Tuesday, May 4, 2010

U.S.S. Raleigh Engine Room Clock Returns to Portsmouth After More Than 100 Years. The clock Now on Display at Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Gallery

USS Raleigh, C-8, circa 1894
By Jim Dyson

USS Raleigh a United States Navy, protected cruiser, the second ship of the U.S. Navy named Raleigh, C-8, was laid down on 19 December 1889 at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia, launched 31 March 1892; sponsored by Mrs. Alfred W. Haywood; and commissioned on 17 April 1894, Captain Merrill Miller, commanding. The USS Raleigh was launched at the north end of the shipyard, near what now is Trophy Park. The Raleigh served in the Spanish American War and saw naval service until 21 April 1919. To read about the U.S.S. Raleigh's naval history, go to: USS Raleigh (C-8)

Launch of USS Raleigh, March 31, 1892, Portsmouth, Virginia.

On 5 August 1921 she was sold for scrapping to Henry A. Hitner's Sons Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It's been a long time since 1921 and artifacts from Raleigh are scarce indeed. Recently, Portsmouth marine clock historian and collector, James Dyson was able to obtain the Raleigh engine room clock in a trade with another collector. Research shows USS Raleigh to be the first steel hulled cruiser to be made by the US Navy and it's birth here in Portsmouth makes the clocks' return to Portsmouth a historic milestone.

USS Raleigh Engine Room Clock, manufactured in 1892
 Marine clocks with US Navy ship names engraved on the dial are extremely difficult to find since only one clock at most with the ships name was made for each ship and not all US Navy ships had such a signed clock. The rarity of the USS Raleigh clock considering many US Navy clocks have not survived due to sinking or scraping is remarkable.

The clock has recently been restored to its 1892 condition and will be on display for a limted time at Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Gallery with an opening viewing on Friday, May 7, 2010.

If you are coming- you may also want to visit the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum (also located at the High Street Landing here in Olde Towne Portsmouth) and see the clock from the U.S.S. Texas and an early model of the U.S.S. Raleigh! The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum.

U.S.S. Raleigh Engine Room Clock  engraved ship name on clock face.

About the author: Jim Dyson is a renowned expert on Chelsea marine clocks with over 20 years experience collecting and researching all facets of Chelsea history. He is the author and curator of the “Chelsea Clock Museum” the online source of Chelsea history and museum quality marine clock knowledge Chelsea Clock Museumand Director of the Marine Clock and Instrument Division of Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Gallery. Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Gallery-Chelsea Clocks & Barometers

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