Maritime History of the Great Lakes

Marine Record (Cleveland, OH), August 8, 1895, p. 8

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8 THE MARINE RECORD ESTABLISHED 1878. PuBLISHED Every THURSDAY, AT 144 SUPERIOR S7., (LEADER BUILDING), CLEVELAND, O. IRVING B. SMITH, CAPT. JOHN SWAINSON, BRANCH OFFICE: PROPRIETORS Cuicaco, ILL, 238 Lake Street. THOMAS WILLIAMS, Associate Editor. SUBSCRIPTION. One copy, one year, postage paid, One copy, one year, to foreign countries, . Invariably in advance. : $2 00 -., $3 00 ADVERTISING. - Rates given on application. : Entered at Cleveland Post-Office as Second-class Mail Matter. es CLEVELAND, O., AUGUST 8&, 1895. oe THE EAGLE SCREAMS. The Detroit Dry Dock Co., is the lucky shipbuilding firm to figure in what is probably the most noteworthy shipbuilding contract on record for the lakes, in receiving an order from the Russian government for the construc- tion of three monster car ferry steamers the size of the mammoth Ste. Marie, now plying in the Straits of Mack- inaw. The most remarkable feature of this transaction is that in choosing the builders of these peculiar vessels, in which cost is a secondary consideration, the descend- ants of Peter the Great should pass by the hardy Norse- men, who are accustomed to fighting ice in its season as best they may, by the great shipyards of the Clyde, the Wear, Belfast and Liverpool, where the British ascribe to themselves the greatest. perfection in the art of naval construction; by the great yards of the American coast where the most expensive of the government contracts are awarded, to place their gigantic contract with the | firm whose product plies upon a stretch of water of which our ocean friends would fain all but deny the ex- istence. cae : But the solution of the problem lies in the fact that the Russians want experience, not experiment. They have visited the lakes, and the boats of this especial pat- tern which the lakes have produced. They know just what can be done by the monster Ste. Marie, and her less pretentions, but proportionately no less efficient sister, the St. Ignace; and they know that boats built upon these patterns cannot but prove satisfactory in the work which which they will be called upon to perform. The winning of such a prize as the Russian contract, and winning it upon records alone, is something to make every Amer- ican’s bosom swell to bursting with true patriotic pride, and to make some of the transatlantic fellow craftsmen turn olive green with envy. This will probably wake - gome of the British shipping journals even more _ thoroughly than did the proposition of Mr. Cramp last sia summer, to the British government, suggesting that John Bull allow the Philadelphia yard to build him some war vessels that werein keeping with the times. ——$—$—$—$—$—_————— a ee ; A BOOM IN THE CONSTRUCTION LINE. .. With the unprecedented revival in all trade after a period of depression, comes an entirely unexpected degree of activity in the lake shipyards, all of which are certain to be kept busy during the coming winter season. The greatest drawback the shipbuilders now have is the in- ability to secure material within what would be consid- ered a reasonable time’after it is ordered. Much of this material was purchased just before the late marked ad- vances, and the mills have in many cases yielded to the temptation to work out orders on which they are making more money and to let the cheaper jobs wait. The amount of structural steel which is being turned out for bridges and buildings is something never before ap- proached, and almost. incomprehensible in volume, and even where shipbuilders come exactly in their turn, their orders are subject to delays in fulfillment which very naturally make them restive, especially when they have hundreds of skilled men in their yards, employed at tin- kering about the yards in order that they may not wander elsewhere. THE MARINE RECORD. PASSING IN NARROW CHANNELS. As a result of a collision between the tug Torrent ‘and schooner Yukon, the blame for which has uniformly been placed upon another steamer, which had just past ‘the Yukon at arate of speed which caused her to sheer, the finance committee of the Lake Carriers’ Association instructed Secretary Keep to issue a circular asking owners and masters to steam at a moderate speed through that and other cuts. Any peremptory order to masters to reduce their speed to a certain number of miles per hour, say four, or even six, would, under certain conditions of wind and water, it would be impossible at times to obey, without getting into trouble, and if there are no other craft about, any speed which does not tend to injure the panks of the canal can do no harm. In cases where-ves- sels are passing, either when meeting, or when bound in the same directions, full and explicit directions are given in thé White law, which was passed last winter, and in case it is violated, anybody, so disposed, can look after its enforcement. It would seem that the law in such cases, ought to be more efficacious than a simple appeal, and at any rate, owners of vessels injured through an in- fraction of these rules have a remedy ready at hand. Apropos of the fatal collision referred to, a contem- porary made a rathér amusing suggestion recently, which was all the more comical because of the dignified and condescending tone in which it was offered. The sug- gestion was that had a towing machine been in use upon the Sitka of Yukon, the schooner might have been drawn up, or the towline shortened, to use more nearly the exact words, in time to have avoided the collision. Towing machines are, of course, a valuable piece of machinery, and well worth the money invested in the labor they save in the manipulation of the tow line and the avoidance, by their use, of much wear and tear on the line; but it is too much to expect of a towing machine that it shall be turned loose at a moment’s notice, to haul a schooner close up while the steamer continues at fullspeed. Such a display of power by the towing machine, when possi- ble to exert it, could only have the effect of stopping, in a proportionate degree, the way of the steamer, and its effect inthe Yukon case would havebeen nil, as the tow line was drawn taut when the accident occurred. Ever since towing began on the lakes, the lines have gradually been lengthened from fifty fathoms to more than three times that length of line, it being found that, within a certain limit, the farther distant the schooner is from the swirl of the steamer’s wheel, the better she will steer. Outside causes can always be found where the contrary appears to be the case; for instance, in the cel- lision of the barge 117 with the steamer Alva. The lat- ter was lying across the stream in such a way as to form a partial dam, and to create a swift current around her bow, in which current the bow was caught. Otherwise the barge, even in that crooked channel, could have steered around as easily as did her own steamer, the Peck SS aS a as Now that the time for asking Congress for new appro- priations for the rivers and harbors, and for other aids to navigation, itis not out of place to urge upon munic- ipalities and individuals anew the desirability of taking better care of the improvements which have already been made. Government improvements which are made in connection with city work are usually pretty well looked after, especially where the efliciency of the one depends upon the state of the other ; but a great deal of short- sightedness is displayed at many places along the lakes in the matter of indifference to the enforcement of the government’s rules for the preservation of public works. It is said by the United States Engineers to be no uncom- mon thing for a tug man to tear a plank from a break- water, merely to get a place to moor his boat. The first sea that comes along effects an entrance here, and tears away half a dozen more plank, and hundreds of dollars’ worth of damage is soon done, It would not tend to in- crease the size of the appropriation to be given to a cer- tain harbor on Lake Erie if Congressmen were to learn that when a pier caught fire there recently, it was allowed to burn until the flames spread so badly as to become a menace to surrounding property. ee THE Sunbeam, about which there was so much anxiety on Lake Michigan, proves to have been all moonshine. _C. B. Lockwood, of Sandusky, George Newbury, of Detroit, and John Barth, of Cleveland, are the judges at the Put-in-Bay regatta this week. ; ferry steamers, which should ply from one end to th SHIP BUILDING ‘AND REPAIRS. : A FAMOUS CONTRACT. Ever since the World’s Fair, the talk of the construc-_ tion of the trans-Siberian railway has had coupled with it the statement that the line would require a water link which would probably take the shape of ice-crushing other of Lake Baikal, a body of water as long as Lak Superior, and about as wide as Lake Erie, of a crescent shape, around which it was difficult, if not impossible t construct the line. Russian engineers have visited th lakes, and made close inspection of the construction an achievement of the steamers St. Ignace and Ste. Marie, now in service at the Straits of Mackinaw, as well as ‘ those plying in Detroit River and across Lake Michigan The Detroit Dry-dock Co. was recently requested by ; the Russian government, which is constructing the trans-Siberian, asking that a representative come im- mediately to St. Petersburg. Mr. Frank EK. Kirby left at once, and was accompanied by Mr. Gilbert N. Mc- Millen, secretary of the company, with whom it isa sort of wedding trip as well as a business journey. Be- fore they had time to get across the Atlantic, however, the Detroit Dry-dock Co. received a cable intimating that they had been selected to do the work, and that de- tails only would remain to be settled upon the arrival at St. Petersburg of the Detroit gentlemen. As nearly as the information can be gained, there will be built three steamers, about the size of the Ste. Marie, with the possibility that two others will be constructed later, to meet the demand which will have grown by that time. They will practically be duplicates of the big Straits ferry, and will be built on the shores of Lake Baikal, which has no outlet navigable for a steamship of that size. The Russian timber which abounds in that vicinity is peculiarly well adapted for the purpose, and’ itis understood that vast quantities have already been cut and seasoned. The steel work and the engines, which are four in number for each boat, with the auxil- iary machinery, will be made in this country and will begs shipped to Siberia and placed in the hulls. The work will undoubtedly consume a year or two, and while the Russian Government will have its superintendents etc., the entire work will probably be under the general supervision of Mr. Kirby, -whose skill contributed so greatly to the success of the boats whose work secured this contract for the Detroit Dry-dock Co. The cost of these monster boats has been variously estimated at from $300,000 to $800,000. Itis known, how- ever, that the Russian government wants the boats to be of the best, in the whole and in every part of their equipment. It is stated on what seems to be good au- thority that the company is instructed to file with the Russian government statements ofthe actual cost of the work, to which a liberal percentage will be added for profit when the accounts are settled. A letter from the Detroit Dry-dock Co., in answer to ~ a query from the MARINE RECORD, states that nothing positive in regard to the contract can be learned before the last of this week. ae OTHER NEW WORK. The contract for the construction of two more steel schooners for the Minnesota Iron. Co., which, it was mentioned in last week’s MARINE RECORD, contemplated such an addition to its fleet, was closed within 12 hours after the RECORD had gone to press. The two schooners will be built by the Chicago Ship Building Co., and will be fifty feet longer and four feet wider than the two schooners built last spring—the Malta and Marcia—but will otherwise greatly resemble them, both in rig and equipment. The boats will be 352 feet long between ~ perpendiculars, by 44 feet beam and 26 feet depth. The boat which the Union Dry-Dock Co., of Buffalo, contemplates constructing, is not yet entirely decided upon. If built, she will probably be either purchased — by, or taken under charter by the Union Steamboat Co., which is very closely allied with the HKrie railroad. Whether or not she will be built will be decided within a fortnight. The design will be much the same as that of — the steamer Chili, built at the Cleveland Ship Building ™ Co.’s yard for M. M. Drake and others, and running in the Lackawanna line, the dimensions being 342 feet over all, 324 feet keel, 47 feet beam, and 26% feet depth, with between decks, ten large hatches, four gangways on 3 Ey: ees io

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