The Screw Ferry-Boat
By E. W. Woolsey, Superintendent Hoboken Ferry Company
As early as 1805, a screw steamboat, constructed by John Stevens, made a run as a ferry-boat between Hoboken and the city of New York. This boat was about 24 feet in length, built upon the Whitehall pattern, and was propelled by twin-screws at the stern. The engines of the boat are now in the Stevens Institute of Technology at Hoboken.
The steam ferry-boat from its introduction in 1812 has always been of the Side wheel type, although as early as about 1850 the construction of a screw boat for ferry service was contemplated, and indeed plans for such a vessel prepared. In 1867 the subject was again agitated, but the project abandoned under the belief entertained that such a mode of propulsion was impracticable, chiefly because of the fear that no screw could be made to stand against the ice that packed in the ferry-slips.