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Model made by de Jouffroy in 1784 to show the French Science Academy the engine and paddle wheels used on the Pyroscaphe. The model is now in the National Maritime Museum in Paris.[1]

Pyroscaphe was an early experimental steamship built by Marquis de Jouffroy d'Abbans in 1783. The first demonstration took place on 15 July 1783 on the river Saône in France. After the first demonstration, it was said that the hull had opened up and the boiler was letting out steam, faults common in early steamboats. In this case, it seems to have been easily repaired as the boat was said to have made several trips up and down the river. A month later, on 19 August, the boat carried several passengers who signed a witness protocol for a successful journey.[2][3]

The Pyroscaphe was propelled by a double-acting steam machine and sidewheels, and was therefore a paddle steamer.


(These figures are somewhat dubious, see Talk:Pyroscaphe.)

  • Length: 13 m
  • Beam: 4,5 m/14 ft 10 in
  • Displacement: 163t
  • Complement: 3


  • The Encyclopedia of Ships, ed. Tony Gibbons, Silverdale Books, 2002, ISBN 1-85605-591-4
  • Steamboat Evolution; A Short History, B.E.G. Clark, Fogdog Books, ISBN 978-1-84753-201-5 (Amazon)