Friday, July 25, 2014

Czechoslovakia 4.2.1991 – 150th Anniversary of Steamboat Bohemia

Martin from Prague sent me this FDC which commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the Czechoslovakian Steamboat Bohemia.

 The first steamboat in Bohemia is connected with two gentlemen: J. Andrews and J.J.Ruston. The ceremony during which the steamboat named BOHEMIA was launched and which was presided by J.J.Ruston himself took place in Karlín, Prague, in 1841. The boat was 38,8 m long and 4,9 m wide and it was built in a very modern way using the combination of wood and iron. The steamboat engine was brought from Greenwich. The precise positioning of the engine and masterfully manufactured construction of the boat resulted in an exceptionally low submergion – only 0,42 cm.

When BOHEMIA appeared in Dresden for the first time on 26th May 1841 the local Saxony boats were put of out operation as there was not enough water. BOHEMIA was able to take aboard travellers who were waiting in vain for a Saxony boat. The new steambaot soon became a sensation in Dresden and on the way back it was introduced to the Saxony royal court at Pillnitz Chateau.

BOHEMIA surprised the locals again when to the swimmers’ amazement „the steamboat steered into a narrow shipping channel which was carefully avoided by all swimmers and sailed through it unharmed“ (news from Sächsische Dorfzeitung from 29. 5. 1841). This very well illustrates the masterful design of the steamboat which can still be seen on the original drawing stored in the Technical Museum in Vienna. It has to be said though that the steamboat as it appears in the picture(s) is slightly adjusted conforming the art fashion of that time.

The regular cruise to Dresden took only a day downstream and BOHEMIA was on its route twice a week. The cruise usually did not start in Prague but in Obříství (a village not far from Mělník) as there was not enough water in the Vltava river and people had to use other means of transport to get to Prague from here.

On of the most famous passangers on BOHEMIA was the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen who travelled on the boat on 31st June 1841 and described the river cruise in the book A Poet's Bazaar.

Thank you Martin.

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