" Another Valuable Acquisition To Our Lake Marine. " was the enthusiastic headline for a vessel arrival notice that appeared on the Oct. 5, 2867 issue of the Chicago Tribune.
"No finer built vessel has ever entered Chicago since it has been a port of entry than the splendid new bark S. S. OSBORNE, which arrived here Thursday morning on her maiden trip. This truly magnificent specimen of marine architecture is from the prolific yard of D.E. & J.E. Bailey of Fairport, Ohio."
The notice also provided readers with an elaborate description of the new ship. We note its compass was made by Ritchie, a firm which also provided a compass for the U. S. S. MONITOR and which still manufactures navigational instruments. The ship also had a Reed steerer, a technology explored by AGLMH member Arthur Amos in his 'Rudders: A Comparison Study' (1993).
It is this rich detail, not usually available elsewhere, which makes the marine columns of nineteenth century newspapers so valuable to the researcher. But back to the Tribune's report.
"The OSBORNE is the property of B.O. Williams, Esq., and is named in honor of one of the most prominent citizens of Painesville, Lake County, Ohio. She has cost $60,000, and we trust may prove a mine of wealth to her enterprising owners."
The report went on to document the dimensions of the vessel: length of keel, 188 feet; breadth of beam, 35 feet; depth of hold, 14 feet. According to the article, the ship measured 850 tons and could carry about 40,000 bushels of corn, 60,000 bushels of oats and 1,200 tons of coals.
"The contractor claim this vessel is the best in all essential aspects that they have ever built. More iron was used in the fastenings than in any other they have put afloat. The main keelson is very heavy, and surmounted by three riders, giving fully forty-five inches of solid timber.
The bilge keelson extends one streak (strake) lower than is ordinary the case. The upper nine streaks of planking are five inches thick, with two through bolts to each frame. All the bolting was done from the outside, and forelocked on the inside.
The frame is remarkably heavy, well sustained by the knees, and inside is supported in the strongest manner by breast-hooks, fore-and-aft, and cross beams amidships. The spars are well proportioned and beautiful.
The foremast is eighty-three feet high; the fore-top-mast, forty-eight feet; top-gallant-mast, thirty-six feet; main-mast, ninety-six feet; main-top-mast, seventy feet; mizzen-mast, eighty feet; mizzen-top-mast, fifty-feet; foreyard, seventy-six feet; top-gallant yard, fifty-two feet; foreboom, sixty feet; foregaff, forty feet; (main-boom and gaff the same size); mizzenboom, thirty-six feet; mizzengaff, thirty-four feet; bowsprit and jibboom, outboard, sixty-four feet.
In general outfit nothing has been neglected or overlooked that would add to the successful navigation of this fine vessel. She is provided with self-reefing topsails, and has on-board two of Talcott's patent capstans, Reed's steering apparatus, Ritchie's spirit compass, four of Downs & Co.'s celebrated pumps, and all the latest improvements.
The cabin is magnificently finished and luxuriously furnished. The columns oiled black walnut, panelled off with gilt mouldings, the panels being finished in white. Three mirrors are set in castings of the mizzenmast; the curtains are of the richest damask, and the floors are covered with Brussels carpets.
The beds, bedding and furniture are all of the best kind, the whole arrangement of the cabin being equal to that of any steamer on the lake. The forecastle is on deck, and is large and airy, and will promote the health and comfort of seamen.
This splendid bark is in the command of Captain A.L. Foster, a man every way competent by experience, intelligence, and ability to have charge of this noble craft. He has watched her progress from the time the keel was laid, and had charge of the entire outfit, which reflects the highest credit on his judgment."
extracted from the
" Association For Great Lakes History
Newsletter January/February 1997"