Fan of Full Fathom Five? Be sure to check it out at its new home!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What d'ya mean?

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five:

What d'ya mean? "Craft?"

"It is a very general word. In the nautical sense, it refers to virtually all ships and boats, large or small.

It comes from the Old English, craeft, which is believed to refer not only to boats and ships but to the skills required to build them."

Source: Rogers, John G. Origins of sea terms. Mystic, Conn. : Mystic Seaport Museum, 1984.

--Contributor: Palma J. You, Archives Technician.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Viking" across the Atlantic

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five:

The Library recently acquired a lovely little book, "Viking" across the Atlantic : and a short summary of the Norwegian Vikings and Vikingships by Alfred A. Holm (Chicago : John Anderson Pub. Co., 1893), which is also available online. Assistant Curator Ted Miles sends in this report about the replica vessel, "Viking:"

I was recently asked what is the oldest replica in the world? This is not the time to debate the terms. Is it better to call it a replica, a reproduction or whatever? We can do that another day. You might want to read my article on "Historic Reproductions: An Account of Past Efforts," in Sea History #17 for Summer 1980 pages 26-27. The illustrations are from my post card collection. In the same issue is a list of existing vessels on pages 29-31.

But most people use the word replica to talk about long gone historic craft of one sort or another. The World's Fairs of the late 19th century certainly produced a number of them. The Columbian Expostion of 1893 had replicas of the three vessels used by Christopher Columbus voyage of 1492. And just so he did not get all the glory; a group of people in Norway built a replica of the famous Gokstad burial ship which had been excavated in 1880 and sailed it across the Atlantic Ocean and through the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes to Chicago.

Many years ago, I was visiting Lincoln Park in Chicago, Illinois and saw the ship on display. It has been given a shelter to protect it from the harsh winter weather. The other day, I looked it up on the Internet and find that the Friends of the Viking Ship can be found at Now I see that the ship has been moved to Geneva, Illinois and placed under a different shelter. Tours of the display site are available in the summer.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The King Philip

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five:

(by Judy Hitzeman, Museum Curator (Registrar))
Bow of the King Philip at Ocean Beach
The bow of the King Philip at Ocean Beach (Photo copyright Judy Hitzeman, all rights reserved, used with permission)

The three-masted clipper ship King Philip recently reappeared on Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Built in Massachusetts in 1855, King Philip was a Cape Horner, making regular trips between New York and San Francisco. On January 25, 1878, while leaving San Francisco, the tug towing her out to sea had to leave to aid another vessel. The King Philip dropped an anchor, but it did not hold, and she drifted onto the beach. There was no loss of life, but the vessel broke apart.

Stern of the King Philip (Photo copyright Judy Hitzeman, all rights reserved, used with permission)
Stern of the King Philip (Photo copyright Judy Hitzeman, all rights reserved, used with permission)

Charles Hittell captured the scene in a painting done in March of that year. The painting is now in the San Francisco Maritime NHP museum collection, catalog number SAFR 5729. Born in San Francisco in 1861, Hittell was just 17 when he painted the wreck. He went on to study at the San Francisco School of Design, as well as in Munich and Paris where he made the most of his California origins by dressing as a cowboy and affecting the name “Carlos.” Hittell’s California work included seascapes but he was mainly noted for California adobe scenes and western landscapes.

The King Philip wreck site is located at the foot of Noriega Street. It is usually covered in sand but occasionally appears when conditions are right.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Digging for Gold at the Library : Buried Treasure Maps

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five:

by Gina Bardi, Reference Librarian

The other day I was answering a reference question about steamship routes and it gave me a chance to visit one of my favorites sections of a library, the ol’ Gs, better known as "Geography (General). Atlases. Maps." As a Maritime Library, the expectation is that we would be more interested in charts than maps, and while there are some charts that are interesting to look at for reasons other than navigation, nothing beats a map in my book for unintentional art. Today’s library treasure is Derek Hayes’s Historical Atlas of California with Original Maps, published by University of California in 2007.

Look at this beautiful image from a map published by Bosqui Eng. & Print Co., in 1884. The map shows San Francisco in 1847. It’s such an idyllic view of the city- so quiet and unassuming. I’d wager it was a fairly easy map to drawn what with only 5 streets. Oh, to have great great-great grandparents who would have bought up a block or two!

This next map is a broadsheet which has information about going to the gold mines. It was published in 1849 by James Wyld and contains valuable advice such as, if you go the Chagres and Panama route, "Do not touch the oysters, wear flannel next to the skin by day and by night, avoid spirituous liquors and it is needless to say, be off the first opportunity."

They also call the climate of our region "remarkably healthy" which I would agree with on most days.

If you’d like to take a look at this book or any other book in the library, stop on by. I’m always up for a dig!