Model Tank Experiments by Benjamin Franklin
By Captain Elliot Snow (CC), U.S. Navy
It is not generally known to naval architects and marine engineers that Benjamin Franklin, at one time, interested him. self in the subject of the resistance of ships and that he actually made some experiments with a model to determine the difference in resistance of barges between shoal and deep water navigation.
His interest in this subject and the experiments which followed arose from a chance inquiry that he made of a boatman while traveling on one of the barges in a Holland canal. The results of these experiments are recorded in a letter written by Dr. Franklin, dated Craven St., London, May 10, 1768. This letter is of so great historic interest, that it is here quoted in full:
"To Dr. John Pringle, London.
On the Difference of Navigation in shoal and deep water.
Craven Street, May 10, 1768.