April 23, 1838 A significant advance in transatlantic travel took place with the arrival of the wooden paddle-wheel steamship SS Great Western in New York City. This vessel, which was designed by the accomplished civil engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and owned by England’s Great Western Steam Ship Company, was the first steamship specifically built for... Continue Reading →

March 9, 1922 The steamship Virginia V was launched on the northwestern coast of Washington State. This steamship had been built with Douglas fir trees by Matthew Anderson of Anderson & Company for the West Pass Transportation Company. The 125-foot (38-meter) vessel was the last of that company’s working steamships named Virginia.  Three months after being... Continue Reading →

November 28, 1889 In one of the more noteworthy operations of its kind in the Great Lakes region, the crew of the U.S. Life-Saving Service (USLSS) station at Evanston, Illinois, rescued all of those on board the stranded and storm-battered steamship Calumet on Lake Michigan. While traveling from Buffalo the previous day to deliver coal... Continue Reading →

July 26, 1933 A record-setting dry dock was formally dedicated at the port city of Southampton on England’s southern coast. This new facility was specifically a graving dock, which is a basin into which a vessel can be floated for maintenance and repairs. After the water is temporarily pumped out of the basin, the vessel... Continue Reading →

After three years of restoration by the South Australian Maritime Museum, the steam tugboat Yelta was relaunched for use as a floating museum for purposes such as sightseeing cruises. Yelta, which had been built in 1948 at the Cockatoo Island Dockyard in Sydney, operated in the waters of South Australia from 1949 to 1976. The... Continue Reading →

Steamship captain Manuel A. Gonzalez (1832-1902) immigrated to the United States from his native Spain in 1846. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1859. During the Civil War, he put his maritime skills to effective use by using a boat on a regular basis to transport needed supplies to the Union Army troops stationed... Continue Reading →

American inventor Robert Fulton took his newly-built paddle steamboat out on the Seine River in France for a test run. Unfortunately, the ship sank. Nevertheless, Fulton was not discouraged. He was accustomed to perfecting his designs and inventions in high-profile situations. Born in Pennsylvania in 1765, Fulton grew up in the environs of Philadelphia, and,... Continue Reading →

Just a few days after Australia entered World War I on the side of the Allied powers, the 350-fooot-long passenger steamship Grantala (an Aboriginal word for “big”) was requisitioned by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) for military service as a hospital ship. Grantala, which had been completed and launched by Armstrong Whitworth Company for the... Continue Reading →

The SS Savannah became the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The ship was built in 1818 by the New York shipbuilding firm of Fickett & Crockett. During its construction, Captain Moses Rogers asked the Savannah-based shipping company, Scarborough & Isaacs, to convert it to a steamship with the goal of providing the world's... Continue Reading →

A group of 19 businessman meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, formed a new shipping company. The Northern Steam Ship Company (NSS) was specifically established to take over both the vessels and business of the Auckland Steam Packet Company. Despite what appeared to be a strong start, NSS struggled financially during its first several years of... Continue Reading →

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