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Old SIB Stories

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I should be studying for a statistics midterm but I'm writing this post.  


A little while ago I purchased a SIB from Greg Alvey's website.  http://www.artinbottles.com/index.php?route=common/home


I wanted an old SOB to study the techniques used as well as to have a piece of the history of this craft.  According to his website this bottle was built between 1900 and 1930.  




The whole scene I think is very pretty.  I had friends tell me it was probably based on Holland given the windmill.  Parts of the scene seemed very deliberate so I decided to dig further.  Starting with the lighthouse. 





As it turned out I found a match.  




This is Smeatons tower built in Plymouth England in Devon county.  


I then looked for windmills nearby.  Most of the windmills from the time period are falling apart but Devon county had a lot of them.  There's a wikki page about all the windmills in Devon county.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_windmills_in_Devon


Further confirming this is the flag on the stern of the ship.  The British Red ensign flown by civilian ships.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_ensign


Now if I could figure out the flag on the top mast.  I tried getting a picture of it but it didn't come out right.  I'll see if I can get another.  The ship is in my office at work right now.  The flag is a dark blue with gold in the middle and four white dots on each corner.  


It was fun putting the pieces together and finding the story the ship was depicting.  Has any one else had any similar experiences with old sib's or just have old sib stories in general?  


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I found a W. F. Price and Co out of Bristol established in 1838.  Need to do some more digging on it to see if it's the same.   


It's primarily a supplier of navigation charts. Seems like a service that could survive for over 175 years.


One angle you might look at is that Price might have been a successful ship captain who saved enough money to buy a sound vessel nearing the end of its useful life and made a go as an owner/operator similar to what a lot of truck drivers do. I have read enough ship and ship's captain biographies to know it wasn't un-heard of. If so you may find it hard to find anything on the company.


I can't tell much more from the model than it's a three-masted barque with courses, double topsails, topgallants and royals. A black hull doesn't help much for identification. Many full-rigged ships were converted to barques to reduce the manning cost. Dozens of vessels like this were sunk by German subs in WW1.


I found a  W Price & Co, Liverpool at 17 Tower Buildings North, Water Street, Liverpool in Lloyd's Register of Shipping, Vol. 2, 1901-2.


And the three-masted iron barque of 984 tons, James Gamble, (1875) registered in Workington, Cumbria, UK, was becalmed and ran aground near Tahiti bound for New Zealand from Peru with a cargo of sugar on May 24, 1902, Captain J. Rosie and 18 crew seemingly stranded there. Sessional Papers of Parliament 1902. She may have been named for the James Gamble who co-founded Procter & Gamble in 1837.


T Boyden & Co, Liverpool, for W. Price & Co, launched the Primrose Hill, a four masted iron barque of about 2500 tons, in February 1886. She had a fantastic rig with courses, double topsails and topgallants, royals and skysails (seven sails tall!). She was lost with 1 survivor while under tow near Holyhead on Christmas Eve, 1899. Clearly not the barque in the bottle but it tosses my guess of an independent owner/operator out the window.



Post card of Primrose Hill of Liverpool at Bristol.


Sister four masted barques built by W H Potter & Son, Liverpool, for W Price & Co, Holt Hill (1884) and Marlborough Hill (1885) [do you see a pattern here?] both very similar to Primrose Hill but only 6 sails tall (no skysails) but with one piece lower and top masts. After Holt Hill was wrecked in 1889, W Price & Co built another four mast barque with the same name in 1890. And then there's Bidston Hill a four masted ship built by T Boyden & Co in 1886 converted to a barque in 1893-4.



Both of these photos shows a black (or other very dark color) hull with a narrow white stripe and white bulwark cap rail.


Glenholm (1896) a three masted ship sunk by a German sub in 1915. The sub U27 surfaced and allowed the crew to escape before sinking her with the deck gun. On Aug. 19, 1915, less than three months later, U-27 was sunk by the Q-ship HMS Baralong. And there's Liverpool, launched in 1882 and lost in 1883.





It appears that James Gamble (1875) is the only candidate so far for the barque in the bottle. Wikimedia Commons has almost 1300 files of photos for Three Masted Ships but I don't feel inclined to go through them one by one looking for barques owned by W Price & Co. Few of those photos have even that much detail associated with them. There were several other ships with "Hill" in the name owned by a Glasgow shipping company in that same period and that's as far as I got with that list.



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Wow a lot of good information.  Could be the James Gamble.  That would be neat if it were.  There is a name written on the bow section. "Mary"  I figured it was probably the name of a wife or girlfriend the ship was intended for.  While I wouldn't put it passed some one to name a ship Mary that seemed to simple for a large barque like this one.  Thank you all for your research.  It's fun knowing some history behind this old ship in bottle.    

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I did find W Price & Co (or William Price & Co, which I assume is the same company) in Quebec in the 1820's and 30's frequently in reports of the dockside comings and goings of shipping. The name Mary (a brig) was frequently reported in connection with W[illiam] Price & Co. Smeaton Tower was moved from the Eddystone, where it looked like it was jutting up out of the sea, to Plymouth Hoe in 1882, so the scene in the bottle dates later than that. W Price & Co may have acquired a three masted barque named Mary at a later date. I would assume the model is Mary until some evidence turns up that she couldn't have been there after 1882. I have yet to find anything regarding W Price & Co much after the beginning of WW1.

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Thanks Dave.  Greg noted on the Website that the bottle was built between 1900 and 1930 which fit's in with what you've found.  My guess is that it's closer to 1900 than 1930.  Mostly because the ship doesn't have sails on it.  I've looked at a lot of ships in bottles between Michael Bardet's website, Folk Art in Bottles.com and others and one trend I saw, with a few exceptions, was that the older ships built in the late 19th century and early 20th century didn't have sail's.  I'm not sure the reason for that.  That was the beginning of the golden age of ship in bottle building so perhaps the technique didn't become wide spread until later.  Either way the pieces are fitting together and the ship is has an interesting story.  


Jeff- Thanks.  There is more where this one came from.  http://www.artinbottles.com/index.php?route=common/home Greg Alvey has quiet the collection.  There's actually an old brigantine built between 1870 and 1880.  Doesn't look like much but the fact that it's so old makes it interesting.  Then others with a lot of history like this one. http://www.artinbottles.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=60&product_id=85

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