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.

What is it? -- Your turn

A St. Clair business used this 6 inch long metal artifact on a wood base as a promotional item to encourage financial planning.  What is it?  Send your answer to historicstclair@gmail.com.  We will identify it in this space in June.


Taconite is the technical term for these small (3/4 inch diameter) round stones that consist of refined iron ore processed at the iron mines in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and northern Minnesota.  The pellets are transported from the mines and refinery to shipping points on Lake Superior and Lake Michigan for transport on the Great Lakes freighters to steel mills in Gary, Indiana, Detroit, and along the southern shore of Lake Erie.  Taconite pellets are more efficient to ship because they have impurities removed and they take up less space than ragged chunks of iron ore.