SS John Ericsson

Spread the love

John Ericsson at Confederation Park 15 July 1966

Between 1888 and 1898, the shipyards at the western end of Lake Superior built 39 of a unique kind of steamer featuring a “whaleback” design in which the hull curved inwards from the water line to reduce the wave resistance of the hull.  The John Ericsson was launched in 1896 in West Superior, Wisconsin and served for 67 years, carrying originally iron ore and then grain from the Lakehead to Sarnia.  When she retired in 1963, she was the penultimate whaleback and the only one with bridge forward.  Upper Lakes Shipping offered John Ericsson as a museum ship to Toronto who turned the offer down and then to the City of Hamilton.  She was towed to a berth in Confederation Park arriving on June 7th, 1966.  The necessary funding was not forthcoming and she was eventually scrapped at The Strathearne Terminals (Pier 23) in Hamilton in 1967-68.

The final whaleback, the Meteor, is preserved as a museum ship in Superior, Wisconsin.

SS METEOR, Superior, Wisconsin – note bridge aft arrangement.
METEOR showing the unique hull shape.