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Liners, Lakers and Salties

The advent of the steam engine, propellers and eventually steam turbine allowed the creation of larger and larger motorized vessels, including lake and ocean freighters, and passenger liners. These ships present a significantly different aesthetic than sailing vessels, but have an elegance and beauty all their own. This is especially true in the period from the end of the 19th century to the mid 20th century when travel at sea was the height of elegance and luxury. Although freighters certainly did not directly compared, they did possess a certain flare in the early decades of the 20th century that reflected contemporary design. We have a number of books that provide high-quality photos and images of passenger liners, ocean freighter and lakers, and show off their beauty.


This new history from the prolific William Miller describes how this firm’s troopships evolved into cruise ships, as the British army switched to transporting troops by air rather than sea. When Britain’s largest shipping line, British India, saw its trade disappearing it sought profitable other uses for their vessels. It also covers BISN’s complicated merger with, and absorption by P&O.


Also by Miller is Great Atlantic Liners of the Twentieth Century in Color. Published in 2013, the volume contains sections about magnificent ships–the “Mauretania” and “Lusitania”, German four-stackers, “Olympic” and “Titanic”, and the crack liners of the 1920s and 1930s, such as the “Paris”, “Normandie” and “Queen Mary.” All are presented here in glorious colour images, as never seen before. These images give an idea of the splendour that was ocean liner travel in the golden age of shipping.


Another beautiful recent arrival is John Maxtone-Graham’s SS United States. A profusely illustrated tribute to America’s most famous liner. Maxtone-Graham documents her design, construction, and her 17 years of service, and introduces dozens of passengers, as well as the captain and crew.There are many stunning reproductions, both in black & white and in colour. The text has a familiarity with and fondness for the ship and its crew that demonstrates a mastery of the primary source material and enables the readers to have an intimacy with the ship as is difficult to achieve.


Canadian Empresses

Covering both the Oceans and the Great Lakes, Les Streater’s Canadian Empresses, both Vol. I and Vol. II examine the ‘Empresses’ of the Canadian Pacific Steamship Company. These books do not attempt to study the ships in depth, but rather gives a chronology covering the careers of the liners and the events surrounding them. Hundreds of photographs including dozens of brochures and items of ephemera are reproduced in full colour, bringing the liners to life in a unique way. The first volume covers the years 1889 when the Canadian Pacific Railway Co. entered into shipowning to operate Great Lakes services up to 1939 when on the outbreak of war in 1939, Canadian Pacific Steamships Ltd. placed all its ships at the disposal of the government and several were taken over as troopships. The second volume covers the war service and post-war service of the various Canadian Pacific “Empresses”, a tribute to the 100 years of service between Canada and the UK by some of the most beautiful ships ever designed, built and operated.


John Henry’s Great White Fleet looks at Canada Steamship Line’s Great Lakes passenger ships. During the first half of the 20th century, Canada Steamship Lines passenger ships regularly steamed from the western end of Lake Superior to the lower St. Lawrence, beyond Quebec City. This rich history spans from 1913, when the fleet launched with 51 vessels, until 1965, when the final port of call was reached.  Includes colour as well as black & white reproductions of photographs, advertisements and other graphics. This is beautifully designed, with as if it were a leather-bound album. It is very eye-catching, and would be an engaging choice for older children as well as adults.

Another new release is the 2nd Edition of Greg McDonnell’s Lake Boats.  A big, beautiful tribute to the historic ships still working the Great Lakes, from cement boats such as the 100-year old “St. Marys Challenger” to straight-deckers, self-unloaders and 1,000-footers sailing under the flags of prominent Great Lakes fleets: Algoma Central, Upper Lakes, Lower Lakes, American Stamship, Canada Steamship Lines, and others. Includes exact identification and specifics plus a history of each vessel.

These are only small number of the books that we have that cover these important topics. To see the full list of books, separated by category, visit this link on our website.

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