Historical Collections of the Great Lakes

HCGL Manuscripts | HCGL Databases | Reference Services | CAC Homepage

G. A. Tomlinson Collection - GLMS 14

Introduction | Vessel History | Scope and Contents | Series Description | Inventory


This 1.25 cubic foot collection was donated to Bowling Green State University on March 27, 1980 by Robert Weiner of Triad Salvage, Inc., in Ashtabula, Ohio. Literary and property rights are dedicated to the public. Photocopying is permitted for the purposes of research and conservation.

 Vessel History

The G. A. TOMLINSON (US 203979) was built as a bulk freighter named the D. O. MILLS in 1907 by the Great Lakes Engineering Works of Ecorse, Michigan. The Interlake Steamship Company of Cleveland, OH owned the MILLS until 1959 when it was sold to another Cleveland-based company known as the Tomlinson Fleet Corporation. At this time, the MILLS became known as the G. A. TOMLINSON and was converted to a self-unloader at the Fraser-Nelson shipyard in Superior, Wisconsin.

The TOMLINSON was named for fleet owner George Ashley Tomlinson of Duluth, Minnesota. Tomlinson was born in 1869 at Lapeer, Michigan and worked in the Detroit newspaper business until 1893. His early marine experience came in working for a vessel agency until 1901. In that year Tomlinson bought the first vessel in what would become an 18-vessel fleet. At various times Tomlinson was president of the Duluth Steamship Company, the Superior Steamship Company, the Globe Steamship Company, and the Inter Ocean Steamship Company. Tomlinson was a member of the Lake Carriers' Association executive committee and chairman of the board for the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Tomlinson died in 1942.

The G. A. TOMLINSON was sold to the Columbia Transportation Company of Cleveland in 1971. In 1974, a bowthruster was added and the engine was converted to oil burning. The TOMLINSON was sold in 1979 to the Triad Salvage Company of Ashtabula, Ohio for scrapping.

Several accidents occurred during the career of the G. A. TOMLINSON. On April 11, 1972 a grounding occurred in the Detroit River near Belle Isle. In Buffalo, New York on May 21, 1974 a stranding caused $150,000 in damage. At Toledo, Ohio on April 8, 1977 an accident damaging machinery required repairs worth $235,000. A hole six feet by ten feet was made near the bow in a collision with a scow on May 24, 1979. The TOMLINSON was blown by gusting winds against the Ashtabula breakwall on October 28, 1979. The G. A. TOMLINSON survived these periodic batterings and sailed the Great Lakes for 72 years.

 Scope and Content

This 1.25 cubic foot collection contains files from the ship's engineers serving on the G. A. TOMLINSON from 1959 to 1980. Box 1 holds a subject file with information primarily related to vessel maintenance. This file documents the last decade of service for the TOMLINSON with labor contracts, bills of lading and numerous technical files on vessel operations.

Box 2 contains log books in which engineers recorded data on engine room activities and loading procedures for scattered years from 1968 to 1978.

 Series Description


Subject Files
1959, 1971-1980
Arranged alphabetically by subject
Contains a file on subjects related to the operation of the G. A. TOMLINSON. Maintenance information is prevalent. An outboard profile blueprint is included. Scattered labor documents provide information on working conditions aboard the TOMLINSON.


1968-1970, 1974-1975, 1978
Arranged alphabetically by log type.
Contains log books compiled during trips on the G. A. TOMLINSON. Deck logs, engineering logs and loading logs are included.


Box 1


  1. Bills of lading, 1979
  2. Blueprints, 1959
  3. Canadian Coast Guard Notices to Mariners, 1979
  4. Chief Engineer Correspondence, 1979
  5. Chief Engineer Inventory Books, 1977-1980
  6. Company Policies for masters and Chief Engineers, ca. 1977
  7. Crew Changes, 1978-1979 (oversize)
  8. Fuel Oil conversion and bow thruster installation, 1973 (oversize)
  9. Fuel operating report, 1979
  10. Fueling procedure for G. A. TOMLINSON, 1974
  11. Health, Education and Welfare Official List of Acceptable Vessel Watering Points, 1978-1979
  12. Insurance Benefits program, 1971
  13. Labor Agreement between Columbia Transportation Company and District 2 of Marine Engineering Beneficial Association, 1964, 1977
  14. Labor Agreement between Columbia Transportation Company and United Steelworkers of America, 1977
  15. Layup Instructions, 1979
  16. Loading Receipt, 1979
  17. Maintenance List, 1978
  18. Marine Engineering Beneficial Association, Vacation Plan, 1973
  19. Purchase orders, 1979
  20. Safety Rules, 1972
  21. Seniority Lists, 1978
  22. Skinner Unaflow Steam Engines General Instructions, n.d.
  23. U. S. Coast Guard Informal Fit-out inspection list, 1976
  24. Winter work proposals, 1979

Box 2: Logs


  1. Deck Log, 1974-1975
  2. Deck Log, 1978
  3. Engineer's Log, 1968
  4. Engineer's Log, 1969-1970
  5. Ship's Loading Log, 1978

HCGL Manuscript Checklist | Labor Collections | Vessel Design | Vessel Logs