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Carnegie (ship)

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Name  Carnegie
Cost  US$115,000
Launched  12 June 1909
Tonnage  293,000 kg
Displacement  515,300 kg
Owner  Carnegie Institution
Beam  33 ft (10 m)
Length  47 m
Weight  577.1 tons
Builder  Brooklyn
Carnegie (ship) httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommons88
Fate  Destroyed by fire November 29, 1929
Notes  Designed by Henry J. Gielow

The Carnegie was a brigantine yacht, equipped as a research vessel, constructed almost entirely from wood and other non-magnetic materials to allow sensitive magnetic measurements to be taken for the Carnegie Institution's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism. She carried out a series of cruises from her launch in 1909 to her destruction by an onboard explosion while in port in 1929. She covered almost 300,000 miles (500,000 km) in her twenty years at sea.

Contents

Construction

Louis Agricola Bauer, the first director of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution, wanted to focus on acquiring oceanic magnetic data to improve the understanding of the Earth's magnetic field. After an experiment in which the brigantine Galilee was adapted by removing as much magnetic material as possible, it became clear that a new entirely non-magnetic ship was needed. After convincing the institution's board, Bauer set about getting such a vessel built. The Carnegie was designed by naval architect Henry J. Gielow and built at the Tebo Yacht Basin Company yard in Brooklyn, New York. Gielow's design minimised the amount of magnetic materials used in its construction and fittings. Locust trunnels were used to hold together the timbers with the help of some bronze or copper bolts. The anchors were made of bronze and were attached to 11 inches (28 cm) hemp cables. A reserve engine was required to increase manoeuvrability and allow passage through the doldrums, so Carnegie was fitted with a producer gas engine, made mainly of copper and bronze, using coal as a fuel. She cost $115,000 (about 10 million dollars today) to build.

Carnegie was 155.5 feet (47.4 m) long with a beam of 33 feet (10 m). She was rigged as a brigantine, with square sails on the foremast, giving a total sail area of 12,900 square feet (1,200 m2). The most distinctive feature was the observation deck, with its two observing domes made of glass in bronze frames. This allowed observations to be made under all weather conditions.

Cruises

Between 1909 and 1921 Carnegie carried out 6 cruises, including one where she managed the fastest circumnavigation of Antarctica by a sailing vessel, in 118 days, a testing voyage where thirty icebergs were sighted on a single day. For the last four of Carnegie's cruises, the ship was commanded by Captain James P. Ault. From 1921 to 1927 Carnegie was laid up for an extensive refurbishment, including new deck timbers and a thicker copper hull. The old producer gas engine was replaced with a gasoline fuelled one. In 1928 Carnegie set off on the seventh cruise, which was intended to take three years. Soundings taken during this voyage discovered the Carnegie Ridge off Ecuador.

Destruction

After completing 43,000 miles (69,000 km) of the planned voyage, Carnegie put in to the port of Apia, Samoa for supplies on 28 November 1929. While refuelling with gasoline there was an explosion, which mortally wounded Captain Ault and killed the cabin boy. The Carnegie burnt to the waterline within a few hours.

Legacy

By 1930 the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism had enough data to be able to produce a much better view of Earth's magnetic field than had previously been available.

References

Carnegie (ship) Wikipedia


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