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Awful Wreck of the Magnificent Steamer Atlantic on Fishers Island in the Furious Gale
Atlantic in waves, sailing to left in image. Bodies on deck, in water and on land down in lower right corner. From the Inventory Listing of Sidney A. Alpert "Awful Wreck of the Magnificent Steamer "Atlantic" / (7.14 x 12.13) 1846, N. Currier - S "
The Atlantic was launched in May of 1846, and was the first steamboat to introduce gas lights on board. Although ranked highly among steamboats for speed and beauty, the Atlantic was not able to withstand the stormy seas of New England. This lithograph documents the Atlantic’s tragic finale, when a treacherous storm blew in after the vessel left New London, Connecticut. Strong winds caused one of the boilers to explode and the steamboat ran into the rocks near Fishers Island. In the print, massive white waves spray into the black night sky and an estimated 50 lives were lost when the boat sunk.
Currier & Ives illustrated America's growing interest in technology and transportation. Steamboats were often dangerous and the publishers did a brisk business marketing their approximately 50 steamboat disaster prints.
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