Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Who am I?

Recently, Ted Wilush corrected the misidentification of this Mystery Ship. The ship had been previously identified as the John B. Cowle (2). The ship is actually the Finland which like the John B. Cowle (2) sailed under the colors of Republic Steel. The ship was built by the Detroit Ship Building Company and launched as the Harry Coulby in 1906. The ship was sold to the Great Lakes Steamship Company in 1911 and renamed the Finland in 1927. In 1969 the ship was renamed the Peter Robertson. The ship was sold to Marine Salvage, Ltd. in 1975 and was to be scrapped. However she was renamed the Marinsal and returned to service in 1978. The ship was finally scrapped in 1980. If you wish to see a color picture of the Finland, please click here.


Anonymous the rock said...

Photo is a tad hazy, but that looks like a Republic Steel funnel.

January 17, 2008 8:41 AM  
Blogger Ookpik said...

Hi Rock,

Thanks for the info! Too bad the photo isn’t clearer because the name is visible.

January 17, 2008 7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John B. Coyle comes to mind, similar profile, rear mast located behind the funnel, name is in (larger)block letters. But if this photo was from the late 40's, I am not positive that Republic Steel had vessels sailing with their own distinctive funnel logo as, at least to me, this photo shows. Lots of the Republic ships (Coyle, Finland, Valley Camp etc)emerged from the Great Lakes SS Co. and from the Wilson line.
I would have to check my old Great Lakes Red Books, the "bible" of the Great Lakes boat industry back then, to see when Republic Steel started its own fleet with its own logo.
My 1954 Red Book, for instance, shows the Coyle and other ships that later sailed under the Republic Fleet as then operating for Wilson, and Wilson vessels carried a black stack with a large white W on it.
I wish I had more time for research. And where did I misplace my magnifying glass?

January 18, 2008 7:58 AM  
Anonymous the rock said...

Actually, I am not anonymous. I am the rock, but I welcome any corrections to this identification or my attempts at it!
If that is not a Republic funnel, then Bethlehem Steel is next in line. But for now, I will stick with the former.

January 18, 2008 8:03 AM  
Blogger Ookpik said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for all the information! This particular photo isn’t necessarily from the late 1940’s and could be as recent as the early 1960’s. Thus, the John B. Cowle is a strong possibility!

January 18, 2008 11:13 AM  
Anonymous the rock said...

I am not sure why I keep typing Coyle instead of Cowle. I started it when I clicked on anonymous instead of the rock in the third post. Sorry 'bout that.
I have some research that shows us that the Cowle (2) burned in Duluth in the late 70's, and Cowle(1) fared no better, sinking in Whitefish Bay after a collision with the Scott in 1909.

January 19, 2008 9:24 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

hi, I am the great-great grand daughter of John B. Cowle, I have a restored photo of the John B Cowle(2) circa 1910 from the Detroit Publishing Company, logo and all visible.

September 04, 2010 1:40 AM  
Blogger Ookpik said...

Hi Catherine,

It is an honor to have to have you comment on my blog! Is the photo you have of the John B. Cowle similar to this one? If you have any stories or pictures that you wish to share please let me know and I would be happy to post them.

September 10, 2010 9:02 PM  
Anonymous TWilush said...

This is not the John B. Cowle, rather it is Republic's Peter Robertson (ii) (ex Finland). The vessel sailed for Republic under both names so the date of the photo would be determine which name. The Cowle had a different port hole arrangement on the forward accommodations, that does not match the vessel in the photograph. The Peter Robertson matches perfectly, right down to the window placement on the rear of the pilot house and most notably her unique small and then large portholes on the forward accommodations that can be seen in the image.

January 11, 2013 7:24 PM  
Blogger Ookpik said...

Hi Ted,

Thanks for the identification and information.

January 20, 2013 9:45 AM  

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