E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
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