Until the mid 19th century, steamships were usually fitted with paddles and these continued in use long after the arrival of the screw propellor especially for ferries, pleasure boats and harbour tugs. Paddles had the advantage in manoeuvring, when using two wheels independently. They also had an advantage in shallow or weed filled waters.

The stern wheeler was a long lived and popular paddle steamer. The Mississippi became their natural home, as pleasure boats as well as commercial carriers.

Earlier types were spectacular in motion, fitted with direct-acting engines driving cranks either end of the paddle shaft. This type can usefully be used in a model with R/C.

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By Julius de Waal