Steamboats in Advertisements, page 3


1944 advertising art featuring tug boats in a harbor

22 July 1944 Saturday Evening Post art by E.P. Couse of several tug boats, the one in the foreground assisting an ocean liner On the far left against the horizon a Merchant Marine vessel which is relevant to the theme of the Westinghouse advertisement below the artwork. The headline was "this time . . . . let's keep our Merchant Marine" with the text of the article reminding Americans how the Merchant Marine was built up during World War 1 and then fell behind until 1936 when the Merchant Marine Act was enacted and the fleet of merchant vessels was built up to exceed by half what had been built for WW 1 and was just in time to serve wartime needs for World War 2 in which we were still engaged when this was published.

Have not found any biographical material on E.P. Couse yet but found listings of his illustrations from the late '30's into the early '40's at the following link:

COUSE, E. P. (fl. 1930s-1940s)
Illustration; Liberty Mar 13 1937
Illustration; American Cavalcade May 1937
Illustration; Liberty Oct 12 1940
Illustration; Liberty Apr 5 1941
Illustration; Liberty May 3 1941
Illustration; Liberty May 17 1941
Illustration; Liberty Aug 30 1941
Illustration; Liberty Nov 29 1941
Illustration; Liberty Dec 13 1941
Illustration; Liberty Feb 7 1942
Illustration; The Blue Book Magazine Jul 1942
Illustration; The Country Gentleman Sep 1942
Illustration; The Country Gentleman Oct 1942

McDonnell MEMPHIS half size for Nori

Attached scan of detail of a 1943 McDonnell aircraft advertisement which promoted the company's present war time industry and the future building aircraft for the post-war military in their plant at the Memphis Airport.

In the sky above the city the artist added a huge futuristic airplane with twin "pusher propellers" on the back of both wings.

I didn't include the aircraft in this scan since it rather overwhelms the city and the steamboat on the river, I'll leave it to the imagination of our fans and I have provided a "for reference only" scan for your amazement that doesn't need to be posted.

Transcript of the text below the graphic and headline:

"High on the Chickasaw Bluffs overlooking the mighty Mississippi, stands Memphis . . . historic, colorful, truly representative of the romantic river cities of the Old South, but considerations other than its charm governed our choice of Memphis as the site for additional aircraft manufacturing plant facilities.

Favorable climatic conditions, accessibility of location, adequate supplies of labor, exceptionally good electric, gas, and water facilities, enlightened and progressive civic and community leadership—all these are factors which influenced the location of a McDonnell Plant at the Memphis Municipal Airport.

Details concerning the type and performance of aircraft which will soon roll out on our runways—are of military necessity, restricted. But you may be sure that these aircraft will play an important role in hastening the day of victory for America and our Allies.

That's our job in Memphis, now. But one day, when victory has been won and peacetime transportation is resumed, this old river city will become an important ocean port—in the Ocean of the Air.

Then, we hope to add our share to the contributions which Memphis and the New South will make to the New World of the Air.

EadsBridgeStLouisTireAd 18 April 1925 Sat Eve HALF size EXP

The Eads Bridge at St. Louis with a Steamboat and a Motor Car
Ad for Kelly Flexible Cord Tires
18 April 1925 Saturday Evening Post

Text of the Steamboat/Motor Car advertisement:

The Peregrinations of the Pecks

After a delightful trip across country from Pinehurst, the Pecks have arrived in St. Louis, where we see them stopping for a few minutes on the picturesque waterfront to allow Jim the younger to add one of the famous Mississippi River steamboats to his collection of snapshots. The two young Pecks are getting a liberal education, father is having a wonderful time and the change of scene and release from housework are doing mother a world of good. The whole family, therefore, is enjoying the trip immensely.

THE KELLY FLEXIBLE CORD is the only tire in which the bead is built in as an integral part. Since it is this new Integral Bead construction that makes the flexibility possible, it follows that no tire built by the ordinary method can offer the same combination of mileage and comfort

Rugged, dependable and easy-riding, here is indeed the best tire that even Kelly has ever built.


Armstrong Tire ad with Callie French's Showboat NEW SENSATION

"Mississippi Masterpiece" Saturday Evening Post 4th May 1946 page 128

Captain Callie French's "Showboat" plied the river for decades and - like Armstrongs - gave satisfaction to millions "Hats off to Natchez, Mississippi, southern home of the Armstrong tire . . ."

Painted illustration of French's showboat NEW SENSATION pushed by a towboat by unknown artist. Would have been even better without the air brushed graphic of tire lower right.

Miller Tires advertisement with steamboat illustration

This is a colorized version of an old ad for Miller Tires. The original was a black and white pen and ink drawing.


Vintage promotional ad in Waterways Journal 100th Anniversary Issue Waterways Journal published their 100th Anniversary Issue on June 29th, 1987 of 148 pages and offered subscribers a special hard cover edition from which came the attached reproduction ad on page 117 by "The Makers of the Gardner Steering Gear" who ran a series commemorating the heroism of pilots during the steamboat era. The "door mat" in front of the pilot wheel says PRAIRIE BELLE which was the name of the fictional steamboat that John Hay created for his poem about a heroic engineer he named Jim Bludso who stayed at his post until all the survivors got safely ashore when the boat burned. The artist was G.C. Searle and the caption was an excerpt regarding "Running Hat Island" from LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI (1883) by Sam Clemens.

Kelly Tires ad steamboat illustration

This is a detail from a 1953 Kelly Tires ad by an artist named Wainwright (first name not legible). It's based on a photo of the Piasa taken on the St. Louis levee I sent a while ago. The painting is certainly idealized from the photo with everything cleaned up, smokestacks made higher, bridge made grander. Nice job of idealization and nostalgia.


Swain's Light-Weight Compound Condensing Engine

Have transcribed the text of this ad which was riddled with typographical and spelling errors which I restored as much as possible in the attached scan which came from "River Drift" - a booklet published by the W.J. in 1970

Advertisement originally published in
10th December 1898 issue

Swain's Light-Weight Compound Condensing Engine.

The above cut is D. M. Swain's Light-weight Compound Condensing Engine for river steamboats, showing valve gear, receiver and levers to manipulate the same, noted for its light weight and simplicity.

The main valve is controlled by means of round-pointed cams; has one cam for forward motion and one for backward motion. The exhaust ports are held open full port 19-20 of the stroke of the piston. The travel of the H. P. valve is during the time that it is subjected only to the terminal pressure, and the ports and clearance are filled with steam—that of the terminal pressure before the steam is exhausted and used over again, making the expense of steam used to fill the ports and clearance practically nothing.

Lever 1 is employed to adjust the point of cut-off while the engines are in motion. When the engines are at rest lever 2 is employed to close valve B in exhaust pipe leading to condenser; its continued movement lifts the main valves off their seat then steam can be blown through to relieve the boilers of their pressure and to prevent the accumulation of condensation in the cylinders and receiver, and provides steam for the compound cylinder for starting the engine. Valve B is closed. Valve P is a by-pass and pressure valve. The steam that is blown through is, by valve B being closed, compelled to pass through by-pass pressure valve P, thus preventing vacuum from entering both cylinders, receiver and connections; also, accumulation of condensation. By these means the engines are as easily and as readily manipulated as the ordinary high-pressure engine While these engines are at rest, the steam that is blown through by means of pressure valve P. the receiver and both cylinders have a pressure of 15 pounds of steam. This prevents an accumulation of condensation in the cylinders.

Starting, lever 2 lowers the valves to their seats, its continued motion opens valve B in exhaust pipe leading to condenser. This device of leaving these valves off their seats and closing valve B and opening the same is very simple, no greater than the device for lifting the induction valves or levers of the ordinary engines to blow through. Valve B is no greater than change valves in the ordinary exhaust pipes of the high-pressure engines.

These engines, as shown in the cut, are but little heavier than one high-pressure lever engine to develop the same power. These two engines, as shown, have less mechanism and cost less to maintain than the engines now commonly employed. This alone recommends their general use. Besides a guarantee of the saving of one-half the cost of fuel to develop corresponding power, the small consumption of fuel enables the vessel to refuel where fuel is the cheapest and the most convenient on each voyage, besides the space occupied for fuel.

I am prepared to build these engines any size required. Estimates on entire outfits made on application.

D. M. SWAIN, Stillwater, Minnesota.

Due to restricted access to the following newspaper we were only able to access the opening sentences of an article about David Swain.

The Stillwater Minnesota GAZETTE

David Swain plying the river
Brent Peterson May 29, 2018
One of the most proficient and expert boat builders and Captains of steamboats was David Swain. He was born at Golden Prairie, Illinois in 1841. Swain was primarily a foundry man and machinist.

He began his business in 1873 in an old warehouse on Main Street, Stillwater, Minnesota. In 1874 he constructed a brick building, between Myrtle and Chestnut, and was two stories high—located at 106 S. Third Street.


RIVER QUEEN at Hannibal, MO from a 1960's advertisement

Photo and text from a '60's ad for ETHYL gasoline. This was taken on the Missouri side at the Hannibal waterfront on the Mississippi River where steamboats still land and let passengers off so they can take some hours touring the town.

The RIVER QUEEN (formerly the GORDON C. GREENE) ended up on the other side of the river on the Illinois shore just north of the Mark Twain Memorial Bridge. The RQ was there from 1961 to '64 before moving to St. Louis where she sank in 1967.

An article on the LOST TABLE site features a history of the RIVER QUEEN. It is featured after the caption below. If you go to the online ink you will see that some of the images in the article came from Dave's collection here on

Caption in the magazine ad featured in LIFE and LOOK:
Adventure still beckons where Mark Twain lived

You can let your car spend a lonely weekend in the garage. Or you can fill it with your children and discover the wonders around you, wherever you live.

If you live in the middle of America, you can let your car meander with the Mississippi to Hannibal, Missouri, where adventure still beckons. Here a man lived who worshipped America with words. Not her oceans, but her muddy Mississippi. Not her giants, but her children. Tom Sawyer And Huck Finn. And any child can see they live here now, in spooky caves and fancy riverboats, near a whitewashed fence and a twisty tree still faithful to the tales told by Samuel Clemens. A man who wrote by a name you still hear when men measure the depths of the Mississippi: Mark Twain.

Wherever you live - east, west, north or south - the beauty and tradition of this wonderful country await your discovery. For wonderment is everywhere. It sleeps in towns where books come true. It beckons from a mountain top and calls from a valley. But it mostly happens where children are.

Ethyl calls this your Magic Circle. Why not go driving to yours this weekend? Your service station dealer will be happy to help you.

New York 17
New York Ethyl Corporation of Canada Limited, Toronto

These Magic Circle advertisements are published to help you get more enjoyment out of your car. Ethyl makes additives used by oil companies to improve their gasolines and your driving pleasure.

River Queen

The RIVER QUEEN was built in 1923 by Howard Shipyards in Jeffersonville, Indiana for the Eagle Packet Company of St. Louis. Originally christened the CAPE GIRARDEAU, the steamer carried passengers and freight between St. Louis and Louisville.

In 1935, the Cape Girardeau was sold to the Greene Line for $50,000. Renamed the GORDON C. GREENE, it operated as a successful tourist boat on the Ohio River between Cincinnati and New Orleans. The GREENE appeared in the motion pictures Gone with the Wind (1939), The Kentuckian (1955) and Band of Angels (1957).

The GREENE was sold in 1952 to a group in Portsmouth, Ohio who used the boat as a floating hotel under the name SARAH LEE. Starting in 1955, the steamer was used as a restaurant and museum by multiple owners, first as the Sternwheeler at Owensboro, Kentucky and then at Bradenton, Florida, where it was rechristened the RIVER QUEEN.

A bust as a tourist attraction in Bradenton, the sternwheeler was towed to New Orleans in 1960 to become a theater and bar. It didn't fair any better there, and in 1961, the RIVER QUEEN was put up for auction.

John Groffel of St. Louis and Arthur Krato of Hannibal were hunting and fishing companions. They also shared a fondness for the Mississippi steamboat era of Mark Twain. When they learned the sternwheeler RIVER QUEEN was to be auctioned in New Orleans, they decided to buy it.

The two would-be rivermen bought the RIVER QUEEN at auction for $49,100, which they thought a bargain. They felt even better when three days later they were offered $150,000 for the boat. Groffel and Krato chose to dock their steamboat at Hannibal. "I'm told that tourists are the second biggest industry in the state," reasoned Groffel.

"We thought about putting the RIVER QUEEN at St. Louis. Maybe the Arch and the riverfront will draw 3,000,000 people a year. But Hannibal's the right place for the boat because of the town's association with Mark Twain. If the 3,000,000 want to see it they have to drive only 90 miles." The RIVER QUEEN arrived in Hannibal in August of 1961. The 237-foot sternwheeler was moored 200 yards off US Highway 36 near the Illinois approach to the Mark Twain Memorial Bridge that spans the Mississippi River connecting Illinois to Hannibal. Groffel and Krato were betting a boat that had failed to show a profit in many other berths could succeed as a floating restaurant at Hannibal, with a museum and souvenir shop.

The RIVER QUEEN opened for business on April 26, 1962. "We've got $157,700 in her so far," said Groffel. He estimated 30,000 people visited the sternwheeler in its first three months of operation. But two years later, the RIVER QUEEN was on the move again.

In June of 1964, Groffel and Krato had their steamboat towed from Hannibal to St. Louis. They decided to move the 41-year-old craft downstream because of "potential business and interest in river lore in connection with the Gateway Arch and the riverfront square proposed by Walt Disney."

Before opening for business on the St. Louis riverfront, the RIVER QUEEN River Queen underwent extensive renovation. The interior was altered to expand its facilities and to comply with more stringent fire regulations required in St. Louis. A small theater and lounge were fitted out where the boat's boilers had been. Heating and air-conditioning was installed on the boat to ready it for year-round operation. By December of 1964, the sternwheeler was moored at its final home, just north of Eads Bridge.

On Friday evening, December 18, 1964, the RIVER QUEEN opened to a benefit dinner for the new St. Anthony's Hospital. Its main deck restaurant was again ablaze with activity.

On the GORDON C. GREENEG, the first-class staterooms were to port and starboard on the main deck, with the dining salon occupied the passageway in between, about 30 feet wide.

When the GREENE was transformed from a functioning tourist boat to a floating restaurant, the staterooms were removed and the dining room commanded the entire area midship, seating 185 diners.

The RIVER QUEEN had an upscale menu. Live lobster was commonplace. So was catfish; about 700 pounds a week were served. "The fellow we buy the catfish from thinks we're throwing it overboard," said Groffel, "but you'd be surprised what a national reputation Mississippi River catfish has. Tourists ask for it." The restaurant was open for lunch and dinner. Diners were treated to nineteenth-century-style riverboat splendor.

The RIVER QUEEN flourished for three years on the St. Louis riverfront. Then, early on the morning of December 2, 1967, the floating restaurant began sinking. By dawn, its stern appeared to be resting on the sloping river bottom, giving the abandoned craft a sharp list to port. The restaurant manager told police he first noticed the boat listing about 3 a.m. when he heard dishes crashing to the floor. Within three hours, water was at the level of the second deck ceiling at the stern, inundating part of the second deck lounge. Owners Groffel and Krato were called and sat in an automobile on the waterfront in a steady rain for several hours. They morosely watched the darkened, fog-shrouded boat settle. They were unable to explain what had happened. "If it goes," Groffel said, "I'll turn my back on the river."

Although salvage was attempted, high water and floating ice made saving the old boat impossible. The contractor engaged to raise the sternwheeler finally abandoned the project. The city later brought in a scoop shovel and demolished what remained of the RIVER QUEEN, leaving only the steel hull in place.



"Located on Steamboat Slough the property presents approximately 3,500 feet of river frontage"

Just purchased the attached fruit crate label for Steamboat Orchards Packing Co.

A Google search came up with the following attached commercial/residential real estate listing. It's not clear if the property has been sold or still available as of February 2019.

How's this for some exciting property? A tantalizing description of desirable location: "Located on Steamboat Slough the property presents approximately 3,500 feet of river frontage"


STEAMBOAT GROVES PACKING COMPANY a.k.a STEAMBOAT ORCHARDS "Located on Steamboat Slough the property presents approximately 3,500 feet of river frontage"

Steamboat Groves Packing Company 15229 Grand Island Road Walnut Grove, CA 95690

Sold Exclusively by Reni Della Maggiore

• Orchard irrigited By Underground Sprinklers
• 2800 Tons Cannery "Delivery Rights" With Pacific Coast Producers
• 3.25 Miles of Drain Tile
• 3 Room 26,000 Sq Ft Cold Storage Plant
• Office Building
• Employee Housing Labor Camp/Facilites & Bath For 100
• Steamboat Orchards Label
• Approximately 3500 Feet River Frontage

Steamboat Orchards, composed of Steamboat Orchards Packing Company and three contiguous pear orchards, a turn key operation as a grower, packer and shipper of Bartlett, Bosc and Star Crimson Pears. This unique property includes the internationally recognized Steamboat Orchard Label, a well maintained labor camp, employee housing, office facilities, workshop and storage as well as a 26,000 square foot cold storage plant with 28 foot side walls. This well established business opportunity provides immediate market place reputation and 2,800 tons cannery "Delivery Rights" with Pacific Coast Producers. Located on Steamboat Slough the property presents approximately 3,500 feet of river frontage and almost 320 gross acres. The property also includes a 2500 square foot home with a one of a kind pear shaped pool, another 1500 square foot three bedroom two bath home and two additional houses each with three bedrooms and approximately 1000 square feet. Also included are all the operation equipment such as tractors, spray machines, fork lifts, orchard trailers and miscellaneous vehicles.

Reni Della Maggiore, RU, FIA BCI
Coldwell Banker Commercial The Duncan Company, Inc.
18826 North Lower Sacramento Road, Suite E
P.O. Box 1066
Woodbridge, CA 95258-1066
Office: 209-334-6717
Cell: 209-649-7944


Promotional card for Steamboat OHIO 1915

Steamer OHIO
Sternwheeler Way's Packet Directory Number 4274

Built at Clarington, OHIO 1898. Ran Cincinnati-Memphis during the summer of 1915 which would have been when this advertisement was circulated. The OHIO was destroyed by a fire at the mouth of the Little Kanawha River on the night of February 2nd, 1916.


With the exception of images credited to public institutions,
everything on this page is from a private collection.
Please contact for permission for commercial use.*

All captions provided by Dave Thomson, primary contributor and historian.