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Object ID # 1970.089.001
Object Name Model
Other Name Ship, Model
Title "The Smith Model" of the Steamer Frances Smith
Lexicon category 8: Communication Artifact
Date 1870s
Made Simpson, Melancthon?
Place of Origin Owen Sound, Grey County
Description Scale half model of the FRANCES SMITH paddlewheeler steamship. It is housed in a wooden, shadowbox-style case. It is a "half model" as it only shows a representation of one side of the ship. The case has mitred corners, and a dark, varnished wooden exterior, with an inner, plain, gilt-coloured edging around the glass. The interior of the case is black. The glass has bubble imperfections, suggesting its age. The model has a red-painted hull, and white upper parts. There is a red/ blue/ white paddlewheel housing that has "FRANCES SMITH" in red and "LAKE SUPERIOR ROYAL MAIL LINE". There is a green stripe,and a green upper railing. The doors and windows are black-painted. There are three smaller craft mounted on top. There is a miniature Union Jack flag at the stern, and three other flags: a red/ white/ red horizontally-striped one, a white one with a red cross, and a white/ blue/ black one that has "FRANCIS SMITH" on it [Note that this is mis-spelt]. There is writing on the back of the shadowbox which reads "First Passenger ship built in Owen Sound and launched April 30, 1867 / This is the original model built exactly to scale from which the ship was constructed. It was built by Melancthon Simpson and owned and operated by Capt. William H. Smith." No maker's identification is seen.
Provenance This half-model of the FRANCES SMITH has been thought to be the shipyard model, but it may be actually from the 1870s, as it has "Lake Superior Royal Mail Line" on it. This company, according to James Barry's book, was not established until after 1869, and advertisements were seen for it in the 1870s. Captain W. H. Smith of Owen Sound, Ontario owned the S. S. FRANCES SMITH for a while and the donor's husband was a descendent of his. The FRANCES SMITH was later renamed the BALTIC and accidentally burned at Collingwood, Ontario, on Sept. 5, 1896.
Collection Folk Art Collection
Material Wood/Glass/Metal/Paint
Dimensions W-41.535 L-25.591 D-7.087 inches
Found Owen Sound, Grey County
People Smith, Captain W. H.
Smith, Frances Jane
Subjects Shipbuilding
Marine History
Owen Sound, Ontario
Owen Sound Harbour
Model ships
Search Terms Owen Sound Harbour
S. S. Frances Smith
Owen Sound
Function Although some boat miniatures are folk art, this one's quality suggests that it was purpose-made by someone.