The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Empire (Steamboat), 5 Jun 1844


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Cleveland, May 27. - Wednesday the 5th of June, will be a gala day with us, the wind and weather favoring in the meantime. Our great steamer the EMPIRE will be launched on that day at 3 P. M., and thousands will be assembled to see the great leviathan ushered into her element. She is justly the pride of Cleveland and we challenge the Lakes from Buffalo to Chicago to beat her in model, style, swiftness and every other requisite combined in a good boat, and we will then in the next five years for the competition. Who would have believed until the present day, that Lake Erie would furnish a steamer 246 feet keel, 263 feet deck, 32 1/2 feet beam, with the upper cabin extending the entire length of the boat, without a break or hindrance to the sight in it. Her 72 state-rooms are many of them to be 9 feet by 7, and the berths from 3 to 4 feet wide, ample room for any one to move about in, instead of the warm board and tape covering which has heretofore been called bed and bedding for the traveller.
      She will be ready for sea about the 10 th of August, and we hope you will hasten to have Buffalo Creek widened for her reception. The old favorite of the lakes, Captain Howe, will command her, and as he is in daily superintendence of the construction, in company with the favored naval architect Jones, travellers may feel assured that she is as seaworthy in construction, as she is beautiful to behold.
We brag on the architect, the boat and the captain, and would like to see in what shape, competition can beat them separately or combined.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      May 29, 1844
     
     
Cleveland, June 6. - launch of the EMPIRE - At 3 o'clock precisely, Wednesday, P. M., the mammoth EMPIRE moved safely and majestically from the ways to her destined element, where she sits as light and graceful as the queenly Swan. Her beautiful transit was hailed with the hearty huzzas of the thousands assembled to witness the launch, and soon after the sweet tones of the Cleveland Brass Band came swelling in triumph from the floating EMPIRE.
Altogether the scene was one of the most imposing ever witnessed in our harbor. The extensive shipyard was crowded with people, and the green hillside opposite resembled a grand amphitheater filled with ladies and gentlemen, embracing much of the beauty and fashion of Cleveland and Ohio City.
      Capt. Jones has won an enviable reputation as a master builder in the faultless construction and successful launch of the largest craft afloat in fresh water, and Capt. Howe will doubtless add a cubit to his tall stature when assumes the scepter of the EMPIRE. - Herald.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      June 7, 1844
     
     
     
      THE STEAMER EMPIRE.
      This magnificent boat came into our port last evening. By the following description, which we copy from the Cleveland Herald, it will be seen that she is fully worthy of her name. A nobler boat does not float upon any waters:
      This magnificent Ship departed today on her first voyage, and all who do business on the great deep may justly feel proud of this specimen of the skill of Western mechanics and artisans. The world may safely be challenged to produce her superior in size, elegance of model, neatness of finish, strength, safety, power, and perfect adaptation to the great trade for which she is intended. Seven months ago, her strong timbers were oaks of the forest, and within that short period, by the skill and enterprise of our shipwrights, they have been moulded into the largest and best steam craft afloat.
      The EMPIRE is two hundred and sixty feet in length, measures twelve hundred and twenty tons, being about two hundred tons larger than any steamship plying on the fresh waters of the Globe. Her hull was constructed by Capt. Geo. W. Jones, and is a beautiful specimen of naval architecture, sitting in the water light and majestic as the graceful Swan. Instead of the usual round, bluff bow and stern, she is sharp, clipper built fore and aft, and her run, to the eye of an "old salt," is clean and symmetrical, indicating arrowy swiftness. In addition to the immense timbers of the hull she is greatly strengthened by two semi-circular arches amid-ships, alone capable of sustaining more than the weight of her heavy engine. Outside planking six inches thick, inside six inches, and the entire hull as strong as the best of timber and iron can make it. The great length of hull it is confidently believed will offer such resistance to the waves as in a great measure to overcome unpleasant motion of the boat in rough weather.
      The Engine, of Six Hundred Horse power, is a simple and perfect piece of mechanism, and with the boilers, which are placed below deck, was constructed and put by the Cuyahoga Steam Furnace Company. Mr. E. T. Sterling, Agent of the Company, has been indefatigable in pushing forward the heavy job and in superintending its completion, to the entire satisfaction of the proprietors of the boat. Mr. Ethan Rogers, the ingenious machinist under whose skillful direction the engine was constructed, has introduced several alterations and improvements whereby the whole has been rendered as perfect as so powerful a machine could possibly be made. The cylinder is 35 inches diameter and 10 feet stroke, and fitted with an improved arrangement of Sickles' celebrated cut-off, which obviates the noise and thumping occasioned by the cut-offs in general use. The greatest improvement of all, is the substitution of locomotive boilers upon a large scale for the ordinary ones. They are six in number, 26 1/2 feet long, including the fire-places, and 4 1/2 feet in diameter, each containing 22 flues, 6 inch diameter and 20 feet long, affording the enormous fire surface of Five Thousand square feet! There are two furnaces, each of which will contain a cord and a half of wood, but as they are entirely inside of the boilers there is no possible chance of the boat ever taking fire from them. The boilers are double riveted throughout, and are made of the best quality of iron from the celebrated Rolling Mills of Messrs. Spang & Co., Pittsburgh. The boilers are also fitted with Evan's Safety Guard, a well tested preventive of explosions. The sheets are 28 feet long, 17 inches in diameter, and weigh 18 tons. The cranks are of proportionable size, each weighing one and a half tons, and are connected to the piston by a huge pitman, the wrist of which alone in its finished state weighs 315 pounds! All the cast iron work is made from the celebrated Hanging Rock Iron, which has been proved by experiments of the U. S. Ordinance Department to be the strongest iron manufactured in the United States. The wheels are 20 feet in diameter with 12 feet buckets, the whole furnishing a motive power unequalled. Great credit is due to the Cuyahoga Steam Furnace Company for their despatch and good workmanship in putting up this ponderous engine, and they have shown conclusively that "some things can be done as well as others" west of Pittsburgh.
      The spacious hull of the EMPIRE is divided into a freight hold capable of stowing four thousand five hundred barrels, a boiler and fire room, and forward and aft steerage cabins, each 60 feet in length and well provided with berths. Unusual and very superior arrangements have been made in the construction of the EMPIRE for the convenience and comfort of a whole province of steerage passengers. They are also furnished with two apartments well ventilated, lighted and roomy, on the after part of the main deck, one a steerage cabin, the other a Ladies' Steerage Cabin, designed exclusively for females, and both furnished with wide berths and such convenience as to the emigrant must make the good boat truly comfortable and home-like.
      Aft of the Ladies Steerage is a cabin expressly for the accommodation of nurses and children, where they can be by themselves and not annoy other passengers. This cabin is provided with a washroom, dressing-room, &c., and is connected with the Ladies' Cabin by a flight of stairs. On the starboard side of the main deck, forward of the paddle-boxes, are two Saloons or Social Halls, for the accommodation of cabin passengers. On the larboard side are the kitchen, pantry, store-room, &c. Abaft the paddle-boxes are the Companion Ways, leading up to the main cabin.
      The Main Cabin of the EMPIRE is probably without an equal in the world! Its length is fourteen rods! width fifteen feet, of proportionate height, and lighted the entire length through painted glass under the roof, the sash moveable for the purpose of ventilation. Not an object obstructs the vision, and view from the either extremity a hall is presented of vast dimensions and princely magnificence. The style of painting and decoration is new on the lakes, and give the cabin a rich, unique, but neat, light, airy and inviting aspect. The creations of the inventive genius of Miller never fail to attract and please, and the pencilling of the artist are in agreeable keeping with good taste and harmony of light and shade.
      The main cabin can be divided by folding doors into three apartments at pleasure, the first a spacious and truly elegant Ladies' cabin, luxuriously furnished with mahogany center table, sofas, lounges, &c. Next a large Saloon or drawing-room, furnished with a fine toned piano, center table, sofas, and lounges - then the Gentlemen's cabin, used also as a dining cabin, one hundred and thirty feet in length, also richly furnished, and provided with every convenience for comfortable enjoyment. The modern style and superior finish of the furniture of the boat are sufficiently attested by the bare announcement that it is from the furniture warehouse of Messrs. Gardner & Vincent.
      Each side of the main cabin are the state rooms or sleeping apartments for cabin passengers. These rooms are large, corresponding with the mammoth size of the boat, are well ventilated, have doors opening upon deck as well as into the cabin, and what still more conduces to rest and comfort, have wide, roomy berths, with double mattresses, spreads to match, and are provided with basins, ewers, &c., in fact every convenience of a hotel's sleeping apartments. The upholstery is by Mr. Harding, and is in excellent keeping with the other appointments of the boat. Opposite the saloon the state rooms are connected by folding doors so as to be thrown open at pleasure. These are furnished with modern sofa bedsteads instead of berths, which, when closed, give the rooms the appearance of handsomely furnished parlors. Nothing can be more delightful for travelling parties or families, than the saloon and adjacent parlors. Over each guard abaft the paddle boxes are large apartments furnished with bedstead, sofa, &c., equal to any room in our best hotels. One is the Captain's quarters, and the other our brethren of the press who travel the EMPIRE may learn more of in due time.
      The guards forward of the paddle boxes are occupied by a large wash room and shaving saloon. Over this important appendage of the EMPIRE, that very prince of consorts and good fellows, D. Willis, presides. Here, too, are the store rooms, pantries, &c., where Cozzens, the bountiful and obliging Steward of the EMPIRE, boards the "fullness and the fatness of the land," and daily dispenses to the entire people of the realm comforts to the inner man in due season. The joiner work of the EMPIRE was done by Messrs. Sanford & Moses, and is a fine specimen of their good taste and superior workmanship. The boat has but a single spar, and her figure-head is a beautiful colossal Empress.
      Capt. D. Howe is a skillful and experienced seaman, of great popularity at sea or on shore. The noble craft has been got up under his eye, and the traveling public we feel assured will readily appreciate his good judgment in planning and arranging the floating palace so as to combine speed, safety, comfort and beauty. The first and second officers, Messrs. Wagstaff and Joy, are also familiar with responsible lake service, and are tried and approved seamen. Mr. Gidson, the Clerk, is a gentleman familiar with the duties of his station, which he never fails to discharge in an obliging, satisfactory manner. The Engineers, Messrs. Edgerton and Whaley, bring capacity, long experience, careful attention and sound judgment to this responsible station, and the crew have been selected with proper regard to qualifications and sobriety. We cannot close this prefix but still impenitent description of the mammoth of the lakes without congratulating the enterprising proprietors, Messrs. D. N. Barney & Co., and Messrs. James Smith & Sons, of this city, on their complete success in founding an Empire well worthy to be peopled by all nations, tongues and kindreds.
      How strange the contrast! and who can keep pace with the marvel march of steam! Scarce twenty years ago the "puffs" of the "WALK-IN-THE-WATER," first broke the primeval stillness brooding over the waters of the vast Mediterraneans of the New World, and already they are hourly farrowed by a fleet of swift steamers of unrivalled excellence. Civilization and Enterprise have changed the broad wilderness of the West into the most fruitful granary of earth - young Commerce has but waved her magic wand and the Empress of the American Archipelagoes now proudly points to her unequalled Empire!
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
     
     
     
The Steamboat Empire: -- We took a walk about this leviathan of the lakes yesterday afternoon, and can with pleasure endorse all that is said in the following article from the Cleveland Herald. The EMPIRE is indeed a boat to be proud of. We are informed that her qualities as a sea boat to be fully equal to her other points of excellence; with the heaviest sea the motion on board is scarcely perceptually - so little indeed, that on the passage down on Wednesday; although there was a heavy northeasterly blow, there was not a single case of sea-sickness on board.
      THE STEAMBOAT EMPIRE.
This magnificent Ship departed today on her first voyage, and all who do business on the great deep may justly feel proud of this specimen of the skills of Western mechanics and artisans. The world may safely be challenged to produce her superior in size, elegance of model, neatness of finish, strength, safety, power, and perfect adaptation to the great trade for which she is intended. Seven months ago, her strong timbers were oaks of the forest, and within that short period, by the skill and enterprise of our shipwrights, they have been moulded into the largest and best steam craft afloat.
The EMPIRE is two hundred and sixty feet in length, measures twelve hundred and twenty tons, being about two hundred tons larger than any steamship plying on the fresh waters of the Globe. Her hull was constructed by Capt. Geo. W. Jones, and is a beautiful specimen of naval architecture, sitting in the water light and majestic as the graceful Swan. Instead of the usual round, bluff bow and stern, she is sharp, clipper built fore and aft, and her run, to the eye of an "old salt," is clean and symmetrical, indicating arrow swiftness. In addition to the immense timbers of the hull she is greatly strengthened by two semi-circular arches amid-ships, alone capable of sustaining more than the weight of her heavy engine. Outside planking six inches thick, inside six inches, and the entire hull as strong as the best of timber and iron can make it. The great length of hull it is confidently believed will offer such resistance to the waves as in a great measure to overcome unpleasant motion of the boat in rough weather.
      The Engine, of Six Hundred Horse power, is a simple and perfect piece of mechanism, and with the boilers, which are placed below deck, was constructed and put by the Cuyahoga Steam Furnace Company. Mr. E. T. Sterling, Agent of the Company, has been indefatigable in pushing forward the heavy job and in superintending its completion, to the entire satisfaction of the proprietors of the boat. Mr. Ethan Rogers, the ingenious machinist under whose skillful direction the engine was constructed, has introduced several alterations and improvements whereby the whole has been rendered as perfect as so powerful a machine could possibly be made. The cylinder is 35 inches diameter and 10 feet stroke, and fitted with an improved arrangement of Sickles' celebrated cut-off, which obviates the noise and thumping occasioned by the cut-offs in general use. The greatest improvement of all is the substitution of locomotive boilers upon a large scale for the ordinary ones. They are six in number, 26 1/2 feet long, including the fire-places, and 4 1/2 feet in diameter, each containing 22 flues, 6 inch diameter and 20 feet long, affording the enormous fire surface of Five Thousand square feet! There are two furnaces, each of which will contain a cord and a half of wood, but as they are entirely inside of the boilers there is no possible chance of the boat ever taking fire from them. The boilers are double riveted throughout, and are made of the best quality of iron from the celebrated Rolling Mills of Messrs. Spang & Co., Pittsburgh. The boilers are also fitted with Evan's Safety Guard, a well tested preventive of explosions. The sheets are 28 feet long, 17 inches in diameter, and weigh 18 tons. The cranks are of proportional size, each weighing one and a half tons, and are connected to the piston by a huge pitman, the wrist of which alone in its finished state weighs 315 pounds! All the cast iron work is made from the celebrated Hanging Rock Iron, which has been proved by experiments of the U. S. Ordinance Department to be the strongest iron manufactured in the United States. The wheels are 20 feet in diameter with 12 feet buckets, the whole furnishing a motive power unequalled. Great credit is due to the Cuyahoga Steam Furnace Company for their despatch and good workmanship in putting up this ponderous engine, and they have shown conclusively that "some things can be done as well as others" west of Pittsburgh.
      The spacious hull of the EMPIRE is divided into a freight hold capable of stowing four thousand five hundred barrels, a boiler and fire room, and forward and aft steerage cabins, each 60 feet in length and well provided with berths. Unusual and very superior arrangements have been made in the construction of the EMPIRE for the convenience and comfort of a whole province of steerage passengers. They are also furnished with two apartments well ventilated, lighted and roomy, on the after part of the main deck, one a steerage cabin, the other a Ladies' Steerage Cabin, designed exclusively for females, and both furnished with wide berths and such convenience as to the emigrant must make the good boat truly comfortable and home-like.
      Aft of the Ladies Steerage is a cabin expressly for the accommodation of nurses and children, where they can be by themselves and not annoy other passengers. This cabin is provided with a washroom, dressing-room, &c., and is connected with the Ladies' Cabin by a flight of stairs. On the starboard side of the main deck, forward of the paddle-boxes, are two Saloons or Social Halls, for the accommodation of cabin passengers. On the larboard side are the kitchen, pantry, store-room, &c. Abaft the paddle-boxes are the Companion Ways, leading up to the main cabin.
      The Main Cabin of the EMPIRE is probably without an equal in the world! Its length is fourteen rods! Width fifteen feet, of proportionate height, and lighted the entire length through painted glass under the roof, the sash moveable for the purpose of ventilation. Not an object obstructs the vision, and view from the either extremity a hall is presented of vast dimensions and princely magnificence. The style of painting and decoration is new on the lakes, and give the cabin a rich, unique, but neat, light, airy and inviting aspect. The creations of the inventive genius of Miller never fail to attract and please, and the penciling of the artist are in agreeable keeping with good taste and harmony of light and shade.
      The main cabin can be divided by folding doors into three apartments at pleasure, the first a spacious and truly elegant Ladies' cabin, luxuriously furnished with mahogany center table, sofas, lounges, &c. Next a large Saloon or drawing-room, furnished with a fine toned piano, center table, sofas, and lounges - then the Gentlemen's cabin, used also as a dining cabin, one hundred and thirty feet in length, also richly furnished, and provided with every convenience for comfortable enjoyment. The modern style and superior finish of the furniture of the boat are sufficiently attested by the bare announcement that it is from the furniture warehouse of Messrs. Gardner & Vincent.
      Each side of the main cabin are the state rooms or sleeping apartments for cabin passengers. These rooms are large, corresponding with the mammoth size of the boat, are well ventilated, have doors opening upon deck as well as into the cabin, and what still more conduces to rest and comfort, have wide, roomy berths, with double mattresses, spreads to match, and are provided with basins, ewers, &c., in fact every convenience of a hotel's sleeping apartments. The upholstery is by Mr. Harding, and is in excellent keeping with the other appointments of the boat. Opposite the saloon the state rooms are connected by folding doors so as to be thrown open at pleasure. These are furnished with modern sofa bedsteads instead of berths, which, when closed, give the rooms the appearance of handsomely furnished parlors. Nothing can be more delightful for travelling parties or families, than the saloon and adjacent parlors. Over each guard abaft the paddle boxes are large apartments furnished with bedstead, sofa, &c., equal to any room in our best hotels. One is the Captain's quarters, and the other our brethren of the press who travel the EMPIRE may learn more of in due time.
      The guards forward of the paddle boxes are occupied by a large wash room and shaving saloon. Over this important appendage of the EMPIRE, that very prince of consorts and good fellows, D. Willis, presides. Here, too, are the store rooms, pantries, &c., where Cozens, the bountiful and obliging Steward of the EMPIRE, boards the "fullness and the fatness of the land," and daily dispenses to the entire people of the realm comforts to the inner man in due season. The joiner work of the EMPIRE was done by Messrs. Sanford & Moses, and is a fine specimen of their good taste and superior workmanship. The boat has but a single spar, and her figure-head is a beautiful colossal Empress.
      Capt. D. Howe is a skillful and experienced seaman, of great popularity at sea or on shore. The noble craft has been got up under his eye, and the traveling public we feel assured will readily appreciate his good judgment in planning and arranging the floating palace so as to combine speed, safety, comfort and beauty. The first and second officers, Messrs. Wagstaff and Joy, are also familiar with responsible lake service, and are tried and approved seamen. Mr. Gidson, the Clerk, is a gentleman familiar with the duties of his station, which he never fails to discharge in an obliging, satisfactory manner. The Engineers, Messrs. Edgerton and Whaley, bring capacity, long experience, careful attention and sound judgment to this responsible station, and the crew have been selected with proper regard to qualifications and sobriety. We cannot close this prefix but still impenitent description of the mammoth of the lakes without congratulating the enterprising proprietors, Messrs. D. N. Barney & Co., and Messrs. James Smith & Sons, of this city, on their complete success in founding an Empire well worthy to be peopled by all nations, tongues and kindreds.
      How strange the contrast! and who can keep pace with the marvel march of steam! Scarce twenty years ago the "puffs" of the "WALK-IN-THE-WATER," first broke the primeval stillness brooding over the waters of the vast Mediterranean's of the New World, and already they are hourly furrowed by a fleet of swift steamers of unrivalled excellence. Civilization and Enterprise have changed the broad wilderness of the West into the most fruitful granary of earth - young Commerce has but waved her magic wand and the Empress of the American Archipelagoes now proudly points to her unequalled Empire!
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      August 23, 1844 p2. col. 2 & 3
     
     
     


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
launch, Cleveland
Date of Original:
1844
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.E.4905
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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Empire (Steamboat), 5 Jun 1844