Friday, April 11th - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Fred Addis will present an illustrated address on the shipbuilders of the old Welland Canals. PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE IN MEETING DATE necessitated by the Easter Holiday Weekend.
Saturday, May 10th - 6:30 p.m. at the Ship Inn. Annual Dinner Meeting. Please note the date and plan to attend. Details below.
The Editor's Notebook
The February Meeting, our annual movie night, was a great success, primarily due to the efforts of Gordon Turner, Program Chairman. We extend our thanks to Pickands Mather and Company for loaning us the film "Long Ships Passing" and to Paul Sherlock for decorating our meeting room with an Interlake Steamship Company houseflag in honour of the occasion.
The ANNUAL DINNER MEETING will be held on Saturday, May 10, in the Ship Inn which is located in the cellar of the Marine Museum of Upper Canada. Dinner will be served at 7 and the bar will be open about 6:30 for all those who might enjoy a restorative before the meal. The speaker will be William J. Luke and his subject will be "From Thunder Bay to Sept-Iles; A trip down the Seaway". The cost of the dinner will be $12.00 and your remittance should be sent as soon as possible to James M. Kidd, 83 Humberview Road, Toronto, Ontario M6S 1W9. In order to ensure that there will be a reservation in your name, please make sure that your payment reaches us on or before April 11th. The capacity of the restaurant is limited and reservations will be on a first-come-first-served basis.
In the New Member Department, a hearty welcome goes out to George C. Macaulay of Southampton, to Douglas Kennard, Larry Palin and Robert Hurl, all of Toronto, to Richard J. Kruse of Westland, Michigan, to Ralph K. Roberts of Saginaw, to Captain Mike Keeling of Murillo, Ontario, to Richard H. Wicklund of Burton, Michigan, to Sheldon Straiton of Roblin, Manitoba, to Douglas G. Johnstone of Sarnia, to Richard F. Palmer of Camillus, New York, and to Thomas Salvner of Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The Soo River Company has decided on the name ROBERT S. PIERSON for its newly-acquired steamer GEORGE D. GOBLE, (a) WILLIAM K. FIELD (34), (b) REISS BROTHERS (70). The vessel, wintering at Hamilton, has had her after accommodations upgraded and much other work has been done, including the conversion to oil fuel of her auxiliary boiler. Her main boilers, however, will continue to be coal-fired and we understand that Soo River has made arrangements for the old R & P bunkers dock at Port Colborne to be reactivated to serve her needs. The ship's own bunkers are sufficiently capacious to allow her to carry enough coal to get her down the Seaway and back, but she will not operate below Quebec City as her condensers are unable to cope with the task of handling seawater.
PIERSON INDEPENDENT was sold for scrap by the Soo River Company shortly before the end of January and, although the buyer has not yet been identified, we presume that it will be Strathearn Terminals and that the steamer will be dismantled at Hamilton. Her condition would tend to suggest that it would be unwise to attempt to tow her overseas for scrap. In any event, she has been stripped of every possible piece of equipment, even her lifeboat davits, and her name and that of her owner have been painted out.
MARINSAL, awaiting a scrap tow overseas during 1980, is spending the winter at the Wentworth Street docks in Hamilton, complete with her appendages fore and aft as mementoes of her service as Welland Canal shunter test vessel. MARINSAL now looks somewhat forlorn, however, all the more so in that her hull was scorched at the bow and down the port side in that autumn fire at Port Weller Dry Docks after her collision with the lower east wall at Lock Two. Strangely enough, her red hull paint has burned away in one spot so cleanly that part of the "Republic Steel Corporation" name which used to appear on her side is once again visible.
The rebuilding of C. W. CADWELL seems to be almost complete at Hamilton. Much to the surprise of all, the reconstruction has not butchered the little vessel but has made a rather classy freighter out of her, somewhat along the lines of the old-fashioned "rabbits" which were once so common on the lakes. CADWELL has, of course, lost her sandsucking equipment and also her old forward cabins. The after cabin has remained virtually the same, except that the stack has been moved further aft and the forward doghouse removed from the boatdeck. A new but traditionally designed pilothouse has sprouted forward of the stack. CADWELL's hull is black, the stack black with the white letter 'M' (for McKeil) on it, and the cabins and forecastle rail white with assorted trim in shades of blue, grey and yellow. All in all, CADWELL looks very good and we welcome her return to service on Lake Ontario. We hope that she will visit the port of Toronto regularly.
The Pittston Stevedoring Corporation and two as-yet-unidentified Canadian shipping firms are continuing their efforts to initiate cross-lake freight services between the Rochester and Toronto areas. The plans have not, however, found favour with the Rochester city fathers who closed the port in 1976 and have since directed their efforts to converting the harbour area into a tourist centre.
On the other hand, plans are proceeding for the opening of the hydrofoil service across Lake Ontario in the spring of 1980. The three boats, described previously in these pages, are wintering in the harbour at Port Dalhousie. It has, however, been decided that their southern terminus is to be Niagara-on-the-Lake rather than Youngstown, New York. As the hydrofoils are all registered in Panama, their operator has had to petition for special dispensation to allow them to trade between Canadian ports whilst under foreign registry. This has been granted, but not without the attachment of several "strings". To carry U.S.-bound passengers across the Niagara River to Youngstown, the former Toronto Island ferry SHIAWASSIE, now operating on the Niagara with a second deck added, will be pressed into service. We understand that the hydrofoils will begin operation with Norwegian masters and Canadian operators, the intention being that Canadians will take command of the boats once they become familiar with their operation.
Last vessel to pass through the Soo Locks before they closed at midnight on January 15 was the U.S. Steel steamer ENDERS M. VOORHEES which followed A. H. FERBERT down the canal, EDWIN H. GOTT having passed downbound earlier in the day. With the unusually mild weather conditions experienced in the lakes area this winter, it seems strange that, after eight straight seasons of winter navigation through abominable weather and ice conditions, there are no vessels operating through the St. Mary's River in the one year when such navigation might reasonably be accomplished with a minimum of icebreaking assistance from the Coast Guard.
The U.S. Coast Guard, as a result of a hearing, has zapped Wayne Zimmerman, owner of Poirier Marine Inc. and the St. Mary's River ferry SUGAR ISLANDER, with fines totalling $2,000 as a result of an altercation between Zimmerman and the ferry's master on the evening of September 20. In mid-river on a trip to Sugar Island from Mission Point, Zimmerman fired the master who then returned the ferry to her mainland dock. Allegedly to return to the island and locate another skipper, Zimmerman, who is not a licenced operator, took the ferry across the river himself and it is from this action that the charges resulted. In addition to operating without a licenced officer aboard, he was cited for running without prescribed navigation lights and for the negligent operation of a vessel. Charges of gross negligence were dropped before the hearing. Meanwhile, officials of the Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation Authority hoped to obtain the necessary state funds to complete the purchase of SUGAR ISLAND from Zimmerman before the end of February.
On Monday, January 14, a Canadian federal enquiry began hearing evidence concerning safety measures and features aboard CARTIERCLIFFE HALL, the enquiry being the result of the disastrous fire which swept her after accommodations on Lake Superior on June 5. Put very briefly, the evidence seems to indicate that CARTIERCLIFFE HALL's accommodations were not as well protected from fire as they might have been, that there were no smoke detecting devices, and that a storage room near the crew quarters was used for the storing of paint. There is some suggestion that the fire may have started in or near this paint locker, but as yet the enquiry has rendered no formal decision on the cause of the fire or the reasons why so many crew members lost their lives.
In the February issue, we mentioned that the Hall Corporation was arranging to purchase a second salt water tanker, the Norwegian LONN, a sister of the recently-purchased BIRK. We should actually have reported that Halco had completed the purchase and that the vessel, after the appropriate refit, would be commissioned as (b) CANSO TRANSPORT. Meanwhile, BIRK, which will sail for Halco as COASTAL TRANSPORT, entered drydock at Rotterdam on December 31 for her refit prior to joining the service of her new owner.
Work is progressing on the job of getting the Ann Arbor carferry ARTHUR K. ATKINSON ready for service on Lake Michigan after more than six years of idleness. The motorship's port engine, whose fractured crankshaft caused the withdrawal of the ATKINSON from service in 1973, was removed on December 21, 1979, with the assistance of two cranes, and was taken to Mount Vernon, Ohio, for repair. As other work is put in hand to repair the starboard engine and to generally refurbish the whole boat, the Railroad hopes that she will be ready for service by May, much-needed relief for the overworked CITY OF MILWAUKEE and VIKING.
ARTHUR K. ATKINSON, meanwhile, after her many years of inactivity, recently decided to go on a little sightseeing trip around Betsie Harbor at Frankfort. During a mid-January windstorm, her stern mooring lines parted and, held in place only by her bow anchors, she swung around and ended up on a mudbank. VIKING and a local tug attempted to move her back to her normal resting place but, when their efforts proved unsuccessful, the tug JOHN M. SELVICK was summoned from Sturgeon Bay. She moved ATKINSON back to her moorings on January 18.
You Asked Us
When he sent us the winter lay-up report for Milwaukee harbour, Ed Schwartz of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, asked us about the old craneship WILLIAM H. DONNER which is lying at Milwaukee. We are happy to give a bit of the DONNER's history and hope that other members may also find it interesting.
WILLIAM H. DONNER (U.S.212354) was built in 1914 as a straight-deck bulk carrier by the Great Lakes Engineering Works, Hull 134 of its Ashtabula yard. The steamer measured 504.0 x 54. 0 x 30.0, 6311 Gross and 4843 Net. She was powered by a triple-expansion engine, 23 1/2", 38" and 63" x 42" stroke with steam provided at 180 p.s.i. by two coal-fired, single-ended Scotch marine boilers measuring 15'4 1/2" x 11'6". The engine was built by Great Lakes Engineering Works while the boilers were made by the American Shipbuilding Company.
DONNER, which always carried the same name, was built for the Mahoning Steamship Company, Cleveland. Mahoning was managed by the M. A. Hanna Company but 50% of its stock was owned by the Cambria Steel Company, a subsidiary of the Midvale Steel and Ordnance Company. Hanna's management of Mahoning ended in 1929 and the Bethlehem Transportation Company then took over as operating manager. Although still owned by Mahoning, DONNER operated in Bethlehem colours after this transfer of management.
In 1956, however, WILLIAM H. DONNER was converted to a craneship and her ownership passed to the Ore Steamship Company, a Bethlehem affiliate formed in the 1940s to operate the company's craneships. Ore Steamship's management was handled by Boland and Cornelius, Buffalo. The DONNER, once a craneship, was given a black hull, white forecastle and cabins, and an all-black stack.
WILLIAM H. DONNER was retired at the close of the 1969 season and was sold on February 5, 1970, to the Miller Compressing Company, Milwaukee, which used her as an unloading facility, retaining her deck cranes. This same firm also bought Ore Steamship's last craneship, CAMBRIA, which had been taken out of service late in 1970. CAMBRIA was also laid up at Milwaukee and used there with DONNER, but she was sold in 1973 for similar service at Norfolk, Virginia. The DONNER has carried on alone since, but we suspect that her condition must now be something less than first-class and we imagine that, before too many more years have passed, she will probably wind up at the end of a towline leading to a scrapyard.
The Shipbuilders - Another Quiz
by Captain John Leonard with Certain Additions by the Editor
In the December issue, we ran Al Sweigert's quiz dealing with the survivors of some famous but now defunct Great Lakes shipyards. The lakes have had their share of well-known yards but many boats were constructed by less famous shipbuilders, some of them operating in smaller lake ports that never really became known as shipbuilding centres.
We have no idea when or how this misfortune befell the composite package freighter MYLES and we shall leave it up to our readers to guess how she figures in our current quiz.This time around, we are seeking the names of ports, shipbuilders and the vessels they produced. Knowledge of the current lake fleets will not assist much with this particular quiz, for most of the ships are no longer in existence and the yards that built them have all long since ceased to function, their facilities having long ago fallen victim to the ravages of time and redevelopment. In fact, some of the harbours mentioned here could not even be called "ports" today due to the cessation of all commercial marine activities there.
Try our little quiz. It is not really that difficult and the answers can be found with the judicious use of our clues and available references. (Hint: we start with yards at the eastern end of the lakes system and work westwards.) Look for the answers in the April issue.
1. Only one U.S. port on the St. Lawrence River was ever to achieve recognition for shipbuilding. Two barge-canal type vessels were built there in 1929 and 1930 for the Federal Motorship Corporation, Buffalo. Both were later chartered to a Canadian fleet and subsequently left the lakes for the Caribbean. They were out of documentation by the mid-fifties. Name the motorships, the port and the builder.
2. Over the years, several U.S. ports on Lake Ontario have been home to shipbuilding activities. Only one, however, built any great number of boats, all of them during the era of wooden schooners and steamers when this port was a major grain, lumber and coal centre. Name the port and, if possible, at least one vessel that was built there. Try for the port's most famous product, the first propellor-driven steamboat ever to operate on the Great Lakes.
3. A Canadian port on Eastern Lake Ontario possessed one major shipyard as well as others of lesser importance during the early years. It was known more for ship repairing than for building. Name the port and its major shipyard plus at least three boats built there. Two of them were government tugs built for St. Lawrence River service; the first, built in 1911, still serves as a "tug" in the Detroit River area, while the second, built in 1912, later became a salvage tug before her eventual scrapping, and was featured as a "Ship of the Month" almost four years ago. The last hull ever built by the yard is still in service; a canaller, her owner celebrated an anniversary in 1979.
4. A Canadian town on a Lake Ontario backwater could hardly be called a "port" by today's standards. Nevertheless, back in 1887, its famous shipyard constructed a beautiful sidewheel passenger boat for the service between Toronto and the Niagara River. Her hull was built of Scottish Dalzell steel. Name the port, the ship, and the shipyard.
5. This western Lake Ontario port has been best known for the large number of lakers scrapped there. However, several notable steamers were built there long ago. One, a passenger boat built in 1892, was one of the most famous vessels ever operated on Lake Ontario. Name the port and the sidewheeler whose career spanned almost half a century. Then name an iron-hulled package freighter (1892), a steel barge (1901) which later became a steamer, and a composite package freighter (1882) later rebuilt as a steam barge, which were also built there. All of them eventually wound up in the same fleet as the passenger steamer.
6. On the shore of Lake Erie, not far from the upper end of the Welland Canal, lay the village of Bridgeburg, Ontario. A large upper laker was built there in 1907 but no other vessels came from the "port" until, 28 years later, another yard turned out a tanker, the largest all-welded hull in the world at that time. Tell us the present name of the village and identify both ships. Can you also name an iron-hulled carferry that was built there back in 1872?
7. At one time, there were at least three shipyards building steel hulls at this large Ohio city, one of them maintaining a large graving dock. Other shipyards were also active there in earlier years. Today, no yards are building boats there, but one company uses a floating dock to service its own vessels. Name the port, the three shipbuilders, and the company still using a drydock there.
8. An interesting builder had a yard inland on a small river in Lower Michigan. As its ships became larger, more and more trouble was encountered in getting them out past a narrow bridge draw and down the river. No major vessels were built by the yard after 1903. Three of its products became quite famous, two of them under tragic circumstances; one capsized at her Chicago dock, one was lost near Isle Royale in Lake Superior, and one is now a floating restaurant at a large Canadian city. Name the port, the shipyard, and all three of the vessels mentioned.
9. Only one ship of any size was ever built at this village on the Canadian side of the St. Clair River. The shipwrights obviously knew their work, however, for the 1875-built iron hull, fabricated in Great Britain, is still in service today as a carfloat. What vessel is this and where was she built?
10. Name the famous U.S. vessel owner who built his own ships at a port on a large bay on Lake Huron, and then identify at least one of his boats.
11. This Georgian Bay port, while not the Bay's major shipbuilding centre, did see several vessels constructed there, mostly small wooden steamers in the early years and a variety of steel tugs, fireboats and small ferries (such as Toronto's ONGIARA) in later years. Only three major steel-hulled ships were built there, however, these being constructed in 1889 and 1890 by a special yard owned by a large Toronto shipbuilder. One was a famous passenger and freight carrier which served one owner for sixty years. Another was a carferry, built for the same owner, which crossed the Detroit River for 26 years. The third was a lumber carrier which later served C.S.L. as a package freighter. Name the port, the shipyard, and all three steamers.
12. Alexander McDougall and his whalebacks were famous around the lakes. Less well known, however, is the fact that not all of the whalebacks came from the same shipyard. The first five barges and one steamer (COLGATE HOYT, No. 106) were put together in one city (name it, please) and the remainder built on the lakes came from a yard in another city (name it also, please) after McDougall obtained the financial backing of the Rockefeller interests. Name McDougall's famous shipyard and tell us whether it built any vessels other than whalebacks and whether any whalebacks (other than the first six) were ever built at different shipyards. As an extra little exercise to close our quiz, please name the last lake whaleback ever built, give us her number, and tell us how she differed from all the others.
Contestants will be awarded one point for each correct piece of information given in reply to the questions. A perfect score will be 50 points. Winners will be identified in the April issue along with the correct answers which we will present for the benefit of all participants and fellow trivia collectors.
You Asked Us (Part II)
Richard L. Armstrong of Collingwood was reviewing the Toronto Harbour lay-up list in the January issue when he noted, amongst the names of smaller craft wintering here, the tug BAYPORT. As his grandfather, Capt. Percy Butters, was lost in a 1959 accident involving BAYPORT at Collingwood, he wrote to ask whether this might be the same vessel. Unfortunately, the present BAYPORT is not the same tug and, to set the record straight, we are pleased to present capsule histories of both tugs, this with the thought that some of our other readers might well find the matter as interesting as would Mr. Armstrong.
The tug presently lying at Toronto is BAYPORT (II) (C.177431), a diesel tug built in 1945 at Kingston for the Canadian government as (a) BANSWIFT. She measures 73.1 x 20.0 x 7.7, 98 Gross and 19 Net. She spent a number of years in the service of Foundation Maritime Ltd., Halifax, from which she was purchased by Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. in 1960. Renamed and brought to the lakes, she was normally stationed at Midland and was used primarily to shift about storage boats during the winter months, usually at Midland, Tiffin and Port McNicoll, although she did wander over to Collingwood on occasion. She was fitted for a time with a rather strange icebreaking device on her bow in an effort to buck the Georgian Bay icefields.
BAYPORT (II) was sold in 1973 to Meridan Marine Ltd., Scarborough, Ontario, and has since lain idle in the Leslie Street slip off the Toronto turning basin. She was recently fitted with the pilothouse removed two years ago from the canal tanker CAPE TRANSPORT, this structure being used to replace her old wooden pilothouse which had rotted away. Needless to say, BAYPORT now looks rather top-heavy and it seems fortunate that she never leaves the dock.
The more famous BAYPORT was a steel-hulled steam tug built 1914 at Cleveland for the Great Lakes Towing Company as (a) FAIRPORT (U.S.212730), 68.7 x 17.0 x 11.0, 65 Gross, 31 Net. She was sold in 1941 to the Burke Towing and Salvage Company Ltd., Midland, which resold her in 1942 to C.S.L. She was enrolled as (b) BAYPORT (I)(C.171939). She served as a harbour tug and icebreaker at Collingwood, Midland, Tiffin and Port McNicoll until 1959 when she capsized and sank off Collingwood whilst towing the disabled MOHAWK DEER. The DEER, also being pulled by CAPTAIN C. D. SECORD, took a sudden sheer and pulled the tug over on her beam-ends. Three men were rescued, but three were drowned.
BAYPORT (I) was abandoned to the underwriters but was salvaged and eventually was sold to F. R. Mireault of Fort William who operated her as (c) TUG A and (d) TWIN PORT, still under steam. She was acquired in 1972 by A. B. McLean and Sons Ltd., Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, who rebuilt her 1973-74 as the diesel tug (e) ROD McLEAN. She still operates under this name at the Soo. Interestingly enough, however, her old cabin and tall stack, so typical of the steam G-tugs, can still be seen on display in a park at the Canadian Soo near the head of Little Rapids Cut.
Exhibition of Marine Photography
Alan W. Sweigert, marine photographer, takes pleasure in inviting members of the Toronto Marine Historical Society to an exhibition of his work to be held at Compass Rose, 1234 Old River Road, Cleveland, Ohio. Opening receptions will be held on Saturday and Sunday, March 29 and 30, and the showing will run through April 30, noon to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Compass Rose is a nautical antique shop and gallery located on the east bank of the Cuyahoga River, one-quarter mile from the lakefront Conrail bridge.
Ship of the Month No. 91
The early 1920s were the years that saw the proliferation on the Great Lakes of the self-unloader, that hybrid type of vessel which once was a great rarity but which has since taken over a very sizeable chunk of the lake shipping business. The self-unloading bulk carrier is able to carry a wide variety of cargoes and to discharge them almost anywhere without the assistance of expensive and awkward shore-mounted machinery. Brown Hoists and Huletts were great inventions in their day, but their usefulness has not endured in the same manner as has the ship-mounted self-unloading rig.
Self-unloaders have taken many forms over the years and we are now seeing even more configurations of design as lakers become larger and more diverse in their trades. The very first self-unloading steamers were conversions from ordinary bulk carriers, various unloading rigs having been added to them, sometimes in an effort to extend the lives of ships that otherwise might have been nearing their end. As the years passed, however, more and more vessels were built with hoppered holds and unloading machinery.
One of the earliest lakers to be equipped with her own unloading machinery was the wooden-hulled bulk carrier HENNEPIN (I), (a) GEORGE H. DYER SR., which was built in 1888 at Milwaukee and converted in 1902 so that she could carry stone for the Lake Shore Stone Company from its quarry at Port Washington to Milwaukee. The first laker to be built with unloading equipment of a type which we would recognize today was the famous WYANDOTTE (I), built in 1908 at Ecorse by the Great Lakes Engineering Works. She was built for the Michigan Alkali Company and was later transferred to the Wyandotte Transportation Company, for which she served until her scrapping in 1967.
COLLIER NO. 1, her unloading rig already altered from its original design, enters Toronto's Eastern Gap during the summer of 1925 in this photo by J. H. Bascom.Canadian operators have also included self-unloaders in their fleets but, until recent years, have not had as large a percentage of such vessels under their ownership as have the U.S. operators. Be this as it may, James Playfair did commission the successful self-unloading canaller GLENELG which was built in 1922 at Midland. In the same year, the famous CHARLES DICK was built at Collingwood as a sandsucker with unloading equipment. Other early Canadian lakers with unloading rigs were COALFAX, built 1927 for the Coal Carriers Corporation Ltd., and COALHAVEN, built the following year for Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. Both were built at Haverton Hill-on-Tees by the Furness Shipbuilding Company Ltd. Another self-unloader built in 1927 was KINLOCH, laid down as GLENKINLOCH and renamed VALLEY CAMP during her first season of service, which was ordered by the Valley Camp Coal Company of Canada and originally operated by James Playfair. She was built by Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. at Newcastle-on-Tyne.
In 1924, Steamships Limited of Montreal, a subsidiary of Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., placed an order with Vickers Limited of Barrow-in-Furness, England, for the construction of a self-unloading steamer of canal dimensions, the intention being that she would be operated by C.S.L. for the Century Coal Company Ltd., another C.S.L. subsidiary. Built as the yard's Hull 610, she measured 249.2 feet in length, 43.2 feet in the beam, and 18.3 feet in depth, her tonnage registered as 1858 Gross and 930 Net. Her overall length was 258.0 feet, the maximum that could be squeezed into the locks of the old canals. She was powered not by the usual triple-expansion engine which was, by then, the accepted motive power of most steam canallers, but rather by a compound engine with cylinders of 24 and 48 inches and a stroke of 36 inches. Steam at 140 p.s.i. was produced by two coal-fired single-ended vertical cylindrical boilers which measured 13 feet by 11 feet. The builders guaranteed a speed of 9 1/2 knots on 850 I.H.P., the engine turning at 85 r.p.m. Most records confirm that the machinery was all built for the ship in 1924, the engine by Vickers and the boilers by MacColl and Pollock Ltd. To confuse the issue, however, the latter-day records of the American Bureau of Shipping managed to reverse these two bits of information and have thus seen to the perpetuation of erroneous material.
The steamer was launched in 1924 and was, in due course, delivered to her owner. She was enrolled at Montreal as C.147662 and was christened COLLIER NO. 1, a name rather appropriate for her intended service in the lake coal trade. The name would also tend to indicate that Century Coal hoped, should COLLIER NO. 1 prove successful, to build a number of similar ships, presumably with names running onwards in sequence. This never came to pass and the steamer was forever an oddity in the C.S.L. fleet.
COLLIER NO. 1 was not dissimilar in general design from many of the other canallers of her day. Typically, she had a half-forecastle and a flush quarterdeck. On the forecastle was located a large texas cabin containing the master's quarters, and atop this was a beautiful teakwood pilothouse finished in natural style. She had a substantial after cabin from which sprouted a rather well-proportioned but unraked stack. The fairly heavy mainmast rose abaft the funnel while the small pole foremast protruded right through the pilothouse. Strangely enough, she differed from most other canallers in that her bridge deck, boat deck and pilothouse roof were all wood-planked rather than built of steel plate. COLLIER NO. 1 was not painted in the usual C.S.L. colours but rather, as the fleet's first true self-unloader, she inaugurated special colours incorporating a black hull and forecastle, white cabins (except the varnished pilothouse) and the normal red, white and black stack design. In addition, she carried the legend "Century Coal Company Limited" in large white letters down her sides.
The authoritative "Canadian Railway and Marine World" stated in its issue of May 1924 that COLLIER NO. 1 was built to operate in the coal trade between United States ports and Fort William, and that she would be able to unload a full cargo of approximately 2,800 tons in six hours, or at a rate of about 500 tons per hour, "with little manual labour"! The September issue reported that COLLIER NO. 1 had received a new steering gear at Canadian Vickers Ltd. in Montreal during July, shortly after her arrival in Canada.
All period reports indicate that COLLIER NO. 1 was designed and built to be a self-unloader. When she crossed the Atlantic, however, she was in possession of her gantry frame but the unloading machinery itself had not yet been installed. In fact, she may have operated for a short time after her arrival, still without her machinery but carrying mainly coal and grain. We have no confirmation of when the equipment was actually installed, but it is possible that the work was done over the winter of 1924-25 whilst the steamer was laid up at Port Arthur. The machinery, manufactured by the Canadian Mead Morrison Company Ltd., was essentially similar to that fitted aboard the sandsucker CHARLES DICK.
The unloader was indeed primitive when compared with the equipment installed in lake vessels today. Nevertheless, it served its purpose, although it was sufficiently awkward that the design was not repeated. Basically, the structure consisted of a gantry frame whose two longitudinal sections, mounted on a central "tower", were supported by end braces and by three intermediate arches each. A small trolley, moved by cables from a steam winch on deck, ran along the frame and, suspended beneath it, was a clamshell used to scoop the cargo out of the holds. (Each of the two holds was covered by continuous wooden hatchcovers, 24 by 64 feet.) The clam carried the coal to a hopper located amidships beneath the operator's cabin. The cargo was then discharged over the side on a boom, fitted with a conveyor belt, which was hinged on the central part of the frame on the starboard side. The boom could be swung either forward or aft; early photos and plans show that it was normally stowed in the forward position, but in later years she could be seen with the boom swung aft whilst the vessel was running. The machinery was, apparently, not too successful as it was originally installed. The bulky equipment got in the way of the coal-dumping shutes at the loading docks and this made the loading of the vessel quite difficult. Accordingly, the rig was soon altered to facilitate loading. The frame's central tower was extended upwards and, three of the four supporting braces removed from beneath each arm of the gantry, the longitudinal sections were hinged so that they could be raised by means of cables running over pulleys on the tower, thus leaving the deck area unobstructed about the hatches. Thereafter, the steamer ran through to the end of her career with no other significant changes in the unloading equipment.
The July 1925 issue of "Canadian Railway and Marine World" confirmed that COLLIER NO. 1 was being operated by C.S.L. on the account of the Century Coal Company Ltd., the article stating further that she "will be engaged in carrying coal from Lake Erie and Lake Ontario ports to Toronto, Port Stanley, Kingston and other ports. She may also be operated in the grain trade at times between Port Colborne and Montreal. It is expected that she will carry approximately 150,000 tons of coal to Port Stanley during 1925 to be forwarded over the London and Port Stanley Railway." The L&PS was one of Ontario's most famous electrified railroads, operating freight and passenger services in the heart of southwestern Ontario. Imported via its rails from Port Stanley was much of the steam coal used not only in the city of London but also by the major steam railroads.
COLLIER NO. 1 carried on with her usual duties, mainly in the coal trade, without change until 1928. At that time, her name was shortened to COLLIER, the name that she was to carry through to the end of her career. The change appears to have indicated that C.S.L., although committed to having self-unloading canallers in its fleet, was not prepared to construct any further vessels of her particular type. Nevertheless, COLLIER was not an unsuccessful experiment and, despite her ungainly equipment, she was to serve C.S.L. in the coal trade, normally on Lake Ontario, until the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway rendered uneconomical the operation of steamers of her small size.
COLLIER's life was comparatively uneventful, unmarred as it was by any serious collisions or strandings. On November 17, 1933. however, she came so close to meeting an untimely end that her escape from the clutches of the elements put her in the news and, for perhaps the only time in her workaday lifetime, her photograph appeared in the daily papers.
Anyone who thinks that Lake Ontario cannot dish out its own share of hell for those who sail it, is sadly mistaken and has not witnessed the power of an Ontario "blow". COLLIER, sailing from Charlotte for Toronto on November 16 with one of her innumerable loads of coal, encountered bad weather from the moment that she cleared the mouth of the Genesee River. First Officer E. Jones remarked that "when we left Charlotte, there was steam all over the water; the visibility was terrible and, from then on, it got worse". He commented further that "if we had got into a trough, we would have been in great danger. As it was, we headed straight into it and the waves were breaking right over the top of our rigging. We had about 18 inches of water in the rooms below decks and every member of the crew was on watch all the time bailing her out."
With all hands bailing out the accommodations and with the engineroom crew fighting to keep up COLLIER's head of steam lest she lose her steerageway, Capt. Reg. Belcher and the first mate busied themselves chopping ice from the pilothouse windows so that they might see their way through the storm. Taking turns at this task, they eventually broke one of the windows, maintaining what visibility they could with the rest of the wheelhouse coated in ice at least six inches in thickness. COLLIER's head had to be kept up into the teeth of the gale for fear of what would happen if, with so much weight carried above deck level in her unloading rig, she fell off into the trough and began rolling.
At last, sheathed in ice and having averaged something less than two knots per hour into the storm, she arrived at Toronto on November 17, more than 12 hours overdue on her 86-mile trip. She tied up at the Century Coal dock on Cherry Street and there unloaded her cargo. Despite her harrowing journey across the lake, her labours for the year were not ended and she headed back out into the lake, making some three more trips back to Toronto from Charlotte before laying up in Toronto Harbour for the winter.
COLLIER continued to serve C.S.L. well for many years, long after she lost the Century Coal "billboards" on her sides. As the 1950s wore on, however, and as the opening of the Seaway drew nearer, it became evident that COLLIER was no longer economical to operate, despite her position as a specialty carrier. The less-viable canallers began to drop out of service even before the new canals were opened and COLLIER was one of them; she laid up at Kingston in December of 1957. it being then thought that she would not fit out again. The press reported in May of 1958 that she was to be rebuilt to receive the self-unloading A-frame, elevator, boom, etc. recently removed from GLENELG (which had been converted to a cement carrier), but we doubt that C.S.L. ever seriously considered any such scheme.
Photo by the Editor shows COLLIER outbound at the Toronto Eastern Gap during July 1957. Note the canvas cover hung over the after cabin to keep coal dust out of the accommodations.COLLIER was hauled out of lay-up in the late spring of 1958, however, in order to assist C.S.L. in the fulfillment of its contract to transport from Montreal to Toronto the thousands of sections of German-made pipe which were to be used in the construction of the new oil pipeline. COLLIER made a number of trips with pipe during June and July 1958, unloading her cargo on the east side of Toronto's Jarvis Street slip as did all of the other C.S.L. bulk canallers which were pressed into the strange service. In fact, for some of them their appearances at Toronto were most rare indeed. The loading and unloading of the then-strange COLLIER were quite interesting tasks; the arms of her gantry frame had to be raised to permit access to her decks by shore-based cranes. Forward of the unloading hopper, the pipes were stowed athwartship, their ends pointing towards the steamer's sides; on the after section of her deck, however, the pipe sections were laid lengthways. Not only were her holds filled with the pipes but they were piled so high on her deck that they nearly reached the arms of the gantry.
When the contract was filled, however, C.S.L. had no further use for the venerable COLLIER and she was laid up in a slip at Kingston where she was joined by the retired package freighters CANADIAN, CITY OF HAMILTON, CITY OF KINGSTON, CITY OF MONTREAL and CITY OF TORONTO. None of these steamers would ever again turn a wheel and all eventually found their way to the scrapyard. COLLIER remained at Kingston until November 1959, when she was sold to the Steel Company of Canada Ltd. for scrapping at Hamilton.
During the night of November 25-26, 1959, COLLIER left Kingston in tow of the Toronto Towing and Salvage Company Ltd. steam tugs H.J.D. NO. 1 and J. C. STEWART, but it was soon found that Lake Ontario was kicking up a sizeable swell and was too rough for the trip. COLLIER was anchored for the night and the tugs returned to Kingston for shelter. Left alone out on the lake, COLLIER dragged her hooks and went ashore at Reed's Bay near the head of Wolfe Island. The Toronto tugs gave the tow up as a bad piece of business and returned to Toronto as soon as the weather moderated.
A contract for the salvage of COLLIER was awarded to the Pyke Towing and Salvage Company Ltd. which planned to remove the steamer's unloading gantry in order to lighten her sufficiently to refloat her. In February of 1960, however, she floated free without the removal of any of her equipment and she was then towed into the Cataraqui Elevator slip, arriving there on March 9. The tow up the lake was resumed shortly thereafter and COLLIER arrived at Hamilton on April 13, 1960, in tow of SALVAGE MONARCH. The hull was soon cut up in the Stelco scrap yard, much the same way as were the many other canallers which, having outlived their usefulness, finished their days under the Stelco cutting torches.
Part of COLLIER lived on for a further short period of time, however. While she was tucked away in the elevator slip at Kingston during the early spring of 1960, her texas cabin, pilothouse and stack were purchased by Bayswater Shipping Ltd. of Brockville, a small fleet of canallers which had been formed by George McKinnon Davidson in 1946 and which continued operations until it went into voluntary liquidation in 1967. In the spring of 1960, as COLLIER was lying at the Kingston elevator, Bayswater was the proud owner of three aging vessels. One was the 201-foot self-unloader BAYQUINTE, (a) FRANK C. OSBORN (43), (b) BAYFAX (56), a former sandsucker built in 1912 which, in her latter days, spent most of her time on short-haul work in the Bay of Quinte area. The largest carrier in the fleet was GEORGE S. GLEET (61), (a) IOCOMA (47), (b) IMPERIAL WHITBY (49), (d) BAYGEORGE, a full-sized self-unloading canaller which had been converted from an Imperial Oil tanker. She was later lengthened to increase her capacity even further.
The "Grand Old Lady" of the Bayswater fleet, however, was the veteran steamer BAYANNA, (a) ARAGON (46), a full-sized canaller built at Wyandotte back in 1896. She had been converted to a self-unloader in 1927 and was Bayswater's first ship, having been purchased by the company in 1946. BAYANNA looked every one of her years, if not considerably more, by the later stages of her career, for she was old-fashioned in every respect. Perhaps the most fascinating portion of her anatomy was her little wooden pilothouse which, complete with corner braces, squatted atop an equally quaint texas. The whole structure was, however, a bit loose after all the years and so it was secured to the forecastle by means of a cable which passed over the pilothouse roof and was secured to the deck on either side, turnbuckles being provided in case tightening should be necessary.
Nevertheless, BAYANNA was still of some use to Bayswater, the old girl having a bit of life left in her, and so the company saw the perfect opportunity to modernize the boat at minimal expense by using parts off COLLIER. The entire forward cabin was lifted off the C.S.L. steamer and moved over to the forecastle of BAYANNA. Bayswater, unfortunately, did not seem to appreciate the varnished look of the teakwood pilothouse and so it was painted white. It did, however, retain the unusual mast which grew right out of the middle of the pilothouse roof. In addition, BAYANNA was fitted with COLLIER's stack, complete with its chimed whistles; it replaced a smaller funnel which BAYANNA had sported for several years and was placed atop her rather quaint raised boilerhouse. It was then painted in its new owner's colours, black with a narrow white band between two blue bands.
Looking just a trifle more modern with COLLIER's face and funnel, BAYANNA operated through the 1960, 1961 and 1962 seasons. She probably would have hung on for a few more years as well, perhaps right through until the dissolution of the company, had it not been for her stranding near Deseronto in the Bay of Quinte on December 7, 1962. The late-season accident was serious enough that it brought the ship's career to an end and she was abandoned as a constructive total loss. The wreck was acquired by P. E. Larose of Williamsburg, Ontario, who successfully refloated BAYANNA on December 10, 1963. She was taken to Deseronto where, in May of 1964, her remains were gutted by fire. Scrapping operations were undertaken the same year and it did not take long to complete the dismantling of the old steamer.
And so, on Lake Ontario, where she spent so many of her years of operation, ended the service of the last vestiges of COLLIER. Her forward cabins and her stack survived longer than did her hull or her unusual unloading rig, but COLLIER still can be said to have enjoyed a successful career, one that undoubtedly turned a considerable profit for her owner.
(Ed. Note: For their assistance with the preparation of the COLLIER feature, we extend our thanks to James M. Kidd and to Capt. John Leonard. We also acknowledge the special assistance of Robert Campbell of Toronto who did much research for us and who managed to come up with copies of COLLIER's original plans and a description of the vessel published at the time of her construction.)
Winter Lay-up Listings
We now conclude our report on the winter fleets at the various lake and river ports. If your local port has not appeared, it is because nobody took the time to send us a notation of what was wintering there. We have done our best to update the lists appearing last month which may have been incomplete or in error, but the records are still only as good as the information which has been relayed to us.
J. B. FORD
WILLIAM P. SNYDER JR.
FRED R. WHITE JR.
LEWIS G. HARRIMAN
PAUL H. TOWNSEND
BAIE ST. PAUL
D. C. EVEREST
JOHN T. HUTCHINSON
J. BURTON AYERS
WM. H. BENNETT
ADAM E. CORNELIUS
J. A. W. IGLEHART
MARINE FUEL OIL
MARINE FUEL II
RAYMOND H. REISS
WILLIAM G. MATHER
To Previous List, Add:
E. B. BARBER
To previous List, Add:
To Previous List, Add:
From Previous List, Delete:
To Previous List, Add:
JOHN PURVES (tug)
MEL WILLIAM SELVICK (barge)
PHOTINIA (for scrapping)
We hope that these listings have been helpful for those members who are fond of doing a bit of winter boatwatching or who simply like to keep records of such matters.
We should like to thank all those members who contributed reports. Apart from those mentioned last month, the following deserve our gratitude: Gerald Hutton, Randy Johnson, Jim Kaysen, Bill Luke, Al Sweigert, John Vournakis and Pete Worden. In addition, our sincere thanks go to the Marine Historical Society of Detroit, which did not publish its usual layup report this year and sent on to us any material which it received.
A Correction concerning Cement Carriers
An historical publication such as ours must always strive for accuracy, not only for the benefit of its current readers but also in order not to mislead those who may later use it as a reference source. It is for this reason that we try always to publish a correction if it should come to our attention that we have included in "Scanner" any erroneous material. (We also try to avoid alliterative titles such as that gracing this piece, but once in a while one will simply demand to be printed!)
In January, we reported the sale of the small cement carrier LOC BAY from the Erie Sand Steamship Company to Medusa Cement and indicated that LOC BAY had operated on Lake Ontario between Bath and Charlotte. We should, of course, have realized that LOC BAY did not run out of Bath but rather from Picton, and we thank Tom Brewer of Rochester for bringing this slip to our attention.
While we are at it, perhaps we should recap the bulk cement operations on Lake Ontario for the benefit of those unfamiliar with the area. ENGLISH RIVER loads at the Canada Cement dock at Bath, usually discharging her cargo in the Polson Street slip, Toronto. All of the other Lake Ontario bulk cement boats (except for ROBERT KOCH which loads at Clarkson for Buffalo) load their cargoes at the Lake Ontario Cement Company dock at Picton. LOC BAY, and PEERLESS before her, ran from Picton to Charlotte, while METIS, and GLENELG before her, ran from Picton to Toronto, docking in the mouth of the Keating Channel at Cherry Street. METIS has also taken cargoes to Charlotte on numerous occasions. Erie Sand's DAY PECKINPAUGH, on the other hand, has been only an infrequent visitor to Charlotte, for she normally runs cement from Picton to Oswego where she enters the New York State Barge Canal for the trip to her final destination, Rome, New York.
It seems likely that LOC BAY's place on Lake Ontario will not be taken by DAY PECKINPAUGH, which is usually kept busy on her canal trips, but rather that METIS will probably be diverted from Toronto on a more frequent basis and that she will hold down the Charlotte service as required.
The Great Lakes Society for the Preservation of Side Ship Launching has been formed with the thought that there is room in this world of shortages, high prices and turmoil for one more organization, an exclusive group that offers a one-shot deal with no annual dues, no newsletters, no bake sales, and no bazaars. It is based upon something unexplainable, the something that draws people of all sorts through horrible weather and over worse roads to all kinds of crazy places en route to watch a side launching. To become an official member of this strange brotherhood, send $2.00 in any funds that you have available to T.G.L.S.F.T.P.O.S.S.L., c/o Museum of Arts & History, 1115 Sixth Street, Port Huron, Michigan 48060, U.S.A. Or better yet, write to Frank Crevier, acting co-ordinator of the group at the above address, and he will be glad to send details of all the goodies to which you will be entitled as a member.
Welland Canal Commemorative Plaques
Al Sagon-King, 153 Ryerson Street, Thorold, Ontario L2V 3Y4, has for sale a number of special plaques, etched brass on a walnut base, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Welland Canal. They were designed for a special "Transportation Evening" held last autumn at St. Catharines. Cost is $10.00 each, including first-class post. Please contact Al direct for details.