Political whim casts off floating museum, Steamer John Ericsson

scotto

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#1
I was always interested in this vessel in my younger days when I was hanging around Confederation Park, it was brought there by our past Alderman Reg. Wheeler. Many thanks to Len Wheeler for sending in all the info and history of the ship.
Also thanks (again) to Skip Gillham for allowing his work to be posted.



Political whim casts off floating museum
Wed., Jul 01, 2015 | By Skip Gillham

Political whim casts off floating museum
While there are five large retired bulk carriers, as well as a variety of other vessels, serving as museum ships on the American side of the Great Lakes, Canada only has a pair of former Manitoulin Island ferries, a tug or two and a one-time Coast Guard vessel as a bed and breakfast at Kingston, preserved as museums.
The closest perhaps was the effort to save the historic steamer John Ericsson at Hamilton in the late 1960s. Although the ship was donated to the city, a berth was created at Confederation Park and the ship parked there, city council changed course and turned down the offer. As a result, the ship was pulled back out into Lake Ontario and to the scrap dock of United Metals for dismantling.
The John Ericsson sailed in seven different fleets but none of the owners changed its name. The vessel was built at West Superior, WI and launched on July 11, 1896. It was the last of the whaleback-styled bulk carriers to enter service and the 123.44 metre long vessel went to work for the American Steel Barge Co. and usually towed other company whaleback barges in the ore and coal trades.

Whalebacks were designed to have reduced friction in riding through the water. They had rounded sides and what was described as a "snout" at the bow which led to them being known as "pig boats". However, there were loading and unloading complications and more advanced designs for Lakers left the whalebacks, while functional, behind the times.
John Ericsson was sold on several occasions before coming to Canada for the Great Lakes Transit Co. Ltd. in 1930. When it came through the yet unfinished Fourth Welland Canal on Dec. 5, 1930, it was the largest ship to that date to test the new waterway.
In 1938, the ship was acquired by the Upper Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co. and filled a vital niche in the grain trade. It often towed company barges doubling the trip capacity with only a fifty percent increase in the number of crew. John Ericsson often travelled to the Georgian Bay ports but also came down the Welland Canal for Toronto after dropping off its grain laden barge at Port Colborne only to retrieve it on the upbound passage.
John Ericsson made news in 1963 when it was reactivated in an effort to break a blockade imposed against Upper Lakes Shipping in a labour dispute. The ship made its final trip down the Welland Canal with grain for Toronto on Dec. 7, 1963, and was idle there until heading to Hamilton in 1965. It was berthed at Confederation Park on June 7, 1966, but political pressure caused the ship to be returned to the company and broken up at Hamilton in 1967-1968.
Skip Gillham, now in his 19th year with The Leader, is the author of a number of books. His book "The Ships of Upper Lakes Shipping" is available at Crew's Quarters in Port Colborne and at the St. Catharines Museum.


Last photo in Confederation Park.
 

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scotto

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John ericsson

http://www.mhsd.org/publications/glswr/ericsson.htm
The steel whaleback steamer JOHN ERICSSON was launched on July 11, 1896 at W. Superior, Wisconsin by the American Steel Barge Company for its own fleet and transferred to the Bessemer Steamship Company later the same year. She was the only true whaleback steamer to carry her bridge structure forward. All the rest had their cabins aft.

In 1901, the Bessemer fleet was absorbed by the United States Steel Corporation's Pittsburgh Steamship Company, for which the vessel sailed in the iron ore trade until 1926. In 1914, her engines were remodeled to 22 1/2", 36", 60" cylinder diameter X 42" stroke. In 1930, the ERICSSON was transferred to the Schneider Steamship Company, which in turn sold her to James Plafair of Midland, Ontario, for his Great Lakes Transit Corporation, Ltd., the same year. In 1931, she was owned by the Midland Steamship Company who used her for a variety of trades. (C. 154863 Canadian dimensions: 398.5 X 48.2 X 22.0; 3,650 GRT.)

In 1938, the ERICSSON was sold to Upper Lakes and St. Lawrence Transportation Company Ltd., Toronto, which became Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. in 1961. Her main cargo in those years was grain from the Lakehead to Sarnia, Ontario. Late in 1963, the steamer was retired in Toronto. Upper Lakes officials tried to preserve the ERICSSON, now one of the last whaleback steamers afloat, offering her as a maritime museum first to Toronto and then to Hamilton, Ontario civic groups. The city fathers of Hamilton at first accepted the offer in 1966 but then changed their minds later that year when costs to maintain and convert the vessel and political factors intervened. Upper Lakes took the vessel back and had her towed from her berth at Confederation Park to the scrap yard in Hamilton, where she lay until sold for scrap in 1968. The once largest whaleback on the lakes was dismantled by Strathearne Terminals at Hamilton. Now she is but a memory


More info;
http://modelsteam.myfreeforum.org/archive/john-ericsson-great-lakes-whaleback__o_t__t_34081.html

A photo from Flickr


The John Ericsson transiting the Welland Canal in 1951, copyright photo by Reg Button. From the Helmut Ostermann collection. Please do not reuse without permission.
 

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scotto

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Very cool boat, too bad they did not decide to keep it. It would be a big attraction in Confederation Park at least until it would rust through.
It was likely sitting on the bottom of that pond anyway and I doubt that over the years some other government or council would of not gotten rid of it as well to make room for a stadium.
 

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Checked the library for any reference to the John Ericcson, found this article about pollution which a Councillor tried to blame the mooring of the ship.
__________________________________________________________

Stoney Creek Blamed For Pollution

Hamilton Spectator
January 11, 1968

Stoney Creek has been officially blamed for the water pollution which closed Confederation Park beaches last summer.
Creeks contaminated by sewage from the town's storm sewers and a combination of wind and wave action caused the pollution, according to the Ontario Waiter Resources Commission.
A detailed report on the controversial lakefront pollution of June and July was mailed this week to Dr. I. A. Cunningham, Hamilton medical officer of health.
THE REP0RT 'S recommendations have already stirred up a motor storm in Stoney Creek and may have repercussions in Hamilton.
One of its suggestions calls for the filing in of the pond adjacent to Confederation Park, once the mooring place of Hamilton's ill-fated, whale-
back John Ericcson.
Stoney Creek councillor Tom Banlow, chairman of the town's water works committee, seized on this aspect of the report.
"IF THE lagoon at Confederation Park had not been broken open to bring in that old ship, the problem of lake pollution would never have arisen," he said.
But he disagreed with some of the report's other recommendations, which included;
1. That Stoney Creek service the Mill Street area with sanitary sewers and ensure that the sanitary connections to the storm sewers from homes on Randall Avenue be severed and directed to the existing sanitary sewer;
2. That Saltfleet Township service Bland Gardens subdivision with sanitary sewers;
3. That the lagoon at the Niagara Food Products be completely sealed off to prevent waste entering the surrounding marshy areas, and Stoney Creek, by seepage.
Councillor Barlow said the town had already completed work aimed at eliminating pollution of the Stoney Creek and Battlefield Creek. After connecting with the Hamilton sewer system, he said, every area in the town, including Mill Street, now bad access to sewers.
He also refuted the suggestion that homes on Randall Street were hooked up to storm sewers. Tests four years ago proved they were not, he said.
The report was compiled from material gathered by W B. Pett of the OWRC, who inspected the creeks, lagoon and lake June 23, July 4 and 17 and Sept, 15.
A TOTAL of 82 bacteriological and 52 chemical samplings were obtained and analyzed at the OWRC laboratories.
Twenty-seven of the 30 bacteriological samples taken from the Stoney Creek were adverse, and all 21 Battlefield Creek samples were adverse.
In contrast, all 18 bacteriological samples taken from Lake Ontario were satisfactory, and only six adverse samples were taken from the Confederation Park pond and lagoon behind Niagara Food Products, on Lake Avenue.
Both Stoney Creek and Battlefield Creek run into the lagoon. It in turn drains under the Queen Elizabeth Way into the park pond, which is sealed off from the lake,
THE OWRC concluded that the creeks carried the pollution to the pond.
Then certain weather conditions created waves and currents to wash the pollution out into the lake to coincide with routine water bacteriological samplings taken by the Hamilton health department.
These tests resulted in closing ,of the beach June 22.
Pond outlet gives little opportunity for water movement and "more than likely caused a significant buildup of polluting material in the pond which was moved into the lake due to Wave,action," Mr. Pett reported.
MANY SOURCES of pollution were found to be entering the Stoney Creek in the form of domestic waste (organic matter and detergents).
This was coming through storm sewers from the Bland Gardens subdivision in neighboring Saltfleet, and from the Jones Street sewer serving the Mill Street area.
Domestic waste was entering Battlefield, Creek primarily through storm sewers from homes on Randall Street and King Street. Discharge from the town sewage treatment plant was eliminated following connection to the city system, the report stated.
 

scotto

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A little more information on the John Ericsson and where the naming of the ship originated, borrowed from the book "Steamboats & Sailors of the Great Lakes" by Mark L. Thompson(and thanks to Peggy for the book)
(Page39)
The last two whalebacks were built in 1896: the Sir. John Ericsson, named for the inventor of the propeller, and the Str Frank Rockefeller The Erics¬son, at 430 feet in length and with a beam of 50 feet, was one of the largest freighters on the lakes at the time and the only whaleback built with its pilot¬house forward in the style of conventional lakers. The Ericsson was also unique in being the first vessel on the lakes to have arc lights on deck to assist the crew when loading or unloading at night.
Although the popularity of the whalebacks de¬clined, a number of them remained in the iron ore trade until as late as 1942. With their hulls and machinery still in good condition, many of them were converted ultimately into specialty vessels, serving out their remaining years as tankers, auto-carriers, or even self-unloaders. The Str Rockefeller became part of the famous Pittsburgh Steamship fleet in 1901. In 1928 it was converted to an auto carrier and continued in the auto and grain trade until 1942 as the South Park. In 1943 it was ac¬quired by the Cleveland Tankers fleet, converted to a liquid bulk freighter, and renamed Meteor The stalwart old whaleback continued to operate on the lakes until 1969, putting in seventy-three years of reliable service. The last surviving example of Mc¬Dougall's unique ships, the Meteor was donated to the City of Superior, Wisconsin, where it had been built, and it began yet another career as a museum ship in 1973.

(Page 36)
A far more dramatic change occurred in 1841 with the launching of the Str. Vandalia, the first propeller-driven ship on the Great Lakes and the first commercial ship in the world to be driven by a propeller. The propeller had been developed by Captain John Ericsson, a Swedish inventor, and its introduction revolutionized the shipping industry. Propeller-driven ships used less fuel than paddlewheelers. They were also far safer in heavy seas because the rolling of the ship didn't cause the propeller to come out of the water, which often happened with paddlewheelers, causing engine damage. Propellers were initially slow to be accepted, though, because they required ship owners to make a hole in the stern of the ship below the waterline for the shaft that connected the engine to the propeller. Ship owners and sailors were reluctant to violate the watertight integrity of the hulls of their ships, which makes a certain amount of sense. The development of stern tubes and packing to prevent water from entering the ship from around the shaft reduced opposition and led to wide-spread use of propellers and the eventual abandonment of paddlewheels.
 
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