His Birth and Achievements
Charles. M. Hays was born in Rock Island, Illinois in 1856. At the age of 17 he started his career with the railroad. Moving quickly through the ranks, he soon became President of the Grand Trunk Railroad, in Canada. Charles had a dream to build a 5 star hotel across the street from the Union Station in Ottawa. He would name it the Chateau Laurier, after the prime minister of the time. In 1909, for a price of 2 million dollars, construction on his dream began. After production on his hotel was underway, Mr. Hays traveled to London on business. While there, he found the perfect furniture for the dining area of the Chateau Laurier, and he had to have it!
Charles Meets a New Friend
He met a gentleman who offered to carry him and his furniture overseas. His new friend promised to get him home in time for the grand opening of the Chateau Laurier. This man wasn’t just any man, his name was J. Bruce Ismay, and he was the chairman of the White Star Steamship Line. Mr. Ismay assured Charles that his steam ship was the fastest and most opulent ship on the ocean. Mr. Hays felt grateful for the opportunity, paid a small fee, and settled into his deluxe cabin on the promenade deck.
Then and Now
In the same way furniture is packed and shipped today, Mr. Hays’s furniture was padded, crated, and placed on pallets in the ship’s cargo hold. Even though the Steam ship was not considered a cargo hauler, it had a substantial cargo area of over 1900 sq. feet. It held everything from household goods to automobiles. There was plenty of room for Mr. Hay’s 3 crates of furniture. This Ship carried a gross weight tonnage (GWT) of approximately 46,000. As a comparison, the Disney Cruise line, whose maiden voyage was in 2012, had a GWT of 129,690.
We’ve Come a Long Way
Modern-day ships come equipped with computerized tracking systems, hydraulic lifts, and specialized safety equipment that would put the old White Star Steam Ship to shame. In 1911 steam ships prevailed on the open seas, but now we have several types of cargo ships. International shipping has come a long way. We have, general cargo vessels, container ships, dry bulk carriers, reefer ships and tankers, to name a few. Since the first basic container ship was introduced in 1957, container ships have dominated ocean transport services. Today 40 foot shipping containers can be seen in every port all over the world. Reefer containers are equip with specialized refrigeration units for transporting electronics, medicines, and other perishables.
For the History books
Unfortunately Mr. Hays and his furniture never made it to the grand opening of The Chateau Laurier. The date was April 15, 1912 and the Steamship was the USS Titanic. Mr. Hays traveled 4 days on board the cruise liner before it hit an iceberg. As the story goes, Mr. Hays was able to help several women, including his wife, into a life boat that day. He thought he would surely be joining her soon, but never got the chance. New furniture was shipped in later that year, for the somber Chateau Laurier grand opening ceremony on June 12, 1912.
Word has it that Mr. Hays’s original furniture was later rescued by another ship and currently sits in the US National Archives. It is listed in the Titanic manifest under the name “Baumgarten, Wm & Co. 3 case furniture”. William Baumgarten was a well-known luxury designer of the day. There were other crates of furniture on-board the Titanic, but these 3 crates are thought to be Mr. Hay’s dining room furniture.
Shipping and packing services have come a long way since 1911. There are now thousands of container ships in service, safely transporting cargo all over the world. International furniture shipping is easy when you employ seasoned professionals, like Pack n Send. Whether you are moving down the street or across the globe, Pack n Send gets the job done. They cover the full value of the furniture they pack and ship. Request a quote on their website today.