Sunday, July 20, 2014

Faeroe Islands 21.2.1983 – Old Steam Ships

The stamp on the cover is one of three depicting old steam ships. The First Day Cover, shows the "Arcturus" on the 700c stamp.   

In 1856, a small steam-powered cargo ship known as the Victor Emanuel set sail in the Mediterranean. Privately owned and operated, she weighed only 331 tons and spanned a mere 156 feet in length. For several years she was used exclusively on a route between England and Glasgow. However, when the Faro Islands began to emerge as an important industrial power, the Victor Emanuel and many other cargo ships served to transport the many imports the Faroe Islands needed. It was at this point that the Victor Emanuel was purchased by Koch and Henderson -- a Scottish shipping company. The new owners re-christened their ship the S.S. Arcturus ... named after the brightest star in the northern celestial hemisphere. Most vessels would make the hazardous journey to the Faroe Islands only in Spring and in late Summer. However, the rugged Arcturus made five to seven trips a year for over ten years. Even though she was the most reliable ship to service the Islands, her small size always put her at a disadvantage to the many larger cargo ships of her day. Thus, in 1867 the Arcturus was torn down and rebuilt into a vessel of much greater size. She then faithfully served the needs of the Faroe Islands for some twenty more years.

Both the Faeroe- and Iceland-stamp show two masts which date the source drawings to before 1872, the year in which "Arcturus" gained a third mast and new steam engine.  Koch & Henderson merged with two other shipping companies in 1867 to form DFDS (United Steamship Company), for whom "Arcturus" continued to sail on the Faeroes-Iceland run continually until 1870.  She collided with the British steamship "Savona" on 5th April 1887 and sank.  

Thank you Merja.

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