Sail and Steam

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When steam propulsion was first fitted into British ships-of-the-line, the engines were not powerful and masts with a full outfit of sails were retained for cruising. Naval staff considered that steam engines were not totally reliable and they may breakdown - the early ones did - so a warship had to have an alternative means of propulsion. Engines were used intermittently and for short periods when the wind was not favourable or in dead calm. Engineers were trained to operate and maintain the engine and associated machinery but they had to fight hard to gain their rightful status amid opposition and downright hostility on board from conservative sail ship officers reluctant to see sail drill disappear and for smoke, soot and coal dust to cover the decks, buffed-up metalwork and brightly-painted superstructure. After 100 years of Pax Britannica, they seem to have forgotten what was the role of a fighting navy - built for action not for show.

Catalogue number 35048

Screw ships of the line

Conqueror was laid down as a sailing ship but was modified on the stocks to be launched in 1855 as a screw ship-of-the-line. Centurion was launched 1844 as a sailing 3rd rate and fitted with steam propulsion in 1855. In this stereo-photograph, the funnel of each ship is lowered and therefore not visible.

Verso: "H.M.S.S. "Conqueror," 101 Guns, 800 Horse-power; "Centurion," 80 Guns, 400 Horse-power. - Channel Fleet.

14.8cm x 7.5 cm Photograph on cardboard mount


Catalogue number

The development of screw ships of the line

The arrival and subsequent development over 50 years of the marine steam engine meant that ships of ever increasing tonnage could be constructed in contrast to only a doubling of tonnage over the preceding 200 year period.

From " Ship of the Line " Wikipedia 2018


Catalogue number 96053

Sail and steam in the Austro-Hungarian Navy: SMS Fasana

SMS Fasana, completed in 1871 for the Austro-Hungarian Navy, was a sail corvette with a 2-cylinder horizontal steam engine which could propel the ship along at 11 kts. Shown here in Port Saïd, Fasana made several circumnavigations of the globe and was known for its many visits to ports around the world.

24.5cm x 16cm Photograph


Catalogue number 52136

SMS Donau

Another steam and sail frigate built for long cruises (North and South America 1894-95, South America and East Asia 1900, Central America and Japan 1901) and cadet training was SMS Donao. She was completed in 1894.

Recto:"Frigate autrichienne Donau" in black ink

8.5cm x 6cm Photograph


Catalogue number 79073

SMS Frundsberg visiting Marseille 1897

SMS Frundsberg was a Aurora-class sloop with sails and a two-cylinder horizontal steam engine, completed in 1874 for the Austro-Hungarian Navy. She is seen here in the port of Marseille around 1897.

12cm x 16.8cm Photograph


Catalogue number 80003

Central battery ships

The next two photographs were taken during the Universal Exposition in Barcelona 1888. There were many links between the royal families of Spain and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Several ships of the Austro-Hungarian Navy were present in the port of Barcelona during the exposition. The iron-clad casemate ship SMS Prinz Eugèn is seen here dressed overall with either SMS Kaiser Max or Don Juan d'Austria moored behind. These ships had a sail area of 1633m2 and had a single expansion steam engine giving 13 kts.

Recto : " Prinz Eugèn " cuirassé (Autrichien)

10.7cm x 8.7cm Negative


Catalogue number 80002

SMS Custoza in Barcelona, 1888

A centre battery ship completed in 1875, SMS Custoza was originally fully-rigged (sail area 14,400 sq ft) but in 1877, the spars were reduced and she received a schooner rig with three square sails on the foremast.

Recto : " Custoza " cuirassé (Autrichien)

10.7cm x 8.7cm Negative


Catalogue number 52115

Sail and steam in the US Navy, 1892

Warships from several nations gathered in the port of Barcelona in 1892 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the voyage of Columbus and then moved on to Genoa, birthplace of Columbus, to continue the celebrations. Here we see USS Newark, a protected cruiser commissioned in 1891. She could make 18 kts with two triple expansion engines working two screws. This photograph of USS Newark is one of a series taken of the visiting fleet in Genova.

Recto:"Neckar (sic)(Etats Unis) " in black ink

16.8cm x 12cm Photograph


Catalogue number 36175

USS Ranger abroad in 1911

USS Ranger was barque-rigged with a horizontal compound steam engine giving 10 kts. She carried only 130 tons of coal so sails were useful when cruising over great distances. She was an armed surveying ship from 1880 to 1891 and then from 1909 was used as a training ship. She is shown here during a visit in 1911 to the port of Southampton, Great Britain.

Verso:"/7/7/11/ This is a picture of the ship and it is a good view of her. The bunch on the forecastle are getting mail I will show you myself when I get where I can point to it. Go to London tomorrow. Was chief Engineer of the gasoline cutter that you see in the water today.". Sent to Miss Dorothy….., Franklin, U.S.A. Franked Southampton 8th July 1911.

13.7cm x 8.7cm Photograph


Catalogue number 104095

USS Alert

Alert was the lead ship of the Alert class of iron-hulled gunboats that included USS Ranger and USS Huron. Shown here dressed overall for some special occasion. Commissioned in 1875, Alert became a submarine tender from 1911 onwards.

13.8cm x 7.8cm Photograph


Catalogue number 37120

Gunboat USS Annapolis in France

This ship was originally barquentine-rigged then changed to fore and aft rigged (sometime between 1901 and 1905) as shown in this photograph, taken somewhere in France (see "Bois exotique" on the warehouse front just forward of the bow). Lead ship of Annapolis class of patrol gunboats completed in 1897 she was armed with six 4-inch, six 6-pounders and two 1-pounders.

Verso : " Annapolis Croiseur (E.U.) in light pencil

9cm x 14cm Photograph


Catalogue number 45158

USS Marion

The barque-rigged USS Marion of 1839 was rebuilt and commissioned as a third-rate wooden screw sloop. After cruising duties on the European, South Atlantic and Asiatic stations, she became a naval militia training ship in 1898.

14cm x 9.7cm Photograph


Catalogue number 27007

USS Trenton in the Mediterranean Sea, circa 1880

In this photograph we can clearly see the disposition of sails on this screw frigate. The wooden hull was made with a species of oak called Live oak that was extensively used in early US shipbuilding because of its strength when used for curved structural members of the hull. She had a cast-iron ram that projected 8ft from the bow and was 9ft below the surface. From 1877 to 1881, Trenton was the flagship of the Mediterranean squadron and this photograph appears to be taken off the Mediterranean coast - Villefranche sur Mer or maybe Toulon. Trenton was wrecked in 1889 on a reef in Apia harbour, Samoa during a hurricane.

Verso: "USS Trenton"

24.1cm x 20.8cm Photograph


Catalogue number 108001

USS Alliance in France, 1878

USS Alliance was a screw gunboat launched in 1875 and she was assigned to the European squadron in 1877 with the mission to protect American property and lives as well as showing the flag. The ship was based at Villefranche sur Mer and visited several ports along the French coast, including Marseille, during 1878. Here she is shown probably in Le Havre or Cherbourg. The national ensign is out......and so is the washing !

Recto: "L'Alliance U.S.A.""

16cm x 10.3cm Photograph


Catalogue number 108002

The deck of USS Alliance, 1878

With this view from the bridge onto the gun deck, we can see how rigging, masts, spars and shrouds all add together to leave little space for guns to arc.

Recto: " Sur l'Alliance"

16.4cm x 12cm Photograph


Catalogue number 104078

HMS Monarch

The battleship HMS Monarch was initially ship-rigged but changed to a barque rig in 1872 as shown here with Monarch anchored off Scarborough, Great Britain. With a sail area of 27,700 sq. ft (about half the size of a football pitch) and a two-cylinder horizontal steam engine, the ship was considered to be a good sailer. Sometime around 1870, she crossed the Atlantic to the USA and back using sails as auxiliary propulsion and suffered no coal shortage (bunkerage 600 tons of coal). We can guess that much of the passage was done under sail and on the return trip, she did 242 nautical miles in one day!

9cm x 5.9cm Photograph on cardboard mount


Catalogue number 49057

Sail and steam in all its splendor

The French Navy ship Amiral Cécille was barque-rigged protected cruiser completed in 1890. She was initially on station in the Caribean and later cruised off the West Coast of Africa, ending her life as a training ship for mechanical engineers at Toulon.

Verso : " Le Cécille "

26,8cm x 18.3cm Photograph


Catalogue number ****

French warships with sails out

Part of the French Mediterranean fleet probably drying out the sails whilst off the port of Villefranche sur Mer at the turn of the century.


Catalogue number 89

French Navy battleship Guyenne

Launched in 1865, the wooden-hulled battleship Guyenne had wrought iron armour fixed to her sides. With a barque rig, the sail area was 1960 m2/21100 sq ft.

Verso: "Guyenne Cuirassé d'escadre." in black ink

32cm x 22.4cm Photograph on stiff paper mount 57,5cm x 42,7