22 MAY 1926, Page 16


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] Snt,—In your issue of May 1st you make use of the expression, " we could all:go full steam ahead towards the happier times," &c. On board ship you can telegraph the engines to go- full speed ahead but never " full steam ahead." The steam. passes from the boilers through the engines and into exhaust in practically any direction except " ahead." Therefore " full steam ahead " has no meaning. I fancy the same applies to the steam in a locomotive. Can you please enlighten, me regarding the expression ?—I am, Sir, &c., Haiherop Castle, Fairford, Glos. FRANCIS CAnOGAN.

[" Full steam ahead " is, no doubt, an illogical expression nowadays, but it has become familiar. Perhaps it dates back to times when steamships had more elementary engines, and a more elementary means of communicating with the engine- room. We will make a " sporting offer " to Mr. Cadogan. We will try to avoid " full steam ahead " if naval officers will cease saying that a steamship sails " on such and such a date—not that we really want them to.—En. Spectator.]