Americans have always been a people on the move—on rails, roads, and waterways (for travel through the air, visit the National Air and Space Museum). In the transportation collections, railroad objects range from tools, tracks, and many train models to the massive 1401, a 280-ton locomotive built in 1926. Road vehicles include coaches, buggies, wagons, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and automobiles—from the days before the Model T to modern race cars. The accessories of travel are part of the collections, too, from streetlights, gas pumps, and traffic signals to goggles and overcoats.
In the maritime collections, more than 7,000 design plans and scores of ship models show the evolution of sailing ships and other vessels. Other items range from scrimshaw, photographs, and marine paintings to life jackets from the Titanic.
"Transportation - Overview" showing 1 items.
- This is the original builder’s half hull model of the famous ship Young America, constructed by the renowned shipbuilder William Webb in 1852/53 at his New York shipyard. Measuring 243 feet long on deck and 1,961 tons, the Young America was an extreme clipper, characterized by a sharp bow and long, narrow hull. Constructed lightly for speed and commonly sailing the harsh waters of Cape Horn off the southern tip of South America with crews of up to 100 men, clippers often lasted only about ten years before being sold to foreign owners.
- Costing $140,000 to build, the Young America set a number of speed records. It sailed from New York to San Francisco 20 times, averaging 118 days per trip. Its reputation for strength and speed earned high freight rates—its maiden voyage from New York to San Francisco earned $86,400. The clipper traded mainly between Liverpool, New York and San Francisco, but also sailed to China, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, the Philippines, Mauritius and other countries. After a very long and profitable 30-year career, the Young America was sold to Austrian owners in 1883 and renamed the Miroslav. In February 1886, the ship cleared Delaware for a trading voyage and was never seen again.
- Half hull models were the first step in the construction of a ship. They were carved out of horizontal strips of wood known as lifts, and only one side was needed since ships are symmetrical. After a model was approved, its lines were taken (measured) and it was disassembled. Then the lines were lofted, or drawn at full scale on the floor. The actual ship’s frames were cut to fit the lines on the floor and then set in place along the keel during the construction process. Sometimes the models were discarded or even burned as firewood after use, but many original examples are preserved today.
- Date made
- sold and renamed
- ship disappeared after setting sail from Delaware
- Webb, William H.
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center