On the Water

Ship Model, Steam Schooner Royal

This model represents a vessel powered by both steam and sail power. An auxiliary schooner, the Royal was one of several built after 1890 for use in the Alaska salmon fishery. Tenders like the Royal transported workers and supplies, and carried fish packed at remote canneries. The model shows a deckhouse with a pilothouse forward, a fish hatch, and a slide companionway to the forecastle.

The Royal was built in 1891 by Matthew Turner at Benicia, California. Turner, born in Ohio in 1825, grew up on the shores of Lake Erie, where he learned about fishing and the ship-building trades. In 1850 he joined the throngs of fortune-seekers heading to the California gold rush. After some success in the gold fields, he returned east but was soon back on the West Coast, where he organized a trading company that shipped lumber and other cargoes. He also began building ships, and in 1882 he moved his operations to Benicia, on Suisun Bay, northeast of San Francisco. A prolific builder, Turner launched some 228 sailing vessels in his career. The site of Turner’s Benicia shipyard was registered as a California Historical Landmark in 1987.

ID Number:
Turner, Matthew
Place Made:
Benicia, California
wood, fabric
36 in x 49 in x 12 in; 91.44 cm x 124.46 cm x 30.48 cm
Gift of the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries