April 25, 1839.—Many objections were raised against building ships of iron, but the two real difficulties arose through the disturbance of the compass and the fouling of the hulls. Airy did more than any one to solve the compass problem, but in his autobiography is the entry, “I had in this year (1839) a great deal of troublesome and on the whole unpleasant correspondence with the Admiralty about the correction of the compass in iron ships. I naturally expected some acknowledgment of an important service rendered to Navigation: but the Admiralty peremptorily refused it.... The general success of the undertaking soon became notorious, and (as I understand) led immediately to extensive building of iron ships.” The vessels Airy used in his experiments were the Rainbow and Ironsides, and his results were published in a paper to the Royal Society on April 25, 1839.
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S., E. Calendar of Discovery and Invention. Nature 119, 620 (1927). https://doi.org/10.1038/119620a0