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HEYDAY

Ship Chandlers

by Simone Kennedy-Mitton

As a result of South Street Seaport's shipping boom in the early 19th century, ship chandlery became a vital and lucrative business for its port. Ship chandlery was a trade that provided ships with all of its possible needs ranging from its equipment paraphernalia like rope, boat hooks, tar, sperm whale oil, galley supplies, brooms, and cawling iron, to berthing and docking the vessels before their port arrivals. After long transatlantic crossings, foreign and native ships, upon their arrival, always saw to the assistance and business of ship chandlers. One never knew what could or did happen during the crossings of the vast and tumultuous seas, and vessels always had to be repaired, re-stocked and be ready to put on a good face for their next journeys. With all commercial and private vessel dependence on the services of ship chandlers, chandlers became a vital organ for the entire existence of this maritime port. Its need in this rising port brought flocks of ship chandlers from all over America and sometimes Europe to the coveted store fronts along South Street to set up their trade. Through the end of South Street Seaport's heyday, ship chandlery would continue to flourish and contribute to the business and success of the port.

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