Electric outboards fifty years before Tesla and Torqeedo


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Electric motors for boats are not a recent invention. Already in 1886 Werner von Siemens built Elektra, the first ship in the world with an electric motor-driven propeller. The German ability to play with electric current also manifests itself in more yachting applications and in the first half of the last century Siemens-Schuckert proposed the PG 28 an electric outboard motor with 120 W of power. And this historical piece, like three other marine precursors of the Tesla, is exhibited in the museum of Nils Häggblom, a 75-year-old Finnish young man in love with old outboards and windsurfing, even if he collects, restores and exhibits only the first ones in the outboard museum (Perämoottorimuseo, in Finnish) in Tirmo, about thirty kilometers east of Helsinki. For climatic reasons, the museum is only open during the summer season.

Looking at the four specimens on display at the Helsinki Boat Show, one can see that the electric motor was, from the beginning, very close to its current form. Let it be understood that the problem of the lack of capillary diffusion of the electric propulsion is only in the capacity of the batteries. It is interesting to see how the different manufacturers have interpreted the user interface over time. A model of which neither brand, year of construction nor power are known, but it could be a model dating back to the 70’s: it has only one switch with three positions: 0, 1 and 2. Essential, but quite clear.

Dating back to 1969 is the WondeTroll of the American company Shakespeare, still active today, but now only as a manufacturer of antennas after abandoning the production of radio transceiver systems. Here you can see how the aesthetics are not so far from a radio transmitter of those years. The controls include on and off on the throttle, forward and backward by means of a lever switch, the selector for use at 6 or 12 volts and the power regulator: high, medium and low. In addition, an additional switch turned on the light (but you don’t know which one anymore). A writing reminded us to start the motor only when in water. Always American, but dating back to 1955, and always with the same safety lettering is the Silvertrol, at the time still pending registration of the patent, a trademark that the Silver Creek Precision Corporation, used since 1946. Here the controls are all with keys with five possibilities of use: off, low, 2nd, 3rd and maximum.

Given the success that these electric outboard motors are having today (on fishing boats are increasingly frequent) it is natural to ask whether, in addition to aesthetics, the demand for more efficient engines will lead us to see totally different engines or whether it will be just a design discourse to change the outboards of the future.

Barche a Motore is at the newsstand, on iPad, iPhone 

and on all the tablet and smartphone Android.



Fonte immagine principale: Puuvene.fi



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