The two U. S. Revenue cutters GALLATIN and HAMILTON, constructed of iron, were built at this yard under contract given to Mr. David Bell, Esq.
Mr Bell has also constructed of iron several smaller boats, one of which, the "IVANHOE," done good service under captain Paul Pelkey on Portage Lake last summer.
Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
March 1, 1873
REVENUE CUTTER "GALLATIN" -STORY OF ITS STRANGE CAREER. ORIGINALLY BUILT IN 1871 AS AN EXPERIMENT
WHICH WAS NOT SUCCESSFUL - THE GOVERNMENT AFTERWARDS PAID $40,000 TO HAVE IT REMODELED AND IT
WAS SENT TO THE OCEAN WHERE FOR 15 YEARS IT HAS BEEN THE SWIFTEST CUTTER IN THE SERVICE.
The Iron revenue cutter GALLATIN which a dispatch in another column states was wrecked yesterday off Manchester is boat with a history and that of largely local interest. The GALLATIN was built by the veteran shipbuilder David Bell. Her keel, along with that of another revenue steamer, the HAMILTON, was laid on the site of what was now the Ontario Elevator, only a few feet from Mr. Bell's present shipyard, and was launched in the Evans Slip in 1871.
Shortly before the boat was built an invention which attracted a good deal of attention throughout the marine circles of the country was the Foller feathering propeller, and the GALLATIN was the first and only vessel of size in which the device was used. It was a submerged paddle wheel set on a vertical shaft like a turbine wheel and revolving laterally. The shaft arose from the vessel's shoe aft and was turned by a double cylinder horizontal engine. This style of propeller gave a most peculiar appearance to the steamer's stern as the whole arrangement was set into it, instead of revolving the wheel outside of the hull as does the ordinary screw propeller.
Gov. Hawley of Connecticut and many other prominent men of that State were interested in the invention and came to Buffalo to witness the GALLATIN's trial trip. The new motion was intended to give greater speed and ease of handling, but the vessel proved slow and a bad steerer.
After her failure the GALLATIN was abandoned and after lying here for a year was condemned. Afterwards the Government gave Mr. Bell $40,000 to rebuild her, and her altered the stern and put in a new engine and boilers - both manufactured by himself. Mr. Bell, in fact built the boat entire from keel to topmast. In 1873 the GALLATIN was finally completed and turned over to the government.
An Enquirer reporter saw Mr. Bell today and was the first to call his attention to the dispatch stating the cutter a loss.
"Well, well," he said, "So the GALLATIN is gone. She's been the champion boat of the Revenue Service for 15 years. From the day she was sent to the ocean to this, she's been the fastest and best cutter the Government has had, and I have a letter to that fact from the Superintendent of the United States Engineering Service."
Mr. Bell then gave the boat's history as above. "The engines which I took out of the GALLATIN when I rebuilt her," he continued, "were several years later altered and put into the steamer ARUNDEL, which you will remember ran as an excursion steamer on the river here for some time, and is now a successful boat on one of the upper lakes. The boiler I sold to the city and it was put into the water-works engine-house. The total cost of the vessel including the alterations was not far from $120,000.
January 7, 1892