Arctic Steam: HMS Pioneer and the Technology of the Search for Franklin

Author(s): Mara A Deckinga

Year: 2016


In mid-nineteenth century Britain, the dramatic disappearance of Sir John Franklin and his men led to a large-scale search conducted throughout the Arctic by sailing ships and steamers.  The rescue expeditions, conducted over a twelve-year span, highlight the shift from reliance on sail to the prevalence of steam during this period.  HMS Pioneer (formerly the merchant Eider), was built as a topsail schooner with oscillating steam engine, and later outfitted as part of an Arctic squadron.  The vessel was refit with heating apparatus, heating pipes, and other contemporary developments.  By focusing on HMS Pioneer, the technology of Arctic exploration will be explored as it fits into contemporary shipboard supplies.  In addition, comparisons with earlier efforts, as well as later searchers, highlight the stability of Arctic adaptations.

Cite this Record

Arctic Steam: HMS Pioneer and the Technology of the Search for Franklin. Mara A Deckinga. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434746)

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Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 578