Artifact of the Month

What is it?

In the mid-1800’s steam engines began being used to power ships, including the freighters on the Great Lakes. The steam from the boilers also provided the “air flow” for boat whistles like the one shown here. Each boat whistle was made slightly different from every other which gave each freighter a distinctive sound.

You can view this steam boat whistle in the St. Clair Museum’s Maritime Room.

St. Clair artifact

What is it? -- Your turn

A container full of these almost-round, rock-like objects is also on display in the Maritime Room because they are one of the main cargos carried by several Great Lakes freighters. Identify the cargo by its technical name, then e-mail your answer to We will identify the artifact in January and name those who guessed correctly.
St. Clair artifact


The “What Is It?” artifact for October was a heating stone for your feet. The stone was heated in a stove or fireplace and put on the floor of an open car, carriage or sleigh to keep your feet warm in winter.
St. Clair artifact