Artifact of the Month – Great Eastern

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lp4122

As I continue to comb through and photograph our print/poster collection, I am constantly finding pieces that depict incredibly interesting bits of history.  In most cases, bits I never even knew existed, which spurs me to research and learn more.  One print I found earlier this week shows the steamship Great Eastern (1858-1888) on a sandbar covered in advertisements for all kinds of activities available on board, including horse races, a concert and the Swiss Giantess.  It’s quite amazing to look at and so I decided to make it the artifact of the month for October.

And if you look closely at the print, you can see that there are a massive amount of people on the ship with tons more trying to board.  When I find something like this I just have to know more and understand the purpose behind it.   Read more

A Pressing Issue

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The Leviathan. From The Mariners’ Museum collection.

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Library blog. The Daily Press just printed an article by Michael Welles Shapiro reviewing the new book by Steven Ujifusa, “A Man and his Ship: America’s Greatest Naval Architect and his Quest to Build the SS United States.”  The book explores the tenacity displayed by SS United States chief designer William Francis Gibbs in his efforts to get the ships he designed built over the years, with great emphasis given to the SS United States. In order to highlight Gibbs’ determination Ujifusa covers an incident early in his career, when a great deal of friction erupted between Gibbs and the shipyard president Homer Ferguson over the redesign of a ship called the Leviathan after World War I.

Ferguson made a below-cost bid on the shipbuilding rights to the ship and wanted to make up his deficit by charging money for a boatload of design changes to the ship specifications. Gibbs would have none of that – he designed the Leviathan with a specific set of specifications and refused to allow any alterations to her blueprints that would increase her cost. Ferguson ended up getting in trouble for losing money on the Leviathan, but his resignation was not accepted. As for Gibbs, his determination in getting his ships built paid off for him when he designed the SS United States.   Read more