see also: evolution propeller design methods

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ship and boats propeller history

know the history of boat propellers:

Here we will make a (very) fast enumeration, of course incomplete, different technical developments in boat propellers, between 1750 and 1900, to become aware of what has been done by our fathers.... before seeing ways of propeller propulsion , currently used on boats.

In 1752 the Academy of Sciences of Paris offered a range of prices that brought a significant contribution in the shipbuilding .Bernoulli, Euler, D'Alembert worked on the problem. Bernoulli proposed a propeller which won a prize and who looked like this:

propeller screw bernoulli 1752

Bernoulli 1752

30 years later, Bramah offers a system with a propeller shaft located below the waterline as this:

 propeller screwBramah 1785

Bramah 1785

In 1802 Shorter offers a propeller that could propel sailboats when great calm .The shaft propeller remaining above the waterline no waterproofing was necessary. This ship propeller was intended to be manipulated by men using a capstan.

propeller screw Shorter 1802

Shorter 1802

In 1836 Erricson draws a contra rotating ship propeller:

propeller screw Erricson 1836

Erricson 1836

 propeller screw Taylor en 1838

Taylor 1838

1849 Griffith draws a self-propeller (variable pitch) which could set flag:

propeller screw 1849 Griffith

1849 Griffith

1851 Mangin attempts to increase the thrust of the propeller blade separating into two portions

propeller screw helice mangin

In 1860, Hirsh filed a patent on a ship propeller possessing a ditribution of twisting, but also distribution of the radial positioning angle of the profiles::

propeller screw helice hirsh


Griffith in 1871 resumed the idea of Mangin separate the blade in two, but only a portion of the blade of the propeller:

propeller screw grifith

Zeise in 1886, continued the development of the distribution of the pitch, increasing the pitch of the elements near the blade root, in order to increase the efficiency of the propeller area.

propeller screw Ziese

1901 Zeise experimenting propellers, with flexible blades:

propeller screw flexible zeise

In 1907 Taylor injects air on the upper surface of the blade of the propeller to reduce cavitation:

propeller screw tailor


Innumerable other attempts and experiments in propellers, of course, been carried, we flew over quickly the evolution of the shape of boat propellers.Nowadays, the shape of the propellers is still evolving, and system invented to increase performance are numerous .Proof if it were needed, that the history of the propeller is far from complete ....