Opening Ceremonies – Measuring the Speed of Sound



seneca chief

Governor Dewitt Clinton and his party being carried on the Seneca Chief from Buffalo to New York in October of 1825.  The Governor was riding a wave of popularity and of self-confidence because of the Erie’s success!  Cannons – including naval arms that had been confiscated from the British during the War of 1812 – were positioned at intervals alongside the route all the way to New York City to create a chain of fire signalling the opening ceremony at Buffalo.  The governor suggested that the cannonfire be used to calculate the speed of sound, but that idea didn’t work out as well as the canal itself did.

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