Disastrous results of the Frenchmen's folly - many millions in idle decaying machinery - Panama Canal


Material Information

Disastrous results of the Frenchmen's folly - many millions in idle decaying machinery - Panama Canal
Physical Description:
Angrick, Bill ( donor )
Underwood & Underwood, Publishers
Place of Publication:
New York
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Machinery   ( fast )
Boats and boating   ( fast )
Buildings   ( fast )
Spatial Coverage:
Panama -- Central America -- Panama Canal Zone


A view showing the massive amounts of machinery abandoned after France's attempted construction of the Panama Canal.
Scope and Content:
Brothers Elmer and Bert Underwood founded Underwood & Underwood in 1880 in Ottawa, Kansas. Starting with door to door sales and eventually branching out into freelance photography work, the brothers' company grew large enough to relocate to New York City in 1891. At the turn of the century the firm was selling 300,000 stereographs a year. After stereograph production was discontinued in the 1920s, Underwood & Underwood sold its stereographic stock to The Keystone View Company. Source: http://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/elmer-and-bert-underwood/12227
Gifted on behalf of William P. and Barbara L. Angrick

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Panama Canal Museum Collection at the University of Florida
Rights Management:
Public Domain Presumed (e.g. expiry of copyright term): This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
accession number - 2013.2.84
System ID:

Full Text

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6465 The town of Colon is directly behind us. We
are lo king inland, up the canal, from an insecure stand
on a piece of the abandoned property of the old French
Company. The Atlantic end of the canal is off at our
right. At several other places, besides here at Colon,
there remain along the sides of the canal or heaped on its
banks immese quantities of supplies bought ,by the old
French company and never used. What we see here now
are chiefly dredges of outgrown pattern and floating
It was in 1881 that the French'began work with De
Lesseps as chief engineer, after organizing a stock comp-
any and selling shares (largely in France) to the amou nt
of about $200,000,000. Thousands of workman were hired.
Immense sums were spent on buildings in excess of need,
though sanitary considerations were very little regarded.
The worst thing about the old Compnany was the scan-
dalous way in which men in responsible positions seized
the opportunity to make money for themselves out of
fraudulent sub-contracts and the dishonest orderin: of sup-
plies. Enormous numbers of dredges, drills, locuiiotives,
dump-cars and other pieces of engineering equipment
were ordered in excess of any reasonable need in order
that large slices of profit might be pocketed. When even

the vast funds at their disposal began to dwindle, news-
papers and influential men in France were bribed to
silence and still other millions of dollars were cajoled out
of the hands of French middle-class people in exchange
for new stock which was practically worthless from the
start. In 1889 the old Coimpany went to pieces.

From Notes of Travel No. 4 I copyright

by Underwood &

Disastrous results of French management on Panama
R6sultats de.sastreux de la direction frangaise du canal
-de Panama.
ie 'Itllheilolenf ol, n ifrvan. iic cr m ijfpirtf dcaft beim
Oauc bco i'[anaitua= ifanal6.
Resultado.s desastrosos de-.la administraci6n francesa en
el Canal de P.aniam.
Det olyckliga resultatet af det franska handhafvandet of
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ITHa acKOM'b KaHaji.L.



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