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Turn-of-the-Century Launching

By W.H. Bunting

This is launching day for the four-masted schooner David Cohen at the Pushee Brothers yard in Dennysville, in 1918. Among the 330 or so Maine-built four-masted schooners, the Cohen was a rarity in that she was fitted with two oil engines. She was also among the very last—sky-high wartime shipping rates having briefly inspired a revival of wooden shipbuilding. In 1919 the Pushees launched another four-master, the Esther K. The cheerful crowd has arrived by train, team, and hundreds of autos. The Pushees had never built so large a vessel and proudly have her fully rigged, with sails bent and bunting snapping in the celebratory breeze. After Miss Wilhemina Pushee christened the schooner with roses and lilies, the Cohen made a satisfactory plunge into the bay, leaving emptiness where she long had dominated the scene. Before her completion, the Cohen’s building contract had passed from her namesake, a New York shipbroker, to another New York firm. Due to the glut of tonnage after the war, in 1921 the Cohen, which cost $140,000 to build, brought but $10,200 (without engines) at a marshal’s sale. David Cohen may have been a party to her purchase.  

Excerpted and reprinted with permission from Maine on Glass: The Early Twentieth Century in Glass Plate Photography, by W.H. Bunting, Kevin Johnson, and Earle Shettleworth, Jr., Tilbury House Publishers, with the Penobscot Marine Museum. Reprinted in 2023, the book is available for purchase at:


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