The First Steam Battleships

By D.K. Brown, published November 1977


During the 1840s, enmity & frequent crisis between Britain and France usually from colonial conflicts, resulted in a race to build steam-powered battleships.  British fear of invasion led, in 1845, to the Admiralty’s decision to refit four “elderly” ships of the line (Blenheim, Ajax, Hogue & Edinburgh) with propeller-driven, steam engines. Ajax, the world’s first steam driven battleship was completed 23 September 1846 with the Blenheim raising steam the next day.  Though not great performers, all four ships gave “good service” in the Baltic Sea during the Crimean War (1853 -1856). They were scrapped in the mid 1860s.

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Filed under: Baltic | Crimean War
Subjects include: Navies | Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

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