The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Merchant (Propeller), 12 Jul 1862


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The new iron propeller, to be called the MERCHANT, built by E.T. Evans, is nearly ready for launching, and will be put in the water some day the present week. Her cost will be somewhere in the neighboorhood of $75,000, and it is intended to have her ready forsea before the close of the present month. A short excursion, in the way of a trial trip, will be made before she takes her place in the line for which she was built, viz. the Buffalo and Chicago.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Thursday, July 10, 1862

      . . . . .

      THE NEW IRON PROPELLER. - We have had occasion once or twice, to refer briefly in our columns to the iron propeller in process of construction for Mr. E. T. Evans, of this city. This new piece of marine architecture, is just completed, and ready for the finishing touches of the painter. She will be launched at an early hour this morning, probably, before the majority of our readers will have had an opportunity of reading our comments upon her. We paid our respects yesterday to the new steamer, and now give our readers the benefit of our observations. As the first iron steamer ever constructed west of New York, she is deserving of more than a passing notice, and even a more detailed report of her general make-up than we can possibly give at this time. She is 200 feet long, 29 feet beam, depth of hold 13 feet 6 inches. The engine is a single, direct action, condensing engine, with cylinder 40 inch bore, and 36 ince stroke; the propeller shaft being 31 feet in length. The boiler is low pressure, 19 feet long and 9 feet in diameter. Tonnage of this vessel is about 715 tons Custom House measurement, or nearly 850 tons actual capacity.
So much for a general description of the boat and her capacity. A few details as to her mode of construction may not be uninteresting to the general reader, although we are prepared to deal with that only in general terms. The keel is what is known as the concave, formed of five-eighth plate iron, with the stem and stern posts of wrought iron three inches by eight in size. The main frames, and 18 inch centres, composed of angle iron three inches by four, with reverse frames of angle iron three inches by two and a half. The deck beams are of wrought bulb iron, double flanged, 9 1/2 by 5/8 inches, 3 feet centres. She has four iron water-tight bulkheads; one main keelson 18 inches in depth, with plates, and two angle irons secured to frames; two angle irons on top of floors double rivetted together, two sister and two bilgekeelsons formed with angle iron, with plate inserted between and securely rivettrd together. The main height of floors is 16 inches; and at each end of the vessel the floors are gradually raised to a height of 9 feet. The boiler and engine rest on a foundation of plating and angle irons well rivetted to the hull of the vessel. The hatch stanchions are composed of four angle irons, rivetted back to back. The lower hold stanchions are composed of 2 1/2 round iron, with castings at head and heel, and rivetted to the hull and deck beams. There are four strakes of plating on top of the deck beams; with heavy angle iron at gunwale, double rivetted, thus uniting the sides of the vessel and deck frames together. One of the most important features, is the inverted arches, two on each side of the vessel, running from stem to stern, and composed of heavy plating, and double angle iron. The plating is of an average thickness of 1/2 inch plate iron, put together with 6-1/2 three fourth inch rivets to every lineal foot. Every thing below the deck plank is made of iron, so that the boat can be regarded in no other light than as a complete iron steamer. The manner in which the plates of the hull are put together would attract the attention of the most casual observer. They are put on, over and under alternately from keel to gunwale, and as they run from stem to stern are symmetrically tapered off, the butts are rivetted double, with extra straps, whole giving one an idea of massive strength difficult to conceive of.
      The propeller wheel is 10 feet in diameter, 19 feet pitch, and is made after the best mode which the country affords. We might go still further, in pointing out the beauties of the construction, did our space admit of it, but we can only, as we suggested, deal in general terms, satisfied that our casual observations, as furnished, will convey an idea of magnificent strength not yet attained by any craft constructed on the lakes. The cabin is being prepared with reference to the accommodation and comfort of a large number of passengers and will be furnished in a manner exceedingly attractive. On the outside it will probably be grained, while the wood-work, between the main deck and the cabin, will be painted in a color to correspond with the substantial character of the craft herself. So much in the way of a brief notice of the boat herself
Mr. E.T. Evans is the gentleman to whose enterprise the people of Buffalo and of the west are indebted for the first iron steamer for the navigation of the Western Waters, and we sincerely hope that his reward will be in every respect adequate to the energy and enterprise displayed in her construction. Mr. David Bell, the contractor, is the first gentleman west of New York city who has taken any such contract on his hands. That he has reason to congratulate himself upon the work completed, no one can doubt who will spend an hour in the examination of the work we speak of, viz, the iron hull, the boiler and engine. The vessel was built under the superintendence of Mr. J.V.F. Wilson, one of the best practical engineers in the country, and we are certainly disposed to envy the pride of Mr. Wilson now, as he views his handiwork. The carpenter and joiner work has been done by Messrs. Hitchcock & Gibson, who, when they have completed their contract, will have occasion to felicitate themselves over something aside from the profits on the job.
      The iron propeller is to be named the MERCHANT, and we can only say of the MERCHANT that she is to all intents and purposes a Buffalo institution. The plate iron was rolled at the mills of Pratt & Co., Black Rock, and with the exception of the angle bars and bulb beams, which were forged in Philadelphia, the entire work is of Buffalo manufacture, everything being prepared at the foundry and shops of Mr. Bell. The vessel has been built at an expense to Mr. Evans of between $70,000 and $75,000, and is certainly one of the most beautiful models we have ever seen on the stocks. Well put together, large in storage capacity, thoroughly ventilated in every department, she must needs be the most popular boat on the lakes. We understand she is to run in Evan's Buffalo and Chicago Line, and will probably make her first trip about the 1st. of august. She will be commanded by Captain Briggs, who will have for his immediate assistants, Chauncey Johnson as First Engineer, and Edward Howard, First Mate. We wish the MERCHANT success.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Thursday, July 10, 1862

      . . . . .

      LAUNCH. - The new iron propeller MERCHANT, built for Edward E. Evans for the lakes will be launched to-morrow (Saturday) afternoon.
      Buffalo Evening Post
      Friday, July 11, 1862 2-3

      . . . . .

LAUNCH OF THE IRON PROPELLER. - At half past 5 Saturday morning the iron propeller MERCHANT was sent to her proper element in splendid style. The early hour purposely chosen, of course prevented much of a concourse of spectators, but we are told that the sight, as the beautiful model glided and dipped and careened and righted and sailed away as lightly as a leaf upon the heaving wave was almost enough to justify one's getting up even at 5 o'clock in the morn.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Monday, July 14, 1862

      . . . . .

      THE NEW IRON PROPELLER MERCHANT - This new and beautiful vessel, commanded by Capt. Briggs, it will be seen from our port list, cleared on Saturday evening for Chicago and intermediate ports. We shall expect to hear her spoken of in the highest terms of commendation by the press of our sister cities of the lakes.

      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Monday, August 4, 1862

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Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
building & launch
Date of Original:
1862
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.E.2775
Language of Item:
English
Donor:
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
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Merchant (Propeller), 12 Jul 1862