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Builder’s ship model of United Fruit Company steamship


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Builder’s ship model of United Fruit Company steamship; painted and varnished wood with cast and machined brass fittings, scale 1/16 inch = 1 foot (1/192), mounted waterline style in a mahogany vitrine measuring 9-3/4” high x 25-3/4” long x 6-3/4” deep. This authoritative, detailed model depicts the freight and passenger ships Tela, Castilla and Iriona, sister ships built by Workman, Clark & Company of Belfast, Ireland in 1927. They carried bananas and passengers between Honduras and New York or Philadelphia, and were renowned for their punctuality and fine service. In 1942 they were chartered to the War Shipping Administration. Tela and Castilla were quickly sunk by German submarines operating in the Caribbean. Iriona survived the war, and was in service until 1960.

Ship models of this quality were presented by the shipyard to the shipowners upon launching of the first vessel in the class. This model has a solid wooden hull painted white, and varnished decks lined with ink to represent deck seams. Deck houses are also solid with painted windows. Portholes are ringed with brass, and cargo doors are also brass. The deck equipment includes four covered lifeboats, two masts with four cargo booms each, cargo winches, windlass, and many ventilator funnels to keep the fruit and passengers fresh. This model appears to be completely original and in remarkably good condition for its age, 86 years old.