Jimi Hendrix Clara McCarty Captain Robert Gray Anna Louise StrongAnna Louise Strong Bailey Gatzert Home WWII Women Pilots
Search Encyclopedia
Facebook
Advanced Search
Donate Now! Book Store Featured Eassy Sponsor of the Week
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
6771 HistoryLink.org essays now available      
Donate Subscribe

Shortcuts

Libraries
Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search

Features

Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Everett
Olympia
Seattle
Spokane
Tacoma
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Timeline Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Ferry Kalakala begins using world's first commercial marine radar set on February 14, 1946.

HistoryLink.org Essay 9282 : Printer-Friendly Format

On February 14, 1946, the ferry Kalakala begins using a radar set on its Seattle-Bainbridge Island run. It is the first-ever commercial use of radar on a ship anywhere in the world. This occurs on the day that a sizable 5.8 earthquake hits Puget Sound.

Can Do Anything But Fry Eggs

The Seattle Times was invited on-board to see the radar in action. A report by the paper’s Robert Mahaffay said: 

“The ferry Kalakala’s radar set can do just about anything but fry eggs or talk seagull talk. After ten days of tinkering by experts, the set wound up and began pitching strikes today, to the pop-eyed amazement of those in the pilot house. The set, installed by the Raytheon Manufacturing Company of New York as a commercial-model experiment, is the first of its kind to be placed on any ship anywhere” (The Seattle Times).  

C. H. Sterns, chief electrician for the Black Ball Ferry Lines company, which operated the Kalakala, said, “It really isn’t any more complicated than a radio. And it certainly is going to take any hit-and-miss element out of fog-running. Why, the other day we even picked up a floating log on it” (The Seattle Times). 

You Can't Get Lost

Kalakala skipper Captain A. O. Rindal added:  

“For running in the fog it’s an absolute boon. If all ships had it, marine accidents would become virtually non-existent. You know exactly where you are every second. You can’t get lost” (The Seattle Times).

The Kalakala’s radar set displayed water as black on its five-inch radius dial, with land masses, ships, buoys, and others objects displaying as white. A blue light swept around the dial and continually refreshed its picture as the radar’s antenna responded to the changing position of objects. 

E. W. Peabody, marine superintendent for Black Ball Ferry Lines, said:  

“It’s very good, and we hope eventually to have them on all the ferries. Right now, though, we can’t get them. What the instrument really is is a Navy model with commercial modifications” (The Seattle Times).

Sources:
Robert Mahaffay, “Kalakala’s New Radar Set Lessens Fog-Running Risks,” The Seattle Times, February 15, 1946, p. A-1.


Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Special Suite: Washington State Ferries |

Related Topics: Maritime |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You




Ferry Kalakala on Puget Sound, 1940s
Postcard


Ferry Kalakala with naval ships, Elliott Bay, 1940s
Postcard


 
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search

HistoryLink.org is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM)
HistoryLink.org is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email admin@historylink.org