A few weeks since we stated that the Ocean Steamship Company of New England, contemplated establishing a line of steam packets, to run regularly between this port and Liverpool, that the pioneer ship of the line was progressing rapidly in her outfits, and that three others, of larger dimensions and greater power, would soon be built to complete the line. We have since inspected the pioneer ship, and so far as we are qualified to judge, have no hesitation in stating that in strength of construction and power of machinery, she is all that a vessel of her size ought to be. An experienced naval engineer, who examined her machinery, stated that he had inspected nearly every ocean steamer, belonging to the United States, and may of the best British mail steamers, and that, for compactness, strength, and correctness of principle, (the relative difference in size, always considered,) her motive power was a decided improvement upon all that he had yet seen applied to a propeller. He regarded her success, as an efficient ocean propeller, unquestionable. Her hull was built by Mr. Theodore Birley, who is esteemed as one of the best mechanics in Philadelphia; indeed, his workmanship is of the first quality.
The S.S. Lewis is 210 feet long on the keel, and 225 feet on deck; has 32 feet extreme breadth of beam, 30 feet width at the gunwales, 26 feet depth from the upper deck, divided as follows: 10½ depth of hold, 7½ height of lower deck, and 8 height of the main deck, and she registers 1103 tons, but measures 18__ tons, cubic capacity. Her dead rise at half floor is 6 inches, swell or rounding of sides 1 foot, and sheer 3 feet. Before detailing the style of her construction, we may as well state that her frame is almost entirely white oak, and that most of her planking and sailing is of the same material; where other woods are used, we will state the places as we proceed. Her keel is sided 15 and moulded 16 inches forward and 20 inches aft, and the stem is all in one piece, sided the same as the keel, and moulded 20 inches; and the apron is moulded 2 feet at the heel and 16 inches at the head. Besides these uprights, her cutwater is sided the same as the stem, and moulded to correspond with the sweep of her lines; and inside of all she has a stemson, which extends along the apron to the main deck, and says to the keelson below, making her whole forward thickness of uprights 8½ feet. She has two stern-posts, 7 feet apart. The inner one, to which her planking is bolted, is sided the same as the keel, and moulded 16 inches, and the rudder-post is 7 feet abaft it, with 7 feet space between it and the main post, for the propeller to work in. The rudder-post is itself a knee, the lower arm of which forms a part of the keel. This frame work is not only bound together outside by massive composition knees, which extend along the main-post, the keel and the rudder-post, on both sides, but is kneed inside in every angle, and bound above to the hull in the same style. It may be proper to state that the propeller has no connection whatever with the rudder-post, but is dependent upon the hull alone; so that if the frame work were swept away, the propeller would not be affected by the loss. The stern knees for the main post are very stout, and as the propeller passes through the centre of this post, it is bound together and supported, inside and out, with heavy mouldings of iron and composition. Her transom, the main one of which is 20 inches square, are also secured with iron braces, and the whole stern frame is made as strong as possible.
As the weight of her engines is in her centre, not chock aft, the frames and other work amidships are, of course, heavier than in the ends. Her main frames have no butts on the keel, are 20 feet long, sided 13, and moulded 18 inches, and have through every one of them and the keel, an inch-and-a-quarter copper bolt, and also another copper bolt through them and the first depth of keelson, for she has two midship keelsons of oak, each 15 inches square. The other floor timbers are moulded the same as the above, and sided from 10 to 12 inches, and bolted with copper in the same style. The upper keelsons is bolted with iron, driven blunt into the keel.
Her forward and after space of frames, from centre to centre, is 26 inches. She has also sister keelsons 15 inches square, bolted diagonally through the navel timbers into the keel, and horizontally through each other and the lower midship keelson. In the wake of the engines, the floor is filled out square to the bilge with solid oak, every piece bolted horizontally to one another, and vertically through the timbers. Before this bed of oak was laid the frames were bound together with diagonal iron braces, each 60 feet long, 5 inches wide and 1 inch thick. These braces cross one another, are let into the timbers, bolted through them and riveted on the outside; and at every intersection, are also bolted together, and through the timbers. The other braces of the frame are 4 inches wide, by 5/8 [?] of an inch bolts, and extend from the floor heads to the top-timbers. Independent of these, the frames are also chocked together opposite every joint and bolted fore and aft. She has 9 hooks forward, and 4 aft, including the deck hooks, and all but the latter span the angles of the ends completely, and are all bolted from the outside and riveted on the inside.
The ceiling on the floor, before and abaft the engine room, is 3½ inches thick, and her bilge keelsons are 15 inches square; then follow 10 strakes of 10 by 6 inches, above which are three strakes of clamps, double, which combined, are 7 by 12 inches, and all are of white oak square fastened, the fastening driven from the outside and riveted on the inside.
The beams are of hard pine -- those under the lower deck are 14 by 12, under the main deck 13 by 12, and under the upper deck 9 by 7. The stanchions in the hold are of oak, 8 inches square, kneed above and below, and those between the other decks are of oak, turned, 6 inches in diameter, with iron bolts through their centres, which bind both decks together and set up with nuts and screws below. The hanging knees, under the lower deck beams, are sided from 9 to 12 inches, and are 22 inches, &c., in the throats, and have from 12 to 14 bolts in each; those under the main deck are moulded and sided about an inch less, but all are of oak, and those under the deck are of hacmatack, sided from 7 to 8 inches, moulded 16 inches in the angles, and bolted in proportion. The lodging knees scarph together in every berth, and commencing with those in the hold, are sided respectively 7, 6½ and 6 inches.
The lower deck waterways are 12 inches square, the lock strake inside of them 8 by 12 inches, let into the beams below, and are bolted from the outside at every three feet horizontally, and vertically through every beam. The standing strake over the waterways is of the same size as the lock strake, and is square fastened, and is also bolted down through the waterways and the beams. She has two clamps, each 6 by 12 inches, and the ceiling below to the standing strake is 5 inches thick, and all this work is of oak.
The main deck waterways are the same in substance as those below, but the thick work inside and over them is of hard and white pine, one inch less in substance, but fastened in nearly the same style. The two clamps are of hard pine, each 5 inches thick, and the ceiling below them is of 4 inches thickness. All the hanging knees under the beams of the upper and main decks, have the ends of their bodies fayed to the upper or standing strakes over the waterways.
The upper deck waterways are of white pine, of 8 by 12 inches, and the lock strake inside of them is 4 inches, let into the beams, and cross-bolted. All her decks are of white pine, 3 inches thick.
Her outside planking up to the waist is of white oak. Her garboards are 8 by 12 inches, bolted through the keel and the timbers, and the planking on her bottom is 4 inches. She has 13 strakes of wales, 5½ by 7 inches, and the waist planking is of hard pine, each strake 4 by 5 inches.
Her outside fastening corresponds well with that of the inside. Every bolt and treenail in her that could be, has been driven from the outside through all. In every plank, through every frame up to the waist, there are two locust treenails, wedged in one end and plugged in the other, and also two composition spikes, ½ inch on the squares and 8 inches long. Below the main deck she has 12,000 bolts, driven from the outside through all, and riveted on the inside. In iron fastening alone, independent of the frame braces, she has 125,000 lbs., also 10,000 lbs. of copper, and 5000 lbs. of composition. Her knees, which are mostly of white oak, number 848.
Her covering board or planksheer is 5 by 15 inches, of hard pine; her rail the same thickness, and her stanchions are of locust, 7 by 6 inches, bright on the outer squares. Her frame is well seasoned, and has brass ventilators along the line of the planksheer, and air-ports below; and when she arrives here her hull will be further ventilated by Emerson's corresponding patent ventilators.
In mode, she is a fine looking vessel. Her lines forward are slightly concave, her stem almost upright, and her bow is bold and well formed, as it swells into the fullness of the upper works. She has a carved and gilded billet head, and gilded carved work along her trail boards and around her hawse-holes. The ends of her cat-heads are also ornamented, and her head boards have a semi-circular sweep below, but follow her sheer above and terminate at the head. Her name in gilded letters ornaments them on each side of the bowsprit. Her upper and lower wales have each a projecting moulding, and the lower moulding of the planksheer is gilded. She has a lively sheer, and the rounding of her sides is finely fashioned.
Her run is very clean, and the stern, which is square, is both light and beautiful. The quarter pieces are carved and gilded, and a gilded spread eagle and other devices, handsomely arranged, ornament her stern. She is coppered up to 18 feet forward, and 19 aft, and is painted black above, excepting the gilding already noticed. The Philadelphians consider her the most beautifully modelled vessel ever built at their port.
On deck she has a house 190 feet in length, about 15 wide, and 6½ high, leaving 7½ feet gangways on each side. Its sides are formed to correspond in sweep with her outline on the rail, and consequently it is not of the same width, in other words, it is not a perfect oblong square. Its after division, too, extends across the deck, and is raised into a wheel house.
The top of this house is railed in with brass, and forms a spacious promenade for her cabin passengers, while her gangways afford the same space for her other passengers.
Next to the wheel house she has three water closets, before these a smoking room and a passage way, in the centre of which is a beautiful capstan, brass mounted, and made of mahogany and locust. Next, forward, are five lengths of staterooms, then the captain's cabin, before that a saloon 20 feet long, and next the staircase which leads to the cabin below. Farther forward is the hatchway which leads to the engine room, next the galleys, -- then the officers' mess room, on the starboard side, and a skylight in the middle, and a pantry-room [?] on the opposite side; next an ice house, and forward of all a tier of staterooms. Most of these rooms are designed for the ship's officers, such as mates, engineers, surgeons, & c. The accommodations for her crew are below on the main deck forward. The house is panelled, has a projecting roof or top, and is grained in imitation of polished oak, and her bulwarks are painted fawn color. She has a spacious forecastle abaft the windlass, and a small topgallant forecastle before it.
On the forecastle she has a patent capstan, which is worked with engine brakes, and not bars. Her windlass is of Heywood's patent, and is a powerful machine, well secured. She has also Reed's patent steering apparatus.
Her great cabin is aft on the main deck, and contains 30 staterooms, and has water closets forward and aft. It is panelled, set off with pilasters and cornices, and all are edged with beautiful carving, fringed with gold and silver. Between the beams there are perforated ventilators, curiously carved and edged with gilding. The cabin is plain enamelled white, and looks most beautifully. She has 4 stern windows, a skylight, and deck and side light in every state-room. The state-rooms have two berths in each, and are spacious and well arranged.
The space before the cabin is designed for second class passengers, and is lighted in the same way as the deck abaft.
The forward and after parts of the lower deck, clear of the engine room, can be rendered available for the accommodation of steerage passengers or the stowage of cargo. In the after part of the hold, below this deck, she has iron tanks capable of holding 12,000 gallons of water, and space before these for the stowage of cargo close to the after bulkhead of the engine room. The fore hold, before the engine room, is large for the size of the vessel, and will stow considerable cargo.
Her accommodations for every class of passengers, will be rendered as perfect as possible; indeed, no expense will be spared to make her a complete passenger ship.
Her motive power consists of two engines, with 60 inch cylinders, and 40 inches stroke, applied to one of Loper's propellers. The after part of her engine room is 60 feet forward of the stern post. her bed plate is of cast iron, 14 feet long, 16 wide, and 4 inches thick, and the channels from the cylinders to the air pumps, as well as the pumps themselves, are formed in it. The cylinders are placed at the sides, inclined 45 degrees to the plane of the horizon, consequently the engines work at right angles, and are known by the term "angular engines." The main crank, or driving abaft, is of wrought iron, 17 inches in diameter and 14 feet long, and the driving wheel is 8 feet in diameter, with 3½ feet face. The pinion wheel has the same surface of face as the other, but has stagger gearing, so that some of its cogs are always at full bearing, and thus prevent backlash. The propeller shaft is 11 inches in diameter, 67 feet long, and is in three pieces, buckled together. Independent of the fastening aft, already noticed in the details of her construction, the stern is strengthened by iron braces, which extend on both sides of the propeller shaft, from the bottom to the deck and from side to side, and thus render it almost impossible for her to work loose aft, notwithstanding the vast strain to which it is exposed by the action of the propeller. The propeller is of iron, 14 feet in diameter, with 4 fans, formed at angles of 50 degrees, and their greatest width or face is 3 feet 6 inches. A before noticed, the propeller works entirely clear of the rudder, which is abaft it.
The boilers are before the engines, and they project about 3 feet above the lower deck. Their shells are 18 feet long and 11 feet in diameter, and the steam drum is 8 feet in diameter and 6 feet deep. The furnaces face forward, and the coal-bins are over the boilers, leaving gangways on each side to communicate with the deck abaft. It is estimated that her engines will work 30 pounds pressure to the square inch, and produce 12 knots speed per hour, in moderate weather. Competent judges, who have been much engaged in steam navigation, have pronounced her motive power, and its application to the Loper propeller, the most perfect that has yet been produced in this country. Her engines were built agreeably to the designs of Captain Loper, by Messrs. James T. Sutton & Co., at the Franklin Iron Works.
She is square rigged forward, and fore-and-aft rigged upon the main and mizzen masts, similar to the Cunard steamers, but is not dependent upon sails for making her passages. To all intents and purposes she is a steamer, and her motive power will always be applied, no matter how fair the wind may be.
Her lower masts are bright and varnished, with black mast-heads. Commencing with the fore, they are 75, 85 and 80 feet long, including 12 feet mast-heads; the fore and main topmasts are each 35, and the mizzen topmast 32 feet; the foretopmast with 7 feet head, and the topgallant masts are 18, 16 and 14 feet, with 8 feet poles to the main and mizzen topgallant masts. The topmasts, topgallant masts and poles of the main and mizzen are one spar, and the fore topgallant, royal mast and pole are also of one spar. Her head yards, the only ones she carries, are 60, 48, 36 and 24 feet square; have long, tapering yard arms, and look exceedingly well. Her yards, and all above the cross trees of the main and mizzenmasts, are painted black. The bowsprit is 28 feet long, and jibboom 16 feet outside of the cap, with 5 feet end. The spanker boom is 38, and gaff 22, and the main spencer gaff 30 feet long. Her lower rigging is of the best Russia hemp, and sets up on the ends, through rollers on the rail. It is neatly fitted, well stretched, and will not require setting up more than once or twice while it lasts. Her sails are also of Russia canvass, and all her other details aloft are of the very best materials. For the purpose of housing her topmasts expeditiously, she has patent fids, and the truss of her fore yard is so designed that the topmast can be sent up or down without interfering with it. The masts have considerable rake, and are so well rigged, that she looks as rakish aloft as a "long, bow" clipper.
She carries four of Francis's life boats, each 30 feet long, 6 wide and 3½ deep; has the best of ground tackle, patent pumps, and is otherwise liberally found.
It is estimated that she will make seven voyages a year between this port and Liverpool, will carry 300 tons of dead weight, 1000 tons of measurement goods, and accommodate 100 cabin passengers -- and all this exclusive of fuel and stores. With only her lower hold full of cargo, it is estimated that she can accommodate nearly 1000 passengers, including those in the cabin.
She is owned by the Ocean Steamship Company of New England, and, as already stated, will run between this port and Liverpool. Her commander, Capt. William C. Barstow, is well known as having been one of the most successful packet captain sailing out of New York, and her owners may feel confident that he will make her do all that can be expected of any sailor. The description which we have given of her is a plain statement of facts, and we are almost sure that, when she arrives here, all who may examine her impartially will say that we have barley done her justice.
Messrs. Harnden & Co. are the agents, both at this port and Liverpool, for the Ocean Steamship Company.
Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius.
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Copyright © 1997 Lars Bruzelius.