The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Jessie Spalding (Propeller), U77362, 10 Aug 1899

Full Text

The steel steamer JESSE SPALDING, launched at the Wheeler ship yard, West Bay City, Mich., on Saturday, July 29, is building to the order of the Spalding Lumber Co. of Chicago Ill. and will engage in the lumber trade between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan ports. Although a comparatively small vessel, the JESSE SPALDING embodies the best modem practice in ship building. She was built to meet the highest requirements of the Bureau Veritas and in most cases these requirements have been greatly exceeded. Undoubtedly this boat is one of the strongest ever put afloat on the great lakes.
The general dimensions of the vessel are: Length over all, 236 feet length of keel, 220 feet; beam, molded, 40 feet; depth. molded, 16 feet. She is fitted with a double bottom, 3 feet deep, extending from the collision bulkhead to after peak bulkhead, giving a capacity of about 500 tons of water ballast. The scantlings are as follows: Keel, 36 inches x 25 pounds; bottom plating, 18 pounds; bilge, 20 pounds, and sheer strake, 46 inches x 25 pounds. The floors are of channels, 15 inches x 33 pounds, spaced 24l inches apart. There are three longitudinal girders on each side of center vertical keelson, 15 pounds per foot, the middle one extending down between floors and connected to bottom plating. All bracket plates in the water bottom arc 15 pounds per square foot. The inner bottom plating is 17 1/2 pounds and 20 pounds with a margin plate of 15 pounds. The main frames are of channel, 6 inches x 13 1/2 pounds, spaced 24 inch centers, web frames 15 inches x 33 pounds. Channels are spaced every 8 feet. The main deck beams arc also of channels and are 10 inches x 25 pounds, spaced every four feet. There are steel bulwarks 3 feet 6 inches high extending from the after end of the forecastle to the forward end of the poop. Freeing ports of large area are fitted in the bulwarks to free the deck of water. There is a hold stringer running the entire length of the vessel, composed of 9 inch x 20 pounds channel, and intercostaled to the shell plating by flanged plate chocks of 15 pounds per square foot. The usual diamond-plate connection is fitted at the junction of the hold stringer and web frames. The hold stanchions are of I sections, 17 pounds per square foot, fitted to every beam. Under the boilers, which are located on the main deck, are three complete rows of stanchions.
There are five hatches, all spaced 24 feet centers. The rudder is of the usual balanced type with the exception that it is of cast steel and made solid. The rudder stock is also of cast steel, and is connected with the rudder proper by a suitable coupling. The motive power consists of a triple expansion engine with cylinders of 17, 28 and 47 inches diameter and 36 inches stroke. The boilers are of the Scotch type and are 11 feet diameter by 12 feet long. Cabin work is of the usual style for this class of vessel, the captain's, mate's, watchmen and wheelmen's rooms being located forward, and engineer's and steward's, aft. The firemen and deck hands are located on the main deck aft of the engine room bulkhead.
The equipment consists of a steam capstan windlass forward and steam capstan aft, made by the American Ship Windlass Co. The steam steerer was made by Williamson Bros. of Philadelphia. There is also a patent snubbing outfit located on the forecastle deck just abreast of the pilot house. The two pole spars are fitted as derricks for hoisting square timber, and conveniently placed to same are two hoisting engines. The electric plant, supplied by the General Electric Co., is complete in every particular, including a powerful search light. A notable feature in the wiring of this vessel is that all wire is run through steel tubes or conduits, instead of the usual wooden moldings, and junction boxes are of cast iron.
The steamer is nearly completed, and will leave the yard sometime this week for Duluth. Her capacity will be 1,500,000 feet of lumber on 13 feet draught, or 75,000 bushels of wheat at the same draught.
      The Marine Review
      August 10, 1899

      A Modern Lake Lumber Carrier.
      A Very Complete Description Of The Steel Steamer JESSE SPALDING
      Recently Built at West Bay City, Mich.
A short description of the JESSE SPALDING, a steel steamer built especially for lumber trade on the great lakes, appeared in these columns not long ago. A photograph and sectional plan of the vessel since secured, prompt a more extended description. The SPALDING was the last vessel built at the Wheeler works, West Bay City, Mich., before the plant passed to the control of the American Ship Building Co. She is a single deck steel vessel of the well-deck type, 236 feet long over all, 220 feet long between perpendiculars, 40 feet molded breadth and 16 feet molded depth. Her depth of hold is 13 feet 10 inches and the tank 3 feet. She has a poop 86 feet long and a forecastle 44 feet long. On the he main deck are five hatchways measuring 20 feet athwartships and 8 feet fore-and-aft. The steel bulwarks are 3 feet 6 inches high. She is framed on the channel system. Shell plating and framing throughout are unusually heavy for this size of vessel, the main frames being channels of 6 x 3 ½ inches x 13 ½ pounds, spaced 24 inches and having 15-inch x 33 pounds channel frames spaced 24 feet. The sheer strake is 46 inches x 25 pounds. There are two bilge strakes of 20 pounds; garboard of 20 pounds, keel of 36 inches x 25 pounds; side and bottom plating 18 pounds. The main deck stringer plate is 80 inches wide x 23 pounds and there is an inboard stringer plate 54 inches wide x 12 ½ pounds the remainder of the deck plating being 10 pounds. The center keelson is 36 inches x 18 pounds, and there are three side keelsons of 16 pounds running continuously over the top of the floors with angles at the floors and at the tank top 3 x 3 inches x 7.2 pounds, the middle one of the side keelsons having 15 pounds intercostal plates worked between the floors, and lugged to the floors by angles, and being flanged at the bottom edges where riveted to the shell plating. The tank top plating consists of a center plate 36 inches x 16 pounds, forming the rider plate of the center keelson and a margin plate of 15 pounds, with the remaining plating 17 ½ pounds between the hatchways and increased to 20 pounds under the hatchways. These plates are of uniform width, 8 feet, and are laid athwartships. They are lapped on the margin plate and strapped to the center plate, while the edges are butted on 9-inch x 13 1/4-pound channels these channels forming stiffeners for the tank top, 8 feet apart. There are also stiffeners of 3 x 3-inch x 6.1-pound angles between the channels. The tank top is flush-riveted throughout on the upper side. There is no ceiling of any kind on the tank top or on the sides of the vessel, the only ceiling being over the waterways at the bilge and consisting of 10-pound plates, screw-bolted to the bilge brackets. The water bottom of the vessel is divided into six compartments and is calculated to carry 500 tons of water ballast. The fore and after peaks are also watertight and are calculated to be used as trimming tanks. There are three watertight bulkheads, the collision bulkhead plating being of extra weight and having deep web stiffeners on the after side with large brackets at the deck and tank top.
A departure has been made in the SPALDING in the matter of the width of the hatchways. The usual lake practice is to make these as wide as possible athwartships, with a view to accommodating the loading and unloading machinery that is used for the rapid handling of bulk cargoes, thus limiting the width of the upper deck stringer plates to the least possible safe dimensions. In the special trade for which the SPALDING was primarily designed the very wide hatchways are not considered a necessity, while more unobstructed room on deck for carrying lumber is desirable, and thus the stringer plates are unusually wide, greatly enhancing her strength in upper parts. Experience with the ship, carrying coal, ore and grain in bulk, has shown no disadvantage on account of the narrower hatchways for this size of vessel. The vessel carries no sails, but has two pole spars with derrick booms rigged on these for use in handling lumber.
A notable feature of this vessel is the construction of the rudder. The stock is of the best cast steel, 6 ½ inches diameter, having a flange of 12 -inches diameter cast at the bottom end, by which it is connected to the rudder blade. The blade is of the counterbalanced type and is a single web of cast steel having an enlarged portion in the line of the stock and with flange at the top and 3 3/4-inch pintle at the bottom cast with it. The steam steering gear was supplied by Williamson Bros. of Philadelphia and can be operated either from the pilot house or from the top of the cabin aft. There are also a steam capstan windlass forward and steam capstan aft supplied by the American Ship Windlass Co. of Providence, R. I., and deck hoists located at the forward and after hatches for the handling of lumber. Quarters for the deck crew are on the main deck forward, while the engine-room staff and stewards are berthed aft. Fittings and furnishings of all the crews' quarters are of an unusually fine description, showing that careful consideration has been given to the comfort of all hands. A specially furnished parlor with connecting
bedroom and bathroom for the use of the owner is located in the deck house forward. The captain's quarters, consisting of sitting room and office, bedroom and bathroom, are located on the forecastle-top in close connection with the pilot house.
The propelling machinery, constructed in the Wheeler machine shop at West Bay City, is of the triple-expansion, inverted-cylinder, direct acting, jet condensing type. Cylinders are 17, 28 and 47 inches diameters, having a common stroke of 36 inches. The cylinders are unjacketed The frame consists of three cast iron columns at the back, on which are the guide faces, and four columns in front, so placed as to leave the cross heads, top ends of the connecting rods and valve gear very easy of access. The piston rods are of steel, 4 ½ inches diameter, tapered at the top and bottom ends where fitting in the piston and crosshead, the ends being screwed, 3 3/4 inches diameter, and secured by nuts. The taper at the top end is ground to a perfect fit in the piston. The crosshead is also of steel and has the crosshead pins, 4 ½ inches diameter, forged on. The connecting rod top end is forked and fitted with brasses with cap and bolt connections, there being four 136-inch bolts. The bottom end is also cap and bolt connected, there being two 2 1/2-inch bolts. The bed plate is of the usual box pattern having six main bearings, the cap of each secured by two 2 ½ inch bolts. The crank shaft is built up, having all three cranks in one section. The shaft and webs are of wrought iron, the shaft of 9 ½ inches diameter. The crank pins are of steel, 9 ½ inches diameter. Thrust shaft and propeller shaft are also of v wrought iron and 9 ½ inches diameter, the propeller shaft being enlarged to 10 inches at the bearing in the stern tube and at the stuffing box. The thrust shaft has four collars, 16 inches diameter, forged on. The thrust block is of the horseshoe type, having four collars, each separately adjustable. The bearing surface of the thrust block is 308 square inches. A sectional propeller of cast iron is 11 feet 6 inches diameter by 13 feet pitch.
All the pumps are independent of the main engines. They were supplied by Dean Bros., of Indianapolis. The air pump is of the single cylinder, double-acting type 8 inches and 16 inches diameters by 8 inches stroke, and has the jet condenser in combination with it. The feed pump is of the duplex type with outside packed plungers, 7 inches and 4 inches diameters by 10 inches stroke. There is also one ballast pump, 7 inches and 10 inches diameters by 10 inches stroke, one bilge pump and one pony pump, each 6 inches and 4 inches diameters by 6 inches stroke, and one cold water pump 4 inches and 3 3/4 inches diameters by 4 inches stroke, all of the duplex type.
There are two Scotch boilers 10 feet diameter by 12 feet long, built by Wickes Bros. of Saginaw, Mich. Each boiler has two furnaces, 42 inches diameter and 9 feet 3 inches long, the length of the grates being 6 feet. The total grate surface is 84 square feet and total heating surface 1745 square feet; working pressure 170 pounds per square inch. With the vessel loaded to a draught of 14 feet 9 inches and running at a speed of 12 miles per hour the engines, making 88 revolutions per minute, develop 900 I.H.P.
The equipment of this vessel as regards electric lighting, electric engine signals and telephones is unusually elaborate and deserves especial notice. The lighting plant is of the General Electric Co.'s usual direct-connected marine type. There is one 10 K.W. generator running at 450 revolutions per minute with a voltage of 110. The lighting system is divides into six main circuits, these being subdivided into smaller sections at distributing centers throughout the vessel. The circuit for the masthead and side lights is independent of all other circuits and is controlled by a separate switch, this considerably reducing the possibility of disturbance of these lights, a vital point when the crowded condition of the narrow and tortuous channels of the connecting waters of the great lakes is considered. To still further safeguard these lights, there is in the pilot house a system of alarm bells and indicators, which give warning immediately if from any cause any one of the lights should be extinguished. There is also a search light located on the top of the pilot house for use in finding channel marks in the rivers and for use also in the Sault canal. In the wiring of the vessel wood moldings are almost entirely dispensed with, the main and branch wires all being run through armored steel conduits. At every point where a branch connection is made, or where a lamp is located, watertight cast iron junction boxes are fitted. Where these conduits run through the hold of the vessel they are suspended by stirrups from the beams and are free to expand and contract by variations of temperature or by the working of the vessel There are in all 110 incandescent lights. Four arc lamps are also provided for use in port when loading and unloading, connections for these being located at convenient places on the and forecastle head. All fixtures and connections liable to be exposed to moisture are watertight. All lamps in the hold and on deck are covered with vapor-proof globes and strong wire guards. Besides the usual whistle and bell signals there is a system of electric engine signals, designed and constructed by Mr. Thorne, electrician at the West Bay City works. This consists of a case containing indicators and push buttons for the required engine signals, located in the pilot house, with a duplicate at the starting platform in the engine room. The captain desiring to give a signal to the engineer pushes the necessary button a gong sounds in the engine room and the corresponding pointer rises indicating the signal given. The engineer answers by pushing the corresponding button and so operating the gong and indicator in the pilot house. The indicators in the engine room and pilot house then remain stationary until the next signal is given and answered by the captain and engineer respectively, when the indicator of the first signal drops back and that for the signal now given rises. This apparatus is designed to overcome the chances of confusion always liable to occur with the ordinary bell or whistle signals. It also possesses all the advantages of a mechanical telegraph, without the difficulty of keeping chains and wires, in proper adjustment. This difficulty, always experienced with chains and wires, is the more dangerous on lake vessels where the engine room and pilot house are in extreme ends of the vessel. There is also a telephone system connecting the bridge and captain's room with the engine room and after poop deck, by which the captain can send necessary orders aft for the working of the engines or for handling the vessel when working into or out of port.
      The SPALDING has shown herself to be a very efficient cargo vessel, having on a recent trip carried 1932 gross tons of iron ore an a draught of 14 feet 8 ½ inches, running at an average speed of 12 miles an hour. Material and workmanship on the SPALDING were of the very highest order throughout and her general appearance is evidence of the care and skill expended in her construction. It was required in the contract for this vessel that she should receive the highest rating given by the Great Lakes Register and during construction the surveyors of that register were constantly in touch with all work on hull, machinery and electrical equipment. She is therefore classed 100 with Crescent and Star, and in addition has a special mark indicating that she is built in excess of the rules. The SPALDING is the first vessel on the lakes to which this special mark has been given. Her commander is Capt. James Travis.
      Marine Review
      November 2, 1899

Media Type:
Item Type:
launch West Bay City
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

Jessie Spalding (Propeller), U77362, 10 Aug 1899