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Date: c 1854
Overall: 87 x 151 mm
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Clipper card
Object No: 00008622

User Terms

    This card is an advertisement for the clipper ship WHISTER during its voyage from San Francisco to Melbourne via Hong Kong, operating under the Sutton & Co shipping Line. The ship wrecked in May 1855 near King Island Bass Straight. This card features a coloured wood-cut illustration on white enamel card. It describes the WHISTLER as a new and elegant ship.
    SignificanceClipper ship cards of the 19th century rarely survive as they were often discarded when the ship sailed. This card illustrates maritime trade and commerce in Australia during the mid-19th century.
    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 WHISTLER was a 1100 ton capacity A1 class clipper ship based in Baltimore, made specifically for the California and China trade route. The vessel wrecked off King Island in Bass Straight in May 1855.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: WHISTLER

    Assigned title: WHISTLER

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