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The Curator's Log 
August, 2014

Herreshoff Testimonials of 1879

In 1878, about the time the John Brown and Nat Herreshoff joined together in partnership to form the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company (HMCo), they solicited testimonials from recent customers. The responses were combined and printed as “Testimonials to The Herreshoff Manufacturing Company” apparently for distribution to potential customers. Sadie L. Herreshoff preserved one listing of testimonials in her scrapbook “Newspaper Cuttings”. The following are taken from this collection. All the steam vessels mentioned were equipped with the Herreshoff Patented Safety Coil Boiler and the selection of testimonials emphasizes the importance of the coil boiler to HMCo’s business at that time.

Plantation owner George Lyman Appleton of Myrtle Grove, Bryan County, GA was the first to respond:
“The OGEECHEE (50 foot steam launch) that you built for me comes up to all you promised and more. She came from Savannah on Tuesday last with three flats (i.e. floats), two of them over 60 feet long; one flat was loaded with all sorts of things, and the other two had over 10,000 feet of lumber. She also went to Tybee Island on Monday, and back, in three hours, including quite a stop at the Island. This is the quickest trip, I think that has been made to the Island…a distance of sixteen miles and the tide runs very swiftly. You are at liberty to use this endorsement from me for your boats…after an experience of four years with two of them, I am satisfied…”

The next testimonial was from Mr. L. F. Williams, Chairman of the Bristol Town Committee. The large coil boiler powering the pumping station for Bristol’s fire main system (See the June 2014 Curator’s Log for a discussion of the system.) had been is service for three years. Chairman Williams reported:
“The Coil is in as good condition to-day as when set up.”

Wm. H. F. Graham, owner of the 100-foot steam screw schooner LEILA, (his third and largest Herreshoff boat) used in commercial service in the Chesapeake reported:
“…she was in constant use from the 5th of October to the 5th of December, making several trips down the Bay, and excursions of ten days at a time during which time everything worked well, and we estimate that she is safe, reliable and is a good sea boat.”

F. S. G. d’Hautville of Newport provided a testimonial for SINDBAD, a 42-foot steam launch with a schooner rig and in service for just two months:
“The hull appears to be strongly built and does not leak; the engine works well. No repairs have been required, and the Coil Boiler has given perfect satisfaction. The boat is very buoyant in a sea way, does not ship any water over the sides and in this respect contrasts very favorably with Launches weighed down with the ordinary heavy boilers and machinery.”

-JJ Palmieri

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