The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), Dec. 11, 1893

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Steel vs. Wooden Boats

Chicago, December 10. -The great losses which owners and underwriters have suffered the past season on the lakes on the large modern steel steamers have raised the question as to the adaptability of steel vessels as ordinarily constructed, for lake traffic, where boats are so likely to strike rocks and other obstructions. When a steel vessel touches a rock, there is no "give" to the solid metal, as in the case where wooden vessels strike obstructions. The plates break through, and with them the expensive steel frames. During the past season the losses on metal boats aggregated $405,000. About $265,000 of that amount was due to disasters which would have befallen wooden boats as well as steel. The remaining $230,000 loss was primarily due to apparent inadaptability of steel boats for lake traffic. Underwriters have hitherto given much lower rates on steel boats than on wooden vessels of the same type and build, making the remarkably low insurance of 3% for the season. It is likely that during the coming winter, when the new tariffs are made up, that the favored position of metal steamers will be lost to them, and that they will be put in the same plane, if not somewhat lower, than wooden boats.

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Dec. 11, 1893
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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), Dec. 11, 1893