Friday, 28 January 2011

Icebreakers - Sepia Saturday

For my sins over the 20 years before I retired I led training courses in may parts of the world – UK, Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East and Mexico. With up to 20 people on a five day course and especially where the candidates were from different companies the initial problem was to get them to talk to one another. We had to devise a means of breaking the ice.

We often posted an introductory slide of an icebreaker in the Arctic with people standing on the pack ice.

Hence my topic for this week:

The earliest icebreakers used by the Russians in the Arctic and on Siberian rivers were called kochi or iceboats. The rounded body lines of a koch allowed the boat to be pushed upwards out of the ice and to rest on the surface.

The first steam powered icebreaker was a wooden paddle steamer with a strengthened hull intended to break ice in the harbour at Philadelphia in 1837.

 City Ice Boat No. 1

The first European steam-powered icebreaker and the first ever icebreaker with a metal hull was the Russian Pilot built in 1864. The Pilot has been featured on a Russian postage stamp.

The Pilot had all the main features present in the modern icebreakers, and that's why it is often considered the first true icebreaker.

However it is a ship built in England for the Russians that is considered the first modern polar icebreaker:

 The Yermak was built by Armstrong Whitworth in Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1898. The Yermak was able to run over and crush pack ice.

Of course later ships were diesel powered and now nuclear powered icebreakers are in use.

During the war the Germans used ships like the Hessen as icebreakers in the Baltic Sea.

This photo was taken from the battleship Scharnhorst in January 1940. The Hessen was later used as a target ship for the Scharnhorst.


Christine H. said...

Thanks for this post. I have never given much thought to icebreakers, but it's pretty interesting, and that Russian stamp is great!

Pat transplanted to MN said...

Fascinating history of icebereakers...I had not thought of the origin of that word and this does give real perspective. That Yermak looks like a tank afloat!

Karen S. said...

Wow, very cool info. I find ships very interesting, and all the stories that go along with them. The work you did in the past sounds interesting as well! I can imagine the many different types of people you met along the way!

Tattered and Lost said...

Oh, what will become of all the ice breakers when there's no longer any ice to break? Relics like polar bears.

Nana Jo said...

The stamp is wonderful. I've used the word ice-breaker without ever giving a thought to its etiology. Your little history lesson was very interesting.

Melissa, Unboxer of Photos said...

Nice Sepia Saturday segue!

Alan Burnett said...

Has anyone ever taken a theme and squeezed so much out of it. It is the trainer in you that shines through, that ability to find interest in whatever you are looking at.


traffic on the st-lawrence river is busy, so, we do have icebreakers. nice insight into this topic here today.

check this out:

Bob Scotney said...

Thanks for the link TICKLEBEAR. Now that's a great photo of an icebreaker at work.


it's a modern one, but still relevant.