Navigational Track Chart for the German Nitrate Barque Prompt, 1906

By the mid-1870s, the Pacific guano trade had mined all the available bird guano from the South American and remote Pacific Ocean islands. Fortunately for international agricultural interests, nitrate and phosphate mines had recently been discovered inland in Peru and Chile to fill the gap, and big sailing ships from Europe and the United States exchanged the avian excrement for chemicals that could be mined and blended for fertilizers and other products.
This track chart measured daily progress for the German steel-hulled sailing barque Prompt on a nitrate voyage from Hamburg, Germany to Valparaiso, Chile in 1906. The three-masted Prompt was built by the German shipbuilders Blohm & Voss at Hamburg, Germany for the Flying P line of nitrate clippers in 1887, and measured 238 ft. 8 in. in length and 1,445 tons. Prompt set a record of 65 days from Isle of Wight to Valparaiso in 1892 and was sold to Finnish owners in 1908.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 11 1/4 in x 14 1/4 in; 28.575 cm x 36.195 cm
ID Number
catalog number
nonaccession number
Measuring & Mapping
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Work and Industry: Maritime
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Capt. J. Ferrell Colton

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