Build in the Kennebunk yards at the birth of America’s grandest commercial sailing age, the 444-ton EXCELSIOR exemplified the first priorities of merchant shipping: full-bodied lines with heavy, dependable construction, allowing for secure massive cargoes. This would soon make way for the concept of speed, both in the already competitive tea trade with the Orient, and the California gold trade.
Her authentic builder’s half-block model shows the pride of craftsmanship the ship rightly deserved. Smartly painted in black with the dual waterline yellow-red combination, her level keel in the oxide-inspired red, the original paint is a highly desirable attribute for a model of this age. The bow trailboard has gilt decoration and the ships name is smartly at the port rail. The model fills the simple heavy wood backboard with presence.
Her history of service is varied and interesting. While far from completely recorded or discovered, she is listed as a ship under the command of Captain Charles Williams of Kennebunk at her launching. The Williams were merchant ship pioneers, in that they both captained and owned ships in both the merchant and whaling trades. His brother, William H. Williams is recorded as her captain the next year. She hits another role in 1848, listed under the Benjamin Bruce’s line of Boston as a coastal passenger and cargo carrier. She registers on the New York port survey in 1853, as a member the Old Line of American ships sailing to foreign ports. A verbal provenance suggested she did some whaling in the era as well. A versatile ship remembered through a quality builders model.
first name :