The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Japan (Propeller), 1 Apr 1876

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The Union Dry Dock Co. is putting a wooden bottom on the new iron steamer JAPAN, of the Anchor Line. It is well known that the plates of these iron steamers are easily punctured by being brought in contact with the sharp rock so frequently touched at the Lime Kiln crossing in the Detroit river. This false bottom is to be tried as an experiment, and if it proves a success, each of the other iron steamers will be provided with one. The planks used are rock elm, about three inches thick and covering the entire bottom of the vessel as high as the bilge. The ends of the planks, fore and aft, are protected by heavy pieces of iron which butt up against them and taper off on the other side to a thin edge. --- Buffalo Commercial
      Cleveland Herald
      Saturday, April 1, 1876

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wood sheathing
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William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Japan (Propeller), 1 Apr 1876