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The “Talisman”

A Clyde Paddle Passenger Packet


NOWHERE is local shipping more keenly and critically followed than on the Clyde and its estuary. Nowhere will be found a better example of naval architecture, as far as paddle propulsion is concerned; for the Clyde is the home of the fast paddle passenger packet. The vessel illustrated below is the Talisman, one of the latest of these ships. She is engaged in excursion runs during the summer in the lower reaches of the Firth of Clyde, and on regular “packet” work in the winter. The ship maintains practically a daily schedule throughout the year, and works for the London and North Eastern Railway Company.

The Talisman paddle passenger packet

The Talisman bears a name coupled with tradition, her predecessor having been a famous ship. Built by A. and J. Inglis, of Pointhouse, Glasgow, who have for many years specialized in the construction of this type of craft, she has a length between perpendiculars of 215 feet, a breadth moulded - i.e. excluding the paddle-boxes shown in the drawing - of 27 ft 6-in, a depth moulded of 8 ft 9-in and a draught of only 5 ft 2-in. She has seven water-tight bulkheads, and can carry a total of 1,259 passengers, having been built to the requirements of the Steam 3, 4 and 5 Certificates of the Board of Trade. There are two decks fore and aft, on which the passenger accommodation is arranged in large restaurants, smoking-rooms, shelters and saloons. On the main deck, streamlined in conformity with modern practice, is a big shelter for first-class passengers forward and for third-class passengers aft. Above this is the navigating bridge, behind the stump mast and gracefully raking funnel.

The ship has a counter stern in which is arranged an all-electric steering gear. This is a novel feature for Clyde ships, as indeed is the propulsion of the vessel as a whole; for the Talisman is driven by an enormous electric motor with two armatures situated on the main deck, and driving the paddle-wheels direct. This motor, manufactured by the English Electric Company, of Stafford, is capable of a total output of 1,300 bhp at some 48 to 50 rpm, and is known as a shunt-wound type. To supply current to the motor there are four diesel engines, each having a normal output of 400 bhp at 600 rpm. The Talisman is a fast vessel, and on her trials made over seventeen knots.

You can read more on “Coastal Pleasure Steamers”, “Oscillating Paddle Engines”,  

“Story of the Mersey Ferries” and “Thames Butterfly Boats”on this website.