A boat that runs along the surface of the water on drums was given a trial recently on the Hackensack River, near Newark, N. J. Five specially-designed white steel drums, having indentations like the treads on tires to increase their grip upon the water, support the craft. The free-rolling drums reduce the resistance of the water and are expected to permit high speeds with low power. An airplane engine and propeller drive the boat, which can be run up on the shore. During the experimental runs, the body, which will accommodate several passengers, was not attached to the framework.

  1. DrewE says: December 17, 20129:25 am

    Why have indentations on the rollers “to increase their grip upon the water” and then make them free-rolling to “reduce the resistance of the water”? Wouldn’t it be more efficient to simply leave them smooth? (Of course, in actual use, a single streamlined hull would likely be even more efficient and have a safer (lower) center of gravity, which is likely why this hasn’t caught on.)

  2. Boats NZ says: December 17, 20121:29 pm

    I think the indentations might help to stop the craft sliding across the water like a hovercraft does.

  3. Stephen says: December 18, 20125:57 am

    A “roller boat” of this kind, using three pairs of rollers fore to aft, was built in the 1890s. It didn’t revolutionise shipping, and neither did this. Rolligons, machines for crossing very soft ground, have wheels somewhat like this and are amphibious, but that is a very special purpose and they are not efficient as boats – they just can get over water if they have to.

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