This historic old city was the scene of a remarkable event, yesterday, which will find an honored place in the marine annals of Canada, as it marked the epoch of a new departure in marine architecture and construction. The occasion was the launching of Connolly Bros.' big steel dredge International. Few residents realized that the marine monster in course of construction for some time past on ways contiguous to the government dry-dock would receive her baptism with such an envied record. To the casual spectator it was a dredge for scooping up mud and nothing more. Careful observers saw that the big hulk possessed unusual dimensions and was constructed of very substantial material, more durable than wood, of which the majority of dredges are built.
The launch was announced for two o'clock, but it was not until about quarter past three that the big steel hulk began to slide towards the element intended in future to be her home. The reason for the delay in getting her off was the low incline of the ways on which she was built, necessitating the "jacking" up of her stern, which was inshore, to a sufficient elevation to allow the heavy mass to slip down the well-greased ways of its own weight. Messrs. M. and N.K. Connolly and P. Hume, civil engineer for the owners, were kept busy superintending the preparations for the launch, and consequently were left ashore when it took place. A small but enthusiastic and merry party was aboard, among whom were: Mrs. (Senator) Sullivan, Mrs. J.B. Murphy, Mrs. N.K. Connolly, Mrs. Dolan, Mrs. Hume, Misses F. Murphy, Hickey, J. Sullivan, L. Hume, Mayor Elliot, Alds. Ryan, Behan, Senator Sullivan, Dr. Sullivan, J.B. Murphy, R.A. Dickson, Toronto; J. Hanley, W.J. Morgans, V.S.; J. Devlin, and a few others. Refreshments were served on board by F.H. Hepburn, and it is unnecessary to say they were keenly appreciated.
Amid the tooting of steamboat whistles, the triumphal cheering of those on board and the immense throngs on adjacent wharves, the International, without a jar or hitch, slipped from her birthplace into the dancing blue waters of the noble St. Lawrence and floated far out on the stream. She sat on as level a keel as a billiard table, and every calculation made was found to be as correct as the multiplication table. From stem to stern not a single drop of water gained access to her hold; her seams and rivets are as water tight as a perfect pneumatic tire.
The tug Stormy Petrel, owned by Connolly Bros., was in waiting to tow the dredge back to harbor, and with this end in view made fast to a tow post. In comparison, the little steamer would make a good yawl for the big hulk it attempted to tow. Its efforts were useless as no headway could be made and slowly but surely the stiff western breeze was drifting both dredge and steamer across to Point Frederick shoal. Those ashore saw the danger in which the dredge stood and telephoned to the M.T. Co. for the services of a tug. The Jessie Hall was dispatched in all haste and picked up the dredge, now in midstream off the foot of Johnston street. The progress shoreward from this time forward was rapid, and at twenty minutes past four o'clock the northern pier at the government dry dock was touched, and a few minutes later the dredge was safely harbored in an adjacent slip.
The International is the third dredge the Messrs. Connolly have built. It is the largest craft of the kind on the continent of America, and her equipment is unequalled. Her dimensions are: Length of hull, 114 ft.; beam, 36 ft. 6 in.; depth of hold, 10 ft. 6 in.; crane, 50 ft. lead; dippere capacity, 5 cubic yards. She is equipped with a compound engine with cylinders 12 1/2 and 25 inches, and a 14 inch stroke. Her boiler is 10 ft. 7 in. by 11 ft., of steel, and the best which material and skilled workmen could produce. It stood a cold water pressure of 225 lbs., but will be worked with 125 lbs. of steam. Inspector Thompson says that in all his experience he never saw a boiler that could approach it in point of perfection. It is fitted with steel corrugated flues and was built at the locomotive works, as was nearly all the machinery forming the equipment of this splendid dredge. Aft of the boiler are two tanks for fresh water when the dredge is at work at a sea port. A Knowles circulating pump forms part of the complete equipment, and a new model Robert Armstrong, Amherst, N.S., high pressure engine is provided for running the dynamo that will supply the lighting aboard. The dynamo has a capacity of over two hundred sixteen candle power incandescent lights. The dynamo and engine to drive it are situated to starboard, forward, and on the opposite side is a double engine with nine and twelve inch cylinders for swinging the powerful crane. The big engine is located amidship. There is ample room below to hold a good supply of coal, etc., without crowding stokers or anyone who may have to work in the hold.
On the first deck are located the kitchen and dining-room, large and spacious, and on the opposite side, port, is a large room meant for office purposes, and a smaller room, suitable for a bedroom, forward of it. These rooms are aft, and the forward portion is of glass, through which the engineer can see in all directions to operate the crane and dipper. On the second deck are located rooms for the officers and crew. There are four rooms 8 x 8 and two 8 x 12. These are all carpeted and richly fitted up, furnished with electric lights and steam radiators. The dredge is steel from stem to stern, keel to roof. The kitchen, dining room, sleeping apartments, etc., have a sheeting of pine over the steel walls. An arc light will be suspended from each corner on the main deck.
The International was designed and built by Connolly Bros., the drawings being made by P. Hume. Work was begun on her on April 18th, 1895. Before being ready for service she will cost her builders $75,000. She is meant for service in tide water and can dredge in fifty feet of water. Her crew will consist of an engineer, fireman, two crane men and eight deck hands. Steel wire will be used for hoisting the dipper. The Connollys were the first to adopt wire cable for this purpose. Emblematical of her name, International, the stripes and stars floated from her bow and the union jack from her stern as she entered the water. Mr. Hume says that just as soon as she can be got ready there will be plenty of work for the dredge to do.
Richardson & Sons' grain fleet is up the bay for grain.
All the schooners in the coal carrying trade are away for cargoes.
The str. Pueblo cleared last night for Oswego to load coal for Milwaukee.
The tug Bronson arrived up from Montreal last night with two barges, light.
The str. James Swift cleared from Swift's wharf, for Ottawa, this morning.
The tug Jessie Hall cleared for Montreal, this morning, with four barges grain laden.
The str. Denver, from Duluth, is discharging 55,500 bushels of wheat at the M.T. Co.'s elevators.
The tug Reginald cleared last night for Montreal with four grain laden barges of the K. & M. F. Co.'s fleet.
The str. Tecumseh, Superior, timber laden, passed through the Welland canal yesterday bound for Collins Bay.
The sloop Madcap left here, last night, for Collins Bay with 1,000 bushels of wheat, consigned by James Richardson & Sons.
The tug Petrel, of the Collins Bay rafting company, was in the government dry dock yesterday being caulked and having her stern bearings tightened.
Sunk In the Rapids - Barge Joe Arthurs, loaded with 17,500 bushels of wheat for Montreal, struck, this morning, in the Gallop rapids, and sank in fifteen minutes, in thirteen feet of water. The barge was in tow of the tug Reginald and carried grain from the K. & M. Forwarding Co.'s lake vessel Lapwing. Cargo and freight insured.