Film: 5276

Canals + Waterways | 1950 | Sound | Colour


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Iron ore carrying vessel 'Cliffs Victory' on the Great Lakes, U.S.A 1950's.

This ship has been converted from an ocean-going vessel to one suitable for carrying iron ore on the Great Lakes. She was the first vessel of her size to traverse the Mississippi waterways and the Illinois waterways. Technicians on bridge of vessel discuss problems. The difficulty of building a very large vessel on the Lakes. An ocean going cargo ship is to be converted and enlarged and then taken up the inland waterways to Chicago. Coloured map of route. The vessel undergoing conversion is the 'Notre Dame Victory'. It is to be increased in size to carry iron ore. The length was increased from 445ft to 620ft. The control decks part of the ship had to be dismantled to get it under the river bridges. The work to be approved by the ship's owners, The American Bureau of Shipping and the Coastguards. The work is carried out in Baltimore and nearby shipyards. Film shows workers welding and securing the vessel in dry dock. Heavy cranes lift large sections of the ship and add large sections. The vessel is manoeuvred into graving docks and dry docks. The process of enlargement is depicted by drawings showing the process. The section for insertion is built at another shipyard not far away from the dock. Work going on with red-hot rivets. The new section is joined to the mother - ship. The parts are welded together. The conversion takes three months. Re-launching ceremony. The wife of the Director of Cleveland Cliffs Marine Dept. Mrs. Sobell arrives for launching
with enormous bouquet of red roses. Directors, all wearing trilby hats and overcoats and ship's officers in uniform assemble for the ceremony. Mrs Sobell smiles as she holds the roses. She smells them. Lady strikes the vessel with a bottle wrapped in red, white and blue ribbons. Parts of the ship above deck are dismantled and stowed on the vessel for the journey up the rivers and through the locks. Ship sets off on 3000 mile journey to Chicago by sea and inland waterways.
After 3 days at sea the vessel arrives at the mouth of the Mississippi river. Vessel is pulled by 3 tugs which take ship up to Grafton, Illinois then along the Illinois Waterway and the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal to Lake Michigan. Views of the journey up River Mississippi. She passes under 122 bridges. Views of the ship passing under bridges. Her progress is reported in the press and on the local radio stations. Ship Canal. Map of this part of the route. Pictures of people on the Marseilles Highway Bridge which has the smallest clearance of only 2ft. Spectators at Brandon Road lock. Some schools closed to allow children to see the progress of the vessel.
Arrival in Chicago. Passes through gates to the American Shipbuilding Co. where the dismantled structures are re-erected on the vessel. Picture of passenger accommodation on board. Moored in the Calumet River. Machinery is tested Loads first cargo of 13,089 tonnes to go to Cleveland Ohio, Cranes and loading equipment load cargo of iron ore and unload it at destination. Voice says - 'an outstanding example of US initiative and skill.'

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