A very rare American dockyard model. Dockyard models made in the United States for American shipbuilders are particularly rare. Most dockyard models were made in the UK. We have come across very few in our nearly 50 years in business.
Another plus is that this ship was from the famed Pacific Mail Steamship Company. The history of the Pacific Mail Steam Ship Company is parallel to that of San Francisco, where the line was based throughout most of its history. Pacific Mail had a guaranteed contract from the U.S. government to carry mail by sea, but it went on to become vital to Gold Rush transportation of both miners and goods as well as trade in the region and immigrant workers, particularly those from China.
In ¼ in.=1 ft. scale. Also of note is the rare presentation of the model displayed “on the ways” – on keel blocks within a model of a hydraulic dry dock.
The base of the model is detailed with adjustable bilge blocks with block and tackle, dock stanchions, catwalk, dock posts, painted water, builders' plaques and other details. All within the original mahogany framed glass case with skirt and legs.
The hull, built up in lifts, has a brick toned painted bottom and black topsides fitted with portholes, double sheer strakes. The deck has a maple veneer and is detailed with India ink drawn planking and fitted with anchors, anchor davit, bollards, bell, painted ventilators, companion way, deck hatches, deck railings, twin raked masts with standing and running rigging, deck houses detailed with India ink drawn windows, paneling and doors; a single black funnel, running lights, bridge binnacle and fire buckets, 10 painted boats rigged on davits, and other details.
History of the Vessel:
The S.S. PERU was an American steel hulled passenger freighter built at the Union Iron Works in San Francisco, and launched in 1892 for the Pacific Mail Steamship Company.
PERU had principal dimensions of LOA: 336 ft., Beam: 46 ft., Draft: 27 ft. and weighed 3,528 gross tons. She ran on triple expansion engines which gave her a top speed of 14 knots. The S.S. PERU served the Pacific Mail Steamship Company from 1892-1915, and was then sold to the Grace Line where she served for less than a year before being sold to Cie. des Vapeurs Francais, Paris. As the S.S. LUX she served from 1915-1920 on the run between Marseille and Oran with general cargo.
Union Iron Works was founded by Irish immigrants Peter and James Donahue in 1849, with offices in the South of Market area of San Francisco. In 1885, the Union Iron Works launched the first steel hulled ship on the west coast, the ARAGO. From 1884 to 1902, they built seventy-five marine vessels, including the OLYMPIA, Commodore Dewey's flagship during the Spanish-American war.
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