The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 6 Jun 1891

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p.1 Deseronto - The mail line of steamers now call every evening at 6 o'clock at the dock. It is a pity these vessels could not go down the Bay during daylight; the sail from Trenton to Kingston would be delightful for tourists, through a classic country and inspiring scenery.

Wages Cut Down - A Chicago despatch says that hereafter the wages of union sailors will be 25 cents a day less than the scale drawn up at the opening of the season. This reduction applies to every port on the great lakes and has been brought about by the backward condition of the carrying trade.


McDougall's Whalebacks Are Now In Port.

The whalebacks Colby and her consort 110 arrived last night and this morning were visited by hundreds who were anxious to see the new fangled freight boats. Ladders and guards had been provided in expectation of the sightseers of the sightseers and the decks were soon swarming with citizens of both sexes who were shown about by the employees. The steamer Colby is very handsomely finished as to cabin and engine room fittings. Everything is bright, shining and clean as a new pin. This boat is said to be able to cover nineteen or twenty miles per hour when light which great speed has been nearly equalled by her counterpart, the Hoyt, a much heavier boat. The barge 110 is 265 feet long, 36 feet beam and 24 feet depth of hold and has a carrying capacity of 2,668 net tons. In the cabin were several pretty curiousities, among them a model of a whaleback. It is understood that some difficulty has arisen between the members of the crew and the employers as to the number of working hours in a day, and some of the men talk of leaving at this port if the matter is not satisfactorily adjusted.

Owing to a defect in the boiler of the steamer Colby she will remain here several days for repairs.

Among other notable features of the visit of the whalebacks was the cargo of wheat which amounted to 77,000 bushels, the largest single cargo known to have entered at this port. The Colby had on board 67,000 bushels.

A few years ago Capt. Alex. McDougall, the inventor of the "Whalebacks," and who accompanied this fleet to Kingston, was a vessel captain on the great lakes earning a modest salary, but possessed of no means. Today he is comparitively a wealthy man and, in a few years if all goes well, he will be one of America's millionaires. For the past twenty-five years he had been frequently experimenting on models of vessels in the attic of his home in Duluth and finally he ventured forth with his "whaleback" idea in 1885. At first the new departure was received with derision but in 1887 he commenced work on the construction of a boat, backed with the support of A.D. Thompson, of Duluth, and Capt. Thomas Wilson, of Cleveland. It was duly completed and launched to the great delight of the Duluth people.

The chief difference between whalebacks and other boats lies in their ends and upper works. In truth there are no upper works, for the two sides of the hull are turned over a short distance above the loading line and meet, thus forming a turtle back. The ends are nearly alike, tapering off in circles of three or four feet diameter. The bottom and sides are the only parts on the ends that have changed lines. The deck of the vessel is practically the same level throughout. A turret forward holds apparatus for hoisting the anchor, the chains of which run through the snout of the vessel. At the after-end is another turret, if she be a barge, which serves as a wheelhouse, and in the lower part of which are quarters for men. If the vessel be a steamer she is provided with a series of three after turrets, around which a small deck circles. On these turrets is built a cabin and within them much of the propelling machinery finds accommodation. Ten or a dozen hatches provide for unloading the vessel with despatch. No room is wasted in any part of the vessel. Strength is obtained from numerous steel frames, which are put in tranversely and given just the proper curve. The bow of a "whaleback" is better submerged than not in a storm, because the seas rolling over the cylindrical deck have no effect on it. The fact that the McDougall barges have given only one-fourth of their gross receipts for towing, while other barges are compelled to give one-third, is the strongest sort of argument to show that the former tow more easily. The general points of excellence of the new type are increased carrying capacity, increased speed, ease in towing, low original cost, cheap maintenance and safety. The boats are made wholly of steel, with the exception of a few boards in the cabin and hold. The steel hull plates are from 1/2 to 5/8 inches in thickness and weigh about twenty-five pounds a square foot.

Marine Paragraphs.

N.K. & M. Connolly's dredge arrived up the river last night in tow of the M.T. company's tug Bronson.

The S.S. Campana has been placed in the Merchant's line and it is intended that she shall run on the Kingston and Chicago division calling at Toronto.

Clearances: tug Bronson and eight barges, Montreal, grain; str. Saginaw Valley, Cleveland, light; schr. B.W. Folger, Oswego, lumber; schr. Flora Emma, Sodus Point, light.

Yesterday the steamyacht Nelly, owned by Capt. S. Garrett, Smith's Falls, arrived in the city and was inspected by Capt. T. Donnelly. She will run between Smith's Falls and Rideau Lake.

The captain of the schr. Cornelia, while unloading dye wood at Brockville, found among the timber a peculiar looking snake, which he succeeded in killing. The wood came from San Domingo.

Arrivals: schr. Annie Falconer, Oswego, coal; str. Colby and consort 110, West Superior, wheat; str. Saginaw Valley, Ogdensburg, wheat; schr. Fleetwing, Charlotte, coal; sloop Idlewild, Sackett's Harbor, light.

Personal Mention - In the crew of the str. Colby, which arrived here last night, is Herman Spence, an old Whig employee of eighteen years ago.

The tug Olevia Gordon and the tug Thompson arrived today with the dredge St. Joseph from Quebec. It will be used in connection with the dry dock.

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6 Jun 1891
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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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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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 6 Jun 1891