Steamships in the 1880s
October 26, 2010 6:49 AM   Subscribe

What are some good resources for learning about oceangoing cargo steamships in the 1880s?

I want to learn about the design, construction, and especially the operation of cargo ships in the late 19th century. I’d like to know what your normal cargo ship looked like, who the crew were, and how they sailed from port to port. I’d also like information about the shipping industry during that time period, and the concept of tramp freighters.

Fiction and non-fiction are both appreciated. Thanks!
posted by Hoenikker to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The subject is vast. Mystic Seaport C19th Digital archive is a good place to start.
Lloyds Register will give ships information including builder.
National Maritime museum UK search on "steam" is another resource.
The steamship historical society of America can definitely help you. Many of the now extinct British shipyards and shipping lines have good histories. Here is an introduction to the development of steamships. The Mariners museum, Newport News VA has plans and drawings. Finally I found this ebook.
posted by adamvasco at 8:08 AM on October 26, 2010

Best answer: Here's an interesting .pdf, aimed primarily at gamers who enjoy pulp-adventure style tabletop role-playing games - it includes a ton of historical detail, including floorplans of typical pre-WWII tramp steamers. It covers mostly coal-burners converted to oil, but it may be of interest.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:55 AM on October 26, 2010

I see you're from New Orleans, so a quick search of the Tulane Library's databases yields a lot of things that would probably be helpful. If you don't have access to Tulane (it's a private university), the LSU library as well as most (all?) other public university libraries are open to the public. Sit down at a computer in their library and go to town.

A google patent search may give you some insight into what they looked like and how they were constructed.
posted by cmchap at 9:50 AM on October 26, 2010

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