Californian's cargo


Martin Pirrie

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Jun 28, 2000
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The earliest record that I can find of the unsinkabilty of a ship in the era of Titanic comes from an advertisement
of about 1906 or 1907 by J. Stone & Co. Ltd. London S.E. who stated that:

"The ‘Mauretania’ is

= Practically Unsinkable =

Owing to the Watertight Bulkhead Doors being Hydraulically controlled by

THE STONE - LLOYD SYSTEM "


Martin Pirrie.
 

Paul Slish

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Jan 18, 2006
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"This is the first time the steamship Californian has been in this port. Capt. Lord said it was his first trip here. The steamer was loaded with a miscellaneous cargo and berthed at the B & A docks in East Boston." Boston Traveller, April 19, 1912, p.7. "B & A docks" stands for "Boston and Albany docks."

So we know the Californian had a miscellaneous cargo. The Boston press sometimes gave a more detailed description of the cargo of incoming Leyland Line ships. I have not found anything more specific about the Californian on her April 19, 1912 arrival. There is a good description of her cargo on the voyage back to Liverpool. I will post that another time.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>So we know the Californian had a miscellaneous cargo. <<

Unfortunately, that could mean literally anything. The Californian, like a lot of freighters of the time tended to carry just about anything that somebody was willing to load on board. Ernest Gill mentioned that he couldn't smoke below decks because of the cargo, and I have to wonder what that was? Textiles? Flamamble liquids?
 

Paul Slish

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Boston Globe, April 27, 1912, p.4

"The Leyland Line steamship Californian is scheduled to leave here at 5 p m today for Liverpool, but unless Capt Stanley Lord, her commander, who was summoned to Washington to give testimony before the Senate Investigation Committee regarding the position of his vessel at the time the Titanic went down, returns the steamer's departure will have to be delayed."

"Her principal shipments will be 80,000 bushels of wheat, 25,000 bushels of corn, 1550 tons of Santo Domingo sugar, 1000 bales of cotton, 200 tons of hay, 300 tons of flour, 200 tons of lumber and a lot of general freight."

That gives us a lot of information about the Californian's cargo on her return voyage to Liverpool.

The next time I go to Boston, I will see if I can find out anything more specific about her cargo on the trip to Boston.

I will post what some other Leyland ships had as cargo inbound to Boston. That will at least give us a general idea of what Leyland was transporting from England to Boston.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Good luck in your search Paul. I'm wondering if a copy of the manifest would have been filed with the Boston port as well as the U.S. Customs authorities. If it was, it's probably lying in some forgotten cabinet in a records office.
 

Dave Gittins

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Maybe Captain Lord banned smoking below decks at any times. Smoking could endanger just about any cargo, which might be packed in wooden crates, bags or whatever. Captain Lord said at the US inquiry that he was very careful to hold fire drills in which the crew practiced fighting fires in various parts of the ship. He evidently took fire seriously, as well he might.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Maybe Captain Lord banned smoking below decks at any times. <<

He may have, but that's not the sense of it that I get from Gill's affidavit or his testimony. He appears to have made that decision on his own. Still, it's not as if Gill is completely trustworthy.

>>He evidently took fire seriously, as well he might.<<

Smart move on Lord's part. That cargo they took on the return trip to the U.K. is just about made to order for a stubborn and hard to put out blaze. It was fairly dense, and wouldn't take much to get going. I'm sure that they carried quite a bit of cargo a lot more incendiary then that on occasion.
 
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I'm not nor have ever been a smoker, but one of the things I remember about my duty in the USN were those "The smoking lamp is out" or "The smoking lamp is lit" announcements over the ship's PA system. :)
 

Paul Slish

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The Armenian of the Leyland Line arrived in Boston on April 11, 1912. She came from Liverpool, so her cargo may have differed somewhat from what the Californian brought from London. But it gives us some idea of what Leyland was carrying out of the UK.

Boston Globe, April 12, 1912, page 3.

"Armenian brings 43,500 bags of Irish potatoes. Bringing the largest shipment of foreign potatoes ever received at this port, the Armenian of the Leyland Line arrived yesterday from Liverpool. Waterfront statisticians figure there were 17,400,00 potatoes in the big vessel. According to her manifest there were 43,500 bags, the total weight of which was 7,168,000 pounds. The present market value of potatoes is $3.50 a bag, so that the consignment on the Armenian is worth $152,250. The amount the consignees will have to pay in customs duties will be $23,925."

"The potatoes are from Northern Ireland and of last year's crop. They were sent to Liverpool and were in warehouse there several weeks in anticipation of the advance in the American market."

"The Armenian brought in what is believed to be the largest cargo ever shipped from Liverpool to Boston. She had 7,500 tons deadweight, including 4000 bales of Egyptian cotton, 150 tons of mahogany, 800 bags of oil cake feed and heavy consignments of merchandise. It is estimated that the value of this immense cargo will exceed $1,600,000."

"Capt Jacobsen reported a great field of ice to the eastward of Nova Scotia, which extended across the steamship lane and made it necessary to make a long detour to clear it."
...
"The steamer brought 38 cabin passengers,"

Well that is a pretty nice description of a Liverpool to Boston cargo transported by Leyland.

The ice field was reported well in advance of the Titanic's collision with the berg also.

I'll have another post about cargo later.
 
May 3, 2005
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Was the Californian carrying any passengers at the time of the Titanic disaster ?

I have heard some reports that the Californian could carry a small number of passengers and others that it was not carrying any passengers.
ANTR and others seem to indicate the latter.

Note to Michael - Of course, you are free to dismiss this post as "hearsay evidence" :)

Season's Greetings to you and all the other Experts (Upper Case "E") as well as all the other non-experts (lower case "n" and lower case "e") posters such as myself. :)
 
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>>Was the Californian carrying any passengers at the time of the Titanic disaster ?<<

>>Nope. She had cabins for passengers but they were all unoccupied during this particular voyage.<<

Since this posting, I discovered that this subject had been covered on a previous thread.
It also had a curious reference to an 8-year old girl [reported that she was a passenger on the Californian] that had seen rockets.

I seem to remember a line in a scene in which Captain Lord remarks [after stopping in the ice] "If they were in a hurry they wouldn't be traveling with us...." I thought it was from ANTR but haven't been able to spot it.
 

Paul Slish

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The Californian returned to Boston from Liverpool and arrived on June 1, 1912 under the command of William Masters.

"The Californian brought 26 cabin passengers, among whom were a bevy of pretty girl students from the Missouri State University, who have been studying music in Munich during the past Winter."

"The Californian brought 2000 tons of general cargo, including 750 tons of Egyptian cotton, 250 tons of wool, 175 tons of dry hides and skins, 100 tons of bulk salt and 100 tons of dry goods."

Boston Globe, June 1, 1912, p. 3

Here is another example of typical England to Boston, MA freight.
 

Paul Slish

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I have located the contents of customs manifests for ships arriving at New York. I'm still working on locating them for Boston.
 
May 3, 2005
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In reference to an earlier post.
At about 13:23 in ANTR, Lord remarks to Groves, "Well, our passengers aren't in any hurry. They wouldn't be if they were with us."
 

Bob Godfrey

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I must correct myself. The Californian did indeed depart from London on 5 April, specifically from the Royal Albert Dock in North Woolwich.
 

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