Use the field below to browse the Currier & Ives Collection at Springfield Museums
Burning of the Steamship "AUSTRIA" Sept. 13th 1858 on her Voyage from Hamburg to New York by which appalling disaster over 500 persons were suffocated or drowned.
One of the worst ship disasters of the 19th century occurred in 1858 when the steamship Austria caught on fire and more than 500 people perished. Many people leapt to their deaths from the burning ship. The 67 survivors provided accounts of the disaster including the cause of the fire: the fumigation of the steerage compartment with burning tar. A crew member dropped the burning tar when it became too hot. The tar ignited the interior of the vessel and those that were not burned either suffocated or drown.
Newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic ran full accounts of the event and named survivors as well as all those who perished. The public was eager for images of the disaster and Currier & Ives quickly published this print based on the many harrowing details related by survivors.
Users, log in to add this piece to your personal lightboxReturn To Search Results