Clipper Ship T.F. Oakes Bell
Built by the American Shipbuilding Company of Philadelphia in 1883, this vessel was the second iron hulled Clipper ship to be constructed for trade with the Far East. The owner wanted to build ship's not of wood, but of iron hulls as he saw it to be future of ship building. The Clipper Ship T.F. Oakes, better known as the "Hell Ship" earning the name from her first disastrous voyage. On the 1896-1897 voyage from Hong Kong to New York harbor, The T.F. Oakes ran into unfavorable winds and Captain Reed decided to shape his course via Cape Horn rather than by the Cape of Good Hope, hoping thereby to make better time. The crew was challenged with food rationing, illness and death. Having no connection to the States or any news of its whereabouts, it was thought the ship had been disabled and destroyed. Then 259 days later with a general cargo for its port, which had been given up as lost, the T.F. Oakes was towed into the harbor by a British steamer. Most of the crew dead or sick, with only the Captain's wife left to command the vessel. Due to litigation with the surviving sailors claiming that food was withheld and the captain was to blame for the lost time and scurvy that plagued the ship, the T.F Oakes was sold to another company, the Luckenbach Brothers. Fearing that the bad luck from the first voyage may find it difficult to fill a crew, another name, The New York was chosen for its next trip. The New York’s maiden voyage from New York to Asia and San Francisco commenced on May 18, 1897. The first few months sailing in the China seas were pleasant stocking up on porcelain, silks, rice, wine, tea, peanuts, teakwood chairs and firecrackers; the cargo boxes smelled of incense and spices. Then on January 14, 1898, the New York sailed out of Hong Kong harbor, but from the first day until they sighted the California coast non-stop storms pushed and pulled at the vessel. On March 13, 1898, Captain Peabody could not keep her from the rocks. With sails tattered and torn, he shipwrecked her right on the beach in Half Moon Bay. They used the small boats to empty her of her cargo with all laid on the beach as the ship repeatedly was whipped by the waves.
The bell is 14 1/4" across the bottom and 14" tall. Weighing 77 pounds. Custom mahogany stand.