Photo of the Week
December 3, 2000

I just purchased this historical post card.  Everyone has heard of the historical "first transit" of the "Ancon" through the Panama Canal.  Well prior to that transit, there were literally hundreds of lockages and tests performed. On June 8, 1914, the Panama Line ship "Allianca" was the very first seagoing vessel to enter Gatun Locks for a successful lockage up to Gatun Lake.

I looked through my 1914 "Report of the Isthmian Canal Commission and the Panama Canal" and found it very interesting reading in regards to the testing that took place in all three sets of locks.  I guess in a sense, it was like all the testing the space program did prior to sending up the real thing.

The "Allianca" was a large vessel in the time of this test and I am sure nerves were on end.  Imagine if those great men of those days could see a PanaMax lock up or down!!

This is another great moment in our Canal Zone heritage!

From the "Report of the Isthmian Canal Commission and the Panama Canal" - 1914 Report.

Lockage of the steamship "Allianca." - The Allianca is 335 feet long, has a beam of 42 feet, a mould depth of 15 feet and a gross tonnage of 3,905 tons.  Being loaded, she displace about 9,000 tons at the time of the lockage.  The Allianca arrived at the locks at 6:45 a.m. and towing began at 7:17 a.m., and the lines were cast off the steamship in Gatun Lake at 8:48 a.m., the total time for the locage being 1 hour and 31 minutes.  The Allianca steamed out into Gatun Lake, turned around and tied up to the approach wall.  Dynamometers for recording the towline pulls were then take aboard an put into the lines of the leading and trailing locomotives, readings being taken at 10-second intervals.  An instantaneous maximum pull of 35,000 pounds was noted upon each dynamometer.  The accelerating and retarding test were recorded an noted.

The Allianca was held in the lower lock for 19 minutes after the gates were opened, in order to obviate any possible trouble foe to the current resulting from a mixture of fresh and salt water.  The Allianca was carrying a full cargo and had a draft of 18.2 feet.

At total of 109 lockages have been made at Gatun up to June 30, 1914, including those made in both the west and east locks.  The total amount of water used for lockages at Gatun has been 685,454,000 cubic feet.

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