Sunday, December 29, 2013
BEST OF 2013: Charles W Morgan Spirit of American Enterprise
“To me, that spirit, which the CHARLES W. MORGAN symbolized when she was built in 1841, is the unique American spirit, born on the coast and on the frontier, which enabled America to spread its wings globally and create the economic engine that was the foundation of what was known as the American Century.”
—Richard Vietor, Board Chairman
Long ago there was a global industry dominated by America — energized by American workers and entrepreneurs — and shaped by American ingenuity and will. That industry was whaling.
For more than two centuries, the 2700 ships of America’s whaling fleet helped to fuel the nation’s economic, political and cultural growth. The success of the whaling industry — and the capital it generated — set the stage for America’s emergence as a global force and world leader.
Today only the Charles W. Morgan remains from those epic times. Only the Morgan represents the day when whaleships brought American ideals to people across the oceans, the day when whaleships like the Morgan helped to define an energetic young nation’s place in the world.
Lessons for our times
Today, the Morgan’s cargo is no longer oil and whalebone — rather, it is knowledge and inspiration.
The ship’s lessons resonate with American companies today and speak to contemporary issues:
Millions of dollars of wealth generated by this quintessential industry helped to capitalize the nation’s rapid development of factories and railroads.
There was risk for crew, investors, and for loved-ones waiting behind. The Morgan struggled with wind, tide, and brutal storms on oceans around the world during an 80-year test of courage.
By the end of her commercial life, the Morgan had been worked by people of diverse cultures and races in a melding that foreshadowed global organizations of our own day.
From harpoon design to deck prisms to a reinforced hull for sailing in ice, the Morgan represented the culmination of 19th century whaling technology.
The officers managed motivation and punishment, health and discipline, navigated and negotiated. The Morgan was known as a lucky ship, but good leadership made its own luck.
Whaling — aid to be the world’s first truly global industry — touched all oceans and had an impact — for good and ill — on people and ports across the globe.
On board the Morgan, 35 men toiled in relative harmony for many years at a time. Work together or risk ruin or death; that was the key to success in this most interdependent of communities.
To learn more about the Charles W. Morgan and to be a part of keeping that spirit alive go to:
Charles W. Morgan