Launched in February, 1894, the four-masted ship Dirigo was the first steel square-rigged ship built in Maine, and the first steel ship built in the United States. Designed by a British designer, it was built at the Sewall Shipyard in Bath, using imported steel plates and shipbuilding labor. She was a typical British design of the 1890s. Eight more steel vessels were to follow. Dirigo is the Maine State motto, meaning "I lead" in Latin.
Oil on canvas painting of ship William H. Conner, built in Searsport in 1877. It was the last and largest full-rigged ship built in Searsport, costing over $100,000. Apparently in three voyages she earned her construction costs, but that was the exception; 15% was closer to the rule. Marlboro Packard was her master builder, working at the Carver yard. The Museum has his half model of the vessel. Such a vessel would have attracted much attention including that of artist Percy Sanborn from neighboring Belfast.