Slovakian Coins Celebrate 200th Anniversary of a Steamship

12 Jul 2018  Thu

Slovakia released a special .900 fine silver €10 coin to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the first successful steamship journey on Danube. Technical parts of the Carolina are shown on the obverse. Other inscriptions in the obverse feature Slovakia’s coat of arms, country name SLOVENSKO, year of issuance 2018, Mint mark of the Kremnica Mint and letters ZF, for coin designer Zbynek Fojtu’s initials. Carolina is shown with Bratislava in the background on the reverse. Other inscriptions on the reverse include denomination 10 EURO, Slovakian inscription meaning “The first steamer in Bratislava” in English and the year 1818. The 18 grams coin has a mintage limit of 11,000 pieces in both Proof and Uncirculated versions.

The Emperor of Austria, Franz Joseph I announced that he would offer patent privileges for transportation services in the rivers of the empire to the one who develops a steam-powered ship on 6th November 1817. Inventor and builder Antal Bernhard was already building his steamboat and named it Carolina after Princess Caroline Augusta of Bavaria. The steamboat set off for its first journey on 21st March 1817. It was 15 meters in length and was powered by a 24 horsepower engine. As per the Emperor’s guidelines, the boat should be capable of transporting goods weighing up to 11 metric tons. However, Carolina was able to carry goods weighing 45 metric tons upstream.

For testing Carolina’s capabilities for a longer distance, a route from Vienna to Bratislava was chosen. The first long test journey started on 2nd September 1818, when the boat took three hours to reach Bratislava. The next day, the boat kept sailing several times upstream and downstream. It then travelled to a county in Hungary called Pest to test its functionality according to the conditions for sailing on the Danube.

On 16th September 1818, the Carolina sailed upriver from Pest for the first time. Three state officials were sailing on the boat to confirm that it moved using its own steam-power without any help from the shore. The Carolina travelled only during the day as it had no lights and reached Komarno on 26th September. The steamer travelled for 71 hours, covering a distance of 120 kilometers.

Image courtesy: National Bank of Slovakia

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