Wool Embroidered Picture

Silk and wool embroidered picture of a British Man-of-War. The single row of guns shows it to be a frigate and the White Ensign shows that it belongs to the Royal Navy. Woolen pictures were done by sailors and captains. In England they were called "woolies."

Bank Sign

Like many ship portrait painters, Belfast's Percy Sanborn took commissions for signs and other decorative work. This sign was painted for the Belfast National Bank, established in 1879. It is signed by Sanborn, as are his paintings. Oil on board.

Sea Moss Book

These sea mosses were artistically pressed by Ellen Cutter Starrett, wife of Captain Henry A. Starrett, while they were aboard the ship T.J. Southard.  Ellen notes in the beginning of the album, "Mosses pressed at the Chincha Islands in the spring of 1864." This was a popular activity for captains' wives, particularly in a place like the Chincha Islands, where a ship might wait for a long time before it could load guano. The eagle pressing has a label that says "Made of moss taken at the Chincha Islands Peru."

Seamen's Friend Society Library Box

American Seamen's Friend Society Loan Library box with books, Library No. 3931. The Society loaned these boxes of books to ships, so that the seamen could have the opportunity to read encouraging literature about life and faith.

Speaking Trumpet

Speaking trumpet, 22 inches long, inscribed "From pilot boat Effort, New Bedford, Mass. to Pilot Boat Clarence Barclay of Salem." The 325 ton Clarence Barclay was built in Salem in 1856; this speaking trumpet was likely a gift in recognition for some help given to the New Bedford boat, but that story, along with how it got to the museum, is lost.

Chart Showing the International Signal Flags

International signal flags have been used to communicate between merchant ships for almost two centuries, though the system of communication has changed. The first widely used code was created by Captain Fredrick Marryat, Royal Navy, in 1817, using numbers only. Numbers were assigned to ships and then later letters after the introduction of a new code in 1857. These were published in ship registers, with each ship having a unique set of letters, just as automobiles have unique license plates. In 1857, when the system was revised, some 40,000 were needed.

Double Block

Double-sheave block with a rope becket and hook, used aboard ship. The becket is the part that goes around the block and allows it to be attached to the object on which force is being exerted. When a becket has a hook spliced into it, the block and tackle can be moved or shifted. If it needs to be semi-permanently fastened, the hook is hooked into the sail or other object and a mousing or lashing is made from the point of the hook back to the body.

Rose Medallion Plate

Chinese Rose Medallion platter brought back by the Dow/Eaton family of Searsport.

Chinese Ceramic Tea Bowl and Saucer

Chinese export ceramic tea bowl and saucer, with scalloped blue and white border and enameled decoration. Design has Mandarin man and his lady at the tea table and a boy at the window.

Chinese Tea Box

Chinese tea box, decorated with two horses on front. Bottom reads "Per Mails Steamer, Choicest Specialty Selected First Crop Lap Sang Souchong." By the time this tea was exported, the fastest way to get tea from China was by fast steamship, the same steamship that carried the mail. The days of racing to England with the fresh tea crop under sail were gone.


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