The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), May 20, 1868

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THE PHILADELPHIA - The large new iron propeller Philadelphia, of Evans' line, about which much has thus far been said, made her first appearance at this port yesterday morning, and remained all day discharging freight, which consisted principally of agricultural implements. We paid her a brief visit in the afternoon and were highly pleased with her general appearance. She is indeed a splendid vessel in every respect, and for excellent model, graceful lines, strength of build, and perfection of details in interior arrangements, is the peer of all of the steam freight boats at present afloat on the lakes. As is well known, the Philadelphia was built by David Bell, Esq., of Buffalo, a gentleman whose name has become very familiar to our readers as a builder of iron vessels. Her model was prepared by Messrs. Hitchcock & Gibson of that city, who also completed the wood work of the boat. But to Messrs J. C. and E. T. Evans, her owners, must be accorded the credit of having conceived the various plans adopted for strengthening her hull; also for suggesting improvements which render her exterior arrangements such models of perfection.

The dimensions of the new boar are as follows: Length of keel 227 feet, over all 236 feet; breadth of beam 34 feet; depth of hold 14 feet; measurement 1,453 tons, new style; carrying capacity 1,500 tons on a draught of 12 1/2 feet of water. Her frames are 8x4 inch angle iron; beams 9 inches deep by 1/4 inch thick, plating 3/8x7-10 inch in thickness. The hold of the Philadelphia is divided into six water-tight compartments - which is more by one or two than any other steamer on the lakes possesses. It is 14 feet deep at the shoalest part and 20 feet at the deepest. There are three iron decks in her hold forward, in the shape of breast hooks. She has three large hatches on her main deck, forward of the engine, and a small hatch leading to a freight hold of lesser capacity aft the engine. She is propelled by a powerful, double-acting, low pressure engine, with two fore and aft cylinders of 35 inches bore and (36) inches stroke. The crank-shaft, with that connecting directly with the wheel, is of solid double wrought iron, 16 inches in diameter, and weight 6,000 pounds. It is said to be the largest ever forged in Buffalo. The boiler is of the return flue order, 11 1/2 feet in diameter, 22 feet long, and 22 1/2 feet across the furnaces, which are two in number. The plate is No. 1, (1/2) of an inch in thickness, charcoal hammered iron, and the boiler embraces (235) three-and-a-half-inch tubes. Its weight is 30 tons. The boiler firehold are inclosed with iron bulkheads, and the floor is also of iron. The wheel is of the Clyde pattern, 4 bladed, and 11 feet in diameter. The boiler, engine and wheel are from the works of Mr. Bell. The total weight of the hull and engines is estimated at (3)00 tons, and the figures on the engine rate it about 400 horse power. The steering apparatus of the Philadelphia is of a new and somewhat novel style, but works charmingly, and with such ease that a child can handle it in rough weather. It has been patented by Capt. Hunt and H. Sparks, of Buffalo. Two large anchors are carried in the bow of the boat, upon the cabin deck, and are handled by means of an iron crane. They, together with their cables, are of Buffalo manufacture. The windlass, capstans, compasses, etc., are of the most improved kind.

The Philadelphia is almost half again as large as the Merchant, built by Mr. Bell, for the same firm, and launched in August, 1862; and the success of the latter, counted with the fact that she has required but trifling repairs since her completion, go far to guarantee entire success for the new boat. She is calculated exclusively for the freight trade, and her upper works are limited to the accommodation of the officers and crew. The total cost of this fine vessel is in the neighborhood of $100,000. She is commanded by Capt. Lyman Hunt, formerly of the Nile and Bradbury, an experienced and skillful navigator. - [Milwaukee Sentinel, 18th.

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Item Type:
Here is an excellent, detailed description of the iron package freighter PHILADELPHIA at the time of her maiden voyage. For her time she was a very advanced vessel. She served her owners well and profitably until she was lost in a collision of Pte Aux Barques, Lake Huron, in 1893. Words in parentheses are marginally readable in the original.
Date of Original:
May 20, 1868
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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), May 20, 1868