The towboats Robert F. Brandt, Atlas, Renown and Taric at Gallipolis in 1947. (Keith Norrington collection)
Old Boat Column

Towboat Epilogue

This week’s Old Boat Column presents four pilothouse-on-the-roof towboats, two of which never raised steam again after the photograph was taken during the summer of 1947. They are moored at the Acme Boiler Works, Gallipolis, Ohio. The firm was was operated by Charles L. Arthur, assisted by his daughter, Ethel, who ran the office.

From left to right, the sternwheelers are the Robert F. Brandt, Atlas, Renown and Taric.

Robert F. Brandt

The Robert F. Brandt was originally the Walter A. Windsor, built in 1929 by the Marietta Manufacturing Company. The vessel was constructed on a steel hull measuring 165 feet in length by 36 feet in width. The compound engines, built by the James Rees & Sons firm, were originally used on the packet S.S. Brown in 1906.

The Windsor was purchased by the American Barge Line in 1935 and the name was changed to Robert F. Brandt.

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The boat was dismantled at Jeffersonville, Ind., in 1950.


Built in 1913 by the American Bridge Company at Ambridge, Pa., as the Wm. Edenborn, the steamboat Atlas was owned by the Louisiana Railroad & Navigation Company, of Baton Rouge, and used to move railroad transfer barges at Angola. Capt. William Dippel was long the master.

The steel hull measured 143 feet in length by 33 feet in width. When it was sold to Sohio Petroleum Company in the spring of 1942, the name was changed to Atlas.

The Island Creek Coal Company bought the boat in early 1945, but never operated it. In 1947 the towboat was sold to the American Rolling Mill Company, which promptly dismantled it. The machinery went to the Charles R. Hook and the Atlas became a landing barge at New Boston, Ohio.


A sister vessel to the Wm. Edenborn and also used to move railroad transfer barges at Angola, the Renown was built in 1909 as the Sarah Edenborn.

Completed at Cincinnati, the steel hull measured 146.2 feet in length by 33 feet in width. Four boilers (from the Steel City) supplied steam to high-pressure engines that had 18-inch cylinders with an 8-foot stroke.

Sohio Petroleum purchased the boat in 1942, renaming and operating it until sold in 1945 to Island Creek Coal Company, which ran it until the riverboat was retired and partially dismantled in 1949. In 1964, the Renown was renovated to become the wharfboat for the excursion steamer Belle of Louisville. Sold to the McBride firm in the 1980s, the boat was beached and scrapped in 1995.


Built in 1904 for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by the Howard Shipyard at Jeffersonville, Ind., the vessel was originally named H. St. L. Coppee. The boat operated for some time in the Vicksburg District.

It was constructed on a steel hull measuring 140 feet in length by 30 feet in width; the contract cost was $53,900.

The sternwheeler was sold in 1935 to the Raymond City Transportation Company on the Kanawha River. Renamed Taric, the boat towed coal until it was retired and dismantled in 1947.

The carbon arc searchlights from the Taric were transferred to the tourist steamer Delta Queen, where they remain today.

Editor’s note: For questions or suggestions regarding the Old Boat Column, Keith Norrington may be contacted by e-mail at, or by mail through the Howard Steamboat Museum at P.O. Box 606, Jeffersonville, Ind. 47131-0606.

Caption for photo: The towboats Robert F. Brandt, Atlas, Renown and Taric at Gallipolis in 1947. (Keith Norrington collection)