The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), 25 Apr, 1872

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THE BARGE MOVEMENT. - Owing to the construction of a number of new barges, this class of vessels will be largely augmented this season. There were last season, as near as could be estimated, 135 barges employed in the lumber, ore and other trades, which includes those propelled by steam as well as those towed. The number this season will be increased about seventy-two, and the tonnage over last season will be about 10,000. During the past winter the usual number of sail vessels have been transformed into barges, which are included in the above estimate. The largest of those engaged in the lumber trade is probably the L. Hotchkiss, which freights a trifle short of 1,500,000 feet, and hails from Collingwood. Nearly all of these craft are connected with various lines, and among others may be enumerated the Northwestern Transportation Company, Eastern Transportation Company, Toledo Transportation Company, Ballantine & Company, and others.

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This was the beginning of the era of the bulk freighter. Carrying cargo in bulk was very much more efficient than hauling grain, coal or ore barrelled, bagged or in piles on deck, as had been standard practice previously, and the barges were more easily loaded by simply pouring the cargo through the hatches on deck, rather than hauling it up the gangways and side-loading it in wheelbarrows. The first Great Lakes bulk steamer built with the classic configuration with cabins fore and aft and a garden of hatches between was probably the 741 t. steambarge GENEVA, built in 1873. Many passenger and package freight propellers were converted to bulkers by simply cutting the center of the cabins out, leaving the wheelhouse forward and machinery spaces aft. The LEWIS HOTCHKISS (210 ft., 1001 t.) was the largest vessel in the lumber trade from the time she was built in 1870 until superceded by the log boat WAHNIPITAE in 1886.      
Date of Original:
25 Apr, 1872
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Dave Swayze
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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), 25 Apr, 1872