Screw Propellers vastly reduced the amount of power needed to move ships. The propellers look like fans and work on similar principles except they displace water instead of air.
Countless people, from James Watt onward, claim to have invented the screw propeller. Early experiments, in the late 1700s and early 1800s, functioned but propelled ships slowly.
The SS Archimedes, built in 1838, is the first steamship to use a screw propeller. The ship and propeller were named after the Greek engineer Archimedes. He innovated the idea of using a screw-like design to move water.
Eventually, in 1837, Francis Smith and Col. John Stevens, working independently, demonstrated viable propellers. Afterword, work progressed, evolving from screw-like devices to fan-shaped propulsion systems.
Significantly, in the early 1900s, the Wright Brothers adapted the fan-shaped screw-propeller for the airplane.