolutionary Linkages Using the First High Technology in History"


In this presentation, I described how steam-powered vessels acted as a new kind of revolutionary "bridge" where none had previously existed, or if it did (like a "land bridge"), its pathways (i.e., roads) were so poor as to be undependable.  Sometimes, this "steam bridge" was simply a ferry connecting opposite sides of a river or bay, where no physical bridge could then be built.  Other times, it connected -- hop-skotch style -- a series of places, such as Buffalo, New York and intermediate stops along the south shore of Lake Erie, ending at Detroit in the Michigan Territory.


Then I illustrated how, as the capabilities of this first high technology grew, so did the length of the steam bridges created.  This included the potential for an Atlantic steam bridge, as shown by the steamship Savannah's crossing in 1819.


I concluded by suggesting that all of the high technologies that followed in the wake of steam vessels created their own kind of "bridge," either brand new or more efficient than any prior connection.


I'm pleased to report that the presentation served to jar conference participants, whose perspectives were largely focused on the traditional physical bridge.


***


22 June 2017:  STEAM COFFIN’s Role in Creating More Perfect Unions Illustrated—


I made a presentation at the Union and Dis-Union Conference, held at Plymouth University in the United Kingdom.  The conference's objective was to explore, in the wake of Brexit, the many ways in which people have been brought together or driven apart throughout history.  Accordingly, my presentation was entitled:


"More Perfect Unions: Forging Closer Ties Using the First Generation of Steam-Powered Vessels"


In this presentation, I described how the first high technology -- steam-powered vessels -- served as an unprecedented and powerful tool for uniting people politically, economically and socially.  This I did by focusing upon how steam vessels forged closer ties on a regional, national and international level, in the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere.


This included the effect of the steamship Savannah's crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in 1819, which spurred the British to catch up to the Americans technologically, and successfully cross the ocean continuously under steam power in 1838.


I concluded the presentation by suggesting that the other time-and-space-altering high technologies served to form "more perfect unions" in their own ways, which can serve as fertile ground for additional research.


I'm happy to report that the presentation generated a lively discussion and many follow-up questions and compliments.


***


22 May 2017:  Steam Coffin Re-appears in National Maritime Day Presidential Proclamation—


President Trump has cured a 23-year case of bipartisan historical amnesia by specifically mentioning the steamship Savannah in the 2017 Presidential Proclamation for National Maritime Day.  This represents only the second time since 1993 that the Savannah’s departure on her epochal voyage has been noted within the text of the proclamation as being the basis for choosing May 22nd to commemorate America’s merchant mariners.  (The other time was 2011, when, at my initiative, President Obama mentioned the steamship in his proclamation of that year.)


In late March of this year, I sent a detailed communication to the White House staff, explaining the ongoing omission of the Savannah from the proclamation, and the need to remember precisely why May 22nd was selected for National Maritime Day, as had been done from 1933 to 1993.  My request that mention be made of the Savannah has been honored, as the 2017 proclamation states:


“...The Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 20, 1933, has designated May 22 of each year as ‘National Maritime Day,’ to commemorate the first transoceanic voyage by a steamship, in 1819 by the S.S. Savannah...”


Mission accomplished.


***


12 May 2017:  STEAM COFFIN’s Role in Caribbean Confrontations Explored—


I made a presentation at the Spaces of Confrontation Conference, sponsored by the Real Colegio Complutense at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This conference's purpose was to explore different spaces in which a confrontation took place within the Atlantic World.  Accordingly, my presentation was entitled:


"Steam for War, Steam for Peace: Caribbean Space Confrontations (and 'Cooperations') with the First High Technology"


In this presentation, I described the post-Napoleaonic state of affairs in the Caribbean Sea, with South American Patriot privateers (i.e., officially-sanctioned pirates for the revolutionary governments of South America) effectively decimating the Spanish merchant fleet.  So successful were the Patriot privateers that they ran out of Spanish targets, and began preying on any merchant vessels they could find (thereby becoming outright pirates).  This led to calls in the U.S. for an effective counter-force to the privateers-turned-pirates.


Then I noted an attempt to employ the steamship Savannah for just such a purpose, and why this effort to "steam for war" failed.


Next, I showed how a number of commercial ocean steamers successfully "steamed for peace," outrunning and avoiding any harm from the pirates of the Caribbean, proving that a steam vessel's speed and maneuverability gave it a clear advantage.


Then I illustrated how "steaming for peace" in combination with increased public pressure led to the acquisition of a commercial steam vessel by the U.S. Navy, which converted it into the first armed, ocean-going steamer in the Navy's history, the U.S. Steam Galliot Sea Gull.  This vessel helped turn the tide against the pirates, making the Caribbean Sea safe for vessels of all nations.


Finally, I closed by suggesting that each time-and-space-altering high technology has experienced its own spaces of confrontation, and that much more work could be done comparing and contrasting how each high technology was used to address each particular challenge.


I am pleased to report that the presentation generated an interesting round of questions, as well as kudos.


***


29 April 2017:  STEAM COFFIN Shown to be Part of High Tech Epoch—


I made a presentation at the World History: Theory and Practice Conference, held at St. John's University in New York, New York, which was entitled:


“High Tech Epoch: Giving Time-and-Space-Altering Technology its Rightful Place in World History”


In this presentation, I described the means by which the past is normally taught in the Modern Era, with its focus upon political and social history.  I further noted that technological history is almost always treated as an important yet secondary influence over the past 200+ years.


Then, I suggested that not only should technological history be given equal billing with political, economic and social history, but that time-and-space-altering high technologies serve as a critically important element for understanding the Modern Era -- so much so that this period in human history could be called the "High Tech Epoch."

 

I then provided numerous examples of how the first high technology -- steam vessels -- served to dramatically alter society on a variety of levels.  This included the effect of the steamship Savannah's crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in 1819.


Finally, I closed by suggesting that this High Tech Epoch, if incorporated into the existing curriculum, would give students a far better understanding of not only what has transpired during the Modern Era, but what is coming.


I am pleased to report that the presentation generated a lively round of questions and compliments.


***


28 April 2017:  STEAM COFFIN’s Foundation for Fears Explored—


I made a presentation before the 13th Annual Conference of the International Association for the Study of Environment, Space and Place (“IASESP”), which was held at National University in La Jolla, California.  This year’s conference theme was “nightmare spaces/uncanny places.”  Accordingly, my presentation was entitled:


“Steaming in a Coffin: The Foundation for Fears of the First ‘Steamship’ ”


In this presentation, I began by illustrating how the greatest fear of the first “steamboats” (explosion and fire) was ameliorated by a number of factors, including:


-- proximity to land;

-- indeed, practical envelopment by the land;

-- a comforting name (i.e., “boats” by definition normally operated in protected waters).


Then I described how the prospect of crossing the ocean in a steam-powered vessel represented a marked multiplication of challenges (and fears), specifically:


-- environmental (i.e., a hostile ocean);

-- spatial (i.e., a crossing distance of over 4,000 miles);

-- technological (i.e., designing a vessel that could survive the first two challenges);

-- psychological (i.e., human fear of the unknown).


The sum total of these fears represented the challenge of overcoming a perceived “nightmare space” (a “steamship”) operating in an “uncanny place” (the ocean). 


I then illustrated how Moses Rogers addressed each one of these challenges, and subsequently broke the psychological barrier by successfully crossing the Atlantic Ocean in the steamship Savannah.


Finally, I closed by suggesting that each time-and-space-altering high technology could be explored on the same basis, to discover their own forms of nightmare spaces/uncanny places.”


I'm pleased to report that the presentation resulted in a wave of questions, comments and compliments.


***


5 November 2016:  STEAM COFFIN Contributes to the Creation of the High Tech Super-Human—


I made a presentation at the 38th Annual Conference of the Humanities and Technology Association ("HTA"), which was held at Salve Regina University, in Newport, Rhode Island.  My presentation was entitled:


“Steam Gentry to Wired Ones: The Dawn and Advance of the High Tech Super-Human"


This presentation served to complement and extend the ideas I introduced in my talk before the 35th HTA Conference three years ago.  For this 38th Conference, I stated that the first generation of humans who used the first high technology (i.e., steam-powered vessels) practically possessed a kind of magical power, which gave them abilities superior to those who continued to travel on water by natural means (i.e., via human-powered oars or wind-powered sails).  In other words, people who patronized the steamboats were, at least temporarily, high technology super-humans.


Then I noted that the successful crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by Captain Rogers and the steamship Savannah in 1819 represented the dawn of the globalized high tech super-human.


Finally, I showed how the powers of this water-based high tech super-human expanded, first to land (with steam-powered railroads), and then virtually (with the electro-magnetic telegraph), continuing right up to the late 20th/early 21st century internet.  The present-day result of this progression can be a combination, or hybrid, high tech super-human that employs multiple time-and-space altering technologies at once.  (Think sending a text message on a cell phone while flying on a commercial airliner.)


I'm pleased to report that the presentation generated a lively round of questions, including:


-- Are all high technologies (as defined) progress?
-- Can a modern person operate effectively without using all of the high technologies available?


***


8 October 2016:  STEAM COFFIN’s Captain Rogers a Part of Philadelphia’s First High Technology Leadership—


I made a presentation at the annual conference of the Pennsylvania Historical Society, which was held at Shippensburg University, in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.  The conference's theme this year was "technology, business and environment."  Accordingly, my presentation was entitled:


“Second to None: Philadelphia's Leading Role in Promoting the First High Technology in History"


In this presentation, I described how, in the wake of Robert Fulton's North River Steam Boat success, Philadelphia found itself at a distinct disadvantage.  While the city's nearest competitors -- New York and Baltimore -- had extensive water routes upon which to deploy steamboats,  Philadelphia had only the Delaware River, which offered transit ~30 miles north to Trenton, New Jersey and ~25 miles south to Wilmington, Delaware. 


Then I showed how Philadelphia's shipbuilders, steam engine manufacturers and entrepreneurs compensated, by exporting steamboat technology to other markets.  They did so in three ways:

-- They exported steam engines for installation in steamboats elsewhere;

-- They exported entire teams of mechanics to build steamboats on a contract basis in other markets;

-- They exported entire steamboats by sea (Moses Rogers did this twice, taking steamboats from Philadelphia to the Chesapeake Bay, in 1815 and 1816).


Finally, I noted that with the successful crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by Captain Rogers and the steamship Savannah in 1819, other cities began to more aggressively export steam vessel technology by way of the ocean.  Nevertheless, during the first generation of steam-powered vessels and thereafter, Philadelphia was second to none in the promotion of this first high technology in history.


I'm pleased to report that the presentation was well received by the diverse audience of historians in attendance.


***


15 August 2016:  Remembering Helen Delich Bentley—


Back in 2012, I was booked to speak in Maryland before the annual banquet of the Steam Ship Historical Society of America.


I thought I was going to be the keynote speaker.


Actually, I turned out to be the warm-up act, to former Maryland Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley, who was the keynote.


She has just passed away.


Congresswoman Bentley’s untiring advocacy on behalf of the Port of Baltimore has made it the competitive nexus for trade that it is today.  So much so, in fact, that the Port is officially named after her.


I sat next to Congresswoman Bentley at the dinner, and told her about Captain Moses Rogers and his time running steamboats out of her beloved Baltimore, and, of course, she learned about Captain Rogers and the Savannah during my presentation, for which she personally expressed her admiration and thanks. 


I can state that even at 88, she was as feisty as her obituaries claim.


Rest in Peace, Helen Delich Bentley.


***


27 July 2016:  STEAM COFFIN Shown to be Part of a New Market Expansion—


I made a presentation at the annual symposium of the International Committee for the History of Technology (ICOHTEC), which was held at the University of Porto, in Porto, Portugal.  One of the ICOHTEC symposium's themes this year was "inventing new consumers: innovation, sustainability and consumption." Accordingly, my presentation was entitled:


“Expanding the Market...with Steam: Inventing New Consumers with the First Generation of Steam-Powered Vessels"


In this presentation, I described in detail how the first steamboat entrepreneurs sought to create new categories of consumers, or dramatically expand existing ones.


American owners did so initially by flying coachwhip pennants from their steamboat masts. The coachwhip pennant was traditionally used to signify a government-owned vessel, such as a warship.  With the coachwhip, these entrepreneurs were declaring that while their steamboats were privately owned, they considered them to be a form of public vessel.  To wit, if you could pay the fare, you too could ride the steamboat.


Then I showed how steamboat entrepreneurs built upon this, taking steps to cater specifically to women, those on a tight budget, recreationists, tourists and commuters.  The results included the creation of new tourist destinations as well as modern suburbs, all predictably accessed thanks to steamboat service.


Finally, I noted that once the steamship Savannah crossed the Atlantic in 1819, the customer base for steam-powered vessels became increasingly global, as it eventually would for the other high technologies to follow.


I'm pleased to report that the presentation received both many compliments as well as the largest number of questions for the session.


~~~

My travel to this conference was made possible by a grant from the Ronin Institute for Independent Scholarship.


***


16 July 2016:  STEAM COFFIN Shown to be Part of a New Human Age—


I made a presentation at the biennial conference of the International Big History Association (IBHA), which was held at the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. "Big History" is a relatively new discipline that seeks to explore and understand all forms of history from the macro perspective.  The IBHA's conference theme this year was "Building Big History: Research and Teaching," and sought to explore new approaches to Big History. Accordingly, my presentation was entitled:


“Hopefully, There'll be No Big Bang: Steam-Powered Vessels' Role as the First High Technology in History”


In this presentation, I outlined the existing structure for describing recent human history: the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age.  While other ages have been suggested (such as the "Information Age"), none of them seem to possess a distinct definition or starting point.


Then I showed how steam-powered vessels (including the steamship Savannah) can serve as the clearly-marked beginning of a newly-defined High Technology Age, in which the human race is able to use an artificial power to alter time and space to practical effect.  Included within this High Technology Age are the other time-and-space shifting inventions that I have previously outlined, leading right up to the present-day internet.


Placed in a timeline with the other well-defined ages, I showed how this High Technology Age could be used to teach students where they fit into the big history framework, and allow them to compare and contrast human development over the past 200 years with prior ages that lasted millennia.


I'm pleased to report that the presentation received kudos from the session chair, as well as a number of questions, compliments and comments regarding where the human race goes from here.


~~~

My travel to this conference was made possible by a grant from the Ronin Institute for Independent Scholarship.


***


25 June 2016:  STEAM COFFIN Shown to be Born of New Farmer-Factor Dynamic—


I made a presentation at the annual conference of the Agricultural History Society, which was held in Briarcliff Manor, New York. The AHS's conference theme this year was "Town and Country," and sought to explore the different relationships between urban and rural areas. Accordingly, my presentation was entitled:


“ 'Spirited Townsmen' and 'Fields of Enterprise': The Uneven Linkage of Farmer and Factor by the First Generation of Steam-Powered Vessels”


In my presentation, I stated that prior to 1807, farmers and factors (the old-fashioned name for city merchants who acted as intermediaries in the purchase and sale of commodities) had a very disjointed relationship, due to the uncertain means of getting harvested crops from countryside to city. But once Robert Fulton created the first commercially successful steamboat in 1807, the dynamic between farmer and factor began to change.


I then showed how steamboats affected the farmer-factor relationship in a variety of ways, and that these effects were not equal across the United States. Beneficiaries varied, leading to outcomes that pitted passengers vs. cargo, farmers vs. factors, farmers vs. farmers, factors vs. factors, State vs. State, city vs. city, and sometimes river vs. river.


I also described how the Savannah River's vibrant steamboat commerce in the late 1810s played an important role in the willingness of factors in the port of Savannah to take the risk of forming the Savannah Steam Ship Company, which built the steamship Savannah.


I'm pleased to report that the presentation was well received, and generated a large number of questions and compliments.


***


11 June 2016:  STEAM COFFIN Shown as Part of the High Technology Empire of Liberty—


I made a presentation at the Empires of Liberty Conference, sponsored by the Sons of the American Revolution in Pasadena, California, which was entitled:


“Dual Empires of Liberty: Reinforcing Political Freedom with the First High Technology”


This conference was predicated upon the 1780 statement by Thomas Jefferson that "we shall...add to the Empire of liberty an extensive and fertile Country," meaning that with the founding of the United States, the Americans were creating a new kind of empire distinctly different from empires past or (at that time) present.  Jefferson as well as John Adams used this phrase "empire of liberty" repeatedly.


In my presentation, I stated that the "empire of liberty" which Jefferson and others described was clearly based upon a political philosophy, of individual human liberty.  Then I suggested that once Robert Fulton created the first commercially successful steamboat in 1807, something very significant occurred: by virtue of its time-and-space altering capability, the steamboat gave individuals a new kind of liberty never before experienced.  This first high technology also served to fortify and fuel the growth of the political empire of liberty.  As such, the creation of steam-powered vessels (including the first steamship, the Savannah) represented the birth of a new and distinctly different kind of empire of liberty.


Then I described how the continued creation of other time-and-space-altering high technologies not only served to perpetuate the high technology empire of liberty, but reinforce and reinvigorate the political empire of liberty, right up to the present day.  As such, these represent dual empires of liberty, affecting each other in myriad ways.


I'm pleased to report that the presentation sparked a lively round of questions and comments, as well as many compliments.


***


12 May 2016:  STEAM COFFIN Shown as Promoting Fishing with Steam at Sea—


I made a presentation at a joint conference of the North American Society for Oceanic History ("NASOH") and the North Atlantic Fisheries History Association ("NAFHA"), held in Portland, Maine, which was entitled:


“Fishing...with Steam?!!: Motives for Early Fishing Expeditions using Steam-Powered Vessels”


In this presentation, I showed the progression of the relationship between steamboats and the act of fishing, from 1807 to 1821.  It began with a widespread belief that steamboats were physically dangerous to fishermen, and continued with the prevalent view by 1817 that the churning paddlewheels of steamboats were disrupting the normal migrations of fish in eastern American rivers, resulting in lower harvests.


Then I illustrated how the relationship slowly began to change, when, in 1816, the Fulton-Livingston steamboat franchise of New York announced a one-day, open-ocean "fishing party" excursion by one of its steamboats.  Fishing, it turned out, was the secondary purpose; the primary objective was to determine whether the franchise could safely send a "steamboat" across the Atlantic Ocean, all the way to St. Petersburg, Russia.


The franchise judged it could not, but they nevertheless had discovered another means of generating revenue for their steamboats.  In the following years, "fishing excursions" were advertised, although they were always subject to the weather and sufficient ticket sales.


Then I recounted the crossing of the Atlantic in 1819 by Captain Moses Rogers and the steamship Savannah, and how this dramatic psychological breakthrough served to establish the acceptance of steam-powered vessels operating safely at sea.


Finally, I showed how, in the wake of the Savannah's voyage, steamboat operators in New York began to advertise regularly-scheduled fishing expeditions on the open sea, in 1820 and 1821.  This truly represented the point at which "fishing with steam" on a non-commercial basis became a regular practice -- quite a dramatic change from just a few years earlier.


I'm pleased to report that the presentation was well-received, with several fellow historians noting that they previously had never thought to ask the questions answered in my paper.


***


8 April 2016:  STEAM COFFIN Shown as Start of Steam Innovators at Sea—


I made a presentation at "The Maintainers," a conference held at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey.  The objective of this conference was to compare and contrast technology "innovators" with "maintainers," or those who have to maintain a technology once its viability is proven. In the spirit of this theme, my presentation was entitled:


“Maintaining Innovators or Innovating Maintainers?: Revolutionaries vs. Reactionaries in the 19th Century Maritime World”


In this presentation, I described how the creators of the first practical steamboats (Fulton, Stevens et al) were clearly both revolutionaries and "innovators."  However, once the basic technology was proven, the first generation of steamboat builders became "maintaining innovators," meaning that they had to not only keep their vessels in operating order, but maintain a degree of ongoing innovation to remain competitive with their steamboat rivals.


Then I noted that one of these "maintaining innovators," Captain Moses Rogers, became an "innovator" once again, when he created the first "steamship" in history, the Savannah. With their successful crossing of the Atlantic in 1819, Rogers and the Savannah sparked nearly two decades of "innovators" working on steam-at-sea.  Once the British ocean steamer Great Western began regular trans-Atlantic service in late 1838, then once again, the "innovators" of steamships became "maintaining innovators."


Next, I showed how the sailing world reacted to the challenge of steam-at-sea. Some of these reactionaries decided to compete with steam, by finding innovative ways to make sailing vessels bigger and faster.  In their efforts to maintain sail's supremacy at sea, these shipbuilders became "innovating maintainers."  The result was an ongoing battle between the "maintaining innovators" of steam-at-sea and the "innovating maintainers" of sail-at-sea, which lasted for much of the rest of the 19th century.


Finally, I suggested to attendees that each of the time-and-space-altering high technologies that followed steam-powered vessels have their own stories of "maintaining innovators" of the new technology, as well as "innovating maintainers" who attempted to make the older technology competitive for awhile longer.


I'm very pleased to report that the presentation sparked many questions, and received both mentions by subsequent presenters as well as numerous compliments.  You can read my brief paper on the presentation here, listed under the first session on Friday, 8 April.


***


7 November 2015:  STEAM COFFIN shown as a Tool for Softening Sovereignty—


I made a presentation at the biennial conference of the Canadian Science and Technology Historical Association, held at York University in Toronto, which was entitled:


“Softening Sovereignty: How the First High Technology Forced Governments to Change their Modus Operandi”


In this presentation, I described how the revolutionary time-and-space altering power of steam vessels compelled governments to change the way they operated. I offered three examples to prove this.


The first was the steamship Savannah, whose successful crossing of the Atlantic in 1819 practically compelled the British government to acknowledge her revolutionary status as the first oceanic passenger steamer, by partially waiving her cargo tonnage duties (which were normally payable upon departure from any British port).


The second example was from 1820, when the Lake Erie steamboat Walk-in-the-Water's rapid movements encouraged her captain to ask that the custom house collectors in her interim ports-of-call (Erie, PA, as well as Cleveland and Sandusky, OH) forego the obligatory arrival and departure clearances, based upon the steamboat's landing only passengers and baggage. This request was agreed to, softening the sovereignty (and revenues) of the custom house collectors in those interim ports-of-call.


The third example was from 1825, when Britain's foreign secretary, George Canning, demanded that the United States reciprocate the waiving of general tonnage duties for passenger steamers running between Maine and Nova Scotia, which the British Board of Trade had already approved in 1823. After much back and forth, this was agreed to, thereby beginning the reciprocal softening of government sovereignty by steam-powered vessels.


Finally, I suggested to attendees that each of the time-and-space-altering high technologies that followed steam-powered vessels served in their own ways to soften the sovereignty of governments, offering further fields for research.


I'm pleased to report that the presentation resulted in a healthy round of questions and compliments.


***


18 September 2015:  STEAM COFFIN shown to be the Object of a Federal Fencing Fight—


I made a presentation at the McMullen Naval History Symposium at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, which was entitled:


“ ‘An Object Worth Attention’: Political Thrust and Parry Between the President, Congress and the Navy Board Regarding the First ‘Steamship’ in History”


In this presentation, I described how, after the Savannah's epochal voyage, the shareholders of the Savannah Steam Ship Company decided to take up President James Monroe's suggestion to offer this revolutionary vessel to the federal government.


To what purpose?


To fight pirates in the Caribbean Sea.


Then I showed in detail how the resulting political fight resembled a fencing match: the President and both houses of Congress made efforts to promote a purchase of the Savannah (i.e., thrusts), and the Board of Navy Commissioners counteracted to thwart such an acquisition (i.e., parries).


Finally, I emphasized the importance of understanding the Navy's resistance to this first steamship, by describing how steam-powered vessels represent the first in a long line of time-and-space-altering "high technologies."


I'm pleased to report that, as anticipated, the presentation generated a vigorous round of questions and comments.


***


8 July 2015:  Remembering John Maxtone-Graham—


Maritime historian John Maxtone-Graham passed away on Monday, the 6th of July.  He was the author of numerous books, including “The Only Way to Cross” (1972).


Mr. Maxtone-Graham was a lineal descendant of General Sir Thomas Graham, Lord Lynedoch, and Robert Graham (later Lord Lynedoch), both of whom traveled on the steamship Savannah during a part of her epochal 1819 voyage.


John kindly allowed me to study and quote from a bound volume of letters in his possession that were written by Robert Graham to his mother whilst he and Lord Lynedoch were touring the Continent.  These letters included many invaluable descriptions of Captain Moses Rogers, the Savannah, and numerous individuals and places that form a part of the history of the first steamship in the world.


Rest in Peace, John Maxtone-Graham.


***


1 July 2015:  STEAM COFFIN’s Role in Sparking British Deception Described—


Inter-Disciplinary.Net has published an e-book entitled:


“Deception: An Interdisciplinary Exploration”


which contains my article entitled:


“Deceit Without, Deceit Within: British Government Behavior in the Secret Race to Claim Steam-Powered Superiority at Sea”


based upon a presentation I made at the 1st Global Conference on Deception, held at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom last year.


In this article, I show how in the wake of the steamship Savannah's successful crossing of the Atlantic, the British government secretly began a three-tiered effort to catch up to what the Americans had achieved.  Each effort targeted a different level of steam-powered use on water, from the tactical to the operational to the strategic.


Then I describe how the Royal Navy used a form of internal deception to allow it to gain critical ocean-steaming expertise on the back of another ministry's budget.


***


30 May 2015:  STEAM COFFIN’s Moses Rogers Described as one of Connecticut’s Three Steamer Sons—


I made a presentation at the 50th Anniversary Gaspee Maritime History Symposium, held  in Providence, Rhode Island, which was entitled:


“Was It Something in the Water?: Connecticut’s Trailblazing Steamer Sons”


In this presentation, I traced the important roles that three of the State of Connecticut's native sons played in the creation and progression of steam-powered vessels.


This began with the experiments of Nutmegger John Fitch on the Delaware River in the mid-1780s.  Serving as an important "keystone" was none other than Pennsylvanian Robert Fulton, who, as a Philadelphia resident, was very likely aware of Fitch’s steam-powered paddleboat ideas.


Two decades later (in 1807), Fulton's commercially successful North River Steam Boat served as the spark that ignited Connecticut-born Moses Rogers to become one of the first steamboat captains in history.


A dozen years after that, Captain Rogers broke the barrier globally, by successfully crossing the Atlantic Ocean with the steamship Savannah.  In Liverpool to inspect Rogers' creation was Connecticut expatriate Junius Smith, who made it his life's goal to be the first to cross the Atlantic continuously under steam power.


This, Junius Smith achieved in 1838, with the first successful all-steam crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by his steamer Sirius.


Finally, I showed symposium attendees how Connecticut's steamer sons served as the vanguard for the creation of a long line of time-and-space altering high technologies.


I am pleased to report that the presentation sparked a lively discussion as well as numerous compliments.


***


1 May 2015:  STEAM COFFIN’s Part Shown in Promoting Patronage for the First High Technology—


I made a presentation at the Senses and Spaces II Conference, held at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which was entitled:


“ 'Most Commodious and Elegant': Coaxing Ridership from the Readership of Newspapers During the First Generation of Steam-Powered Vessels”


In this presentation, I described how the first steamboat entrepreneurs publicized and promoted their "new mode of transport." This included examples of paid newspaper advertisements that sometimes sent confusing mixed messages, and other times, with experience, communicated precisely the right "sales pitch" that encouraged ridership. Included in the analysis were the initial efforts to promote patronage for ocean steam travel on the steamships Savannah and Robert Fulton.


Then I showed how any promotional growing pains experienced by the first "steamboats" and "steamships" were compensated for by the overwhelmingly positive coverage that steam vessels received from the news and editorial sections of the newspapers.


Why?


Because these new-fangled "steamers" were providing newspaper editors with the one thing they craved more than anything else faster than they had ever received it before, and that was information. The power of time-and-space altering capabilities combined with editorial approval could not help but quickly boost public patronage of this first high technology in history.


I am gratified to report that the presentation was greeted with many questions and compliments.


***


27 February 2015:  STEAM COFFIN Shown as One of the Founding Sparks of the Third Revolution—


I made a presentation at the 2015 Conference of the International Society for the Social Studies, held at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, which was entitled:


“ 'High Technology': Incorporating the Third Revolution into Modern Era History”


In this presentation, I described how the two revolutions that are included in existing history curricula -- i.e., the Political and Industrial Revolutions -- do not adequately describe what has transpired in the Modern Era.


Then I showed that there is a third revolution that should be a part of all Modern Era history curricula, and that is the High Technology Revolution. This third revolution affects both the Industrial Revolution, into which it is commonly lumped, as well as the ongoing Political Revolution.


Why?


Because these high technologies' ability to artificially alter time and space to practical effect gave individuals a freedom of movement and predictability they had never before possessed. And that led to not only increased efficiency for the Industrial Revolution, but increased demands for more political freedom.


Finally, I provided a number of examples illustrating how high technologies have affected both the Political and Industrial Revolutions, starting with the first steamboats, and the first steamship, the Savannah.


I’m pleased to report that the presentation generated many questions, connections and compliments.


***


1 January 2015:  STEAM COFFIN Engenders Conference to Explore “High Technologies”—


The International Committee for the History of Technology (ICOHTEC) has chosen the following theme for its upcoming 42nd Annual Symposium, to be held this August:


"History of High Technologies and Their Socio-Cultural Contexts"


Among the sub-themes suggested by the Symposium organizers are the following:


1. High Technology as a Time- and Place-Bound Concept...
3. Cross-Country Transfer of High Technology...
9. Resistance to the Development and Use of High Technologies...
14. High-Tech and Utopia, such as 'the Atomic Age,' 'the Electrical Age,' and 'the Steam Age.'


The Symposium's main theme and these sub-themes directly reflect upon presentations I gave at recent ICOHTEC symposiums, including:


39th Annual Symposium: " 'Her Model is Beautiful': Addressing Fears by Design for the First Steamship in History";
40th Annual Symposium*: " 'It Would Have Been Thought Chimerical': Testing First Generation Steamboats, Water by Water";


I also was accepted and scheduled to present at the 41st Annual Symposium on the "exponential transformation of political freedom by the first high technology in history," but logistics compelled me to withdraw.

In each of these presentations, as well as others that I have given at additional conferences, I have both defined "high technology" as a time-and-space altering invention and placed steam-powered vessels at the forefront of so-defined high technologies.


* This was part of the 24th International Congress of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine.


***


20 September 2014:  STEAM COFFIN Shown to be Missing from National Maritime Day Presidential Proclamations—


I made a presentation at the 10th National Maritime Heritage Conference in Norfolk, Virginia, which was entitled:


“ ‘I Do Hereby Call Upon the People’: A History of National Maritime Day Presidential Proclamations”


In this presentation, I briefly recounted the history of National Maritime Day, and the reason why May 22nd was selected as the date to commemorate our merchant mariners.  (It was on May 22, 1819 that Captain Moses Rogers and the steamship Savannah departed on their epochal voyage.)


Then I showed how the Presidential Proclamations issued by each president, from Franklin Roosevelt onward, always stated clearly why May 22 was chosen.  Next, I illustrated how any mention of the steamship Savannah in these Proclamations has disappeared for the last twenty years.


I then described my efforts to have mention of the Savannah reinstated in more recent Proclamations, including my editorial on the website Real Clear History (www.realclearhistory.com) this past spring.  (You can read the full editorial here).


Finally, I called upon the assembled historians to suggest strategies that could be used to compel a reinstatement of the Savannah into the text of National Maritime Day Presidential Proclamations.  I'm pleased to report that a number of interesting ideas were discussed.


***


17 July 2014:  STEAM COFFIN Used to Illustrate Methods of Deception—


I made a presentation at the 1st Global Conference on Deception, held at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, which was entitled:


“Deceit Without, Deceit Within: British Government Behavior in the Secret Race to Claim Steam-Powered Superiority at Sea”


In this presentation, I showed how in the wake of the steamship Savannah's successful crossing of the Atlantic, the British government secretly began a three-tiered effort to catch up to what the Americans had achieved. Each effort targeted a different level of steam-powered use on water, from the tactical to the operational to the strategic.


Then I illustrated how certain parts of the British government used a form of internal deception to allow one ministry -- the Royal Navy -- to gain critical ocean-steaming expertise on another ministry's budget!


Finally, I showed conference attendees why this particular example of deception is important, by placing steam-powered vessels as the first in a long line of time-and-space altering high technologies.


I am pleased to report that the presentation generated a large number of questions and compliments.


***


14 May 2014:  Opinion Editorial Published Calling for Restoration of the Savannah to the National Maritime Day Presidential Proclamation—


Real Clear History, part of the online news and commentary website Real Clear Politics, has published my opinion editorial entitled:


“Restoring Savannah to National Maritime Day”


In this editorial, I recount the history of National Maritime Day, and the reason why May 22nd was selected as the date to commemorate our merchant mariners.  (It was on May 22, 1819 that Captain Moses Rogers and the steamship Savannah departed on their epochal voyage.)


I also describe how for many decades, the annual presidential proclamation for National Maritime Day always noted the Savannah’s departure as the reason for selecting May 22nd for this commemoration.  Then I show how any mention of the steamship in the proclamation has  disappeared, leaving readers of it to wonder why that particular date was chosen.


Finally, I call upon President Obama to cure this case of historical amnesia, by specifically stating in the 2014 presidential proclamation that May 22nd was chosen for National Maritime Day because that was the date that Captain Rogers and the Savannah departed on their historic voyage.


The full editorial can be read here.


***


5 April 2014:  STEAM COFFIN Used to Illustrate Methods of Multi-Angular Archival Mining—


I made a presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Society for History in the Federal Government, held at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, which was entitled:


“Using Every Shovel and Spade to Dig Up a ‘Steam Coffin’: Multi-Angular NARA Mining to Uncover the Truth of the First Example of Globalized High Technology”


In this presentation, I showed how the history described in STEAM COFFIN represents a major revision of the prior interpretation of the steamship Savannah and her voyage across the Atlantic.  I then noted that in order to stand the test of time, a work of revisionist history must be both thorough and fair, in order to withstand any counter-arguments.  

Then I illustrated how I uncovered the truth of Moses Rogers’ career and the reaction of  various parties to the Savannah, by conducting what I call the multi-angular mining of a wide variety of archival sources, especially at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).  This means digging not only into maritime and naval records, but also the files of seemingly unrelated departments of the executive branch, as well as the legislative and judicial branches of government. 


This archival mining method led to numerous discoveries of actions, reactions and relationships previously unknown, thereby providing the proof that the Savannah truly did break the psychological barrier.


I’m gratified to report that the presentation generated a substantial number of questions and compliments.


***


3 February 2014:  STEAM COFFIN Debate Challenge Declined, Opened to Others—


M. Stephen Salmon, who reviewed STEAM COFFIN in the latest issue of the Journal of Transport History (Volume 34, Number 1, pages 81-82), has responded to my offer to debate his contention that the effect of the steamship Savannah’s crossing was questionable.  States Mr. Salmon in reply:


“I have thought about your ‘challenge.’  I decline your offer to enter into a debate on the subject.”


With Mr. Salmon’s refusal, I open my offer to debate—at a mutually convenient time and place—any earnest individual who would oppose the following proposition:


“The steamship Savannah’s voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in 1819 broke the psychological barrier, thereby ushering in the creation of an entirely new class of ocean-going vessels, as well as the beginning of the globalized high technology world as we know it.”    


***


7 January 2014:  STEAM COFFIN review Sparks a Debate Challenge—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by the Journal of Transport History (Volume 34, Number 1, pages 81-82).  The review was written by M. Stephen Salmon, retired archivist for the National Archives of Canada.  In it, he states:


“Whatever the validity of Steam Coffin’s arguments about the psychological effect of the Savannah’s sailing across the Atlantic, and these can be debated...”


That Mr. Salmon believes there is room to question whether or not the Savannah broke the psychological barrier makes clear the practical need for further discussion.  I hereby challenge Mr. Salmon to debate—at a mutually convenient time and place—the following proposition:


“The steamship Savannah’s voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in 1819 broke the psychological barrier, thereby ushering in the creation of an entirely new class of ocean-going vessels, as well as the beginning of the globalized high technology world as we know it.”    


***


3 December 2013:  STEAM COFFIN reviewed by Georgia Historical Quarterly—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by Georgia Historical Quarterly:


“Busch has told this story with impeccable detail... His book has the smooth readability of a good historical novel.  But, of course, it is all true to life, evidence of which is provided by eighty-nine pages of end notes and bibliography... This is an excellent book about an important subject.”    


Georgia Historical Quarterly is the official journal of the Georgia Historical Society.  The review appears on pages 245-248 of Volume XCVII, Number 2.


***


9 November 2013:  STEAM COFFIN presented as a part of the Structure for Defining Post-Humanism and Trans-Humanism—


I made a presentation at the 35th Annual Humanities and Technology Conference, held at St. Thomas University in Florida, which was entitled:


“It All Started with a Lot of Hot Air:  The Technology that Began the Journey into Post-/Trans-Humanism”


In this presentation, I defined a “natural human” -- psychologically speaking -- as one who accepted that human endeavor and experience were limited by the forces of Nature.  

Then I showed how the successful introduction of steam-powered vessels, and the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by Captain Moses Rogers and the Steamship Savannah, proved that humans could artificially alter where they were, and when they were there, to practical effect.  This new technology marked the beginning of the post-human, meaning -- psychologically speaking -- someone who readily accepts the magical ability to alter artificially time and space as a normal part of their existence.


It also marked the beginning of the ongoing journey into trans-humanism, meaning the transformation of the human race into a hybrid being, part human and part technological.  

Then, I suggested that by using my previously-described new definition of “high technology,” we can create a basic structure for studying the concepts of post-humanism and trans-humanism.  


I’m pleased to report that, as anticipated, the presentation resulted in a variety of challenges, comments, questions and compliments.


***


19 September 2013:  STEAM COFFIN presented as the Naval Barrier Breaker—


I made a presentation at the McMullen Naval History Symposium at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, which was entitled:


“How a 'Steam Coffin' Broke the Naval Barrier”


In this presentation, I described how the navies of the world resisted the military implications of newly introduced steam-powered vessels.  

Then I showed how the successful crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by Captain Moses Rogers and the Steamship Savannah in 1819 served to shock the British establishment: clearly, the Americans were well ahead in developing this new technology.  

Then, I described the very different reactions of the American and British navies, showing quite clearly how the British government of Lord Liverpool initiated a three-pronged program to catch up to the Americans.  And so they did, thanks to the shock of 1819.  


I’m happy to report that the presentation generated a variety of comments, questions and  compliments.


***


24 July 2013:  STEAM COFFIN presented as the Ultimate Barrier Breaker on Water—


I made a presentation at the 24th International Congress of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, held at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, which was entitled:


“ ‘It Would Have Been Thought Chimerical’: Testing First Generation Steamboats, Water by Water” 


In this presentation, I described how Robert Fulton’s first commercially successful steamboat in 1807 did not end the argument as to the practicability of steam-powered vessels.  Resistance to their use on larger bodies of water remained.

Then I showed how the psychological barrier was methodically broken in the United States (and almost simultaneously in the United Kingdom), by the step-by-step introduction of steamers on rivers, lakes and bays, and then short ocean coast routes.


Then I described how the 1819 Atlantic crossing by Captain Moses Rogers and the Steamship Savannah was the ultimate barrier breaker, forcing skeptics to recognize that steam-powered vessels could be used on practically any body of water in the world.    


I'm pleased to report that the presentation resulted in numerous questions, compliments and connections.


***


14 June 2013:  STEAM COFFIN presented as an Exponential Technological Leap—


I made a presentation at the "From Enemies to Allies Conference," which was part of the State of Maryland's War of 1812 celebrations.  My presentation at the Conference, which was held at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, was entitled:


“Rubbing it in with a 'Steam Coffin':  The Exponential Amplification of American Technological Superiority at Sea After the War” 


In this presentation, I described how at the end of the Second War with Britain (in early 1815), the results of the fighting at sea felt like victory to the Americans, and to the British it felt like defeat.  

Then I showed how the early U.S. lead in steam-powered vessels gave Captain Moses Rogers and the Steamship Savannah the ability to make the great leap in 1819, and prove to the world that an entire ocean could be crossed safely using the artificial power of steam.  

Finally, I illustrated how the British government reacted to the Savannah's crossing, by initiating a three-pronged effort to catch up to the Americans.  (The description of this coordinated response is but one small part of the new scholarship contained in STEAM COFFIN.)  


I'm gratified to report that the presentation generated numerous questions and compliments.


***


1 May 2013:  STEAM COFFIN reviewed by Louisiana History—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by Louisiana History:


Steam Coffin is intriguing from the start... Busch is at his best when discussing Rogers and  the Savannah.  He tells their stories in such a way as to make the reader feel...that their fates were interconnected in both life and death... an enjoyable read... entertaining and informative... undeniably the definitive work on the subject.”    


Louisiana History is the official journal of the Louisiana Historical Society.  The review appears on pages 105-107 of Volume 54, Number 1.


***


2 March 2013:  STEAM COFFIN presented as part of a New and Logical Structure for Modern Technological History—


I made a presentation before the Annual Conference of the World History Association of Texas (held in Austin, Texas) that was entitled:


“ 'Intelligence May Fly': Creating a New and Logical Structure for Modern Technological History ”


In this presentation, I illustrated how the teaching of history is skewed heavily toward the political and social realms, resulting in a student body with an unbalanced, incomplete  view of technological history.  Then I showed how steam-powered vessels—including the globalizing steamship Savannah—can be viewed as the first “high technology,” due to their time- and space-altering powers.  With this ability properly declared, a new, more precise definition of the term “high technology” was offered:


"An invention with the power to alter artificially a person's location to practical effect faster than by natural means."


The presentation then illustrated how applying this new definition results in the creation of a new family of high technologies.  The progressive introduction of these high technologies, in turn, provides a new and logical structure for understanding the development of technology in the Modern Era.


I'm gratified to report that the presentation generated much discussion on the need for greater inclusion of technological achievements within history curricula.


***


1 January 2013:  STEAM COFFIN reviewed by New York History—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by New York History:


"John Laurence Busch has produced the definitive history of the steamship Savannah... Along the way Busch demonstrates the breadth and depth of his research... The book...presents a garden of rich information."    


New York History is the official journal of The New York State Historical Association; the gentleman who wrote the review is Jacob Ludes III, president emeritus of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.  The review appears on pages 240-241 of Volume 32, Number 2.


***


1 September 2012:  STEAM COFFIN reviewed by The Mariner’s Mirror—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by The Mariner’s Mirror of the United Kingdom:


"Busch...has completed an enviable amount of research, uncovering many new details... The book has something of the feel of a cosy fireside chat about it."    


The Mariner’s Mirror is the official journal of The Society for Nautical Research.  The review appears on pages 374-376 of Volume 97, Number 4.


***


12 July 2012:  STEAM COFFIN presented as a Model of Beauty—


At the 39th Annual Symposium of the International Committee for the History of Technology (held in Barcelona, Spain), I made a presentation that was entitled:


" 'Her Model is Beautiful': Addressing Fears by Design for the First Steamship in History "


In this presentation, I described how Captain Moses Rogers designed the steamship Savannah not only as a safe vessel, but also as a superior specimen of marine architecture.  This latter feature played a significant role in the perception of observers--both American and European--that this steamship was a trailblazer worthy of its accomplishment.  As one British newspaper forthrightly declared of the Savannah: "Her model is beautiful."


I'm happy to report that the presentation generated numerous compliments and questions.


***


1 July 2012:  STEAM COFFIN reviewed by Southern Historian—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by Southern Historian: A Journal of Southern History:


"Steam Coffin...reveals a story of struggle that is both intriguing and historically significant... Busch should be commended for painting a vivid picture of the Savannah's role in shaping the sails-steam paradigm."    


Southern Historian is an annual journal highlighting the best new articles and books on southern history and culture, and is published by the University of Alabama.  The review appears on pages 77-79 of Issue XXXIII.


***


1 June 2012:  STEAM COFFIN reviewed by Britain and the World—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by Britain and the World:


"John Laurence Busch has expended a prodigious research effort..., which offers an engaging account of the Savannah...  Steam Coffin...will appeal to the much broader audience of the general reading public."    


Britain and the World is the official journal of The British Scholar Society.  The review appears on pages 154-155 of Volume 5, Number 1.


***


1 May 2012:  STEAM COFFIN reviewed by The Journal of Commerce—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by The Journal of Commerce:


"Steam Coffin is meticulously researched and well written.  Busch provides a wealth of detail... An absorbing, recommendable book about an innovation that changed shipping and commerce forever."    


The Journal of Commerce is one of the leading magazines in the United States for transportation executives.


***


13 April 2012: Presentation made at the Ninth Biennial Automotive History Conference-


At the Ninth Biennial Automotive History Conference, held at Philadelphia, I made a presentation entitled:


“On the Shoulders of Steam Giants: Necessary Evolutionary Precursors to the Automobile”


In this presentation, I described the physical and psychological reasons why early attempts to create a "horseless carriage" ended in failure.  Then I outlined how the creation of the first high technology (steamboats) and the first globalized high technology (the steamship Savannah) served as logical precursors to all other forms of high technology.  This repeated breaking of physical and psychological barriers by steam vessels and other early forms of high technology eventually laid the groundwork for the successful introduction of the automobile in the late 19th century.  


Then, I offered the new, additional definition for the term "high technology," to wit:


"An invention with the power to alter artificially a person's location to practical effect faster than by natural means."


This was followed by a graph of high technology milestones, which naturally included the automobile.


I'm very pleased to report that, as anticipated, the presentation sparked a lot of discussion, questions, debate and compliments. 


***


12 April 2012: Presentation made at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Annual Conference—


At the combined annual conference of the Popular Culture Association and the American Culture Association (held in Boston), I made a presentation that was entitled:


"Why a 'Steam Coffin' Serves as America's Very Own Sea Saga"


In this presentation, I defined the term saga as "a detailed account of a series of events," noting that the very first sagas, as created by the Vikings, were in fact sea sagas.  Then I offered a small sampling of sea sagas from a variety of countries, including China, Spain, Britain, Portugal, France, the Netherlands and Russia.  The purpose of each saga's voyage was categorized as being some combination of:


discovery;

trade;

or colonization.


Regardless of their purpose, I pointed out that all of these sea sagas shared one important characteristic: the underlying objective was geographical in nature, because our species was limited by natural methods of movement, which left large swaths of the planet unexplored.


Then I described how the creation of "steamboats" gave humans their first practical form of artificial movement that was faster than natural means.  In a few short years, this led Captain Moses Rogers to create the first "steamship," to prove that this new artificial power could be used to cross entire oceans.  As such, the voyage of Captain Rogers and the steamship Savannah represents America's very own and unique sea saga, because its underlying objective was not geographical, but psychological.


I'm gratified to report that the presentation generated much in the way of questions, discussion and compliments.


***


15 March 2012: STEAM COFFIN reviewed by Maryland Historical Magazine—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by Maryland Historical Magazine:


"Steam Coffin is the definitive account of the first transatlantic steamship and the mariner who helped conceive and command it... Busch should be commended for his prodigious archival research and imaginative use of sources... Steam Coffin offers the general reader a captivating sea yarn bookended by panoramic descriptions of life and labor in and around the young republic by the sea."


Maryland Historical Magazine is the official publication of the Maryland Historical Society.  The review appears on pages 382-384 of Volume 106, Number 3.


***


24 February 2012:  Presentation made at the Annual Conference of the Georgia Association of Historians—


At the Annual Conference of the Georgia Association of Historians, held at Macon, I made a presentation entitled:


“Steam Coffin: Georgia’s Conception of the First Globalized High Technology in History”


In this presentation, I described why the first example of globalized high technology in history, the steamship Savannah, came into being thanks to the financial backing of a group of merchants from Savannah, Georgia.  In summary, it was due to: 


— Post-war prosperity in the South, thanks to insatiable demand for cotton from Britain and France; 

— Geographic superiority of Savannah's position, thanks to a Savannah River highway that transported both Georgia and South Carolina cotton to the port's merchants;

— Technological familiarity with steamboats, thanks to the active presence of The Steam Boat Company of Georgia;

— All of which met the man with a plan, Captain Moses Rogers.


Then, Georgia's contribution was clearly placed at the beginning of the line of high technology milestones, which end (for the moment) with the internet.


I'm gratified to report that the presentation generated numerous questions and compliments.


***


15 February 2012: STEAM COFFIN reviewed by The British Journal for the History of Science—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by The British Journal for the History of Science:


"Busch has masterfully produced a dual biography of both the steamship Savannah and its creator, Moses Rogers... meticulously researched... well written... Steam Coffin is both a great read and a vital reference for serious scholars."


The Journal is the official publication of The British Society for the History of Science; the gentleman who wrote the review is Professor Larrie D. Ferreiro, the director of research at the Defense Acquisition University.  The review appears on pages 605-606 of Volume 44, Number 4.


***


1 February 2012: Stevens Rogers’ possessions come home to the New London County Historical Society—


Two valuable possessions of Savannah first mate Stevens Rogers, which were previously thought lost, have been returned to their rightful owner, the New London County Historical Society, in New London, Connecticut.  


During the course of my research for STEAM COFFIN, I had asked the NLCHS if I might examine the snuff box which Lord Lynedoch had gifted to Steve during the Savannah's voyage.  I was informed that the snuff box, while previously known to have been in the Society's collection, was not listed in a full inventory done in the 1970s, and therefore was considered lost.


As my research continued, I discovered that another institution held not only Steve's snuff box, but his spyglass, which had been loaned by the NLCHS many decades ago.  (The paperwork for the loan had been lost, not an uncommon occurrence in the curatorial world.)  I informed the holding institution that the rightful owner of the artifacts was the NLCHS, but this advisory apparently was misplaced through a turnover in personnel.


Upon learning that the artifacts had not been returned, I contacted the holding institution again, and encouraged it to reach out to the NLCHS, which it promptly did.  After nearly one-half a century, Steve's snuff box and spyglass are back home where they belong, in the collections of the New London County Historical Society.


***


15 January 2012: STEAM COFFIN reviewed by Naval War College Review—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by the Naval War College Review:


"With exemplary research, Busch followed an archival trail that led to twenty-two historical manuscript depositories...Equally impressive is his productive research in nearly 150 contemporary newspapers that matches his archival range...All of this, Busch has marshaled into a beautifully written and engaging narrative that places his solidly based factual details within a broad context...John Laurence Busch has made a major contribution to American maritime history with this fine book."


The Naval War College Review is the official journal of the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island; the gentleman who wrote the review is John B. Hattendorf, the Ernest J. King Professor of Maritime History at the Naval War College.  The review appears on pages 173-175 of the Winter 2012 issue.


***


1 January 2012: Article published in Mechanical Engineering Magazine—


Mechanical Engineering Magazine has published my article entitled:


“ ‘Something Trouble the Matter with the Engine’: Steamboat Design during the First Generation” 


This article describes the many choices in design and construction that entrepreneurs had to make during the first generation of steam-powered vessels, which can be dated from Fulton’s triumph of 1807 to the early 1820s.  Mechanical Engineering is the official magazine of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.  The article appears on pages 36-39 of the January 2012 issue.


***


15 December 2011: STEAM COFFIN reviewed by Baird Maritime Magazine—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by Baird Maritime Magazine of Australia:


"The Savannah...was easily one of the most important ships ever built in the thousands of years of maritime history...The modern world owes a lot to Moses Rogers and his colleagues.  This big, impressive, informative and entertaining book does its subject justice."


Baird Maritime is published by Baird Publishing, one of the world’s premier maritime publishing houses.  The review appears on page 41 of the December 2011 issue.


***


1 December 2011: STEAM COFFIN reviewed by The Journal of Southern History—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by The Journal of Southern History:


"This book is well researched.  Busch tracked down a myriad of manuscript sources and consulted over one hundred newspapers from eight countries...The maps are excellent...and nautical terms and activities are explained so that a nonspecialist can profit from the reading."


The Journal is published by The Southern Historical Association.  The review appears on pages 934-935 of Volume LXXVII, Number 4.


***


20 November 2011: STEAM COFFIN reviewed by The Journal of Interdisciplinary History—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by The Journal of Interdisciplinary History:


"Steam Coffin is a substantial work, a popular history with...helpful end notes and an extensive bibliography...Busch takes the time to develop his story fully...The research is thorough, the writing clean."


The Journal is published by MIT Press; the gentleman who wrote the review is Professor Joshua M. Smith of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.  The review appears on pages 310-311 of the Autumn 2011 issue.


***


22 October 2011:  Presentation made at the First Global Conference on the Transformation of Human Nature—


At the First Global Conference on the Transformation of Human Nature, held at The Helix, Dublin City University, in Dublin, Ireland, I made a presentation entitled:


“How a ‘Steam Coffin’ Served to Transform Humanity’s Conception of Time and Space”


In this presentation, I illustrated the ways in which humans accepted for millennia the limitations that Nature imposed upon their ability to change location.  Then I described how the first generation of steamboats proved that we could alter artificially our location, and the amount of time it takes to change it, to practical effect.  This first high technology accordingly transformed humanity’s conception of time and space, and heralded the emergence—psychologically—of the post-human. 


By logical extension, the voyage of the steamship Savannah represents the point at which the human race realized they would be able to alter time and space planet-wide, and as such serves as the first milestone in the creation of the globalized post-human.


I'm gratified to report that the presentation generated numerous compliments, as well as a request for speculation regarding what might become the next high technology.


***


15 October 2011: STEAM COFFIN reviewed by Naval History Book Reviews—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by Naval History Book Reviews:


“Busch has meticulously examined all materials relevant to Savannah and...tells an entertaining story in Steam Coffin.  He has an ability to give life to the events and people he describes.”


Naval History Book Reviews is an official publication of the Naval Historical Foundation.  The review appears in Issue Number 11.


***


19 September 2011: STEAM COFFIN reviewed by The History Teacher—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by The History Teacher:


“Extensively researched...fascinating reading...The life of Savannah’s skipper, Moses Rogers, is also well-chronicled...The wealth of information it contains makes the book an asset for libraries.  Teachers pointing students to research projects can be assured that this is a reliable, scholarly resource.”


The History Teacher is the official publication of The Society for History Education.  The review appears on page 303 of Volume 44, Number 2.


***


13 September 2011:  Presentation made at the Conference for the Public History of Science and Technology—


At the Conference for the Public History of Science and Technology, held at the University of South Carolina, I made a presentation entitled:


“How a Steam Coffin Can Revolutionize the Public’s Perception of Technological History”


In this presentation, I illustrated the ways in which the public’s perception of technological history is skewed at best, to woefully incomplete at worst.  Then I showed how steam-powered vessels—including the globalizing steamship Savannah—can be viewed as the first "high technology" in history.  Once again, a new, more precise definition of the term "high technology" was offered, to wit:


An invention with the power to alter artificially a person's location to practical effect faster than by natural means.


The presentation then illustrated how this new, additional definition of "high technology" clearly placed a long line of inventions within the meaning of the term.  Finally, I pointed out that this new definition also offers the opportunity to create a new framework of high technology milestones, which will aid in the study of all forms of modern scientific and technological history.


I'm gratified to report that the presentation received many questions and much curiosity.


***


1 September 2011: STEAM COFFIN reviewed by Nautical Research Journal—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by Nautical Research Journal:


“From the political movements of the time to the intricacies of the interconnected relationships of those whose power could and did affect Savannah, Busch demonstrates his comprehensive knowledge and attention to detail...Steam Coffin is a very informative and entertaining volume.”


Nautical Research Journal is the official publication of the Nautical Research Guild.  The review appears on pages 127-128 of Volume 56, Number 2 (Summer 2011).


***


15 August 2011: STEAM COFFIN reviewed by Warship International—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by Warship International:


“While a detailed history of the ship’s career should be available to interested readers, it has not been until now...Though the Savannah was never commissioned as a warship, her place in maritime and naval history is undeniable.”


Warship International is the official publication of The International Naval Research Organization.  The review appears on page 119 of Volume 48, Number 2 (2011).


***


1 August 2011: STEAM COFFIN reviewed by the International Journal for the History of Engineering & Technology—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by the International Journal for the History of Engineering & Technology:


“The fruits of extensive research, substantiated by notes and references, the book is presented very much as narrative rather than technical history.  Illustrations are of people rather than machines...The author is, however, successful in rescuing Rogers from obscurity, and giving him his rightful place, complete with portrait, in maritime history.”


The Journal is an official publication of The Newcomen Society of the United Kingdom.  The review appears on page 157 of Volume 81, Number 1 (2011).


***


14 July 2011: STEAM COFFIN reviewed by WoodenBoat Magazine—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by WoodenBoat Magazine:


“Busch has done a remarkable job of researching and describing the wide cast of characters involved in the Savannah...All are brought into the story with detailed biographical information that brings them to life as people...This is a well-written and thought-provoking exploration of the earliest days of what was to prove a transformative technology.”


The review appears on pages 101-103 of the July/August 2011 issue.


***


5 July 2011: SIA-New England Newsletter publishes article on casting the Savannah’s cylinder—


The Society for Industrial Archeology-New England Chapters Newsletter has published my article describing one particular aspect of the Savannah’s construction.  The article is entitled:


“Casting a Cylinder for a ‘Steam Coffin’ was No Small Feat”


The Society for Industrial Archeology is a national organization focused upon the study and preservation of the industrial heritage of the United States.  The article appears on pages 6-7 of the Summer 2011 issue (Volume 32, Number 1).


***


30 June 2011: STEAM COFFIN reviewed by Seapower Magazine—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by Seapower Magazine:


“The steamboat was a paradigm-breaking accomplishment that revolutionized marine technology and transportation.  The next step, a steamship, was the dream of Capt. Moses Rogers... ‘Steam Coffin’ chronicles Rogers’ path from steamboat captain to forming a company to build the world’s first ocean-going steamship.”


Seapower is the official magazine of the Navy League of the United States.  The review appears on page 49 of the July 2011 issue.


***


15 June 2011: STEAM COFFIN reviewed by The Northern Mariner—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by Canada’s The Northern Mariner / Le marin du nord:


“STEAM COFFIN is a well-written comprehensive work...The breadth and depth of the historical record Busch uses is impressive...A welcome addition to any historian’s library.”


The Northern Mariner / Le marin du nord is published by The Canadian Nautical Research Society in conjunction with the North American Society for Oceanic History.  The review appears on pages 75-77 of Volume XXI, Number 1.


***


22 May 2011:  The Steam Coffin re-appears in National Maritime Day Proclamation—


President Obama has cured a seventeen year case of bipartisan historical amnesia by specifically mentioning the steamship Savannah in the 2011 Presidential Proclamation for National Maritime Day.  This represents the first time since 1993 that the Savannah has been noted within the text of the proclamation as being the basis for the May 22nd celebration of America’s merchant mariners.

In late April/early May, I submitted an opinion editorial to five news organizations, describing this historical amnesia, and calling on President Obama to cure it.  All of them declined to publish the op-ed.

In any case, mission accomplished.


***


12 May 2011:  Presentation made at the Annual Conference of the North American Society for Oceanic History—


At the 2011 NASOH Conference held at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, I made a presentation entitled:


“How a Steam Coffin Can Revolutionize the Maritime’s Place in Technological History”


In this presentation, I described steam-powered vessels—including the globalizing steamship Savannah—as the first "high technology" in history, because they allowed humans to alter artificially their relationship with time and space to practical effect.  I also offered a new, more precise definition of the term "high technology," to wit:


An invention with the power to alter artificially a person's location to practical effect faster than by natural means.


This new, additional definition of "high technology" would place a long line of inventions within the meaning of the term, namely steamboats and steamships, railroads, the electromagnetic telegraph, telephones, automobiles, airplanes, wireless radio, television and the internet.  This definition also offers the opportunity to create a new framework for the study of modern history, with maritime history at its foundation.


I'm gratified to report that the presentation received many compliments, questions and commentary.


***


25 April 2011:  STEAM COFFIN reviewed by the International Journal of Maritime History—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed by the Canada-based International Journal of Maritime History:


“Busch’s excellent biography of Captain Moses Rogers and his history of PS Savannah...is a commendable and distinguished contribution to the maritime historical literature...The author’s narrative is made all the more interesting by his detailed research into the life of Captain Rogers, which provides a tremendous volume of previously unknown information.”


The IJMH is the official journal of the International Maritime Economic History Association.  The review appears on pages 394-395 of Volume XXII, Number 2.


***


11 April 2011:  STEAM COFFIN reviewed by Archive Journal—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed in the United Kingdom’s Archive: The Quarterly Journal for British Industrial and Transport History:


“What makes this volume is the excellent research and the fitting of the achievement into the historical events of the period...extremely well executed...If only all history books were as readable.”


The review appears on page 35 of issue number 67.


***


28 March 2011:  STEAM COFFIN reviewed by Sea History Magazine—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed in the Spring 2011 issue of Sea History Magazine:


“Moses Rogers, a remarkable individual, saw in steam power the capacity to...make oceanic travel reliable and predictable.  Busch sets out the odyssey with the support of beautiful maps and illustrations of many of the people and places Savannah encountered on its adventure.  The book, manufactured to high standards, is worth the purchase price and the time to read it.”


The review appears on page 55 of the issue (Number 134).


***


21 March 2011:  Sea History Magazine publishes article on Captain Moses Rogers—


Sea History Magazine has published my article on the early sailing career of Captain Moses Rogers, and his presence at the creation of the “new mode of transport” in 1807, when Robert Fulton first ran his North River Steam Boat on the Hudson River.  The article is entitled:


“It Seems Moses Caught the Fever--He was Never the Same Again”


Sea History is the official magazine of the National Maritime Historical Society.  The article appears on pages 23-25 of the Spring 2011 issue (Number 134).


***


1 February 2011:  STEAM COFFIN reviewed by (mt) Marine Technology Magazine—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed in the January 2011 issue of (mt) Marine Technology Magazine:


“Busch’s supremely readable account of the development and construction of the Savannah...and the passionate career of Captain Moses Rogers, represents the creation of a long-needed missing piece of maritime history...It may properly be termed a page-turner,  and is strongly recommended.”


(mt) Marine Technology is the official magazine of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME); the gentleman who wrote the review, Barry Thomas, is a Life Fellow of SNAME and the former chairman of the SNAME History Committee.  The review appears on page 78 of the issue.


***


15 January 2011:  STEAM COFFIN reviewed by Connecticut History Magazine—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed in the Fall 2010 issue of Connecticut History Magazine:


“This important, well-researched, and extensively illustrated book should appeal to readers interested in...[the] trailblazing efforts of the Savannah’s entrepreneurial principals, including the ship’s Connecticut-born master.  Busch helps readers understand and appreciate the struggle of Savannah backers to introduce a radical, next-generation steam powered vessel to blue water.”


The gentleman who wrote the review, Ira Breskin, is a Mystic Seaport Research Fellow and professor at SUNY Maritime College.  The review appears on pages 291-292 of the issue (Volume 49, Number 2).


***


15 November 2010: STEAM COFFIN reviewed by Nautical Magazine—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed in the November 2010 issue of Nautical Magazine of the United Kingdom:


“The author displays a remarkable array of historical research in developing this substantial account...There are comprehensive source notes and a splendid index...It should delight anyone with an interest in the history of the development of the steamship...a story well worth telling.”


The review appears on pages 321-322 of the issue (Volume 284, Number 5).


***


1 November 2010: STEAM COFFIN reviewed by PowerShips Magazine—


STEAM COFFIN has been reviewed in the Fall 2010 issue of PowerShips Magazine:


Steam Coffin is remarkable in that it is able to present the macro and micro pictures in a graceful and engaging narrative...Busch wrote this book for a general, non-nautical audience, because he explains everything, including the most basic terms...He has an eye for the telling quotation...A fascinating account of early 19th century technology..., and the entrepreneurial spirit of the age.”


The review appears on page 81 of the issue (#275).


***


16 September 2010:  Presentation made at National Maritime Heritage Conference—


At the Ninth National Maritime Heritage Conference in Baltimore, I made a presentation entitled:


“How to use a ‘Steam Coffin’ to engage...The Maritime Nexus: Reconnecting Landsmen with their Seagoing Heritage”


This presentation, tailored to address the Conference’s theme of seeking ways to renew the link between a land-centric public and our rich maritime heritage, focused upon a five-step  process:


1) Mind Re-Calibration;

2) Humanize the History;

3) Define the Historical Subject;

4) Reconnect the Landsmen by Showing the Maritime’s Relevance;

5) If All Else Fails, Throw Them a Zinger!


The presentation was very well received by audience and fellow panel members alike.


***


1 September 2010:  STEAM COFFIN reviewed by WindCheck Magazine—


STEAM COFFIN has received a full-page review in the September 2010 issue of WindCheck Magazine:


“Written in a very readable narrative style, Steam Coffin is compelling, engaging and highly recommended.”


The review appears on page 39 of the issue.


***


Is it a “boat” or a “ship”?


One of the many confusions in ultra-Modern English remains when to use the word “boat” and when to use the word “ship.”

These terms are not synonymous, and the difference in their meanings plays a very important role in STEAM COFFIN.

The earlier of the words is probably boat, which comes from the Old Norse word beit, which evolved into the Old English word bāt, and then became boot in Middle English.  In each case, these words meant any vessel used to float upon the water.  But since the first forays of humans in such craft naturally stayed close to land, a beit / bāt / boot / boat came to denote any vessel used for travel near the shore.

But for the Norseman of old, longer voyages upon the ocean—particularly attempts to explore or colonize distant lands—required a different kind of vessel.  Such a craft had to be larger and more complex, and therefore required more planning in order to build, equip and man it.  In Old Norse, the verb skipa was used to describe the effort to organize and provision such a vessel.  In time, this bigger, better-organized craft intended for long voyages came to be described in Old Norse as a skip, which in Old English became a scip, and then in Middle English, a schip or ship.

This differentiation in the meaning of the words in Modern English continues to this day.  A boat is generally used for travel near shore, whether on a river, lake, bay or along the coast, while a ship is a vessel used for long-distance voyages on the ocean.

There is no such thing as a tugship, since those vessels are used only for work near shore.

And while there are such things as lifeboats, they are only to be used in emergencies upon the ocean (and hopefully for only short periods of time).

Otherwise, the delineation in meaning between the two words is fairly clear.  By further example, steam-powered vessels used upon rivers, lakes and bays are “steamboats.”  But steam-powered craft intended for long-distance voyages far from land are “steamships.”  And therein lays the rub of STEAM COFFIN.


***


Is it a “he,” or is it a “she,” or is it an “it”?


Way back in 2002, Lloyd’s List of London, which claims to be the world’s oldest daily newspaper, announced that it would no longer describe vessels as being feminine.   Instead of “she,” a vessel would be referred to as “it.”  In explanation, Lloyd’s List declared that the paper only wanted to “catch up with the rest of the world,” since most other news organizations already had begun to refer to vessels in the neuter.

But numerous institutions, including the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, England, and the British Marine Industries Federation, and the Royal Navy, insisted that they would continue to refer to vessels in the feminine.

Why the resistance to this change?

Tradition.

As the U.S. Naval Historical Center in Washington, DC points out, vessels have been referred to as “she” for centuries.  The reasons why date back to the Ancient Greeks, who often named their ships after goddesses, in the hope that the honored one would protect their vessel at sea.  In other cases, the ship would be named after the departing commander’s wife, to remind him of his loved one while he was gone.  More generally, because a vessel served as the only source of protection and sustenance while facing a dangerous ocean, mariners naturally thought of their ships as their mothers, and therefore, as being feminine.

Lloyd’s List countered such views by pointing out that vessels are just inanimate objects.  "Ultimately they are commodities...not things that have characters," stated the newspaper’s editor.

Except when one spends any time talking to veterans of any country’s navy, or merchant marine, or coast guard—what they will tell you is that they felt as though the vessel upon which they served was alive.  To them, “it” did have character, and so deserves to be treated accordingly.

Admittedly, ascribing the feminine to a particular vessel type (such as a tanker, or a freighter, or a frigate) might seem odd, and in those cases, it should be alright to refer to the vessel as “it.”

But once the vessel’s name is invoked, character—real or imagined—is implied, and tradition should hold sway.

Again, using the feminine might seem awkward when the vessel has a clearly masculine name, such as the USS Harry S. Truman, or the USS Ronald Reagan.  In those cases, one might be forgiven for referring to them as “he.”

But as any purist will tell you, even in those cases, and certainly in all others, tradition should be respected—

When it comes to vessels, “it” is really “she.”


***


“Larboard” and “Starboard”?  What about “Port”?


STEAM COFFIN uses any number of nautical terms, which are all readily defined within the text.  Even so, some veteran maritime readers may encounter a few words with which they are unfamiliar.

Starboard is not one of them.  As any maritime reader knows, this term refers to the right side of a vessel.  Because the early craft of Scandinavia were steered by a rudder attached to the right-side of the stern, this became known in Old Norse as the stýriborð, or “rudder side” of a vessel.  In time, this word for the right side evolved into stēorbord in Old English, then sterbord in Middle English, and finally starboard in Modern English.

Larboard is a different matter.  This term is probably a new one for many readers.  Once again, its creation can be traced back to Scandinavia.  Since the rudder of an ancient Nordic vessel was attached to the right-side of the stern, these ships could not be docked and loaded on the stýriborð (or right side).  This meant that the left side of the vessel became, in Old Norse, the hlaðaborð, or “loading side.” In Middle English, it became laddebord, and in Modern English, larboard.

This nautical term for “left” was still in use in the early 19th century, and the Savannah’s first mate, Stevens Rogers, used larboard exclusively in the steamship’s logbook.  Out of respect for the times in which the story takes place, STEAM COFFIN uses larboard exclusively to denote nautical “left.”

But what about port?

This nautical term for “left,” which again refers to the “loading side” of the vessel that faced the “port” when docked, was not in general use in the early 19th century.  Mariners—traditionalists that they were—still referred to “left” as “larboard.”  Eventually, however, the similarities between larboard and starboard forced a change, brought about in part by a new generation of seamen.  In 1844, the Royal Navy officially dropped the use of “larboard” for “left,” replacing it with “port.”  The U.S. Navy followed suit in 1846, and eventually, so did the rest of the maritime world.


***


The Ubiquity of “Steam”


No one should doubt the incredibly powerful impact that the steam engine, and its adaptation for use in steam-powered vessels, has had on the human race.  The effect goes far beyond the physical benefit of artificially altering a person’s location and the amount of time it takes to change it.  Steam-powered vessels also served to alter the way human beings think about time and place.

One example of this is the way people unconsciously allude to steam-powered vessels and vehicles in their everyday language.  Below are but a few examples:


“Getting up steam…”


“Keeping up steam…”


“Letting off steam…”


“Blowing off steam…”


“Losing steam…”


“Gaining steam…”


“Gathering steam…”


“He/She is really steamed…”


“Full steam ahead!”


Even two centuries after their introduction, steam vessels, and their younger sibling, steam-powered trains, continue to exert such an influence that their subtle effects on behavior and language often go unnoticed.


***


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