Friday, April 5, 2019

The Old Emma and the New One -- April 5, 2019

San Francisco Call, 24-November-1896
William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the San Francisco Call. "peccavi" is Latin for "I have sinned."

One Was in the Gale Saturday Night and the Other Is in Embryo.
With Her Propeller Amidships New Boat Will Be a Sensation.

The question as to the date of the heaviest southeaster that has made trouble on the bay during the past week has often arisen. In regard to the matter the ferry-boat captains seem to be in doubt. Some say it was last Thursday and others assert that last Saturday was the roughest occasion on which any of the boats have had to cross the bay. Captain Johnson of the steamer Emma says that never in his experience did he see as heavy a sea as then raged on the bay. During her last trip from Oakland Creek to San Francisco the little stern-wheeler was almost engulfed, and one of Piper, Aden, Goodall and Co.'s schooners appeared in the distance as though she was going out of sight.

Chief Engineer Roland of the Emma is j an old-timer on the Stockton route, but nevertheless the weather was too much for him, and, strange to say, be was seasick. Yesterday he was explaining to his friends that it was a case of biliousness, but all and sundry accepted the explanation with a credulous smile. Roland is an old-timer, but when the Emma struck the heavy swell that came in from the sea he had to cry "peccavi," and the first assistant took his place. Roland is certain that never in the history of the bay has such a heavy sea prevailed as that which rolled in last Saturday night.

The old stern-wheeler will not remain on the Oakland route many months. A new Emma is to take her place, and she is expected to make at least twelve knots an hour. The new boat is a departure from the style of craft now plying on the Stockton and Sacramento route, and, in fact, will be the only vessel of her class in the world outside of those plying on the Mississippi. Her propeller will be amidships, and when completed she will be one of the strongest vessels in the bay. The present Emma with a southeaster almost rolling her gunwales under and the new Emma with her wheel amidship make a pretty picture of the past and the present.

Many moons ago Chief Engineer Roland, then of the Stockton boat T. C. Walker, A. B. Darrell of the Stockton steamer J. D. Peters and P. A. Johnson, captain of the Daisy Kimball, combined and started an opposition freight boat to Alameda. The new boat was the old Emma, and for three years they have kept up the fight and made a living. Now business has improved to such an extent that a new Emma is required and the vessel is to be built at once.

"How can I explain the plan on which the new vessel is to be built?" said Chief Engineer Roland yesterday. "There is the model and from it you can see what we expect to make. The propeller will be amidships and will not take up more room than the walking-beam on a ferry steamer.

"Just imagine two separate ships joined together. They lie side by side, and there is of course considerable space between the two halls. Make those two hulls fast together and put a big paddle-wheel in the intervening space and then you have an idea of the new boat.

"If our idea be correct, and we are all old Mississippi men, the new boat should make about twelve knots an hour, and thus beat any Southern Pacific boat on the bay. She will be 150 feet long. 42 feet broad on the floor and 44 feet beam, and 10 feet deep.

"The old Emma is only 85 feet long, 22 feet 6 inches broad and 4 feet 7 inches deep. We expect to have the new Emma running on the route between the foot of Washington street, San Francisco, and the foot of Franklin street, Oakland, next March. In that event we will carry both passengers and cargo.''

When completed the new Emma will look like the Piedmont, only she will have no sidewheels, and in the place where is the Oakland's walking-beam will be a plain, ordinary house, which will keep the spray thrown up from the wheel away from the upper deck. When completed the new steamer will have accommodation for at least twenty-six teams on the lower deck, and all the general freight that comes along will be put on the upper deck. Cabin accommodation will be ample, and when ready for her trial trip the new Emma should attract universal attraction.

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