1989 25c Steamboats

# 2405-09 - 1989 25c Steamboats

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U.S. #2405-09
1989 25¢ Steamboats

• Booklet pane picturing five early steamboats in use 1788-1818
• Feature artwork by maritime artist Richard Schlecht

 

Stamp Category: Commemorative
Set: Steamboats
Value: 25¢, first-class rate
First Day of Issue: March 3, 1989
First Day City: New Orleans, Louisiana
Quantity Issued: 40,996,800 booklet panes
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed and engraved
Format: Four booklet panes of five stamps per booklet, printed in sheets of 240
Perforations: 10 horizontal on 1 or 2 sides

 

Why the stamps were issued: This was the third year in a row the USPS issued booklet panes of five stamps depicting early forms of transportation. These stamps feature steamboats.

 

About the stamp designs: Veteran stamp artist Richard Schlecht designed the Steamboat stamps. Few accurate illustrations or detailed descriptions from the period existed for some of the ships, forcing Schlecht to take significant artistic license. He said, “realizing that the guy who made a boat drawing I was working from ha probably (a) never had a pencil in his hand before and (b) never seen a boat before. One or two were even largely based on verbal descriptions, and I had to think, ‘well, it couldn’t have really been like that, but here’s what this guy was probably saying, or making up, or speaking in hyperbole about.’”

 

Special design details: The booklet cover for these stamps granted the purchaser free admission to the World Stamp Expo ’89.

 

About the printing process: This booklet marked the start of a new service from the USPS. They would now offer collectors the opportunity to get individual booklet panes that hadn’t been folded with gummed binding stubs intact. This was a solution to issues collectors had experienced since the 1970s, when the BEP began using the Goebel booklet forming equipment. This equipment folded booklets along perforations and fastened the booklets with adhesive on the tabs. As a result, the folded area was weakened and would likely lead to the stamps separating. It was also difficult to remove panes without damaging the tabs, which included plated numbers and other markings. The new method used for the Steamboat stamps removed them from the machine before they folded and affixed so they could be perforated and slit from the printed web and separated, and packaged.

 

First Day City: The First Day ceremony for the Steamboat stamps was held at the Delta Queen Terminal in New Orleans, Louisiana. Two old paddlewheel boats were present in the background of the ceremony.

 

About the Steamboats Booklet Pane: The US had issued several stamps picturing steamboats prior to this booklet. Longtime stamp artist Richard Schlecht, known for his detailed maritime paintings, was hired to sketch his choice of steamboats for the stamps. He chose a variety from the mid- and late-19th century. However, the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) asked him to focus on stamps from the early era of American steamboats. So the topical subcommittee consulted several books on steamboats and compiled a list of 10 notable boats from the late 1700s and early 1800s. CSAC selected the five oldest and said they would likely use the rest, along with those that Schlect had already designed, at a later date.

 

The five boats depicted on these stamps were all from the Eastern part of the country, but represented five different geographical areas. Schlect created his initial paintings of the stamps at actual stamp size, to show the USPS what the final stamps would look like. He had done this before, and would normally then repaint the images at a larger size. However, this time the general manager of the Stamps Division was so impressed with the spontaneous quality the design and lettering had, he insisted they use these images for the stamps. Schlect worried that the stamps might not print well from such a small original source. So they made a compromise. He recreated the designs at twice the size in two separate pieces. He made ink drawings on mylar plastic laid over a wash painting for the background.

 

History the stamps represent: When James Watt improved the steam engine in 1769, it led to the first steamboat being developed in France 14 years later. The real turning point for steam-powered boats came in 1807, when Robert Fulton built the North River Steamboat, later renamed the Clermont. It was a long, low vessel powered by a Watt engine, and its extraordinary commercial success was a historic event.

 

Experiment (1788-1790) was built by Philadelphia silversmith and inventor John Fitch. He took his vessel on its first successful voyage on the Delaware River on August 22, 1787. Members of the US Constitutional Convention were among those who witnessed the demonstration, and some even rode in the experimental boat that summer. Fitch built another boat in 1790 that transported people and freight between Philadelphia and Burlington, New Jersey. While it wasn’t commercially successful, it was one of the first steam ships to provide regularly scheduled passenger transport.

 

Phoenix (1809) was built by John Stevens and his son Robert L. Stevens in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1807. The sidewheel steamboat was 50 feet long and originally sailed from New Brunswick, New Jersey, to New York City. In June 1809, it became the first steamboat to sail on the open ocean, traveling from New York to Philadelphia. It was a harrowing 14-day, 240-mile journey on rough, stormy waters.

 

New Orleans (1812) was a joint business venture among Robert Fulton, Robert R. Livingston, and Nicholas Roosevelt. Built in Pittsburgh, it was the first inland steamboat in history. In 1811, it was the first steamboat to travel the Ohio River and marked the start of commercial steamboat use in the west and midwestern rivers.

 

Washington (1816) was designed by Henry Miller, who’s been called the father of the Mississippi River steamboat. It was one of the first steamboats with two decks and had a low, nearly flat-bottomed hull. The vessel was launched from Wheeling, West Virginia on June 4, 1816. The following year, it set of record of 24 days for its voyage from New Orleans to Louisville.

 

Walk in the Water (1818) was the first steamboat to sail on Lake Erie. Reportedly, the boat’s name came from the Native American view that the steamboats appeared to be walking on the water with their lack of sails. The lightweight ship transported settlers, immigrants, and the mail across the lake for three years, before being destroyed in a storm. The passengers and crew were saved and the engine was salvaged and put to use in another ship for a decade.

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U.S. #2405-09
1989 25¢ Steamboats

• Booklet pane picturing five early steamboats in use 1788-1818
• Feature artwork by maritime artist Richard Schlecht

 

Stamp Category: Commemorative
Set: Steamboats
Value: 25¢, first-class rate
First Day of Issue: March 3, 1989
First Day City: New Orleans, Louisiana
Quantity Issued: 40,996,800 booklet panes
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed and engraved
Format: Four booklet panes of five stamps per booklet, printed in sheets of 240
Perforations: 10 horizontal on 1 or 2 sides

 

Why the stamps were issued: This was the third year in a row the USPS issued booklet panes of five stamps depicting early forms of transportation. These stamps feature steamboats.

 

About the stamp designs: Veteran stamp artist Richard Schlecht designed the Steamboat stamps. Few accurate illustrations or detailed descriptions from the period existed for some of the ships, forcing Schlecht to take significant artistic license. He said, “realizing that the guy who made a boat drawing I was working from ha probably (a) never had a pencil in his hand before and (b) never seen a boat before. One or two were even largely based on verbal descriptions, and I had to think, ‘well, it couldn’t have really been like that, but here’s what this guy was probably saying, or making up, or speaking in hyperbole about.’”

 

Special design details: The booklet cover for these stamps granted the purchaser free admission to the World Stamp Expo ’89.

 

About the printing process: This booklet marked the start of a new service from the USPS. They would now offer collectors the opportunity to get individual booklet panes that hadn’t been folded with gummed binding stubs intact. This was a solution to issues collectors had experienced since the 1970s, when the BEP began using the Goebel booklet forming equipment. This equipment folded booklets along perforations and fastened the booklets with adhesive on the tabs. As a result, the folded area was weakened and would likely lead to the stamps separating. It was also difficult to remove panes without damaging the tabs, which included plated numbers and other markings. The new method used for the Steamboat stamps removed them from the machine before they folded and affixed so they could be perforated and slit from the printed web and separated, and packaged.

 

First Day City: The First Day ceremony for the Steamboat stamps was held at the Delta Queen Terminal in New Orleans, Louisiana. Two old paddlewheel boats were present in the background of the ceremony.

 

About the Steamboats Booklet Pane: The US had issued several stamps picturing steamboats prior to this booklet. Longtime stamp artist Richard Schlecht, known for his detailed maritime paintings, was hired to sketch his choice of steamboats for the stamps. He chose a variety from the mid- and late-19th century. However, the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) asked him to focus on stamps from the early era of American steamboats. So the topical subcommittee consulted several books on steamboats and compiled a list of 10 notable boats from the late 1700s and early 1800s. CSAC selected the five oldest and said they would likely use the rest, along with those that Schlect had already designed, at a later date.

 

The five boats depicted on these stamps were all from the Eastern part of the country, but represented five different geographical areas. Schlect created his initial paintings of the stamps at actual stamp size, to show the USPS what the final stamps would look like. He had done this before, and would normally then repaint the images at a larger size. However, this time the general manager of the Stamps Division was so impressed with the spontaneous quality the design and lettering had, he insisted they use these images for the stamps. Schlect worried that the stamps might not print well from such a small original source. So they made a compromise. He recreated the designs at twice the size in two separate pieces. He made ink drawings on mylar plastic laid over a wash painting for the background.

 

History the stamps represent: When James Watt improved the steam engine in 1769, it led to the first steamboat being developed in France 14 years later. The real turning point for steam-powered boats came in 1807, when Robert Fulton built the North River Steamboat, later renamed the Clermont. It was a long, low vessel powered by a Watt engine, and its extraordinary commercial success was a historic event.

 

Experiment (1788-1790) was built by Philadelphia silversmith and inventor John Fitch. He took his vessel on its first successful voyage on the Delaware River on August 22, 1787. Members of the US Constitutional Convention were among those who witnessed the demonstration, and some even rode in the experimental boat that summer. Fitch built another boat in 1790 that transported people and freight between Philadelphia and Burlington, New Jersey. While it wasn’t commercially successful, it was one of the first steam ships to provide regularly scheduled passenger transport.

 

Phoenix (1809) was built by John Stevens and his son Robert L. Stevens in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1807. The sidewheel steamboat was 50 feet long and originally sailed from New Brunswick, New Jersey, to New York City. In June 1809, it became the first steamboat to sail on the open ocean, traveling from New York to Philadelphia. It was a harrowing 14-day, 240-mile journey on rough, stormy waters.

 

New Orleans (1812) was a joint business venture among Robert Fulton, Robert R. Livingston, and Nicholas Roosevelt. Built in Pittsburgh, it was the first inland steamboat in history. In 1811, it was the first steamboat to travel the Ohio River and marked the start of commercial steamboat use in the west and midwestern rivers.

 

Washington (1816) was designed by Henry Miller, who’s been called the father of the Mississippi River steamboat. It was one of the first steamboats with two decks and had a low, nearly flat-bottomed hull. The vessel was launched from Wheeling, West Virginia on June 4, 1816. The following year, it set of record of 24 days for its voyage from New Orleans to Louisville.

 

Walk in the Water (1818) was the first steamboat to sail on Lake Erie. Reportedly, the boat’s name came from the Native American view that the steamboats appeared to be walking on the water with their lack of sails. The lightweight ship transported settlers, immigrants, and the mail across the lake for three years, before being destroyed in a storm. The passengers and crew were saved and the engine was salvaged and put to use in another ship for a decade.