This Week in Herreshoff History by Subject

This Week in Herreshoff History began as a weekly column in March 2020 as part of the Code Flag Lima project and continued through March 2021. It draws upon archival material from multiple collections and archives (including our own) as well as the digital archive of the local paper – the Bristol Phoenix – to get a sense of what was going on week by week at HMCo. through more than 60 years of operation. On this page you can explore all TWHH posts indexed by a few basic subject headings. We have intentionally left out “sail power,” “steam power” and “America’s Cup” however, as these subjects appear in almost every post…! This is not an exhaustive index, but is intended to be an alternative approach to exploring these wide-ranging posts, and a fun way for us to reflect on this year-long project. Please comment below if there are other subjects you would like to be able to filter by and we will consider including them. Alternatively, we may be able to point you to relevant posts or articles if you are interested in a specific topic. If you prefer to explore the original posts by date, click here to view the This Week in Herreshoff History posts in order of publication.


23
Mar
March 24, 1894: JBH's personal yacht, EUGENIA I, launched March 12, 1894 The Bristol Phoenix published a very long article describing JBH’s new steam yacht Eugenia including a description of interior and exterior, building of 20-raters for Harold Gould, “a German Baron from …Kiel”, and some Cup speculation. There is...
26
Mar
Come for the HMCo. news, stay for oysters, sewing machines and jaundice bitters! March 29, 1879 Notice is given in the Bristol Phoenix that John B. Herreshoff submitted a petition to incorporate the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company on March 10. March 26, 1884 Steam yacht MARINA (HMCo. #105) off the HMCo....
30
Mar
SEVEN BROTHERS, HMCo. #3 (1870) at Common Fence Point, Tiverton, RI. The smaller seine boats carrying nets alongside would have worked in tandem with a vessel like SEVEN BROTHERS to encircle schooling pogies; photo from the HMM historic photo archive March 30, 1870 On this day in 1870, the SEVEN...
02
Apr
April 2, 1895 DEFENDER as finally revealed, 1895; image from HMM historic photo collection The Bristol Phoenix speculates about the 1895 America's Cup Defender, DEFENDER (HMCo. #452), and publishes a poem poking fun at the secrecy surrounding the vessel and alluding to the public's curiosity. Note also the possible SEVEN...
06
Apr
April 6, 1874 On this day 146 years ago, Captain Nat launched a little sailing dory, L'ONDA in Marseilles. Captain Nat was staying with a cousin in France at the time after "being banished from home to recover [his] health," as he dramatically recalled in a letter to W.P. Stephens...
09
Apr
April 11, 1903 RELIANCE makes the front page of the Bristol Phoenix on April 14, 1903, for her launch the previous Saturday, April 11. Note JBH's properties for rent on the same page, and a local pharmacy already attempting to capitalize on RELIANCE's hoped-for success in their advertising. The christening...
13
Apr
April 13, 1878 Three months after the brother's incorporate HMCo., reporters from the Bristol Phoenix are given a tour of the plant by Foreman Charles F. Herreshoff (father of John and Capt. Nat). The newspaper publishes a very long and detailed description of the HMCo. plant, noting the more than...
13
Apr
April 15, 1893 The Bristol Phoenix reprints extracts from the Providence Sunday Journal's "Yachting Notes" column, noting the preliminary trip of the 123' (LOA) cutter NAVAHOE, HMCo. #429. When asked why HMCo. did not build NAVAHOE as a fin-keeler (a design “originated” at HMCo.), John Herreshoff says the design is...
20
Apr
GLEAM (HMCo. #65) was christened by JBH's daughter, Katherine Kilton Herreshoff April 21, 1880 The steamer GLEAM (HMCo. #65) was launched on this day in 1880, as noted by the Bristol Phoenix. This steam yacht carried one of the Herreshoff "safety" coil boilers, which were designed by JBH, and patented...
23
Apr
April 23, 1895 This time of year is the height of spring commissioning - getting boats ready for re-launch after being out of the water all winter - which means that the April 23, 1895 edition of The Phoenix is buzzing with the name "Herreshoff." The Phoenix also reports the...
27
Apr
Half model of Cup Defender RESOLUTE (HMCo. #725); artifact currently on display in the Model Room at HMM April 25 and 28, 1914 KATOURA's trials, May 3, 1914; HMM historic photo collection Another Herreshoff designed and built America's Cup Defender candidate, RESOLUTE (HMCo. #725) was launched on April 25, 1914....
30
Apr
May 2, 1885 In Local Affairs, steamboat inspectors Beckwith and Hovey were in town on Friday of last week to examine the boilers and machinery of the new steam yacht STILETTO (HMCo. #118), recently built by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co., according to the Bristol Phoenix. The same issue reports Captain...
04
May
May 5, 1866 The site of Herreshoff and Stone - the Old Tannery and Herreshoff Homestead in the fall of 1866 Before there was HMCo., there was Herreshoff and Stone, as frequently advertised in the Bristol Phoenix between 1864 and 1877. John Brown Herreshoff and Dexter S. Stone began their...
07
May
May 7, 1901 The launching of CONSTITUTION (HMCo. #551) makes front page news! The town is disappointed to not be allowed to attend, but the mood around town is understanding. The risk of accidents with a large crowd of spectators is one more thing the Herreshoff's would prefer not to...
11
May
May 10, 1884 The name "Herreshoff" is mentioned twice in various activities around town. Though not directly connected to HMCo. operations, it's and an interesting indication of the family's participation in civic activities within the local community, which are regularly reported on in the Phoenix. It is hard to imagine...
14
May
May 15, 1893 COLONIA (HMCo. #435) photographed later by Stebbins; image courtesy Historic New England Stebbins Collection COLONIA (HMCo. #435) was launched 127 years ago tomorrow. COLONIA (later, CORONA) was originally built as a Cup Defender candidate but lost in the selection trials to another HMCo. designed and built vessel,...
18
May
May 18, 2020This Week in Herreshoff History: May 18Steam engines that powered the plant, and a whole parade of boats belonging to a [human] PlantMay 17, 1898The Bristol Phoenix reports "the machine shops at the Herreshoffs was [sic] closed Saturday in order to replace the engine running the machine and boiler...
21
May
May 20, 1893 The Bristol Phoenix reports Monday evening a few minutes past 7 o'clock the first of the four America cup defenders, bearing the name of "Colonia," [HMCo. #435, later CORONA] was successfully launched from the Herreshoff Company's Yard in this town." COLONIA (HMCo. #435) was the first Cup...
28
May
May 31, 1873 View of a literal mountain of bird guano called the Great Heap off the southern coast of Peru, estimated at 2,000,000 pounds, 1865; not the kind of guano business the Herreshoffs were involved with, but too good to pass up; image courtesy the New York Public Library...
11
Jun
June 7 and 11, 1895 The Bristol Phoenix reports a group of skulkers attempting to gain entry to the Herreshoff shops to spy on the America's Cup contender, DEFENDER (HMCo. #452), under construction. The same edition of the paper recounts a visit by a number Government officials arriving in Bristol...
18
Jun
June 16, 1883 The Bristol Phoenix notes that "The steam yacht Permelia [HMCo. #100] was on the Providence Marine Railway on Friday of last week, having a larger wheel [read: propeller] attached. She returned here the same evening." PERMELIA (HMCo. #100) was the second of that name to be built...
25
Jun
June 28, 1894 Per the Phoenix, the "Steam yacht Viva, J. B. Herreshoff owner, has been leased by Mr. Langdon of Shelter Island, NY for the season, and sailed for her destination on Tuesday last." This vessel was originally named GOVERNOR HAMILTON (HMCo. #102) and was built in 1883 for...
09
Jul
July 11, 1865 Advertising card of Herreshoff and Stone; HMM arhives Below is a transcription of one of two letters written by Dexter Stone,  partner with John Brown Herreshoff in Herreshoff & Stone.  The letters are written to E. Stanton Chesebrough (1841-1875) who married J.B.’s sister Caroline.  The Chesebrough family lived...
16
Jul
July 20, 1865 Advertising card of Herreshoff and Stone; HMM arhives Below is a transcription of the second of two letters written by Dexter Stone,  partner with John Brown Herreshoff in Herreshoff & Stone.  The letters are written to E. Stanton Chesebrough (1841-1875) who married J.B.’s sister Caroline.  The Chesebrough family...
23
Jul
July 23, 1868 On this day 152 years ago the 37' LOA centerboard sloop NIMBUS was launched in Bristol. N.G.H. is credited with the design for the vessel; as we know from Jim Giblin's guest posts on N.G.H.'s MIT years, this would have been during N.G.H.'s last year of study...
30
Jul
July 29, 1878 From the San Francisco Examiner, January 31, 1879 The catamaran ZARIFA was shipped to New York on this day 142 years ago. From there she would be loaded on the vessel ABNER I. [also reported J. / L.] BENYON to begin the journey to San Francisco. This...
06
Aug
August 9, 1921 A party of 48 men travels by many automobiles and one boat to Sakonnet. The clambake outing was organized by a local chapter of the Y.M.C.A. and included brothers A. Sidney deWolf Herreshoff and Nathanael Herreshoff Jr. in the one boat, naturally. The vessel in question was...
13
Aug
August 12, 1882 The second half of the 19th century was truly the Age of the Rail in the U.S. Though HMCo. was primarily a marine oriented company, their connection to other parts of the country via railway played an important part in their business too. For example, the Phoenix...
20
Aug
August 20, 1890 Detail of MISSISQUOI's construction drawing. CLICK here to see the plan at full resolution; image courtesy the Haffenreffer-Herreshoff Collection at the MIT Museum The model used for MISSISQUOI and 19 other HMCo. built high-speed steam launches; model currently on display in the HMM Model Room The contract...
27
Aug
August 25, 1877 One of N.G.H.'s catamarans from the 1870s, JOHN GILPIN of 1877. This drawing was published in the Scientific American Supplement, January 5, 1878; image courtesy of the Herreshoff Catalogue Raisonné A correspondent conflates the two Herreshoff brothers into one talented man! Or at least, does not clearly...
01
Sep
September 1, 1894 There are several Herreshoff mentions on the front page of the Phoenix on this day 126 years ago. The most notable concerns a visit to HMCo. by U.S. Navy Secretary Herbert and Commander George A. Converse of the Naval Torpedo Station in Newport. The party was delivered...
10
Sep
September 11, 1875 Courtesy of the Bristol Phoenix archive, September 11, 1875. It is possible that this sighting via the Providence Journal refers to the steam launch SPITFIRE (HMCo. #18), which was completed in September of 1875. Six launches in total were built to this model between 1873 and 1875,...
17
Sep
September 17, 1909 There are many complex factors that contributed to HMCo.'s financial success during J.B.H.'s lifetime. His brilliance at calculating and estimating production costs and his shrewd business acumen are undeniable, and HMCo. thrived under the capitalist ideals of the late 19th century American economy. This 1909 Bristol Phoenix...
24
Sep
The Hurricane of 1938 September 21, 1938 This past week marks the 82nd anniversary of the Hurricane of 1938 in the Northeast. HMCo. was badly affected, estimating their losses in the days after "running to hundred of thousands of dollars," with "many valuable yachts stored away for winter... scattered in...
01
Oct
October 3, 1874 A wonderful cyanotype of RIVIERA on the ramp at the Love Rock's boathouse, where the little boat lived out its days until its destruction in the Hurricane of 1938; image from the HMM photo archive N.G.H., brother Lewis and the good little ship RIVIERA return from Europe!...
08
Oct
October 6, 1877 The half model from which GLEAM was built; currently on display in the HMM Model Room The Bristol Phoenix reports that the 25' Herreshoff catboat GLEAM has won quite a few races! According to the Phoenix, this winning streak came as a surprise to local yachtsmen. According...
15
Oct
October 15, 1870 The seven Church Brothers and their vessel SEVEN BROTHERS (HMCo. #3) make an appearance in the Bristol Phoenix. The Phoenix reports on the vessel's successful first season fishing off the coast of Maine, and they describe the steam vessel as "efficient, convenient and comfortable." As L. Francis...
22
Oct
October 21, 1871 "Chicago in Flames": a Currier and Ives print of the Great Chicago Fire; image courtesy the Chicago History Museum The Phoenix reports on a fundraiser concert for Chicago Fire relief, organized by Lewis Herreshoff. The devastation of the Great Chicago Fire made the front pages everywhere in...
29
Oct
October 27, 1883 HMCo. #101 photographed off Newport in 1883; from the HMM photo archive The Bristol Phoenix reports that steamer No. 101 (HMCo. #101) has been sold to Mr. Archibald Rogers of Hyde Park, NY. Rogers would name the 68'8" LOA steam yacht OSSIBOW. Twelve steam yachts were built...
05
Nov
November 5, 1875 LIGHTNING (HMCo. #20) photographed off Newport in 1876; image from the HMM historic photo archive On this day 145 years ago the Navy steam torpedo boat LIGHTNING (HMCo. #20) was contracted for. LIGHTNING was the first of seven torpedo boats to follow built by HMCo. for the...
12
Nov
November 13, 1877 What on Earth does this have to do with Herreshoff you ask?! Head on over to this week's "From the Vault" post to read all about it! November 12, 1897 Twenty years later and shades of the previous story come back to haunt us on the eve...
20
Nov
November 20, 1880 HMCo. #44; engraving printed in The Graphic, 1879, and the Scientific American, April 1879, courtesy the HCR The Phoenix fiercely defends American steel, skill and ingenuity! A recent report in the Journal of Commerce of New York focuses on British advances in steel shipbuilding but ignores American...
03
Dec
December 3, 1870 The ANEMONE (HMCo. #4) half model; currently on display in the HMM Model Room The little steamer ANEMONE (HMCo. #4) has been laid up in the yard for winter storage, according to the Phoenix. Only ANEMONE was ever built to this one model, and she was built...
09
Dec
December 13, 1884 A successful trial for Jay Gould's new steam launch (HMCo. #119) has taken place, according to the Bristol Phoenix. This triple cockpit, 35' LOA launch was later named SURPRISE. She performed well in trials, making 14.4 mph. It might seem odd to consider a 35' launch to...
17
Dec
December 14, 1889 Two men are arrested for stealing seaweed from HMCo.! Head over to our "From the Vault" post to read more than you ever wanted to know on seaweed, and a few guesses as to what actually may have been going on here in this puzzling piece of...
23
Dec
December 22, 1883 N.G.H. and Clara A. DeWolf Herreshoff, September 22, 1884; HMM archive The Bristol Phoenix announces the impending nuptials of Nathanael G. Herreshoff and Clara A. DeWolf (1853 - 1905). The wedding would take place on Boxing Day, 1883 at St. Michael's Church. Clara was known for her...
07
Jan
January 6 & 13, 1872 From the Bristol Phoenix, January 6, 1872. Two notices within a week appear in the Bristol Phoenix pertaining to the business interests of the Bristol Steam Fishing Company and involving several Herreshoff family members. The first announces a "meeting of the subscribers to the Capital...
14
Jan
January 17, 1896 Bristolian pride for their association with recent America's Cup success runs strong (and who can blame them!). The Bristol Phoenix reports that the Wardwell Lumber Co. is giving away calendars featuring the HMCo. Cup defender, DEFENDER (HMCo. #452). The Phoenix also points out, not without a little...
21
Jan
January 20, 1903 Things are very busy at HMCo. this winter, and several injuries to HMCo. employees were reported this week in the Bristol Phoenix. Additionally, RELIANCE (HMCo. #605) is "progressing about as fast as possible," lumber and roughed out spars have been delivered, a steam yacht WANA (HMCo. #230)...
28
Jan
January 28, 1888 "The Herreshoff Works are crowded with contracts" this January, according to the Bristol Phoenix. This is reported in a letter to the editor in counterpoint to the recent "failure of the National Rubber Company," another major industrial concern in the town of Bristol. Augustus Osborn Bourne, 36th...
04
Feb
February 1, 1895 Much Herreshoff activity is reported in the Bristol Phoenix on this day 126 years ago! There is plenty of buzz about this year's Cup Defender, the as-yet-unnamed DEFENDER (HMCo. #452), and the Phoenix reports that steel workers from the VIGILANT (HMCo. #437) build two years prior have...
11
Feb
February 11, 1865 Two views of the half model for PRUDENCE and PATIENCE, now on display in the HMM Model Room A sailing vessel belonging to Charles F. Herreshoff is reported sunk while filled with 12 tons of "fish guano" near the Herreshoff Wharf. There were four vessels in the...
15
Feb
February 17, 1872 The schooner LATONA was launched on the 15th of February and J.B.H. is planning to lay the keel for another fishing steamer next, according to the Bristol Phoenix. LATONA was designed by N.G.H. The fishing steamer referred to is KINGFISHER (HMCo. #9), built to the same model...
25
Feb
February 23, 1884 From the Bristol Phoenix, February 15, 1907 The Bristol Phoenix reports that two launches have been ordered for the Greely Relief Expedition, and that HMCo. has "recently only been running 8 hours per day" but are back up to full-time employment. We are reminded to be grateful...
04
Mar
March 5, 1892 The Bristol Phoenix reports on the previous week's launching of WASP (HMCo. #414) and the 2 1/2 rater WENONAH (HMCo. #415), 129 years ago. WASP was the largest sailing vessel HMCo. built that year, and she was the next generation in rule-beating 46 foot class boats after...
11
Mar
March 11, 1889 COQUINA (HMCo. #404) being towed behind KILDEE (HMCo. #460), another family boat; Agnes M. Herreshoff photo, HMM archive On this day 132 years ago, the molds for the original COQUINA (HMCo. #404) were set up at the HMCo. shops in Bristol. COQUINA was a 16'8" LOA catyawl...
18
Mar
March 18, 1890 Etching of BIRD (HMCo. #407) published in Yachts and Yachtsmen of America, 1894; image courtesy the HCR On this day 131 years ago, a contract for the catboat BIRD (HMCo. #407) was signed with William Peet Jr. BIRD was a 19' LOA racing catboat. If this etching...