N&W in 1911--Coal dumped

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Sun Dec 26 21:31:14 EST 2010

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
May 19, 1911

Almost Ten Million Tons of Coal Shipped From Hampton Roads During Year 1910
During the year of 1910, according to the Norfolk Pilot, Hampton Roads with the three separate and distinct sets of piers at Lamberts Point, Sewalls Point and Newport News emptied from the cars of the Norfolk and Western, Virginian and Chesapeake and Ohio railways into the holds of foreign tramps, coastwise steamers, outside and inside plying schooners and barges a grand total of 9,499,947 tons of soft coal. The Norfolk and Western led in number of tons dumped down the chutes, being credited with nearly half of the total for Hampton Roads, or to give correct and exact figures, 4,293,987 tons. The Chesapeake and Ohio with two piers at Newport News brought from the West Virginia mines 4,087,540 tons or coal for foreign and domestic consumption. The Virginian railway in spite of its youth as compared with the other two roads freighted 1,119,339 tons last year and gives promise of doubling its output in a few years.
To all ports of the world tons and hundreds of tons of this fuel goes transported by all imaginable kinds of ships, from the huge naval collier Cyclops with its capacity of 10,000 tons of cargo and 2,500 tons of bunker to the lowly barge of 1,000 tons and uncertain three-masted schooner over whose decks the waves wash when 500 tons have been dumped in her holds. Foreign tramp steamers with half million dollar cargoes of the fleecy staple from New Orleans and Galveston bound for the cotton goods manufacturing centers of England and continent call here for bunkers to send them on their plugging gait of eight and ten knots an hour. Petroleum laden freighters loaded at New York and bound around the Horn on the long stretch to Oriental ports pass in the Virginia Capes and after warping their grimy sides against one of the piers for a thousand tons of fuel turn their stubby noses southward.
From Hampton Roads goes the half-million tons of coal used at Panama, steamers plying back and forth with the regularity of ocean liners taking 3,000 and 6,000 tons at a trip. Last year only part of the 550,000-ton contract let by the Panama Railroad went from Hampton Roads, but under the contract signed the first of April all of it will be dumped by the Lambert Point and Sewalls Point piers.
Another great factor in the development of Hampton Roads is the business between this port and the manufacturing centers of the New England states. Ten or twelve steel steamers, capable of carrying 2,500 tons to 6,500 tons at a time, make regular trips between Hampton Roads and Boston, Providence and other ports. These steamers, some of them of the whaleback* and half whaleback types, were formerly used on the Great Lakes in the ore-carrying trade.
The largest of these steamers are the Coastwise and Transportation, each having a cargo capacity of 6,500 tons and bunker room for 300 more tons. They take about ten days to make the round trip, including time for the loading and discharging of the cargo.
Such is the superiority of the eastern coal over that of the west that much of the coal used by the warships stationed in the Pacific is loaded here to be taken to San Francisco.
Nearly all of the coal used by the Atlantic fleet is also loaded here into the holds of the naval colliers and taken by them out to sea for the battleships.
When it comes to giving the hurrying ships their tons of coal the local piers are there with the quick work and the different shippers claim this is the fastest loading port in America, if not the world. It is nothing unusual for a tramp steamer to tie up alongside of one of the piers in the morning and pass out of the Capes long before sunset, having received her meed of bunker cargo.
Nor more than six weeks ago the steamer Coastwise docked at the Lambert Point piers at 7:45 a.m. and by 4:30 p.m. same day had received 6,537 tons of cargo and 21 tons of bunker. By dark she had passed out of the Virginia Capes bound for Boston.
The greatest cargo ever loaded at any of the piers was the one taken by a mammoth navel collier Cyclops, which received 10,000 tons of cargo and 2,500 tons of bunker early this year at the Virginian pier.
[*I needed to learn about "whaleback" steamers, so I found the item below in Wikipedia. On another matter, a few numerals were indistinct on the microfilm, but the above figures are thought to be essentially correct.]

Gordon Hamilton

The Thomas Wilson in the Soo Locks, unladen, with two consort barges, also whalebacks

Another whaleback traverses the Poe Lock, ca. 1910, showing how low a laden boat rides
The whaleback was a design by Captain Alexander McDougall (1845-1923), a Scottish-born Great Lakes seaman and ship's master. At the time a vessel's size was limited by the locks and rivers that had to be navigated and by the materials and science of hull construction, not by the power and ability of steam engines to push hulls through the water. It was therefore common practice to have a powered vessel pulling one or more barges or "consorts" in tow. Many of these consorts were converted sailing schooners. Others were "schooners" that were built to be consorts and never intended to sail on their own, except in an emergency. Still others were bulk carriers that had not yet been fitted with propulsion machinery.

McDougall had learned from experience the difficulties encountered in towing these vessels. The bows and spars made them subject to the forces of wind, wave, and the prop wash from the towing vessel with the result that they often did not follow well. His purpose was specifically to create a barge design that would tow easily and track well.

His design has been likened to a cigar with bent up ends. The sheer strake (vertical hull sides) of a conventional vessel met the horizontal weather deck at a right-angle gunwale; a whaleback hull had a continuous curve above the waterline from the vertical to the horizontal to where the sides met inboard. The bow and stern were nearly identical in shape, both conoid, truncated to end in a relatively small disc. The superstructure atop the hull was in or on round or oval "turrets", so named because of their resemblance to gunhouses on contemporary warships. Cabins, decks, and other superstructure were often mounted atop these turrets.

When fully loaded, only the curved portion of the hull remained above the water, giving the vessel its "whaleback" appearance. Instead of crashing into the sides of the hull, waves would simply wash over the deck meeting only the minor resistance of the rounded turrets. When fitted with hawse pipes for anchors and a guide for the tow cable, the bow somewhat resembled the snout of a pig, from which came the alternate and usually derisive appellation of "pig boat". The derision of scoffers notwithstanding, the design performed as McDougall expected. Whether towed or under their own power they were seaworthy vessels and fast for their time.
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