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Steam-kettles

Contemptuous name applied to vessels propelled by steam-power, whether steamers, men-of-war, or any other craft.

“These steam-kettles of ours can never be depended upon. I wish we could go back to the good old sailing ships. When we had them we knew what we were about. ... Now we trust to machinery, and it fails us in time of need.” —Kingston: The Three Admirals, chap. xvi

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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