Vinci adopted the principle to drive his theoretical helicopter, sketches of which involved a large canvas screw overhead.In 1784, J. P. Paucton proposed a gyrocopter-like aircraft using similar screws for both lift and propulsion. At about the same time, James Watt proposed using screws to propel boats, although he did not use them for hissteam engines. This was not his own invention, though; Toogood and Hayshad patented it a century earlier, and it had become an uncommon use as ameans of propelling boats since that time.Propellers remained extremely inefficient and little-utilized until 1835, whenFrancis Pettit Smith discovered, purely by accident, a new way of building propellers. Up to that time, propellers were literally screws, of considerablelength. But during the testing of a boat propelled by one, the screw snappedoff, leaving a fragment shaped much like a modern boat propeller. The boatmoved faster with the broken propeller.At about the same time, Frédéric Sauvage and John Ericsson applied for patents on vaguely similar, although less efficient shortened screw propellers, leading to an apparently-permanent controversey as to who is theofficial inventor among those three men.The first screw propeller to be powered by a gasoline engine, fitted to asmall boat (now known as a powerboat) was installed by Frederick Lanchester, also from Birmingham. This was tested in Oxford. The first'real-world' use of a propeller was by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who usedit instead of paddle wheels to power the SS Great Britain.The twisted airfoil (aerofoil) shape of modern aircraft propellers was pioneered by the Wright brothers when they found that all existingknowledge on propellers (mostly naval) was determined by trial and error and that no one knew exactly how they worked. They found that a propeller is essentially the same as a wing and so were able to use data collated fromtheir earlier wind tunnel experiments on wings. They also found that therelative angle of attack from the forward movement of the aircraft wasdifferent for all points along the length of the blade, thus it was necessary tointroduce a twist along its length. Their original propeller blades are onlyabout 5% less efficient than the modern equivalent, some 100 years later.