'Costs in building DELTA KING/DELTA QUEEN, 1925.'
One of the many attractions that have appealed to people over the years on the DELTA QUEEN has been the fine paneling and wood appointments. Further digging in these old papers/orders/contracts reveals some of the costs in this fine work. The C.T. CO. on the Sacramento--and the ship yards they owned at Stockton, Calif.--show carpenters and workers posing for a 1926 photo by the KING & QUEEN numbering some 65 + or - men. Jim Burns, on behalf of the company and Capt. Anderson, made a known two Atlantic crossings to visit DENNY BROS. on the River Clyde to discuss and finalize plans for the two proposed boats [*Termed 'ships]. All other details communicated via cables and letters to the tune of $502--no small amount then. In 1925 the round sum of $100,000 today would convert roughly to $1,152,000 depending on the Internet conversion scale you consult.
Jim Burns had known Louie Cinnamond, a fine ship 'joiner,' from Scotland who he recruited with some four workers to come to Stockton to accomplish the finer work on the boats similar to cabinetry work above and beyond the usual 'rough carpenters.' Fine paneling, deck benches and the staircases for the boats were their crowning glory. John Burns, Jim's son, related that these men, once getting a taste of life in the United States, opportunities and the appeal of California, never returned to Scotland. They remained here, worked, retired and, for a few, found a home till their final days in Jim's ample residence. No mention of 'residence work status' or citizenship. Jim contracted the lumber for the upper works on the DK/DQ from the West Coast. Being close to all shipping matters in San Francisco, Jim got wind of a fine shipment of Siamese Ironwood and Teak arriving via ship from Asia that had been defaulted on by the consigner. Jim bought this wood up upon arrival at a bargain, had shipped to Stockton and worked in the DK/DQ for railings, cargo deck and other needs. Fine cedar from North America marks the boats today and, at times, the scent is still noticed. Below are some findings on this work for your interest.
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1. Building of paddlewheels: Labor = $1,058.52. Material = $939.89 TOT: $1,998.41 [*For each boat.]
2. Steering wheel/brackets [Each] Labor = $90.62. Material = $100.13. TOT: $190.75
3. Pitmans: [Just for KING but same for QUEEN Xs 2: Labor = $424.50. Material = $232.94 TOT: $675.44
The fine staircases on both boats we see today adjacent to the Purser's Office were a real bargain that astounds us. $286.74 in labor. Space for 'Materials' is blank, so total was just for labor. No mention of casting the fine metal work for the railings and that was done to a subcontractor with no amount listed. For a number of years the QUEEN's paneling was painted that unmistakable apple green color so admired in the late 1940s and for a number of years. Capt. Doc Hawley, Capt. Wagner etc. realized the beauty of the original wood and stained glass windows and began a detailed project to strip off the paint and restore. That's a story in itself that others on this web know well.
4. Fine doors and windows just for one boat: Labor = $1,498.02. Materials = $1,264.96. TOT: $2,762.98
5. The celebrated 'Mens quarters' on the bow recently discussed on the web was just for one boat was. Labor = $1,043.56. Materials = $782.44. TOT: $1,826.00.
The above just for one boat; so final tally for both could be doubled + or -
During initial fabrication on the ways at DENNY BROS. in Scotland 'something' happened and the hull of the KING suffered a bad crack. There are two surviving B/W photos of very poor quality showing the hulls of the two boats and there clearly can be seen the big crack/separation in that of the KING. It was repaired and all went on. No doubt the photos were for records and insurance coverage.
R. Dale Flick