Another Unique Schmieg Hungate Kotzian-bodied Steinway Piano which George Gershwin played

The house was a unique collaboration between a great architect, a great industrial and interior designer, a great lighting designer, a great landscape architect, and enlightened and wealthy owners. Today, it retains most of its original Donald Deskey-designed furnishings. Among them: a unique Schmieg Hungate Kotzian-bodied Steinway piano which George Gershwin, a modern design enthusiast, played during his visits to admire the house in the 1930’s; an illuminated chrome and white bakelite dining table; and an illuminated large curved buffet whose twin was in the Abbey Aldrich Rockefeller apartment in Manhattan – to name just a few.

 

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Steinway & Mercedes: What is the Connection?

One of the more intriguing chapters in Steinway history involves the company’s brief foray into the auto industry.  In 1888, when William Steinway was traveling in Europe, he chanced to hear that Gottlieb Daimler of Cannstatt, Germany was experimenting with self propelled vehicles.  Steinway was sufficiently intrigued with the reports, so he paid a visit of Daimler and later wrote in his diary that he had ridden “across the country” in one of Daimler’s motorized quadricycles.  The ride was enough to convince him to secure American patent rights to Daimler engines and vehicles, and upon his return to the U.S. he incorporated the Daimler Motor Company.

Steinway’s first projects involving Daimler-designed engines were boats and streetcars.  Ranging from 1 to 4 horsepower, the engines were manufactured in a plant in Hartford, Connecticut.  After William Steinway’s death in 1896, the company was reorganized as Daimler Manufacturing and began producing small delivery trucks at a factory on Long Island.  In 1905, the company offered to build an exact copy of the 50-horsepower Mercedes offered by its European counterpart.  The luxury car featured “all necessary improvements,” including a tire repair kit, a horn, two sidelights, two gas headlights, and “one tail-light of any American make selected by the purchaser.”  Also included were “an assortment of spare parts more frequently needed, like valve and igniter springs.”  The price was an exorbitant $7,500.  Consider that at the time, the retail price of a Steinway “D” concert grand was a mere $1,200. (Today, the retail price of a Steinway Model ‘D’ concert grand is $118,00)

Only a few “American Mercedes” were ever built.  Mercedes of North America is not sure of the exact number.  In 1907, fire gutted the factory and, lacking William Steinway’s intensity and vision, the company ceased operations.

 

Posted in Harry Harkness Auto Racing | Leave a comment

Steinway & Mercedes: What is the Connection?

One of the more intriguing chapters in Steinway history involves the company’s brief foray into the auto industry.  In 1888, when William Steinway was traveling in Europe, he chanced to hear that Gottlieb Daimler of Cannstatt, Germany was experimenting with self propelled vehicles.  Steinway was sufficiently intrigued with the reports, so he paid a visit of Daimler and later wrote in his diary that he had ridden “across the country” in one of Daimler’s motorized quadricycles.  The ride was enough to convince him to secure American patent rights to Daimler engines and vehicles, and upon his return to the U.S. he incorporated the Daimler Motor Company.

Steinway’s first projects involving Daimler-designed engines were boats and streetcars.  Ranging from 1 to 4 horsepower, the engines were manufactured in a plant in Hartford, Connecticut.  After William Steinway’s death in 1896, the company was reorganized as Daimler Manufacturing and began producing small delivery trucks at a factory on Long Island.  In 1905, the company offered to build an exact copy of the 50-horsepower Mercedes offered by its European counterpart.  The luxury car featured “all necessary improvements,” including a tire repair kit, a horn, two sidelights, two gas headlights, and “one tail-light of any American make selected by the purchaser.”  Also included were “an assortment of spare parts more frequently needed, like valve and igniter springs.”  The price was an exorbitant $7,500.  Consider that at the time, the retail price of a Steinway “D” concert grand was a mere $1,200. (Today, the retail price of a Steinway Model ‘D’ concert grand is $118,00)

Only a few “American Mercedes” were ever built.  Mercedes of North America is not sure of the exact number.  In 1907, fire gutted the factory and, lacking William Steinway’s intensity and vision, the company ceased operations.

 

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About Schmieg Hungate Kotzian

   
  Schmieg&Kotzian
Also known as Schmieg Hungate Kotzian, this company was founded in London in 1908 when Karl Schmieg and Henri Kotzian met as apprentices to prominent London furniture manufacturers. They decided to become partners, and moved to New York to establish a premier cabinet-making firm. They became extremely well-known for exquisite modern design and superior-quality cabinetry. The corporation has changed ownerships several times since the late 1950s, ending with this company in 1995. Today, in the tradition of solid craftsmanship utilizing unique design, Schmieg&Kotzian provides customized reproduction of modern furnishings using the original blueprints by designers like Donald Deskey, Eugene Schoen, Walter Van Nessen, and many others. A catalog of its earlier vintage pieces is available for custom ordering and licensing of original designs. s&[email protected]
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USS Wakiva (SP-160), 1917-1918.

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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY — NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE — WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060
Photo # NH 549:  USS Wakiva at the Boston Navy Yard, 22 August 1917
 

Online Library of Selected Images:
— U.S. NAVY SHIPS —

USS Wakiva (SP-160), 1917-1918.
Originally the civilian yacht Wakiva (II) (1907)

Wakiva (II), an 853 gross ton steam yacht, was built at Leith, Scotland, in 1907. She was active in American yachting circles until July 1917, when the U.S. Navy acquired her from Harry S. Harkness of New York City. Converted to a patrol vessel, she was placed in commission in August as USS Wakiva (SP-160). Also called Wakiva II while in Navy service, she steamed across the Atlantic to France during late August and September. Operating out of the port of Brest, she was employed on anti-submarine patrol and convoy excort duty. On 28 October 1917 Wakiva assisted in rescuing survivors from the damaged transport Finland. She attacked an enemy U-boat in late November 1917, apparently badly damaging or sinking the submarine, and fired on another on 12 February 1918, forcing it to submerge. On the night of 22 May 1918, while steaming with a convoy during a fog, Wakiva was rammed by the Navy cargo ship Wabash (ID # 1824). Flooding beyond the capacity of her pumps, she soon sank. Two of Wakiva‘s crew lost their lives in this accident.

This page features all the views we have concerning USS Wakiva (SP-160) and the civilian yacht Wakiva (II) of 1907.

 

 

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: “How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions.”

 

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Photo #: NH 103478

Wakiva (II) (American Steam Yacht, 1907)

Photographed prior to World War I.
Built by Ramsey & Ferguson of Leith, Scotland, in 1907, this yacht was acquired by the Navy from her owner, H.S. Harkness of New York City, on 20 July 1917. She was placed in commission on 6 August 1917 as USS Wakiva (SP-160). Also called Wakiva II, she was lost in collision with USS Wabash (ID # 1824) on 22 May 1918.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 34KB; 740 x 285 pixels

 

  
Photo #: NH 549

USS Wakiva (SP-160)

At the Boston Navy Yard, Charlestown, Massachusetts, on 22 August 1917, showing searchlight platform fitted to her foremast.
The mizzenmast of USS Constitution is visible in the left background, with a camouflaged submarine chaser between it and the camera. See Photo #: NH 549-A for a cropped version of this photograph, emphasizing the sub chaser.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 93KB; 580 x 765 pixels

 

  
Photo #: NH 105580

USS Wakiva (SP-160)

In dry dock at Brest, France, circa 1918.

Courtesy of James A. Turner, Jr., from the collection of Samuel A. Turner, Jr., who served in USS Wakiva (SP-160) during World War I.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 57KB; 530 x 765 pixels

 

  
Photo #: NH 85730

USS Wakiva (SP-160) — Also called Wakiva II.

Halftone reproduction of a photograph taken in 1917-1918, while Wakiva was escorting a convoy.
While so engaged on 22 May 1918, she was sunk in collision with USS Wabash (ID # 1824).

Courtesy of Alfred Cellier, 1977.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 55KB; 740 x 495 pixels

 

  
Photo #: NH 41745

USS Alcedo (SP-166), left center, and
USS Wakiva II (SP-160), at right

Picking up survivors in 1917.
This photograph was probably taken on 28 October 1917, when these two converted yachts picked up men who had left the torpedoed transport Finland. The two-stacked ship in the center distance, beyond Alcedo‘s bow, appears to have four masts and is probably Finland, which survived the incident and later served as USS Finland (ID # 4543).
USS Alcedo was torpedoed and sunk on 5 November 1917.

Courtesy of Mr. W.D. Porter, November 1937.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 43KB; 740 x 460 pixels

 

  
Photo #: NH 105581

USS Wakiva (SP-160)

View on board, looking forward from the mainmast, circa 1918.
Wakiva‘s smokestack is in the foreground, with her bridge just beyond. Two “menhadden fisherman” type minesweepers are alongside, to port.

Courtesy of James A. Turner, Jr., from the collection of Samuel A. Turner, Jr., who served in USS Wakiva (SP-160) during World War I.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 79KB; 740 x 450 pixels

Note: Though the original print was labeled USSCarola IV (SP-812), this ship is actually the much larger Wakiva.

 

  
Photo #: NH 105582

USS Wakiva (SP-160)

Gun crew on watch, circa 1918.
This gun is presumably a 3″/50 type.

Courtesy of James A. Turner, Jr., from the collection of Samuel A. Turner, Jr., who served in USS Wakiva (SP-160) during World War I.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 84KB; 740 x 535 pixels

 

  
Photo #: NH 105583

USS Wakiva (SP-160)

One of the ship’s guns, presumably a 3″/50 type, circa 1918.

Courtesy of James A. Turner, Jr., from the collection of Samuel A. Turner, Jr., who served in USS Wakiva (SP-160) during World War I.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 64KB; 740 x 540 pixels

 

  

 

Related image: Photo # NH 105585 was presumably taken from USS Wakiva circa May 1918.

 

 

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: “How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions.”

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GUY AXWORTHY IS SOLD FOR $20,000; Harry S. Harkness Buys Noted Sire at Old Glory Auction — Big Price for Weanling.


The feature of the Old Glory horse sale in Madison Square Garden yesterday was the dispersal of the late Jacob Ruppert’s Hudson River stock farm at Poughkeepsie. This was a combination of stock farm and racing stable. Guy Axworthy, sire of the world’s fastest trotter, Lee Axworthy, (1:58 1/4) being at the head of the breeding establishment.

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RETROACTIVELY AWARDED AAA TITLES AMERICAN CAR RACING HARRY HARKNESS 1902

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/American_Championship_Car_Racing

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HARRY BEATS STANLEY STEAMER IN THE GREAT RACE ” THE CLIMB TO THE CLOUDS” IN THE FIRST RACE ON MOUNT WASHINGTON

H   I   S   T   O   R   Y   
Stanley Steamer

 

THE HISTORIC STANLEY ~
OUT OF STEAM!

F.E. Stanley at the tiller
of his 1903 Stanley.

When most people think of the Stanley Steamer, they picture a huge, hulking hot water heater on wheels. In reality, the car looked no different than any other. The difference was on the inside: the motor had only fifteen moving parts. There were no spark plugs, no transmission, no clutch, no gearshift. Because there was no internal combustion, there was also no noise. Anything that burned could be used for fuel – gas, coal, wood, even paraffin.

The only real problem with the car was that it was painfully slow to start; it took twenty minutes to heat up the boiler. But once it got going there was nothing slow about a Stanley. A standard car could exceed 150 mph – in forward or reverse. It was a Steamer that held the official speed record of 127 mph in 1906, and another was estimated to have been traveling nearly 190 mph before hitting a bump and disintegrating, nearly killing the driver. After that, the Stanley brothers forever gave up on racing! But – not before they had made their mark on Mt. Washington’s Carriage Road.

Old-timer’s in the North Country referred to the road up Mount Washington as the Carriage Road, named because of the horse-drawn carriages which conveyed people to the summit of the northeast’s highest peak since 1861. Just at the turn of the century, the first “horseless carriage” – a Steamer – climbed the Mountain in 1899, and by 1912 the Road’s “stages” became automobiles. So eventually people came to call it the Auto Road.

The Stanley brothers, whose company developed that “horseless carriage”, loved a challenge – including racing. They headed the Stanley Steamer Company, which was decidedly low-key. In fact, their entire advertising campaign consisted of identical twins Francis E. and Freelan O., dressed the same from socks to derbies to long, flowing beards, driving side by side into one end of town, through the middle, and out the other end. The sight alone piqued the curiosity of locals. There were no contracts, no guarantees and no credit. If you had $2,000, you might get to buy a Stanley, but only if the brothers thought you ought to have one. On the other hand, if anything went wrong with your car – ever – they fixed it free.

To satisfy the racing urge among motorized vehicles, in 1904, a race was organized and named “The Climb to the Clouds”. Twin brother F.E.Stanley sat at the tiller of his 1903 Stanley and managed to take 2nd place in the first official race up Mt. Washington. He had a passenger with him who was his stop-watch attendant. Accounts of the race, held on July 12, 1904 included the following descriptions.

“In a chill driving mist that would compel cautious running even on a wide level road, Harry Harkness rushed Mount Washington in the Climb to the Clouds today and placed the record figures for this year at 24(minutes)37 3/5 seconds. Something more than the achievements of the drivers of American stock cars was to be expected from the 60-horsepower $18,000 Mercedes, and from this comparative view the performance was not extraordinary. As a feat of driving, however, it was remarkable. To guide 2,200 pounds of mechanism up an 8-mile narrow mountain road, and to pull up just 4,600 feet above the starting point after averaging 20 miles an hour without a stop is a sure enough test of man and machine.

“Steam upheld its reputation for mastering grades when on the second day F.E. Stanley dashed up to the line in 28 minutes 19 2/5 seconds, showing what seven (sic) horsepower can accomplish when it is put where it will do the most good. Before Mr. Harkness had a try at the climb Mr. Stanley had set the record at a point where it appeared to be safe for some time to come. Mr. Stanley had been quoted as saying that a half hour was about the right time for his car, so when he stripped it for the open event today his trial was looked forward to with much interest. Leaving the base at 9:21 o’clock he was only 6:30 making the first two miles. In 13:00 he had reached the half-way house, bettering his previous record to that point by 2:00. Six miles, two-thirds of the climb, were covered in 22:00, and the last two miles were reeled off in 6:19 2-5, making his elapsed time 28:19 2-5, a cut of 3:44 in his record made Monday.

“Mr. Stanley got a splendid welcome and was induced to run his car up skids to the platform of the Summit Hotel where it was photographed repeatedly with one of the rack railroad locomotives as a background. Mr. Stanley had stripped his car even of the seat cushions, and was rather used up with the jolting he got on the way. Both today and yesterday he was accompanied by a youth, who, with a stop-watch in hand checked the time at the two-mile marks on the way up, so that they had a line on their performance.”*

The Climb to the Clouds race was run again in 1905. F. E. Stanley and Joe Crowley, his “mechanician” made the ascent in a 1905 15 HP Stanley. It did not quite beat the powerful 60 HP Napier’s winning time of 20 minutes, 58 & 2/5 seconds, driven later that day, Tuesday, July 18, by Bert Holland. But the Stanley’s time of 22 minutes, 17 3/5 seconds set the record for steam car ascents.

So why is the Stanley but a museum piece today? Because the Stanley brothers were crusty and stubborn. They could have been giants in the industry, but they didn’t feel like it, producing a self-imposed 1,000 a year. At the same time, Henry Ford, a marketing whiz and a staunch supporter of internal combustion, was gearing up his plant for mass production and mass appeal. The Steamer, which could easily have been the car of the future, became a thing of the past.

Link of Modern Racing 2010 of  “Climb to the Clouds”   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35RVf7i5D5I&feature=player_embedded

The Climb to the Clouds up Mount Washington gives drivers a lot to think about ESPN article

http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/news/story?id=6687640

 

 

 

*Reprinted from The Automobile Weekly• Saturday, July 16, 1904

 
 

 

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HARRY BEATS STANLEY STEAMER IN THE GREAT RACE " THE CLIMB TO THE CLOUDS" IN THE FIRST RACE ON MOUNT WASHINGTON

H   I   S   T   O   R   Y   
Stanley Steamer

 

THE HISTORIC STANLEY ~
OUT OF STEAM!

F.E. Stanley at the tiller
of his 1903 Stanley.

When most people think of the Stanley Steamer, they picture a huge, hulking hot water heater on wheels. In reality, the car looked no different than any other. The difference was on the inside: the motor had only fifteen moving parts. There were no spark plugs, no transmission, no clutch, no gearshift. Because there was no internal combustion, there was also no noise. Anything that burned could be used for fuel – gas, coal, wood, even paraffin.

The only real problem with the car was that it was painfully slow to start; it took twenty minutes to heat up the boiler. But once it got going there was nothing slow about a Stanley. A standard car could exceed 150 mph – in forward or reverse. It was a Steamer that held the official speed record of 127 mph in 1906, and another was estimated to have been traveling nearly 190 mph before hitting a bump and disintegrating, nearly killing the driver. After that, the Stanley brothers forever gave up on racing! But – not before they had made their mark on Mt. Washington’s Carriage Road.

Old-timer’s in the North Country referred to the road up Mount Washington as the Carriage Road, named because of the horse-drawn carriages which conveyed people to the summit of the northeast’s highest peak since 1861. Just at the turn of the century, the first “horseless carriage” – a Steamer – climbed the Mountain in 1899, and by 1912 the Road’s “stages” became automobiles. So eventually people came to call it the Auto Road.

The Stanley brothers, whose company developed that “horseless carriage”, loved a challenge – including racing. They headed the Stanley Steamer Company, which was decidedly low-key. In fact, their entire advertising campaign consisted of identical twins Francis E. and Freelan O., dressed the same from socks to derbies to long, flowing beards, driving side by side into one end of town, through the middle, and out the other end. The sight alone piqued the curiosity of locals. There were no contracts, no guarantees and no credit. If you had $2,000, you might get to buy a Stanley, but only if the brothers thought you ought to have one. On the other hand, if anything went wrong with your car – ever – they fixed it free.

To satisfy the racing urge among motorized vehicles, in 1904, a race was organized and named “The Climb to the Clouds”. Twin brother F.E.Stanley sat at the tiller of his 1903 Stanley and managed to take 2nd place in the first official race up Mt. Washington. He had a passenger with him who was his stop-watch attendant. Accounts of the race, held on July 12, 1904 included the following descriptions.

“In a chill driving mist that would compel cautious running even on a wide level road, Harry Harkness rushed Mount Washington in the Climb to the Clouds today and placed the record figures for this year at 24(minutes)37 3/5 seconds. Something more than the achievements of the drivers of American stock cars was to be expected from the 60-horsepower $18,000 Mercedes, and from this comparative view the performance was not extraordinary. As a feat of driving, however, it was remarkable. To guide 2,200 pounds of mechanism up an 8-mile narrow mountain road, and to pull up just 4,600 feet above the starting point after averaging 20 miles an hour without a stop is a sure enough test of man and machine.

“Steam upheld its reputation for mastering grades when on the second day F.E. Stanley dashed up to the line in 28 minutes 19 2/5 seconds, showing what seven (sic) horsepower can accomplish when it is put where it will do the most good. Before Mr. Harkness had a try at the climb Mr. Stanley had set the record at a point where it appeared to be safe for some time to come. Mr. Stanley had been quoted as saying that a half hour was about the right time for his car, so when he stripped it for the open event today his trial was looked forward to with much interest. Leaving the base at 9:21 o’clock he was only 6:30 making the first two miles. In 13:00 he had reached the half-way house, bettering his previous record to that point by 2:00. Six miles, two-thirds of the climb, were covered in 22:00, and the last two miles were reeled off in 6:19 2-5, making his elapsed time 28:19 2-5, a cut of 3:44 in his record made Monday.

“Mr. Stanley got a splendid welcome and was induced to run his car up skids to the platform of the Summit Hotel where it was photographed repeatedly with one of the rack railroad locomotives as a background. Mr. Stanley had stripped his car even of the seat cushions, and was rather used up with the jolting he got on the way. Both today and yesterday he was accompanied by a youth, who, with a stop-watch in hand checked the time at the two-mile marks on the way up, so that they had a line on their performance.”*

The Climb to the Clouds race was run again in 1905. F. E. Stanley and Joe Crowley, his “mechanician” made the ascent in a 1905 15 HP Stanley. It did not quite beat the powerful 60 HP Napier’s winning time of 20 minutes, 58 & 2/5 seconds, driven later that day, Tuesday, July 18, by Bert Holland. But the Stanley’s time of 22 minutes, 17 3/5 seconds set the record for steam car ascents.

So why is the Stanley but a museum piece today? Because the Stanley brothers were crusty and stubborn. They could have been giants in the industry, but they didn’t feel like it, producing a self-imposed 1,000 a year. At the same time, Henry Ford, a marketing whiz and a staunch supporter of internal combustion, was gearing up his plant for mass production and mass appeal. The Steamer, which could easily have been the car of the future, became a thing of the past.

Link of Modern Racing 2010 of  “Climb to the Clouds”   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35RVf7i5D5I&feature=player_embedded

The Climb to the Clouds up Mount Washington gives drivers a lot to think about ESPN article

http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/news/story?id=6687640

 

 

 

*Reprinted from The Automobile Weekly• Saturday, July 16, 1904

 
 

 

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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY–NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER

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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY — NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE — WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Wakiva II

 

(Yacht: t. 853 (gross) ; l. 239’6″; b. 30’6″; dr. 15’0″ (mean); s. 15 k.; a. 4 3″, 2 .30-cal. mg.)

 

Wakiva II—a steel-hulled steam yacht built at Leith, Scotland, by Ramage and Ferguson—was launched on 3 February 1907 for Lamon V. Harkness. The graceful yacht served the Harkness family—first for Lamon V. and then for his son Harry—and ranged from the North Sea to the Netherlands East Indies in the halcyon days before the first World War. After the United States entered this conflict on the side of the Allies the Navy acquired Wakiva II on 20 July 1917 and commissioned her on 6 August at the Boston Navy Yard, Lt. Comdr. Thomas R. Kurtz in command.

 

While shipwrights were still laboring to complete the conversion of the erstwhile pleasure craft to a man-of-war for “distant service,” Capt. Thomas P. Magruder hoisted his burgee pennant in Wakiva II as Commander, Squadron Four, Patrol Force, on 18 August. With the necessary alterations completed on the ship one week later, she set sail for Provincetown, Mass., in company with six French subchasers and the remainder of the squadron—a collection of converted fishing craft and patrol boats—and departed the east coast on 26 August for France.

 

Wakiva II paused at Ponta Delgada in the Azores from 6 to 11 September—towing P. K. Bauman (SP-377) part of the distance from the United States, due to a breakdown in the SP boat’s propulsion system— and arrived at Brest on 18 September. Nine days later, Capt. Magruder hauled down his pennant to establish headquarters ashore. Released from this “flag” duty, Wakiva II soon commenced her convoy watchdog duties on the high seas on 28 September, putting to sea to meet a convoy 75 miles west of Ushant.

 

Wakiva II operated on patrol and escort duty out of Brest, France, from the fall of 1917 to her loss the following year. On 28 October 1917, when transport Finland was torpedoed, Wakiva II and Alcedo (SP-166) teamed to pick up survivors—standing towards the sinking ship soon after she was hit. Wakiva II lowered two boats and manned one of the transport’s lifeboats— eventually rescuing 126 men before setting course for Brest. On 23 November, the yacht’s lookouts sighted an object 500 yards distant which looked initially like a submarine’s conning tower. Going to general quarters, the yacht sped towards the contact and commenced fire with her forward guns. After the warship had loosed seven shots, a closer investigation disclosed that the object of their attack—which resulted in the destruction of the object—was a convincingly painted target.

 

Her first actual head-to-head encounter with the enemy came within a week. Wakiva II sailed from St. Nazaire on 28 November to join up with a west-bound convoy. The passage proceeded uneventfully until oiler Kanawha fired off two Very pistol stars and sounded a loud blast on her siren. Thus alterted, Wakiva II sounded general quarters and rang down for full speed ahead. While Noma (SP-131) also closed to screen the vulnerable and valuable fuel carrier on the starboard side, Wakiva II took up station on the port beam. Thirty minutes of painstaking search revealed nothing to the hunters, however, and the three ships returned to the van of the convoy.

 

No sooner had the search been discontinued when Noma suddenly sounded another alarm and dropped a depth charge on what her lookouts felt was a submarine. Her crew at general quarters, Wakiva II sped to the scene to assist in the hunt and, at 1902, while still one and one-half miles from Noma, sighted a periscope 100 yards away. Putting over hard-a-port, Wakiva II commenced fire with her after guns—her third salvo was thought to have sheared the periscope. As the yacht passed over the suspected submarine the second time, she dropped a depth charge barrage—all of which exploded and sent oil and debris to the surface, indicating that they had heavily hit the enemy submersible. Two hits on the wreckage, fired from number one gun, added the coup de grace to what appeared to be a shattered submarine. Wakiva II made a third pass and sighted three men clinging to wreckage, but by the time the yacht had come full circle, all that remained was the heavy smell of fuel oil and bits and pieces of wreckage on the surface of the sea.

 

Wakiva It’s commanding officer glowingly praised his crew’s performance in the subsequent after action report, noting their work as a “perfect fighting unit.” His men showed “admirable coolness and courage,” and did not manifest any nervousness or inefficiency. Wakiva II —while receiving credit for only a “probably seriously damaged” submarine, by the Admiralty—was nonetheless commended by Vice Admiral Henry B. Wilson, commanding naval forces on the coast of France, and Admiral William S. Sims, commanding United States Naval Forces in European waters.

 

On 12 February 1918, Wakiva II, while in company with Corsair (SP-159) and May (SP-164), sighted a submarine running on the surface dead astern. Signalling the report of the sighting to the three merchantmen in the small convoy—Munindies, Florence H., and Thorwald HalvorsenWakiva II commenced fire with number two and four 3-inch guns, checking fire momentarily to avoid hitting Florence H. which was steaming just beyond where the enemy submarine had suddenly appeared. The U-boat quickly submerged, and the yacht remained at the scene for 90 minutes before abandoning the search.

 

Wakiva II maintained a schedule of patrol and escort out of Brest through the late winter. On 21 May, she steamed in convoy with a group of eight ships on the port flank, heading eastward from the French coast. As fog set in shortly after sunset, speed was reduced. The ships crept along with Wakiva II taking station on the freighter Wabash (Id. No. 1824). Zigzagging ceased with the onset of the murky weather, and Noma sent a message to the convoy commodore, in Black Arrow, to this effect.

 

By 0300 on the 22d, visibility improved—but only briefly—before the convoy slipped into another fog bank. The sounds of whistles from the loosely assembled shipping pierced the gloomy dawn; and, at 0310, those on watch in Wakiva II distinctly heard Wabash’s whistle but could not see the ship. As another blast from the cargo vessel sounded even closer soon thereafter, Lt. Comdr. E. G. Allen, commanding the yacht, ordered the helm put over to port, one point, and the whistle sounded. Ten seconds later, Wabash loosed another blast, even closer.

 

Suddenly, the shape of the cargo vessel loomed out of the mist and bore down, inexorably, on Wakiva II. Ringing down full speed ahead, Allen ordered a turn to port—but before the helm could be put over, Wabash’s stem tore into the yacht’s starboard quarter, just abaft the mainmast and forward of the after guns, and ripped a mortal gash in the ship’s side from the main deck down to the propeller shaft. On board Wakiva II, there had been barely enough time to reach the general alarm. The collision threw both ships briefly on parallel courses, carrying away Wabash’s starboard boats. Both ships also hung together briefly before parting, with the cargo vessel slowly going astern.

 

While two men were lost on board the patrol vessel, individual acts of heroism occurred simultaneously. Upon feeling the shock of the collision and hearing the general alarm, Chief Gunner’s Mate Oliver P. Cooper, USNRF, ran aft to the fantail where the depth charges were secured, withdrew the bursting pins from the British mines stored there, and set the American depth charges on “safe.” He reported that all was “secure” within five minutes of the collision.

 

Electrician Second Class Charles E. Kirkpatrick, UNSRF, on watch in the ship’s radio room, remained at his post and sent out the SOS—remaining on board until abandoning at the last possible moment. Chief Boatswain’s Mate Thomas Olson, USNRF, rigged out the motor whaleboat and rousted out men from below-decks, and then, along with the captain, inspected and cleared the ship. Below, as the engine room filled with water, Machinist Mate First Class Charles A. A. Smith began to start the pumps before realizing that at the rate at which the water was cascading in through the rent in the ship’s side, the pumps could not hold their own.

 

As Wakiva II sank by the stern, the captain and his crew pulled clear in the ship’s boats at 0330. The yacht disappeared beneath the waves six minutes later, as Wabash simultaneously lowered her undamaged boats and assisted in picking up survivors from the doughty yacht

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