Ship with name plate of THREE BROTHERS (on right end of ship in image), sailing to right. No other ships in view. Duplicate title (2004.D03.599 FAC #1170), difference is .599 does not show name.
The era of sailing ships began just before 1845 and ended 20 years later with the opening of the Suez Canal. Many clippers specialized in the China tea trade, were active during the California gold rush, and engaged in the long voyage to Australia. They carried both passengers and cargo and established impressive speed records, such as twelve days from Boston to Liverpool, less than 90 days from New York to San Francisco, 81 days from Calcutta to New York and around the world in 134 days. All clippers were specially designed for fast sailing. They were fitted with three or four towering masts and had so much sail that large crews were needed to handle them. They averaged 1500 to 2500 tons, making Clipper Ship Three Brothers above the average. This vessel, along with the Clipper Ship Flying Cloud were deemed the “speed queens” of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The record voyages that clipper ships were making intrigued the public and there was a great demand for images of vessels. Nathaniel Currier, always anxious to fill the demand, published his first clipper-ship print in 1845. Later Currier & Ives re-issued many of these prints including the print Clipper Ship Three Brothers in 1875.