You are currently browsing the daily archive for February 13, 2022.

I need to reprise this photo from post J, and here’s why, adapting from William Lafferty’s comment the other day:  “Carbany (below and derived from “Cargill” and “Albany”), built/launched by JK Welding Company at Brooklyn in October 1939, is one of the first two tugs Cargill had built to explore the possibility of hauling barges of grain from Oswego to Albany for foreign shipment.  Cargill’s Cargo Carriers, Inc., would operate a fleet of very odd and utilitarian push boats and barges on that route until 1962. Carbany was paired with a unique notched barge, CC No. 3, shown clearly in the photograph. The tug had a large trap door atop the pilothouse so the pilot could navigate when the barges were light.” 

A few years earlier, in 1935, Cargill bought Protector, a wooden-hulled 220 hp diesel-powered vessel built as an icebreaker/reception boat in Boston harbor.  Dimensions on the tug were 70′ x 18′ with an airdraft of 14.5′.  This was problematic because the barges used were 13.5′ high when light.  The ONeil fleet barge alongside here is clearly loaded.  Tugboat Urger is about the same size.

To adapt to this, the following modifications were made:  steering was made hydraulic, and two additional steering points were devised:  a removable “roof” wheel was installed for use with light barges and the wheel could be lowered to “ceiling” position for negotiating low bridges.

Cargill bought their first set of barges in 1937, small with a capacity of  23, 000 to 26, 000 bushels.   That converts to 20 to 25 40′ modern grain trailers you might see on the highway today.  Protector moved a string of seven barges, which meant double-locking at each lock.

I’m curious about use of the large wheel visible through the open cabin of barge 2974.  Off the stern of Protector, that’s barge 2643. Such a wheel would be secured/immobilized in a tow, right?

One hazardous area of the Barge Canal for Protector and barges, light barges especially, was Oneida Lake;  if winds were greater than 15 mph when the tow got to Lock 22, they’d tie up there and wait for the calmer conditions.  Another hazardous location after a heavy rain was Genesee [River] Crossing, where currents and overcoming them would cause a whiplash effect on the string of barges.  A third was the section of the Niagara River between Tonawanda and the Black Rock lock.  This led Cargill, aka John MacMillan Jr., who was said to be “crazy about boats,”  to seek another solution, namely Carbany, and what followed, which we’ll discuss in the next Barge Canal post.

I’ve found no additional info about Protector before and after its Barge Canal use.  Protector gets mentioned here in a Cargill history, along with another Cargill vessel, Mayan, which sailed for Cargill during 1936 only.

For use of these photos, many thanks to the Canal Society of New York, which will hold its Winter Symposium in Rochester in early March.  More info here.

Some info here credited to Wayne G. Broehl‘s Cargill:  Trading the World’s GrainMore on Cargill and MacMillan familes here.

Not much related:  One of JK Welding’s boats–ST 80–may be a museum vessel in Genoa, but I’ve not been able to confirm that.

Many thanks to Bob Mattsson for the enhanced top photo.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,578 other subscribers
If looking for specific "word" in archives, search here.
Questions, comments, photos? Email Tugster

Documentary "Graves of Arthur Kill" is AVAILABLE again here.Click here to buy now!

Recent Comments

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.


February 2022