Model paddle wheel engines of the SS 'Great Eastern'

Made:
1853-1857
maker:
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
,
Eastern Steam Navigation Company
,
John Scott Russell
and
John Scott Russell
and

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Model paddle wheel engines of the "Great Eastern" steamship, 1858.

When the Great Eastern was launched in 1858 she was the largest ship in the world. It was also the final and most ambitious project of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who died shortly after the launch.

The Great Eastern (known, during building, as the Leviathan) was designed to make the trip from England to Australia round the Cape, without having to stop to take on coal. The ship was plagued with problems and did not fulfil the expectations held for her. However, in 1866 she was used to lay the first successful transatlantic telegraph cable linking Britain and America.

The paddle engines on the ship were built by John Scott Russell, a leading naval architect and Brunel's collaborator on the project. This 1:12 scale model was probably built to serve as a design tool and also to help underpin the confidence of investors in the project. The actual engines represented a major engineering achievement, each pair weighing 90 tons, and driving paddle wheels 56 feet in diameter. The engines were the largest of their time and, in total, produced 3150 indicated horsepower - double the power of any previous marine engine.

This model is one of the few surviving artefacts of the Great Eastern, which was broken up for scrap in the late 1880s.

On display

Science Museum: Making the Modern World Gallery

If you are visiting to see this object, please contact us in advance to make sure that it will be on display.

Details

Category:
Marine Engines
Object Number:
1857-53
type:
model
credit:
John Scott Russell

Cite this page

Rights

We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.


Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero


Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data

Download

Download catalogue entry as json

View manifest in IIIF viewer

Add to Animal Crossing Art Generator

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.