S.S. Beaver - Victoria,B.C. Harbour, as a survey vessel in 1871.
(Photo Credit: Vancouver Maritime Museum)
Hudson's Bay Sidewheel Paddle Steamer: S.S. Beaver
Service in Canada
Initially she had a rectangular boiler, generating steam pressure at under 3 psi, and was fed by seawater. Boulton and Watt engines are not pressure engines, rather they are vacuum engines. (Salt water feed was common in the early days and could be done with low pressure and frequent boiler blowdowns to prevent salt scale build up on the plates.) The salt water played havoc with the boilers as the salinity rusted the wall thickness of the boiler, which would rot out. Beaver had to have a new boiler every seven years or so and went through multiple installations over her career. Over time the boiler pressure was increased, and 36 inch diameter cylinders replaced the original 42 inch cylinders.
Beaver played roles in the establishment of coal mines at Fort Rupert, and later in 1853, Nanaimo. She helped the Hudson's Bay Company establish Fort Victoria as a post in 1843. She would also ferry dignitaries such as the Governor back and forth between the Colony of Vancouver Island and the mainland, which until 1858 and the establishment of the Colony of British Columbia had come to be known as New Caledonia after the Oregon Treaty of 1846.
In her later life Beaver burned coal and would hire young men of the Skwxwu7mesh (Squamish) people of North Vancouver to work the holds as coal passers. The Hudson's Bay Company finally sold her in 1874.
S.S. Beaver - Technical Resources
S.S. Beaver - 3D Model
The three dimensional, computerized model of the S.S. Beaver is a work in progress by Andrew Wilkie. The model is being created and rendered with Rhino 3D and Flamingo Advanced Rendering software. The project began way back in 2005, originally for the Vancouver Maritime Museum, then under the direction of James Delgado, with assistance from John McKay, Mark Gardner and modelers like Frank Rozee. Work on the S.S. Beaver model has been on and off since 2005 due to focus on other 3D projects like the Austro-Hungarian battleship Viribus Unitis. This website shares the current status of the model, which begs to be created in 3D, and shared with those who love the Pacific Northwest's favourite steamer.