Saturday, May 24, 2014

The SS Meteor Museum

Since there was little shipping traffic yesterday and it was my last day, I decided to head over to the SS Meteor for a tour.  The SS Meteor is an example of a whaleback ship and is the last surviving one.
 The whaleback was a designed created by Alexander McDougall who was a Scottish captain.  The design allowed for the maximum amount of cargo with a minimal amount of draft.  McDougall thought this would be a good thing for use on the Great Lakes.  The Meteor was one of the larger ones and because of design limitations, they couldn't be built larger.
 The Meteor was built by the American Barge Company of Superior, Wisconsin in 1896.  She was originally named the Frank Rockefeller because her company was bought by John Rockefeller and Frank was his brother.  She was number 36 of 44 whalebacks built by this company.  In 1900, she was sold to the Bessemer Steel Company and a year later, that fleet was bought by the Pittsburgh Steamship Company.  In 1927, she was sold as a sand barge and renamed the South Park.  She served in that role until 1933 when she was sold to be an auto carrier.  In 1942, she was converted to a tanker because of the war effort.  She sailed until 1969 when she ran aground.  Her owners decided not to repair her because she was a single hulled vessel.  In 1971, she was towed to her current location and she's served as a museum ship since.
This is a load marking.  It tells the safe draft for the vessel.  The S is for summer months and the W is for the Winter.
 A shot of her pilothouse.  This is about the only thing of the ship that doesn't seem much different than modern ships.
Looking down her hull.  She is in her last configuration.  I don't think she had this flat deck when she was first built.
One of her lifeboats.
A storage tank for fresh water.
A shot of her stack.
This is her chart room.  It was added in the 1920's.
This is a radio direction finder.  In the days before GPS, this was used to locate the ship.  Each lighthouse would send out a unique radio signal.  After locating the direction of three nearby lighthouses, the position of the ship could be plotted fairly accurately.
The view from the pilothouse.
The view of the pilothouse.  This wouldn't seem too out of place to a modern sailor.
In case of atomic attack.
The Captain's Quarters.  He had the most space of the crew.
The Captain's desk.  The machine to the right is a check embosser.
The officer's mess.  In rough seas, the crew would wet the table cloth and that would help the dishes from moving.
A shot of the oven.  The metal bars are there to keep the pans from moving in rough seas.
The crew's mess.  It's not quite as comfortable as the officer's mess but doesn't look that bad.
One of the crew's berthing spaces.  The crew was split into the different watches so that they would all be together.
There was a little airport nearby.
The gages for the engine.
A shot of the steam engine. 
A picture of a couple of whalebacks.

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