The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), 9 Jun, 1896

Full Text

It has been remarked that Capt. James Davidson, of West Bay City, has gone to distant lands, including the East Indies and Africa for such names for his vessels as Australasia, Tasmania, Algeria, Abtssinia, etc. The explanation is simple. He is opposed to personal names from a business standpoint. He has several times been asked to name vessels for prominent shippers of grain, coal and ore, who might feel complimented and favor the vessels named for them, but he has refused in all cases. He is of the opinion that personal names sometimes interfere with the sale of a ship. Personal names have been given by Capt. Davidson, in some cases while they were on the stocks, but always after he had sold them.

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Capt. Davidson was called upon often by the press in the 1890's, as he was usually willing to give a surprising quote or a controversial prediction, and he tended to go against the grain of the way things were done in the shipping and shipbuilding communities. For example, he insisted to the end that wooden-hulled vessels would reclaim their place from steel ones as the major type of cargo carrier on the lakes. Below are the names of all of the Davidson vessels built up to and including 1896, with year of launch. Of Davidson's 88 major vessels (exclusive of a number of lighters, ice barges and dump scows), 28 were named after people, 46 after places, and 14 after something else.: ABERDEEN (92) ABYSSINIA (96) ADRIATIC (89) ALGERIA (96) W. H. ALLEY (82) ARMENIA (96) APPOMATTOX (96) ATLANTA (90) AUSTRALASIA (84) BALTIC (90) H. A. BARR (93) WM. D. BECKER (92) BRITTANIC (88) BULGARIA (87) CELTIC (90) CITY OF BERLIN (91) CITY OF GLASGOW (91) CITY OF LONDON (91) CITY OF NAPLES (92) CITY OF PARIS (91) CITY OF VENICE (92) THOMAS CRANAGE (93) JAMES DAVIDSON (74) DUNDEE (93) TEMPLE EMERY (86) GRAMPIAN (94) GRANADA (95) GEO. G. HADLEY (88) HAROLD (91) JOHN HARPER (90) GEO. T. HOPE (83) HURLEY (89) INDUSTRY (96) IRON RANGE (82) W. P. KETCHAM (93) MADAGASCAR (94) MAJESTIC (89) MAXWELL A. (91) ANDREW A McLEAN (90) MIKADO (95) MARY B. MITCHELL (88) MULLEN (89) ALEX. NIMICK (90) NIRVANA (90) No. 1 (95) No. 2 (95) OCEANICA (81) GEO. B. OWEN (93) PAISLEY (93) PANTHER (90) PERFECTION (92) POLYNESIA (85) RAPPAHANNOCK (95) ROUMANIA (87) SACRAMENTO (95) JOHN SHAW (85) SHENANDOAH (94) SIBERIA (82) C. B. STROHN (88) TOKIO (89) G. A. TOMLINSON (96) TYCOON (95) WALTER VAIL (90) VENEZUELA (96) WAHNIPITAE (86) WASHBURN (85) S. S. WILHELM (89) KATE WINSLOW (72) MARY WOOLSON (88) Later vessels included: AMAZONAS (98) ATHENS (97), BERMUDA (97), CARTAGENA (1900), CHATTANOOGA (98), CHICKAMAUGA (98), CHIEFTAIN (1902), CRETE (97), GENERAL (1900), MATANZAS (99), RITA McDONALD (97), MONTEZUMA (1903), DAVID MORAN (1901), ORINOCO (98), WM. G. PERRY (1903), PRETORIA (1900), PRODIGY (1897), SANTIAGO (99), SARDINIA (1903)
Date of Original:
9 Jun, 1896
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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), 9 Jun, 1896