Pittsburgh, PA Steamer CUTTER Explosion, Mar 1843
EXPLOSION AND LOSS OF LIFE.
As the CUTTER, a medium sized steamer, well known for her fast running, was leaving the wharf at Pittsburg on Friday afternoon, and had reached the middle of the river, her starboard flue collapsed with a loud explosion. Several were blown or jumped overboard, some of whom were picked up by skiff's from shore, the second engineer was horribly mutilated and died instantly, the first engineer and a colored fireman were dangerously, and a lady, cabin passenger, very badly scalded.
Three others were slightly scalded. Five persons missing, two deck passengers, two firemen and the pilot, supposed to be drowned. The Coroner's jury returned the usual verdict that said "inquest thinks there can be no blame attached to any officers of said boat." The Chronicle however, says:
"The Mate of the CUTTER (we learn,) states that all the flues were examined and put in order in Cincinnati, previous to her last trip, with the exception of the one which collapsed. The Captain ascribes the explosion to the usual practice of passengers -- that of suddenly rushing from one side of a boat to the other, when leaving port. This, he says, together with the force of the wind, caused the boat to careen to starboard, and the water filling suddenly the starboard boiler occasioned the accident."
"The CUTTER was built at Cincinnati, and has made but three trips; her boilers were old, having been for several years used on the steamer Richmond; they were originally made in Wheeling."
"There was no Safety Guard on the vessel. The practice of putting old boilers on new boats cannot be too severely reprehended; such triffling with the lives of the traveling public should not be suffered, and steamboat owners, to save a few dollars, be allowed to send scores of their fellow men to another world. We wish to place as charitable a construction upon the conduct of others as it will bear, but we cannot refrain from stating that the person who placed the boiler which injured upon the CUTTER, or the government inspector who certified to its sufficiency, must be considered as responsible for the accident."
The Experiment Norwalk Ohio 1843-03-29