Taylor, Walton & Maberly, 1st.ed., 1848. (Vii) + iv + 140 pp., extra lithographic title-page + 16 lithographic & other plates in addition to several drawings in text. Original brown blind decorated cloth ; gilt with gilt ‘ship' illustration to front cover ; (blind to rear cover) ; edges uncut. Professionally re-backed with the original spine very neatly laid down. 24 x 18cm. Light foxing to some plates o/w a clean, tight & bright copy : V.G. Inscribed : "Harold A. Illingworth, August, 1956. From Mrs. Q. L. W. (Margery) Littler, being one of her late father's books". In another hand: "Ex. Libris Robert Graham Napier, a great grandson of Robert Napier of Sharndon. 1956." An early Victorian account of the progress of steam navigation up to 1848, examining the various inventions to date including the means of ship-propulsion by paddle-wheel and screw aided by the steam engine. Although the 1840s were still very much the age of sail, and indeed the heyday of the clipper ship had not yet arrived, great strides in development of steam navigation were taking place in Europe and in America. The author begins by showing that the mean of propelling a vessel by paddle-wheel is of great antiquity and dates back to the 15th century before steam was thought of. He examines the 18th century inventions of Patrick Miller of Dalswinton, Edinburgh ; plus other inventors of that age. Individual early steam vessels are then described, including Symington's CHARLOTTE DUNDAS of 1803, Robert Fulton's CLEREMONT of 1807 and Henry Bell's COMET of 1812. Lithographic views of these vessels as well as perspective views of their machinery feature amongst the plates. The author, continuing his chronological history, covers Captain Ericsson's ROBERT F. STOCKTON (afterwards NEW JERSEY) of 1839, and the author's Varying Pitch Screw Propeller of 1844 fitted to HMS DWARF. The work concludes with a useful List of Patents for Propelling Vessels from 1618 to 1848. An important and SCARCE study of steamships, illustrated with 16 lithographs, engravings and plans.