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Lead Lining Ingot

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Artifact Description

The vast majority of the 14,000 artifacts recovered from the wreck of the SS Republic wreck were packed as cargo bound for New Orleans or further trans-shipment to the towns and outposts of the Western Frontier. Yet a number of items excavated from the site were in fact intended for shipboard use. Included were well at least 18 rectangular blocks of lead, called lining ingots, discovered in what had been the rear of the vessel's engine room, suggesting that the lining ingots were stock set aside for future use.

Made of a soft metal alloy, such ingots would have been melted down and poured into a bearing mold or tray. The resulting sheet metal was then placed over the surface of the engine's moving parts to prevent wear and damage to the engine's rotating surface. Over a period of time, this protective metal layer would erode and need to be replaced with an available supply of metal lining ingots stored in the engine room. The embossment on these metal blocks bears the names S. Whites and J. W. Quincy of New York, the company that probably blended the metal alloy and cast the ingots.

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