Center of image ship “Ingersolls’ Improved Metallic Lifeboat.” Flying American flag, two passengers on left of center, dog on right. Another ship off to right. Statistics about the ship in lower left corner: length 26 feet breadth of beam 6ft 1 inch lower right corner: depth of hold 2 ft 8 inches 2 38/100 tons register Duplicate title and image (2004.D03.202 FAC #4137). Difference is that .202 has an inscription “brought back in 1873” on back of print.
The pursuit of pleasure boating became an international activity during the 19th century. Currier & Ives capitalized on the public interest in yachting by publishing hundreds of images of ships that celebrated the new technology and innovations that allowed for faster travel. The Red, White, and Blue, a boat that was just 26 feet long, made an epic journey from Sandy Hook, New Jersey to the English Channel in an amazing 35 days. The boat was a combination of old and new technology and possessed a modern galvanized hull to prevent corrosion but still carried a traditional 3-masted square rigger. The trip was conceived by New York boat builder, O.K. Ingersoll, an inventor of all-metal lifeboats who thought that the journey would attract publicity. The words, “Ingersoll’s Improved Metallic Life Boat” was written across the hull of the Red, White, and Blue. Skeptics did not believe that such a small ship, though manned by professional sailors, could make the trans-Atlantic journey in such a brief time. The sailors, Captain Hudson and Fitch, were not successful in proving that they made the trip without assistance and were discredited. Later, after scholars reviewed the logs, the weather and sightings, the sailors were vindicated and the journey stands as one of the most impressive of the 19th century.