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Record 243/261
Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum
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Description Inkwell of metal with glass dome ink reservoir.

Inkwell used by Thomas L. Humes while U.S. Steamboat Inspector. Humes was born February 10, 1832 in Cuba, New York. In 1842 he moved with his parents to Janesville, Wisconsin. When he obtained his majority he would return to New York state to attend school, he then returned to Janesville and shortly after would move to attend the Appleton College. Humes would also spend several years in the pineries where he was engaged in building and running saw mills. In 1857 he married Miss C. J. Richards of Marquette county and in 1860 the couple would move to Oshkosh. There they would live most of their lives, except for a few years they spent in Dakota. Humes held the office of government steamboat inspector for 4 years in the Chicago district and 6 years in Milwaukee and Oshkosh. Humes died in 1892 and is buried at Riverside Cemetery.

Information on U. S. Steamboat Inspectors: An earlier 1838 law proved inadequate as steamboat disasters increased in volume and severity. The 1847 to 1852 era was marked by an unusual series of disasters primarily caused by boiler explosions, however, many were also caused by fires and collisions. These disasters resulted in the passage of the Steamboat Act of May 30, 1852 (10 Stat. L., 1852) in which enforcement powers were placed under the Department of the Treasury rather than the Department of Justice as with the Act of 1838. Under this law, the organization and form of a federal maritime inspection service began to emerge. Nine supervisory inspectors responsible for a specific geographic region were appointed. There were also provisions for the appointment of local inspectors by a commission consisting of the local District Collector of Customs, the Supervisory Inspector, and the District Judge.The important features of this law were the requirement for hydrostatic testing of boilers, and the requirement for a boiler steam safety valve. This law further required that both pilots and engineers be licensed by the local inspectors. Even though time and further insight proved the Steamboat Act inadequate, it must be given credit for starting legislation in the right perspective. Probably the most serious shortcoming was the exemption of freightboats, ferries, tugboats and towboats, which continued to operate under the superficial inspection requirements of the law of 1838. Again, disasters and high loss of life prompted congressional action through the passage of the Act of February 28, 1871. This information taken from
Dimensions H-3 W-5 D-5 inches
Year Range from 1855
Year range to 1892
Material Metal/Glass
Object ID 1362-8
Object Name Inkwell
People Humes, Thomas L.
Used Humes, Thomas L.
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009