“Prompted by his admiration of Queen Victoria and her well-known sea-sickness, Frederick Augustus Knapp designed a cylindrical boat  supposed to conquer waves of any magnitude, leaving a calm ride. The prototype was built in 1897, 110 feet long, with a 22-foot diameter outer cylinder for rotation and a smaller stationary inner cylinder for passengers. Using 2 steam engines at the ends, the boat log-rolled across the water like a rolling pin, cutting through the waves with blades affixed to its exterior.

“The prototype never reached adequate speed and was hard to maneuver. In 1907, the hull broke loose from its moorings crashed into a boat, As payment for damages, the hull was sold for $300 but in the end never claimed. As the Toronto waterfront expanded over the years, the hull was dragged to the foot of Parliament St. and in 1927 the city buried the boat where it lay under new landfill.”

- Heritage Toronto

Knapp's Roller Boat

One Response

  1. MrSatyre

    Amazing that even back then he would have expected it to work. It had no means of countering or compensating for internal side-to-side inertia, let alone up and down wave movement from bow to stern, which is how all ships encounter the greatest amount of rocking. Even today’s most advanced ocean liners can’t eliminate rocking in moderate seas, to say nothing of heavy seas.


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