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Box made from the timber of the clipper ship LIGHTNING

Date: c 1860
Dimensions:
Overall: 97 x 140 x 91 mm, 0.3 kg
Medium: Paper on wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Box
Object No: 00006228

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    Description
    This rectangular shaped box is made from wood taken off the clipper ship LIGHTNING. Attached to one side of the box is a coloured postcard that depicts the LIGHTNING at sea. The wood was probably taken from the vessel when it was scuttled in Geelong on 31 October 1860. The LIGHTNING set the all time record for a single day’s sail, covering 436 nautical miles in a twenty-four hour period.
    SignificanceThis box indicates the practice of making souvenirs and mementoes to commemorate famous ships. The LIGHTNING was a celebrated vessel of the clipper ship age. It was used for transporting passengers to Australia.
    HistoryThe era of the clipper ships was dominated by a sense of romance, competition, national pride and innovative technology. The sleek and graceful ships were a symbol of modernity in America and a fundamental part of the expanding global economy. Their design concentrated on speed instead of cargo capacity and was a great benefit to shipping companies eager to transport goods quickly.

    The LIGHTNING was designed by the famous ship builder Donald McKay around 1854 for James Baines & Co, of the Liverpool Black Ball Line. The ship was used to transport passengers between England and Australia and became famous for its record breaking passages. The LIGHTNING was destroyed by fire at Geelong, Victoria on 30 October 1869 and scuttled.

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