concrete barge

Concrete Barge on the Erie Canal

$19.99 $14.99



This 11oz white ceramic mug features one of the 21 concrete barges built for use on the canal during World War I when steel was in short supply because of the war effort.


  • Usually ships in 3-5 days
  • Dishwasher and microwave safe
  • Premium quality ceramic mug
  • Same image on both sides


500-concreteSteel was in tight supply because of the war when the Barge Canal was finished in 1918. Alternative materials were sought to create a fleet for use in the war effort. Wood was used of course, but the government also authorized the construction of 21 reinforced concrete barges like the one seen here.

Unfortunately, not even steel reinforcing could prevent these brittle hulls from being damaged by frequent contact with solid objects.  Once damaged, repairs were never permanent. Concrete was tried in the construction of ships elsewhere, but on the Erie wood and steel were more practical choices.

The concrete barges lasted for about five years, on average. Some sank and had to be broken up in place to clear the channel for other traffic. Those that didn’t sink were towed and sunk alongside the approaches to locks in the now canalized Mohawk River to serve as erosion-control structures. The ones you see above are at Rotterdam Junction between Amsterdam and Schenectady.


Note: Digital representations seen here may vary on the finished product.


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