The Irvinites

James Steadman

Steedman (the spelling on his gravestone) or Steadman, a carpenter and cabinetmaker, had an interest in natural history, and his study of fish gave him the idea of rear propulsion; watching a spinning wheel in 1816 suggested the method. He and gunsmith McCririck made models, one of which was taken by an Irvine leading light and fellow inventor, Maxwell Dick, to London in 1830, where – it was alleged – the idea was pirated, and patented without credit to James Steadman.

His gravestone at Irvine Old Parish Church bears the carving of a screw propeller:

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