September 20, 1910 The ocean liner SS France, which sailed for the French shipping company Compagnie Generale Transatlantique (CGT), was launched into the River Loire at Saint-Nazaire, France. Approximately 2,000 people were on hand to witness the ship’s grand debut. The France, measuring 712 feet (217 meters) in length, became one of the fastest and... Continue Reading →

July 19, 1843 In southwestern England, the record-setting iron steamship SS Great Britain was launched at Bristol Harbour amid great fanfare. Prince Albert, Prince Consort of the United Kingdom and the husband of Queen Victoria, arrived in Bristol at ten o’clock that morning to participate in the festivities for the new vessel. The Illustrated London... Continue Reading →

June 19, 1971 Garfield “Gar” Arthur Wood, a champion motorboat racer who also achieved fame for various transportation-oriented innovations, died at the age of 90 in Miami, Florida. Wood was born in Mapleton, Iowa, in 1880. He and his family subsequently moved to Minnesota and young Gar Wood developed a lifelong love for boats along... Continue Reading →

June 12, 1940 Naval architect Britton Chance, Jr., who earned considerable acclaim for his creative designs for high-speed yachts, was born in Philadelphia. He acquired a strong enthusiasm for maritime pursuits early on in life. This enthusiasm was hardly surprising in light of his family background; his father Britton Chance, Sr., along with being a... Continue Reading →

February 21, 1935 Luis Antonio Pardo Villalón, a Chilean Navy veteran who became famous for his against-the-odds rescue of explorers in the Antarctic region, died in Santiago at the age of 52. Pardo, who was born in Santiago in 1882, received extensive training as a maritime pilot (a mariner who is skilled in maneuvering vessels... Continue Reading →

January 10, 1987 A major transportation milestone for India was achieved when the nation’s first crew to sail around the world completed their ambitious journey, returning to Bombay (now known as Mumbai) 470 days after leaving from there. All 10 of the crew members were from the Indian Army Corps of Engineers. The vessel they... Continue Reading →

December 28, 1942 The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Northwind, which would have an eventful career under various names and in the service of different nations as well as military branches, was launched just after noontime at Western Pipe & Steel Corporation’s shipyard in the Los Angeles community of San Pedro. Mrs. R.B. Lank, the... Continue Reading →

September 7, 1970 Arctic explorer Donald Baxter MacMillan, a lifelong New Englander who made seminal contributions to transportation in the world’s northernmost regions, died at the age of 95 in Provincetown, Massachusetts. In recounting MacMillan’s final years as a resident of that Cape Cod community, the New York Times highlighted his steadfast love for sailing... Continue Reading →

June 19, 1816 William H. Webb, a prominent shipbuilder who is widely considered to be the first true American naval architect, was born in New York City. His father owned and operated a shipyard in the city. William H. Webb showed a strong aptitude for mathematics at an early age. Webb created his first vessel... Continue Reading →

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