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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Colossus: 1904

Colossus: 1904

Ecorse, Michigan, 1904. "Steamer Detroit, Michigan Central Transfer, broadside view." Another view of this railcar ferry abuilding at Great Lakes Engineering Works. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

How many people work here?

About half of them.

Four Independent Wheels

The Railroad Gazette, Nov 18, 1904.

General News Section

The large car ferry, Detroit, built for the Michigan Central Railroad for use on the Detroit river, was recently launched at the Ecorse yard. The Detroit measures 308 ft. on deck, has 64 ft. beam and is 19½ ft. deep. There will be four independent wheels, two at each end, operated by compound engines, and two double-ended boilers 13 x 22 ft. and two single-ended boilers 13 x 11½ ft. The boat will carry 28 cars and is expected to be put in commission next winter.

More on the Detroit of Detroit at this previous post.

A Beautiful Piece of Work

Up until now I knew diddly about railcar ferries and had never seen a big "modern" one like this, especially out of the water. It is truly an impressive design, a thing of beauty. The props and rudders at both ends are the clincher, though this might have been a standard feature for all I know. I wondered in the bow-end photo about the odd profile of the propeller blades, but apparently they worked double duty as ice breakers. Wow! A rudder at both ends would have made this monster at least a little more maneuverable in tight spots, but it must have required a skillful pilot to captain this vessel! These "Detroit" steamer pictures go under the heading: When ships were ships and men were men!

Screwed at either end

Screws at both ends, that's something different, will making a decision much easier. And count the amount of workers on this project.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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