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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FLY TO THE CARIBBEAN BY CLIPPER, c. 1950s

Whaleback: 1910

Whaleback: 1910

Circa 1910. "Whaleback barge entering Weitzel Lock, Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan." 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

 

What is a Whaleback?

Whaleback \Whale"back`\, n. (Naut.)
A form of vessel, often with steam power, having sharp ends
and a very convex upper deck, much used on the Great Lakes,
esp. for carrying grain.
Source: Free Dictionary

whaleback (ˈweɪlˌbæk)
— n
1. something shaped like the back of a whale
2. a steamboat having a curved upper dec
Source: Dictionary.com

Clean seams?

The seams look welded. 1893 seems early for the process on such a large scale. Any info?

Kodak Moment

It appears that the little girl dressed in her Sunday finest at the lower right is snapping a 'Kodak' of the whale.

One Whaleback Survives

The S. S. Meteor is on display in Superior, Wis.

About whaleback barge no. 131

This barge lasted over fifty years, from its delivery in 1893 to its scrapping in 1946. It was constructed by American Steel Barge in Superior, Wisconsin, when that company was under the ownership of the whalebacks' greatest friend, Alexander McDougall. When owned by Bessemer Steamship Corp. and then Pittsburgh Steamship Co., it was based in Duluth. This barge was part of a small fleet later sold to Great Lakes Engineering Works of Ecorse, Michigan. It was badly damaged in a collision in October 1905, between the Soo Locks and Lake Huron. Before it was moved in 1912 from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic coast for use in the New England coal trade, its length was shortened by 31 feet (from its original 292 feet). It was then renamed the Salem. Several decades and name changes later, its service came to an end in Houston.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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