The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), Tuesday, July 21, 1857

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The following description of the new propeller Fountain City is from the Cleveland Plaindealer of Saturday:

"This new steamer is receiving her finishing touches from the painters and upholsterers, and will be ready to take her place in the Buffalo, Cleveland and Chicago line of propellers early next week. She is undoubtedly the largest propeller upon the lakes, and all the architectural and engineering skill could do, has been expended in the endeavor to give her great capacity, fine sailing qualities, and an abundance of steam power. She was built by Messrs. Peck & Masters for Capt. John Ball of this city, and Mr. J. F. Kirkland, formerly of Sheboygan, but now a resident of East Cleveland. Her dimensions are: length 209 96 feet; beam 30 20; hold 13 46 feet; and she registers 820 and 41-95ths tons. She will stow about 7,000 barrels of flour. Her strength is pretty thoroughly attained by an unusual frequency of 10 inch frames 10 inches apart amidships, by inverted arches of 4 inch plank, bolted through and through, her plank outside having 4 inches thickness, and the ceiling inside five. She has a hundred hanging knees in her hull. In order to keep cargoes of different kinds of grain separate, which sometimes is desirable, folding doors at different distances divide the hold into compartments. She is propelled by a common upright high pressure engine with a cylinder 32 inches in diameter and 43 inch stroke. The wheel is 10½ feet in diameter, of the Philadelphia pattern, with a 19½ feet lead. The engine was built by Blish & Garlick of this city. The boiler, built by Thomas McGary, is a tremendous cone, the largest known on these waters, and ought to be large enough to be adequate to supply steam enough even for this large craft. The steam drum is 9 feet 3 inches in diameter, and the outside of the jacket is (10)* feet, 8 inches, its height being 21½ feet, and its total weight 26 tons. It is made of No. 1 (3/8ths)* iron, the manufacture of the Forest City Rolling Mill, and of very superior quality. The engine and boiler cost $13,500. Her accommodations for about 100 cabin and about 300 emigrant passengers are excellent. No propeller can boast of better. The cabins on the upper deck occupy 133 feet in length, and include a dining hall, four family state rooms and several single rooms - (all well furnished with bedsteads) captain's rooms, clerk's office, &c. The bridal room has not been forgotten, and is in the usual couleur de rose style of gay embellishment. Substantial and elegant as are the carpets, the upholstery and the marble wash-stands in the cabin, the comforts of airy and convenient rooms are afforded to each and all of the officers, engineers, and men.

"Her rudder is hung on deck in a manner to take its whole weight and to make it free from any accident to the fastenings below water. A circular casting around the rudder post travels the groove of another on deck upon wheels, after the same manner of a turn table. It is a patent deemed one of the most valuable for the prevention of accidents to the rudder at sea. Great care has been taken by Captain Ball to make her secure from fire. Pipes from the steam chest lead to the hold, and three fire pumps are placed on deck.

"The pony engine can also be used for the purpose of extinguishing fires. He has also caused a large room on deck to be lined with zinc and intended as a magazine in which all combustible articles of freight can be carried, with a safety which entitles the boat to a special license from the custom house. The whole boat will reflect great credit upon Cleveland mechanics if they were not already noted for first rate skill and thorough work. The total cost of the boat is $38,000. She is officered as follows: Master, John Ball; clerk, W. H. Blake; mate, Paul Pelkey; steward, S. B. Goulder; steward's assistant, Jephthah Nickerson. Mr. W. A Lyon is the engineer, and his reputation has been won by a long service on the propellers Boston , Westmoreland , Troy , Forest Queen , and Indiana ."

Media Type:
Item Type:
*marginally readable in original.
Date of Original:
Tuesday, July 21, 1857
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Language of Item:
Dave Swayze
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), Tuesday, July 21, 1857