Here is a little fun fact about the later whaleback lakeboats. 

For our purposes today we're going to use the whaleback steamer JOHN ERICSSON. Launched on July 11th, 1896 the ERICSSON was the an ultra modern steamship of the Victorian era and she was the first of the whalebacks to have her pilothouse forward. She was fast and powerful enough to tow the largest whaleback barge as her consort with the greatest of efficiency.

She also had a unique feature seen only on some of the later whalebacks...

She had three lamp posts along the center of her spardeck.

Looking closely you can see them here as well as on her whaleback barge.

Zooming in more closely you can see the globe and the illumination filament.

In this image you can clearly see that these were not oil lamps.

Knowing that when Alexander McDougall launched his World's Fair whaleback passenger steamer CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS in late 1892 she was fitted out in the spring of 1893 with electric lights all the way throughout! So it is quite possible that the lamp posts on the ERICSSON also supported electric deck lamps.

On June 3rd, 1901 the ERICSSON changed owners as she came under the management of the "Steel Trust" of the Pittsburgh Steamship Company. Sometime thereafter the deck lamps were removed...

...yet the lamp posts remained and were used exclusively to support her her lifeline, as seen in this image. Her aft mast was also moved from her deckhouse to the spar deck.

Later, when her spar deck was converted to have standard hatches, the lamp posts were removed.

Just some fun tid-bits on vintage freighters of the Great Lakes for you folks.

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