Thursday, October 8, 2020

a broken fragment of rainbow / a crazy patchwork quilt

J. Milo Courzy, A CLIPPER SHIPPER, in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 16, 1927, p. 6—

When the Buccaneer Club of New York combed the seas for a master worthy of their ship, Captain [Thomas Orlando] Moon’s adventurous achievements won him the coveted command. The clubship is the five-masted barketine Buccaneer, now docked in Brooklyn. The club is composed of men of means and artists and writers who have won fame.

Ship-shaped parade float (not the Buccaneer), 1918

…The Buccaneer now lies in a Brooklyn drydock, where she is donning a holiday dress—a dress of many colors, that looks like a crazy-patch quilt. She will be a floating rainbow, a carnival of color that will make the sea dragons pale. With hull painted in broad bands of white, yellow, black and red, with red and ochre sails and masts gleaming in olive and tipped with white, she will resemble a broken fragment of rainbow fallen to the surface of the sea—a chameleon ship, flying a pirate’s flag.

The idea belongs to Joseph Cummings Chase, artist and pioneer in the art of camouflage during the World War; Professor Ezra Winter, former Yale professor [and WWI ship camoufleur]; and Henry Killum Murphy, architect. These form a committee whose task it is to turn the ship into a masquerading privateer in harlequin garb, flying the skull and crossbones of the Jolly Roger.

…[Captain] Moon scorns the Buccaneer Club’s fantasies. “They’re turning a good ship into a cure for the color blind. The club’s notions have made us all as crazy as a cat without claws in hell!” he growls. 


Was there really a men's social club in NYC called The Buccaneer Club? Haven't found one so far. And did they dazzle-paint a ship? Don't know. But Joseph Cummings Chase, Ezra Winter, and Henry Killum Murphy were genuine people, although never before have I heard of contributions to camouflage by Chase.