The End of an Era: The Last of the Great Lakes Steamboats
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The End of an Era: The Last of the Great Lakes Steamboats

by David Plowden
     
 

From freighters in motion and intricate machinery in the engine room, to the men who operate and maintain the vessels, these photographs represent a testament to the vanishing era of steam.
Since the mid-1850s when coal-fired, reciprocating-engined steamboats were first heralded as a swift and reliable method of freight transportation, these majestic vessels

Overview

From freighters in motion and intricate machinery in the engine room, to the men who operate and maintain the vessels, these photographs represent a testament to the vanishing era of steam.
Since the mid-1850s when coal-fired, reciprocating-engined steamboats were first heralded as a swift and reliable method of freight transportation, these majestic vessels have criss-crossed the Great Lakes transporting everything from coal to iron ore and cement. Until the advent of the diesel locomotive engine, the speed and efficiency of the lake freighters was unchallenged. Today, however, the massive fleet has been reduced to a handful, and soon may be extinct.

Editorial Reviews

Ray Olson
Writer-photographer Plowden is the preeminent popular chronicler of the end of America's heroic age. He finds the remnants of our nineteenth-century industrial greatness and, in black-and-white photographs of pristine clarity and symphonic richness of monochrome tonality as well as in restrainedly nostalgic prose, records them in the last days of their glory--that is, at work, for these monumental machines were created for work, not beauty. Here he documents the last steamboats hauling taconite pellets, cement, salt, and a few other heavy bulk stuffs on the Great Lakes--a trade that at its height vastly exceeded in tonnage what went through the Suez and Panama canals. He shows the freighters docked and out on the water, details of both their exteriors and insides, and portraits of several of their crew members. In four prefatory chapters, he alternates highlights of his own travels on a couple of the old boats with the history of freight steamboating on the Great Lakes and the pedigrees of all the Great Lakes steamers in service as of 1990.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393033489
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
10/28/1992
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 11.40(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

David Plowden is the author of more than twenty photography books, including Bridges: The Spans of North America, Vanishing Point: Fifty Years of Photography, and Requiem for Steam. He lives in Winnetka, Illinois.

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