This magnificent American yacht binnacle is from the 131 foot steel hulled schooner ARIADNE. Designed by Tams, Lemoine & Crane, ARIADNE was built by famed shipyard Harlan and Hollingsworth of Wilmington, Delaware for H.W. Putnam Jr. of the New York Yacht Club. When completed she weighed in at 168 tons.
Made of brass with a carved mahogany base with rope motif, this binnacle is in excellent condition and is marked with the maker’s name, John Bliss & Co. of New York. The top of the binnacle is engraved with the ship’s name in a large elegant script. The compass is marked Oliver & Co., New York.
Putnam raced ARIADNE in many NY Yacht Club events including the Squadron Run and the annual cruise. In 1905 he raced the schooner in a well-known multi-yacht club transatlantic race from Sandy Hook, NY to Lizard Point, Cornwall. Putnam sold ARIADNE in 1906 to fellow New York Yacht Club member James Laughlin.
The ship would later sail under the names CUTTY SARK and MARY PINCHOT. As MARY PINCHOT the schooner was owned by Gifford Pinchot, first Chief of the United States Forest Service and the 28th Governor of Pennsylvania. Pinchot re-named the ship for his mother.
In 1929 Pinchot organized and led an expedition aboard the MARY PINCHOT from New York to Tahiti to collect zoological specimens for the U.S. National Museum of Natural History. The voyage took the ship through the Panama Canal and made many stops including the Grand Cayman, the Galapagos, and the Marquesas. Upon his return Pinchot published a book of their travels “To the South Seas”. In addition to the Pinchot family and crew, the ship carried photographer Howard H. Cleaves whose footage shot during the voyage would be made into a documentary film shown in movie theaters throughout the United States.
Yacht registers show her original steam auxiliary engine was removed in 1924 and replaced with a 50hp diesel. In 1927 a mizzen mast was added and she was eventually rerigged as a topsail schooner. In 1932 ARIADNE is listed as having grown to a LOA of 147’10”. We've found a Thomas Willis painting of the ship as shw looked in 1902 and a photo of the ship post this refit- both are shown her for reference.
Sometime in the early 1930’s she again became ARIADNE under owner Harvey S. Bissell of Los Angeles, California. Bissell was best known as a manufacturer of carpet sweepers and later vacuum cleaners. Bissell would also take his family to far off places aboard the schooner. In 1933 he published “Full and By: The Story of an Adventurous Family and its Trip Around the World on the ARIADNE 1931-1933.” The ship’s captain, Victor Brisson, would also later publish the log books of his journeys with the Bissells in his native France. The original logs are in the collection of the University of Sydney, Australia.
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