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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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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • JOIN THE NAVY, 1917

Demasted: 1899

Demasted: 1899

August 2, 1899. "Sloop Columbia, steel mast carried away." 8x10 inch glass negative by John S. Johnston, Detroit Photographic Company. View full size.

 
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The excursion steamer

The excursion steamer is named the Saltman J(?)4. Couldn't find any info on it. What would type of vessel would this be classed as MV?(motor vessel) SS? (steam ship)

The tug says W YORK across her stern. Home ported in New York?

Thou shalt not steel

This is precisely why I have wooden masts on all my yachts.

USS Farragut (TB-11)

It appears that that is the first USS Farragut

We improved since 1899

We do not only have high-tech superstrong carbon fibre masts by now which keep breaking, we also have hulls that snap into two pieces occasionally ;-)

America's Cup Trials, 1899

This photo probably dates from the early-season trials in which Columbia, the brand new Cup defender designed and built (of bronze and steel) by naval architect "Capt. Nat" Herreshoff, was dismasted, according to his biography, written by his son, L. Francis Herreshoff. The book goes on to explain that "revenue cutters and torpedo boats under the command of Capt. Robley D. Evans patrolled the course so strictly that excursion steamers were kept about a mile away."
And indeed, in the photo, we can see a torpedo boat immediately behind the bow of Columbia and a steam yacht to the left, probably one of the tenders, owned by syndicate members J. P. Morgan or C. Oliver Iselin, that would tow her back to harbor after the accident.
The two-stacked vessel at the extreme right could be one of the spectator boats -- "excursion steamers" in the terms of the time -- that Capt. Evans was trying to keep at a distance.
In late autumn Columbia, commanded by Charlie Barr, defeated Shamrock I, the challenger, in 3 straight races.

Steam Yacht

A dismasting can ruin one's whole day! It usually happens with the yacht travelling at a good rate of speed, which results in the wreckage being dragged over the side. Look lively, or you'll go over the side with it!

The handsome and rakish schooner-rigged steam yacht in the background might be J. P. Morgan's "Corsair II". (The "Corsair I" had been sold to the USN prior to the date of the photo.

Another point of interest is that steam-powered torpedo boat or proto-destroyer. Note the turtleback bow.

Wood was Better

Columbia's steel mast failed in the first Defender's trials for the 1899 America's Cup and was replaced by a mast made of Oregon pine. This was a rare misjudgment by the great Nathanael Herreshoff, her designer.

With that mast shipped she went on to handily defeat Sir Thomas Lipton's "Shamrock."

The selection committee from the New York Yacht Club is aboard the tug "Waltham."

 
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