Maritime History of the Great Lakes

Scanner, v. 24, no. 4 (January 1992), p. 14

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WERE THERE CANADIAN-BUILT WHALEBACKS? 14. Of considerable interest to us was another item which appeared amongst the whaleback press clippings which were provided to us by member Ken Thro. One of them was culled from the "Superior Daily Call" of April 18, 1892, and it reads as follows: THEY'RE INFRINGEMENTS Canadian Whalebacks That Will Cause Trouble "The Canadian whaleback, a model of which was made a year ago by Engineer W. E. Redway, of Toronto, is to be practically tested. Thomas Marks, the well known marine man of Port Arthur, and a few others, have resolved to have an experiment vessel built and work will be started on this new whaleback at the Doty shipyard at Toronto. This craft will carry 750 gross tons on 9 feet draught, 1, 200 tons on 12 feet draught, and 1, 800 tons at 15 feet. "Mr. Redway's model is fashioned like an Indian canoe; it has a flat bottom, with a fraction of keel at the stern to accompany the rudder. There are no bulwarks. The upper structures are compact - a cabin with concave sides to shed the seas at the stern, where the boilers and machinery are, and a small protection at the bows, which terminate in a ram prow. "The dimensions are: length, 180 feet; beam, inches; deadweight capacity, 1, 200 gross tons; twin screws; cylinders 15 inches and 27 inches 120 pounds per sq. inch. There will be a double 42 feet; depth, 19 feet, 4 machinery, compound engines, by 24 inch stroke; pressure, bottom. "Capt. McDougall claims this boat is an infringement on his models, and against it, as well as the ' straightbacks' building at Detroit, he will enter infringement suits. " We suspect that by "straightbacks building at Detroit", the writer of the press item actually was intending to refer to the semi-turret-sided, straightback s t e m w i n d e r s ANDASTE, CHOCTAW and YUMA, which then were under construction at Cleveland. These three rather homely vessels were duly completed and placed in service, although the trio, generally referred to as "monitors", were never deemed to be of particularly successful design. McDougall's patent infringement action did, however, apparently stop the construction of any Canadian versions of the whalebacks, for none were ever built, either at the Doty yard or anywhere else in Canada. There was, nevertheless, a whaleback connection with Thomas Marks, of Port Arthur. Thomas Marks and Company was a firm affiliated with the Canadian Northwest Steamship Company, Port Arthur, which from 1913 until 1917 was the owner of the whaleback ATIKOK A N , (a) JOHN B. TREVOR (12), which was McDougall's Hull No. 135, launched on May 1st, 1895. * * * * * LAY-UP LISTINGS Before long, most lake ships will have found their way to winter quarters, and it will be time for us to prepare the lay-up listings for the February issue. Once all of the lay-ups are present at your local port, please go and look at them. Kindly prepare an accurate and complete list of all vessels (do not guess at the identity of any ship, but make sure you know it for certain), and then send us your list as soon as possible. Please do not assume that somebody else will send us a list from your local ports, because you may be the only one who will. (We especially need reports to cover Lake Erie and Lake Michigan p o r t s . ) And remember that two lists from the same port will seldom agree (a Lake corollary to Murphy's Law), so the more reports we get from each port, the better! Please let us hear from you at your earliest possible convenience. Thank you. * * * * *

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