Dina M. Bazzill
THE MISSING LINK BETWEEN SAIL AND STEAM: STEAMBARGES AND THE JOYS OF DOOR COUNTY, WISCONSIN
(Under the direction of Professor Bradley A. Rodgers) Department of History, Program in Maritime Studies, December 2006.
The purpose of this thesis is to explain the development of steam barges, an important 19th century vessel type. Steambarges were different from other contemporary bulk cargo carriers because they accomplished a unique feat: a successful breading between the carrying capacity of sail powered cargo ships and steam technology. The primary question raised by steambarges is whether they are a distinctive vessel type that represents the missing link between sail and steam.
To answer this question, this study first examines the 19th century Great Lakes lumber industry. As the economic importance of the Great Lakes lumber industry grew, so did lumbermens' need for a vessel that could ship vast quantities of timber quickly and economically. This was the driving force behind the creation of steambarges. Next, the evolution of the vessel type is explored through a detailed examination of the ships that influenced the conception and design of steambarges: schooners, paddle-wheel steamers, and propellers.
Finally, the archaeological investigation of the Sunset Park Wreck, later identified as the Joys, is presented. Analysis of archaeological data revealed a structural link between internal steambarge and schooner construction techniques. This data allowed this study to provide a working definition for steambarges in the archaeological record and demonstrate that steambarges actually do represent the missing link between sail and steam powered cargo transportation on the Great Lakes.