June 20 - 1819 - The SS Savannah Arrives in Liverpool
The SS Savannah was going to inaugurate a new era in ocean going vessels, as it was the first steam powered ship to make a transatlantic crossing. On the other hand, the Savannah was also a sailing ship that had a steam engine and paddle wheel added on in construction, and it only used steam power for a small fraction of its voyage. Steam powered paddle ships had been used on rivers for a decade, but no one had attempted a transatlantic trip. The Savannah's captain, Moses Rogers, convinced the firm of Scarborough & Isaacs in Savannah, Georgia to pay for a steam engine on his ship to make such a voyage. After moving from its shipyard in New York to its home port in Savannah, the ship was so popular that President James Monroe wanted to come aboard and see it. Once it began its historic voyage in May 1819, the ship had a smooth trip. The steam engine was not used much, but it did leave Savannah and enter Liverpool on steam. Once it hit Liverpool, the excitement around the ship was immense, and the intrigue continued as it went to St. Petersburg. Six months after it left home, the Savannah returned to Savannah, but no other steam powered ships would make a voyage for nearly two decades.