The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Eclipse (Propeller), U7495, exploded & sunk, 1 Jun 1853

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ECLIPSE Propeller Tug, exploded in Chicago, killed one man and sunk. Property loss $8,500
      Buffalo Express
      Jan. 2, 1854 (casualty list)

      . . . . .

last evening about a quarter past eight o'clock, the boiler of the tug propeller ECLIPSE burst - while she was winding up a few rods above Madison St. bridge.
All the crew were saved, except the second fireman named Crawford, who is supposed to be drowned. The wheelsman, Geo. Howe, is badly though not dangerously injured, and Peter Fairbanks, (colored) the first engineer, was also badly burned. He was pulled from the wreck by Capt. Johnson, one of the owners.
The fragments flew in all directions. One piece broke in the roof of a barn in which were a pair of horses belonging to Mr. Throop, but we are informed they were not injured. The boiler was capable of sustaining 150 Lbs. to the square
inch, but at the time of the explosion there was about 45 or 50 Lbs. to the square inch, the safety valve allowing them to blow off at 50 pounds.
A defect in the boiler is the supposed cause of the explosion. A full investigation of the circumstances will be had this morning.
      The river was covered with fragments of the wreck, and portions were blown on board the vessels in the vicinity. The Captain, John Lyman, was landed on a pile of lumber on the south side of the river: and one of the hands was picked up in a lumber yard on the opposite side. Neither were seriously injured.
The boat was built at Buffalo last summer. She was owned by E.R. Blackwell of Buffalo, and Captain S.M. Johnson of this city, the former owing two and the latter one-third.
The ECLIPSE was valued at $10,000. She was insured $3,500 in the Chicago Mutual Insurance Company, and $3,500 in the Hartford Insurance Company. --- Chicago Press
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Friday, June 3, 1853

      . . . . .

      Yesterday an attempt was made to raise the wreck of the ECLIPSE. Mr. Durfe succeeded in raising the forepart, and then fastened to the boiler and attempted to raise it, but owing to the weight of the water in it, or from the pipes attached being entangled with some part of the wreck, he had not succeeded when we left.
      The hull is shattered too much to admit of being repaired, or at least made sufficiently strong for towing purposes. -- Chicago Tribune, Monday.
      Detroit Free press
      June 8, 1853

      . . . . .

      The prop. tug ECLIPSE, which blew up several weeks ago near Madison Street bridge, is on a floating dock, waiting for repairs. She is broken in two amidships, but her bow and stern are apparently as good as ever. A portion of the exploded boiler lies in her hold. A view of the hull exhibits the great force of the explosion. Capt. S.M. Johnson, one of the owners, was to leave last evening for Buffalo, to procure a new boiler. -- Chicago Dem. Press, Saturday.
      Detroit Free Press
      June 28, 1853

      . . . . .

      At the floating dock and shipyard of Dolittle & Miller, the propeller tug ECLIPSE is being rebuilt. It will be remembered that she blew up in the river last spring, and her centre was torn all to pieces. She will be nearly new when she comes out again.
      Detroit Free Press
      September 14, 1853

Steam screw ECLIPSE. U. S. No. 7495. Of 136 tons gross. Built Buffalo, N.Y., 1852. First home port, Buffalo, N.Y. DISPOSITION -- Lost 1871, by burning at Lakeport at Lakeport, Mich., October 20, 1871.
      Merchant Steam Vessel of the U. S. A.
      The Lytle - Holdcamper List, 1790 to 1868

Media Type:
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Reason: exploded & sunk
Lives: 1
Remarks: Repaired
Date of Original:
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Illinois, United States
    Latitude: 41.85003 Longitude: -87.65005
William R. McNeil
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Eclipse (Propeller), U7495, exploded & sunk, 1 Jun 1853