Cathead

Steamboats and other rivercraft - general discussion

173 posts in this topic

Bob, just imagine it before the poor river was mostly dammed up and had lots of the debris filtered out of her!

 

Deperdussion, those are pretty unique, thanks for sharing. Where are those images from?

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Another "Family" of paddlewheel steamers whose history has been forgotten are the stern wheel paddlewheel steamers that carried supplies for the 1898 Yukon Gold Rush.


 


The Moran Bros built twelve paddle wheel steamers in their boat yard in Seattle (now a pro sport stadium) that supplied the 1898 Yukon Gold Rush.  These paddlewheel steamers began their travel to the Yukon River from Roche Harbor.    


This Wiki link has info on eleven of the twelve Moran Bros stern wheelers (one was wrecked in route to the Yukon).  https://en.wikipedia...n_sternwheelers


 


There's a good story about transferring these steamers from Seattle and the Captains to the mouth of the Yukon.  It's in one of the books I have, I'll find it and post.      


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Here's a link to a post I made August 28, 2013 about the Yukon River Fleet.

http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/3295-bulk-carriers-around-1900/#entry94974

 

The SS Klondike, was the largest sternwheeler in the White Pass fleet. Now a national historic site in Whitehorse.  She was once capable of carrying heavy loads of ore and passengers.  This post contains four links to other bulk carriers of the era. 

 

historyhuntboat.jpg

 

 

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Dee Dee, I have photos I took while exploring the Yukon back in the late '90s, of several wrecks along the upper river. I climbed in, on, and around them and took some photos. Unfortunately they're print images and I don't have a scanner. Maybe I can try taking some new photos of the old photos! The climate up there has preserved the wood quite well, even though the boats themselves have mostly collapsed into piles of wood.The hulls were still solid enough to clamber into.

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if you have an iphone there is a FREE app called "Photoscan". It does the job of scanning pictures into you phone.

 

clarence

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The Klondike steamer in Whitehorse was featured in a short article in the NRG's Secretary's Newsletter in the Winter 2016 issue.  Our Secretary lives in Whitehorse so it was easy for him to photograph it.

Kurt

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I am building a scrath build of a mid 1800's river boat.

Got a question>

When did riverboats start using navigation lights. There was a law passed in 1838 that steamships have some kind of lights, but when did western riverboats start using them.

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There is a really nice steel sternwheeler at Penticton,B.C. Canada. Beautiful restoration but it is hauled out. Has many historical displays inside. 

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Casting the net further around the world, check out www.pandaw.com for some contemporary rivercraft (built as recently as 2013) based on sternwheeler designs from the 1880's.

This is where I am headed for this year's project.

 

Ken

 

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On ‎3‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 5:51 AM, chborgm said:

I am building a scrath build of a mid 1800's river boat.

Got a question>

When did riverboats start using navigation lights. There was a law passed in 1838 that steamships have some kind of lights, but when did western riverboats start using them.

In Marietta, OH. On the Ohio river, there is an origination called "The Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen".  They have quite a museum.  You might check with them. 

 

Bob

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Chborgm, sorry for the slow reply, but I finally had a chance to pull out my copy of Steamboats on the Western Rivers  by Louis C. Hunter, which has this to say about the safety act of 1838:

 

Quote

If the law of 1838 had any appreciable effect upon the frequency or magnitude of steamboat disasters it is extremely difficult to demonstrate it. By all evidence the law failed and failed badly...In the absence of specification of size, color, position, and number of signal lights, the requirement that each boat carry one or more lights had little value...

Hunter goes on to argue that of the few inspectors created by the law, there was no oversight and essentially no structure, so the system quickly became corrupt and all but meaningless, especially on the Western rivers. Congress passed a new law in 1852 that seems to have been stronger and better enforced, but I couldn't find any further mention of signal light regulations specifically. On the other hand, Hunter notes elsewhere that steamboat pilots vigorously protested any requirement for carrying signal lights on the grounds that such lights would reduce or ruin their night vision and their ability to read the river's surface, due to the glare and reflection off the water.

 

You also might enjoy reading this archived article from the February 23, 1865 New York Times, which discusses the history of regulation of navigation lights on inland waterways in the US, with reference to the 1852 act of Congress. Essentially it seems to argue that as of 1865, there was still no clear regulatory structure or enforcement of the subject on inland waterways.

 

Finally, this passage from The Steamboat Bertrand and Missouri River Commerce tells a similar tale: the 1838 law was toothless, the 1852 law stricter, but nowhere is it clear if and when clear guidance was written and enforced on just what kind of lights steamboats were required to carry.

 

In other words, backdate your boat toward the Civil War (which you've already done by converting her to a wood-burner), and you can get away with all sorts of options, including no signal lights, especially in a freelance build.

 

Cool question, wish I had more positive knowledge about it.

 

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Cathead and Bob

 

Thanks for the response, and the effort you put in to get the info. As a result I am going to leave them off my "Monroe". I put them on my previous two builds and they kind of detract from the whole boat. Your eye first goes to the red or green light rather then viewing the whole item. 

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Eric:

Thanks for doing the research.  I have filed the info and links in my steamboat files.  I know it will proove helpful down the road.

Kurt

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Robert Moran (1857-1943) and his three brothers were Seattle ship builders.  The Moran boat yard was located about where Safeco Field is today.  In 1887, at 30 years of age, Robert Moran was elected to the City Council and in 1888 elected Mayor of Seattle.  Seattle was destroyed by the great fire of June 6, 1889.   

A number of years ago, I vacationed on the San Juan Islands.  Highly recommended!  I visited Rosario, the estate of Robert Moran.  What really caught my eye and interest, were the tiny details and the mechanics within the estate, especially the butterfly door hinges.     

After hiking up Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island, I purchased a book in the tiny gift shop, titled "Rosario Yesterdays", by Christopher M. Peacock.  The first half of this 72 page book detailed the Moran Ship building business, the second half detailed the Rosario estate.

     Library of Congress Catalog Number:  85-51170

     ISBN:    0-9614970-0-9                        

     Published:  1985                        

Peacock's book "Rosario Yesterdays" contains extensive quotes from Robert Moran's Memoirs from 1939.  These four photos are of text from "Rosario Yesterdays", specific to Robert Moran's Memoirs, about the gold strike in the Yukon and the riverboats the Moran Brothers built to carry supplies.  

58c4d7e26e7ac_0101MoranBrosYukonFleetPaddleWheelBoatsAdj.thumb.jpg.c1f2361ceb5632b754daf42402930692.jpg

58c4d8126e64f_0102MoranBrosYukonFleetPaddleWheelBoatsAdj.thumb.jpg.f40b8cc45aedc43141f6910f44b7123c.jpg

58c4d826cdae3_0103MoranBrosYukonFleetPaddleWheelBoatsADJ.thumb.jpg.1a0a8489325800fff489c462f1f2b05c.jpg

58c4d83ad1022_0104MoranBrosYukonFleetPaddleWheelBoatsADJ.thumb.jpg.18792bf25fa03a8d46210a6e69787654.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm trying to research the Caroline, a 75' OA steamer that operated briefly on the Niagara river near Buffalo and which may or may not have been set alight and allowed to drift over the Niagara Falls in 1873. She was featured in an historical event known as The Caroline Afair. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caroline_affair. She's otherwise not wel documented so I'm trying to find anything I can on Great Lakes steamers under 100' from the early 1800's. The second half of the 1800's seams to dominate the genre as there was more proliferation, tech development and available cameras. But what of small steamships BEFORE 1830?

IMG_1054.JPG

IMG_1055.JPG

IMG_1122.JPG

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Wish I could help. Those are some fantastic images. I grew up a few hours from there, but had never heard of this before. The figures leaping off the ship in the final photo are rather dramatic, if unlikely!

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I've gotten some results on my Caroline researching. This website is a great springboard from which to branch out from when looking at early steam vessels in the United States: http://www.maritimehistoryofthegreatlakes.ca/Research.asp  and it put me in touch with a guy who had knowledge of Caroline. He sent me a PDF of a 1947 American Neptune that had a drawing of the Caroline and more details about her machinery and layout.

IMG_1168.PNG

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Another Steamboat book.

" STEAMBOATS out of Baltimore"

 

By Robert H. Burgess and Graham Wood

 

".... 282 graphic illustrations of the Steamboats, their crews and landings..."

 

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Interesting that the two initial sets of artwork depict masts, but the last one doesn't. The latter seems more likely to me; it also seems more realistic in terms of the overall layout of the vessel (such as placements of chimneys and boilers relative to the paddlewheels).

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I recently visited the Steamboat Arabia Museum in Kansas City, Missouri (USA) to take photographs and measurements for my next model project, the Missouri River steamboat Arabia. If you want to read about that project, I'm documenting my research and resources in this thread. However, I wanted to share this non-Arabia feature of the museum:

Oldest_steamboat_engine.thumb.jpg.683e962b886e5e29fb29f105cd6cff61.jpg

 

I blew up the sign, but if you still can't read it, it says "World's Oldest Steam Engine known to exist that was made to propel a vessel powered only by steam. Built in Louisville, KY in 1818-1819 for the steamboat Missouri Packet. This was the first steamboat lost on the Missouri River, sinking near Arrow Rock, MO in May 1820." I thought this would be of interest to many of you. Arrow Rock is not far from my farm in central Missouri and is the site of a really lovely Missouri state historic site preserving an early river town.

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I thought members from the Northern Hemisphere might be interested in a couple of photos of the Australian paddle steamer 'Ruby'.  'Ruby' was a typical passenger vessel of the Murray/Darling Rivers system and was built in 1907 and carried 30 passengers.  Although almost 133 feet long, her maximum draught when fully loaded with firewood and stores was never more than three feet.  After a long and varied career as a passenger steamer, she was laid up in 1938 and used as a houseboat for thirty years, but sadly neglected.  In 1968 she was purchased by the town of Wentworth, at the confluence of the Murray and Darling Rivers, and hauled up into a park to be displayed on dry land.  Her deterioration continued until 1996, when she was placed under the care of the local Shire Council.  A restoration committee, ably led by Captain Leon Wagner, a highly experienced river boat Captain, was formed and restoration began.  'Ruby' was fully restored to her configuration when first built and the work was completed in 2004.  'Ruby' once more proudly sails the Murray/Darling system, usually under the expert hand of Captain Wagner.

 

John

 

5923a65f15eec_84659-PSRuby.thumb.JPG.d529770b00d1b748ff9108c3d8966e26.JPG5923a6691c51b_84662-PSRuby.thumb.JPG.761618eb65962f5f277abca1053d0acb.JPG

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