Thomas W. Lawson
The Thomas W. Lawson was a seven masted steel schooner designed by
Bowdoin B. Crowninshield and built by the Fore River Ship & Engine
Building Co., Quincy, MA, in 1902 for Coastwise Transportation Co. (John G.
Crowley), Boston, at a cost of USD 258.000.
The contract was signed on June 25, 1901, and the new ship was launched on July 10 1902.
Her dimensions were
112,62×15,25×10,71 meters [369'3"×50'0"×35'2"], and with
a tonnage of 5218 GRT and 4914 NRT.
She carried 25 sails in all, 7 gaffsails, 7 topsails, 6 staysails and 5 jibs,
with a total area of 43.000 sq feet and with a weight of 18 tons. The sails were
made by the sailmaking firm E.L. Rowe & Son of Gloucecester, MA.
The naming of the masts of the Thomas W. Lawson has been the subject for some discussion. However, according to a letter from her first master Capt. Arthur L. Crowley and preserved at
the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA, the seven masts were called Fore, Main,
Mizzen, Number 4, Number 5, Number 6, and Spanker.
Although, originally designed for the trans-Pacific trade she was used in the coal trade until she was rebuilt in 1906 at the Newport
News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. for carrying oil in bulk. The topmasts
were also removed at that time and the lower masts were used to vent the
holds from oil gases.
Bound for London loaded with oil she was caught in a storm off the
Scilly Islands on the 13th of December 1907. As she could not weather
the islands it was decided to try to anchor, but during the night her anchor chain broke and she stranded on the Scilly Islands.
Thirteen of the crew lost their lives.
A Maritime Album: 100 Photographs and Their Stories published by The Mariners' Museum, Newport News, VA, USA.
- Sails for the Seven-Masted Schooner.
Scientific American, August 1902.
- Alexandersson, Gustav: Thomas W. Lawson och andra mångmastade
Longitude Vol. 8 (1973). pp 8-19, ill.
- Coughlin, W.P.: The Last Voyage of the Thomas W. Lawson.
Yankee, December 1964. pp 90-91, 150-154. By Edward L. Rowe [?].
- Crowninshield, Bowdoin B.: Fore-and-Afters.
Cambridge, MA, 1940.
- Hornsby, Thomas: The Last Voyage of the Thomas W. Lawson.
Nautical Research Journal Vol. 5 (1959). pp.53-59, 61, ill. With two fold-out plans drawn by Herbert S. Scott from the original plans.
- Lyman. John: Seven-Masted Schooners.
Log Chips, March 1949.
- MacGregor, David R.: Schooners in Four Centuries.
Model & Allied Publications, Hemel Hempstead, 1982. 8vo, 144 pp, ill.
- Morgan, C.S.: New England Coasting Schooners.
The American Neptune Vol. 23 (1963).
- Morris, E.P. : The Fore-and-Aft Rig in America.
- O'Brien, R.B.: Fate of the World's Largest Schooner.
The Trident, March 1948.
- Parker, W.J. Lewis : The Great Coal Schooners of New England
Mystic, CT, 1948.
- Parker, W.J. Lewis: The Operation and Management of the Great New
England Schooners 1870-1900.
National Maritme Museum, Greenwich, 1972. 4to, pp 17-24, ill.
Maritime Monographs and Reports No. 5.
- Rodd, P.: Wreck of Thomas W. Lawson.
The American Neptune Vol. 29 (1969), pp 133-138.
- Ronnberg, Erik A.R. Jr: Stranger in Truth than in Fiction: the American
Nautical Research Journal Vol 38, Everett, 1992. pp 5-41, ill.
Updated 1998-12-29 by
Sjöhistoriska Samfundet | The Maritime History Virtual Archives |
Copyright © 1996 Lars Bruzelius.