June 10, 2021
Without cargo, a sailing ship becomes a white elephant, beautiful, inspiring, but ultimately a hole in the water into which one throws money. The idea that a ship could carry, in essence, a cargo of memory and become a reservoir of skill, was a new one. It was not expressed in those terms, but these remaining vessels, representatives of the past were the means by which the knowledge and culture of the sea that remained were preserved
May 26, 2021
Have you ever known you would miss an experience that would change your life if you didn’t find a way to get to that place in that moment in time? William Stark felt that way in 1948. His summers for the last five years had been spent working in steamships and he thought the grain races and tall ships that he had read about in his teens had all sailed into the pages of history.
May 26, 2021
By the 1930s, sail training was considered one of the last great adventures. Thanks to the articles and memoirs of Alan Villiers and others, the Erickson Line could continue to carry not only aspiring officers but also those who wanted to test themselves against the Horn for the sake of the adventure. Most were men, but a few women managed to get past the gangway and into the fo'cs'le.
April 21, 2021
The age of sail training was built on the age of sail that preceded it. In this post we’ll explore two of the traditions that allowed commercial sail to survive and evolve into the vibrant world of ships and sailors that are still carrying cargoes of skill, memory and adventure today.
March 18, 2021
This is the first post in a series called “Did the Age of Sail End? We’ll begin with a bit of background about the beginning of steam power and how it changed the way people and cargo moved around the world. By the end of it, you will have seen sailing ships go from workaday waterfront carriers to the bringers of dreams
June 02, 2020
This is the second blog post on The Human Stories of Dock Labor. The previous post focused on the “shape-up” system of hiring longshoremen, from the book Shape-Up and Hiring Hall: A Comparison of Hiring Methods and Labor Relations on the New York and Seattle Water Fronts, by Charles P. Larrowe. In part 2, we look at the "hiring hall."
April 27, 2020
Though the name and use of Steam Chimneys appear to have fallen out of use, they are not the only things to have had their names fall out of favor and disappear. Donkey pumps, for example, are almost unheard of unless you use the modern term “general service pump.” Now, though, we know what this piece of equipment was for and what it was called when it was utilized onboard the walking beam engine Ferryboat Eureka.
April 10, 2020
Although the Golden Age of Sail has long past, there are still some sailors who seek out traditionally rigged vessels in order to learn the ropes. During my time onboard the Lady Washington, a replica of a brig from the 1780’s, I learned how to sail. I hope to take you step by step through the process of setting sail on a boat re-made for education in the 21st century.