|dc.description||The United States did not actually get into iron shipbuilding late; it just started and stopped it—several times. J. Roach was well-known in maritime affairs as builder of merchant steam vessels and Navy vessels. Tillie E. Starbuck of 1883 was, of course, a latecomer to the iron shipbuilding business, but Tillie E. Starbuck was the first iron sailing vessel built in the United States—and there were not very many at that. Steel sailing vessels a decade later were almost as rare. The problem was not lack of skill nor lack of materials; it was lack of interest. The U.S. maritime after the War Between the States consisted largely of “coasting” voyages (New York to San Francisco was considered a coasting voyage and foreign flag vessels were forbidden such voyages by law) coupled with occasional offshore voyages of cargo in bulk. There was little incentive to turn the craft work of cutting down Maine trees or Oregon pine and whittling away anything that did not look like a ship, into the industrial work of building iron or steel ships with capital-invested tools and machines. Instead, capitalists of enterprise engaged in railroads, mining, and steelmaking—among other pursuits.
That being said, Tillie E. Starbuck was a handsome first iron sailing ship with skysails and a respectable sailing record. Sold to Welch and Company of San Francisco in 1902, Tillie E. Starbuck was lost off Cape Horn in 1907.||