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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Newly Wet: 1905

Newly Wet: 1905

Ecorse, Michigan, 1905. "S.S. William G. Mather, stern view after the launch." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Graceful Lines

How different the lines of this ship are from the lines of a modern steel ship ! Note the graceful curved counter stern, totally unlike the flat transoms seen on most of today's ships.

Many of this ship's plates are curved in two dimensions, which requires actual heating and stretching of the steel as opposed to merely rolling the plates into conic sections.

Note also that she's riveted, rather than welded.

Modern ships may be cheaper to build, but they tend to be blocky and not pleasing to the eye.

The propeller has some bolts at the base of each blade, suggesting that it is either a changeable-pitch propeller (unlikely) or perhaps a propeller built up from several castings.

I'm also struck by the many wooden fragments, blocks, and timbers from the launching cradle which are floating uncontained in the lake. Today, all this would have to be strictly contained and thoroughly cleaned up !

Confused? Yes, that's my middle name

It seems there is some confusion on which vessel is which. The Historical Collection of the Great Lakes states the vessel, registry #202542, was scrapped in 1996. Seems the William G Mather is still at the E 9th St pier. If you read the historical text, the William G Mather was 'standing by' when the Nicolet (then named) was squeezed by ice in 1972, suffering 55 cracked plates.

[The second William G. Mather (224850) was launched in 1925 and is now used as a marine museum in Cleveland, Ohio. Our ship went through a series of name changes starting in 1925 and was sold for scrap in 1996. -tterrace]

Man overboard?

I can't quite make out what is happening, but it looks perilous!


I see in the information provided by tterrace that they changed the name of this earlier William G. Mather in 1925. I'm guessing that is because of the newer Mather which was built in 1925, also by Great Lakes Engineering Works, and now sits on the the lakefront in Cleveland.

1905 or 1925?

Wikipedia and other internet sources say the vessel was launched in 1925. Sources include the Great Lakes Science Centre and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

[Except for sources relevant to the vessel pictured which, as the caption states, was launched in 1905. -tterrace]

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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