A large steam-driven wheel with boards round its circumference, situated at the stern or side of a ship so as to propel the ship through the water by its rotation.
- With a paddle wheel on each side of the ship, it was found far more convenient in terms of visibility to command the ship from a bridge across the driving machinery between the two wheels.
- But steamships were improving as the screw propeller replaced the paddle wheel and iron replaced wood.
- In 1845, the British Admiralty sponsored a demonstration to determine which was superior, the paddle wheel or screw propeller; the latter clearly won.
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