TUGBOAT

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NEW YORK TUGBOAT

There are several versions of this model listed above, so that you can see the evolution of how a model is made. Quite frankly, the first versions were very difficult to make. The final version is shown above. By the way, it can also be used as a Christmas tree ornament.

This is a model of a tugboat operated by Moran Towing Corporation in New York harbor. Moran operates the largest fleet of tug boats in the USA. Each of their vessels has a distinctive 'M' on the smokestack. Even if you have never been to New York, you have probably seen these tugs a number of times and never realized it. The next time you are watching a movie shot around the harbor of New York, look for a boat with the distinctive logo.

A tugboat in New York harbor.

The Port of New York is one of the largest natural harbors in the world, which is why the location, then known as New Amsterdam, was chosen in the 17th century. In fact, New York Harbor is actually 11 ports in one, stretched over 650 miles of shoreline. When the Erie Canal was completed in 1825, it assured that New York would be the center of trade for the entire Eastern Seaboard.

A map showing the nine major New York railroads and ports circa 1900.

After the Civil War, there was an explosion of railway building. The terminus of these railways was, by necessity, the west side of the Hudson River. Barges, pushed by tugboats, brought the goods from Manhattan Island to the western shore. It is no wonder that railroad baron, Cornelius Vanderbilt, owned a fleet of tugboats, as the tug was absolutely essential to the flow of finished goods across the Hudson. By 1929 there were over 700 tugs working the port. The tugboat has become a symbol of New York, much like the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, or Brooklyn Bridge.

At its peak, from 1900 to 1950, New York Harbor had 1800 docks, 1100 warehouses, and 39 active shipyards.


Poster for the movie, Tugboat Annie, circa 1933.

'Tugboat Annie', a 1933 movie starring Marie Dressler and Wallace Beery was about a quarrelsome middle-aged couple who operate a tugboat. The film is based on series of stories in Saturday Evening Post written by Norman Reilly Raine. and based on life of Thea Christiansen Foss (8 June 1857 to 7 June 1927) was the real-life person on which the fictional character 'Annie' was based. She was the founder of Foss Maritime, the largest tugboat company in the western United States.





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