Technology in Transition
The Peter Iredale was built in 1890 during the transitional period before wooden sail powered vessels were replaced with all metal steamships. Advances in iron and steel forging marked the start of the Industrial Revolution, and the end of the era of wooden sailing ships. Constructed of steel plates over iron frames, steel masts, and a partial iron deck, the Peter Iredale was a typical example of technology in transition.
Many steel hulled sailing ships built in the early 1900s were converted to steam-powered vessels. However, the Peter Iredale already in service for 16 years, would soon have been retired had she not run aground.
The Peter Iredale & John Porter Line was part of the Pacific Coast Wheat Fleet, transporting grain from the Pacific Northwest to Australia, and coal and wool to England. Peter Iredale and John Porter owned 24 ships similar to the Peter Iredale, including the Astoria. After the wreck of the Peter Iredale the PI&P Line diminished. Sea losses, low sales, and the advent of modern steamships all took their toll.