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DASHING WAVE - Merchants' Express Line of Clipper Ships for San Francisco

Date: 1859
Overall: 102 x 164 mm
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Clipper card
Object No: 00008611

User Terms

    This card is an advertisement for the clipper ship DASHING WAVE and its passage from New York to Melbourne in 1855. The card features a blue and gold wood-cut print on enamel depicting the house flag of the Merchants Express Line. It was printed during the American and Australian gold rush period, a time of mass migration for thousands of people.
    SignificanceClipper ship cards of the 19th century rarely survive as they were often discarded after the ship left the dock. This card highlights maritime trade and commerce between America and Australia during the mid-19th century Australian gold rush.
    HistoryClipper ship cards were one of the advertising methods used by ship owners to promote their vessels and transport schedules. In colourful print and bold designs they publicised the supposedly superior qualities of each vessel, often using images of maritime scenes, mythology, patriotism and women to promote their cause. The cards were largely manufactured during the late-19th century and were designed to be handed out at the docks. They were brighter and more appealing than the newspaper advertisements of the time but often used similar wording. They could be printed in up to seven different colours including blue, red, green white, black, brown, and yellow. Some printers also used gold, bronze and purple.

    The majority of clipper cards were produced when the popularity of the clipper ship was dwindling and merchants were opting for faster steam powered vessels. Clipper ships were largely active between 1845 and 1875. Their design concentrated on speed instead of cargo capacity, which was a great benefit for shipping companies eager to transport goods quickly. The sleek and graceful ships generated a sense of romance, competition, national pride and innovative technology. They were a symbol of American modernity and fundamental to the expanding global economy.

    The DASHING WAVE was an A1 class clipper ship with a capacity of 1700 tons. In 1855 the vessel was under the command of D R Lecraw and chartered by the Merchants Express Line. It was used for transporting passengers and freight between New York, San Francisco and Melbourne.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: DASHING WAVE

    Assigned title: DASHING WAVE - Merchants' Express Line of Clipper Ships for San Francisco

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