Engine Order Telegraph, Durkee Marine, Staten Island, NY, circa late 1800's
This piece came from the collection of retired US Navy Commander, a veteran of WWII. His recollection was this piece was originally aboard one of the supply ships used for logistic support of the construction of the Panama Canal which eventually opened in 1914 after more then 30 years of work.
After 15 years as a ship’s chandler in lower Manhattan, Brooklyn born Charles Doremus Durkee (1862-1930) incorporated C.D. Durkee Marine in 1894 at 2 South St., Staten Island, New York.
Merchants of marine hardware including gears, rope, whistles, life preservers, plumbing, cushions, upholstery, compasses, capstans, anchors, windlasses, flags, furniture, fittings etc., C.D. Durkee was known as the “Tiffany of the Trade”. Revered as one of the finest outfitters of motorboat equipment in the country, Durkee supplied equipment for the construction of the Panama Canal between 1904 - 1914.
C.D. Durkee was a member of the New York Yacht Club, The Brooklyn & Bensonhurst Yacht Clubs and the Arcanum Yacht Club in Sheepshead Bay where he raced his Class V catboat "Boozie".
It is said Durkee sold most of it's shares to R. R. & Company in 1918. A February 1922 ad in the New York Times announced a request for offers of 1,000 Charles Durkee & Co., Inc. shares. Charles Durkee passed away in 1930 after losing most of his investments during the crash of 1929. Durkee continued selling motorboat equipment after C.D passed and brothers and sons who continued the operation established a presence with an office in San Pedro, California. The success of the California operation lead to greater notoriety in the Pacific Northwest with offices in Portland and Seattle.
Durkee Marine of Staten Island, New York is a familiar stamp on the merchandise for sale at the Annapolis Maritime Antiques. Many of our fine, engine order telegraphs wear Lenox faceplates with the Durkee name, such as this one does. Inventory # 0065.