A. W. Getchell
A.W. Getchell, is the son of A. C. and Caroline Getchell, and was born in 1850, at Portland, Maine, in 1852 removing with his parents to Cleveland, Ohio, where he attended the public schools. At the end of his school years he entered the Lake Shore railroad shops to finish the machinist's trade, remaining one year, and he next turned his attention to stationary engines, running both high and low pressure engines for a number of years. In 1876 he commenced sailing as second engineer on the steamer H. B. Tuttle for one season, and the following spring he shipped as chief engineer on the wrecking boat J. K. White, operating out of Grand Island, following this by a season on the steamer Cormorant as second engineer. In the spring of 1879 Mr. Getchell was appointed chief engineer on the steamer City of Concord, plying between Chicago and Ogdensburg, and continued in that employ three years, after which he stopped ashore and entered the employ of the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Company, as inspector and consulting engineer; he still retains that position.
Mr. Getchell has occupied his leisure hours in experimenting with machinery, and being a thorough mechanic and possessed of a fund of inventive genius, he has produced some novel, and at the same time practical, mechanism, on which he has secured letters patent. Among others we may mention an improved tumbling barrel, a new design of the hull of a steamboat, and a spiral screw steamboat designed for high speed and light traffic. This invention relates more especially to buoyant screw propellers for water craft, and consists of buoyant screws constructed to float and bear the body of the craft above the surface of the water. The object of the invention is to provide against the displacement of water, common to all water craft, by providing buoyant screws, which take the place of the hull and are practically the hull of the boat - the screw being of proportionately large dimensions, capable of supporting a good sized vessel-like superstructure above the water - and which may be rapidly rotated for propulsion on the water, speedily carrying the boat or vessel with the least amount of resistance in and by the water, the screws working in same in like manner to screws in their nuts. In ordinary steam and sailing vessels the displacement of water becomes a strong resistance to their propulsion, and requires great power to overcome, consequently retarding their progress, whereas, in this device, the only displacement is by the screws, and in rotating them in the water the resistance is available for carrying them forward instead of retarding them, for the rotation of the screws tends to move them forward. The screws also roll over very easily in the water, like the rolling of logs. The bearing down on one side of the axis of the screw is aided by the tendency of the other side to be lifted by the water, so that a minimum of power will serve to turn them. The buoyancy relied upon in this device is contained in the spiral blades of the screws, and not in air chambers or in the hollow or tubular shafts, as the shafts are entirely open so that the water may pass through them, and thus prevent the least resistance to the passage of the screws through the water. The main deck of the boat, or the superstructure, is carried along almost entirely above water, and may be for either freight or passengers. Beneath the main deck no hull is provided, but in substitution therefore are constructed and applied floating buoyant screws, which support and carry said superstructure above the surface of the water. These buoyant screws are attached one to each side of the vessel and run the entire length, from stem to stern, thus holding the upper deck as steady in the cradle as a railroad locomotive in the roadbed.
Mr. Getchell was united in marriage on December 5, 1883, to Miss Rosa L. Maxon, of Cleveland, and to them have been born two children; Theodore W. and Kate R. The family residence is on Franklin Avenue, Cleveland.
Return to Home Port
This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.