The Pilot Boats of George Steers

Posted on
George Steers. Engraved by William G. Jackman and published by D. Appleton & Co. around 1870. (Accession# 1941.401.01/LE 1517)

Ever since man first set foot in a boat and headed out to sea there has been a need for pilots. Sailing in deep water is easy (as long as a storm doesn’t catch you!); navigating the shallower waters along coastlines and entering ports and rivers you aren’t familiar with is a lot more dangerous.

In mid-19th century New York the competition to provide pilotage services to an ever increasing volume of commercial traffic was fierce. Since the first pilot boat to reach an inbound vessel typically got the job the pilot’s need for a fast sailing boat was paramount. As this need increased some of the world’s most talented yacht designers and naval architects jumped into the fray and began designing some of the fastest schooners the world had ever seen.  One of these men, New York’s George Steers, ended up designing boats that changed the face of naval architecture forever.   Read more

Come One, Come All and Witness The Amazing Tattooed Boy!

Posted on
From the collection of The Mariners’ Museum, Catalog Number: P0001.001-01- -P239

Throughout the years that I have been working at The Mariners’ Museum, I have compiled a list of photographs that I love. Photos that catch my eye in terms of their composition, or tone, or, often, their subject matter. One such picture came back to my attention recently when we put together a little popup exhibit for a group of local tattoo artists.

It is an image of a boy no older than 14, topless, and reclining on furs. He wears fringed shorts, ankle-high boots, and tattoos cover the young man’s exposed skin. His eyes pierce through your own while a cocky smile pulls the corners of his mouth. All the while, an older gentleman with a bushy mustache and newsboy cap presses a tattoo needle to the youth’s outer thigh. Above his hip stands a panel of tattoo flash and below that, a  small square of the image is deliberately cut away.   Read more

Artifact of the Month – Commonwealth Model

Posted on
5.1.3

This month’s artifact is one of my favorite pieces in the collection.  It is a music box model of the steamboat Commonwealth.

Commonwealth was built in 1854-1855 by Lawrence & Foulkes in Greenpoint, Long Island, NY for the Norwich and New London Steamboat Company.  She was built for service between New York and Connecticut, and was commanded by Captain Jerome Wheeler Williams until 1864.  In 1860 she was acquired by the Stonington Line, and then by the Merchants Navigation and Transportation Company in 1863.  December 29, 1865, a fire at the wharf where Commonwealth was docked caused the ship to be destroyed by flames.   Read more

Returned stolen materials

Posted on
No. IIII. Stockton City (1)

And again I have another batch to share with everyone.  It is a small group of stereoviews, which are something I find very interesting as I had never heard of them before working here.   For those who are not familiar with them, they are those cards with two images.  The idea is that in a viewer, the photos line up to create a 3-D effect to your eyes, and so these were very popular when introduced.

Stockton City   Read more

Artifact of the month – Bank Note print

Posted on
le3334a

July’s artifact of the month is a print showcasing different designs of Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson, well known bank note engravers

The company originally started with Freeman Rawdon, who established it sometime after 1825.  In 1828 he partnered with Neziah Wright, establishing Rawdon, Wright & Co. in New York City.  Prior to this, Freeman’s older brother, Ralph Rawdon, had formed Rawdon, Clark & Co. with Asahel Clark.  The two Rawdon brothers then merged their companies in 1832 to create Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Company.  In 1847, Tracy Edson’s name was added and they became Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson.   Read more