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The Impact of Technological ChangeThe Early Steamship in Britain$
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John Armstrong and David M. Williams

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780986497377

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780986497377.001.0001

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Promotion, Speculation and Their Outcome: The “Steamship Mania” of 1824-1825

Promotion, Speculation and Their Outcome: The “Steamship Mania” of 1824-1825

(p.205) Chapter 10 Promotion, Speculation and Their Outcome: The “Steamship Mania” of 1824-18251
The Impact of Technological Change

John Armstrong

David M. Williams

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores the perceived upswing in steamship ownership in 1824-1825 due to the boom in the stock exchange and the growth of joint-stock ownership schemes. It begins by explaining the expected outcome of the analysis - that joint-stock promotions instigated a ‘steamship mania’ akin to the ‘railway mania’ or the 1840s - was incorrect, and that over the course of research and study the authors discovered that in fact only three companies were formed during this period, two of which later failed. It charts the reasons for the steamship’s desirability, then analyses the boom itself - scale, routes, services, and diffusion. It studies the factors that led to such widespread failure during the period, and concludes that British enthusiasm for the steamship was overly-ambitious and led to losses, but these losses did not stop people from recognising and responding to the steamship as a major innovation.

Keywords:   Steamship Ownership, Shipowning, Maritime Economics, Joint Stock Companies, Railway Mania

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