Steamships, Clipper Ships, Lego Ships, Space Ships
We here at Burrito Justice have a soft spot for infrastructure aquatic, and this map of worldwide steamship lines in 1914 fulfills this requirement.
Click through for the full version, but I took the liberty of highlighting the San Francisco routes for your viewing pleasure.
And in other shipping news, check out this rather awesome 1859 report on the progress of the US Coast Survey (PDF). Lots of information on San Francisco in the 1850s. A description of the conditions of San Francisco Bay starts at p.333, and p. 346 goes into detail on clipper ships:
The report also mentions what must have been mind-blowing travel times of the new steamships.
Here’s an ad for the Golden Age from the 11 Nov 1854 Daily Alta.
It seems that the Golden Age took over the Panama-SF route from the steamship SS California which had been making the run since 1849, leaving New York in 1848.
California left New York City on 6 October 1848 with only a partial load of her about 60 saloon (about $300 fare) and 150 steerage (about $150 fare) passenger capacity. Only a few were going all the way to California. Her crew numbered about 36 men. She left New York well before definite word of the California Gold Rush had reached the East Coast.
The arrival of the California in December 1849 as reported in the Daily Alta:
A number of ladies and a large mail, oh my.
UPDATE: In 1849, it seems that “a number of ladies” is equal to eight:
May 1854 (reports from February)
And its July 1854 arrival in Panama, with lots of details:
The backstory on the Golden Age, via the Maritime Heritage Project:
She was originally named the San Francisco and slated for service between Australia and Panama. She sailed from New York on September 30, 1853 and went via Liverpool, the Cape of Good Hope, King George’s Sound (Australia), and Melbourne to Sydney. She operated coastal service in Australia until sailing for Panama on May 12, 1854. Pacific Mail purchased her at Panama in August 1854 and used her on their San Francisco-Panama run through 1869. She was later transferred to the Yokohama-Shanghai branch of Pacific Mail. The Golden Age was sold to the Mitsubishi Mail Steamship Company in 1875 and renamed Hiroshima Maru.
She sailed in Japan until the 1890s where she was known as “the good luck ship“.
The sailings of the California and Golden Age are hopefully captured in this rather amazing map of world sailing routes from 1750 to 1860 made by Ben Schmidt.
And to wrap things up, I added the SS Golden Age to this infographic comparing the sizes the container ships of our era, via Quartz. While I couldn’t find the exact length of the Golden Age, its contemporaries seemed to be around 270 feet long, or about 80 meters.)
That Quartz article talks about two of my favorite things, ships and Lego. Lego made a number of floating boats, including one for Maersk. I of course had the firefighting boat and the police boat:
I still have these in a box at my parents house, along with my space Legos — you can see the red counterweight at the bottom:
I am telling you Lego, if you started selling those 70s Space Lego sets again, oh man, you’d make a million damn dollars.
I mean, I just bought the Mars Curiosity Rover: