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'File A/5 Pearl fisheries of Persian Gulf' [‎29r] (57/62)

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The record is made up of 1 file (31 folios). It was created in 10 Mar 1904-19 Jun 1918. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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Formerly Grand Rapids, Mich.
45 feet Launch used in the Pearl Industry at Mergui, Burma, India.
Engine, 42 H.P., using kerosene (paraffin) for fuel. See page 6.
Gentlemen: Broome, Western Australia, June 18, 1914.
The boat is away out on the pearling grounds at present at work, and may not
be in Broome for some months. It will interest you to know that the boat in which
your 14 H.P. engine is installed capsized in a hurricane last month. We were fortunate
enough to be able to salvage the boat. You will be pleased to hear that though the
engine was under water for a week, beyond having to clean it up and recharge the
batteries, it was uninjured, and is running splendidly since the accident.
23 ft. by 6 ft. Launch owned at Port Chalmers, New Zealand. Equipped with
5 H.P. "Wolverine" engine, making 7 miles per hour. The owner states that the
engine runs better on kerosene (paraffin) than on gasoline.
Albany, Western Australia, June 21, 1914 i
We might say here that we are rather proud of our craft with your 22 H. 1 '
engine. Our boat is called " Wolverine," is 50 ft. 6 in. over all, 11 ft 4 in. beam, with
3 ft. 6 in. draft, and we can get ten miles an hour out of her on benzine and about the
same on kerosene.
BULLETIN No. 24. a.
" Quin
Phos "
of the
Mergui, Burma, India.
Enclosed is a snap shot of our launch "Kitty Watts," 45 ft. by 9 ft. 6 in.,
riding at mooring at Quoin Island. Am sorry that I have none better at hand, but if
this is not suitable will get a snapshot of the launch "under weigh." This is a very
bad time to take any photographs, as the monsoons are now on.
As regards the work the boat is doing, would say that she is out every week to
Mergui and back. The r ound trip is 1 00 miles, and in "fair_weather she does the .trip
frorfTthe Island to Mergui f50 miles) in five hours. During the present monsoons she
has taken as much as 5 days to do the same trip, owing to having to put up, not on
account of breakdowns, but bad weather and high seas. Last year during the pearling
season, the boat had to go to the pearling grounds about once in two weeks, the round
trip being 140 miles. The boat has done about 8,500 miles, roughly, up to date, and
the motor is as sound and works as well if not better than when first installed. The
engine uses kerosene (paraffin) for fuel.
I am not a motor engine expert, but I am a mechanical and electrical engineer ; and
from my experience in the mechanical line, 1 say, "Give me a 'Wolverine' motor
engine which works like a clock and as regular." I cannot say enough in praise of the
motor engine in our launch, except that it is a credit to the makers both as to its
simplicity in understanding its workings as well as to its reliability and precision in
action. (42 HrP. motor.)
The Motor with the Bore and Stroke
Combined COMPRESSOR and PROPELLING MOTOR especially designed for
and adapted to the
with a
14 H.P.
" Wolverine "

About this item


The contents of the file relate to the British Government’s concerns over growing British and international interest in the Gulf’s pearling industry, hitherto almost exclusively exploited by the region’s indigenous inhabitants.

1) The first half of the file (folios 2-13) comprises copies of Government of India correspondence published in 1904 and 1905, which discuss Britain’s historic role in the Gulf in relation to the pearling industry. Themes covered include: Britain’s duty to protect the pearl banks for the benefit of the Arab pearl divers, acknowledgement of growing national and international interest in the pearl banks, the extent of territorial waters, and the likely result of any legal challenges to Britain’s refusal to allow foreign interests the opportunity to exploit the Gulf’s pearl banks.

2) Correspondence relating to an enquiry by a German businessman, concerning the pearl trade in the Gulf (folios 15-17).

3) Printed copies of correspondence (folios 20-23) from the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. Political Resident A senior ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul General) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Residency. (Lieutenant-Colonel Percy Cox) and the Bahrain Political Agent A mid-ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Agency. (Captain Charles Mackenzie), dated 1910, concerning the increasing trade in oyster shells in the Gulf, used for the production of mother of pearl. A drop in the numbers of oysters being fished is attributed to the mother of pearl industry. A German firm based in Bahrain, Wonckhaus & Co., is identified as a key exporter of oyster shells at Bahrain.

4) A letter (folio 27) intercepted by the Political Agency An office of the British Government and, earlier, of the East India Company. in Bahrain, from the Secretary of the Wolverine Motor Works, U.S.A., to Robert Wonckhaus & Co., dated 3 February 1915. The letter and accompanying leaflet (folios 28-29) relates to Wolverine Motor Works’ new combined compressor and propelling motor, designed specifically for use in the pearl fishing industry.

5) A typewritten extract from the Times of India Illustrated , dated 19 [month missing, presumed June] 1918 (folio 30) reporting on rumours that German financiers are buying up all the pearls available in Britain and France.

Extent and format
1 file (31 folios)

The contents of the file have been arranged in approximate chronological order, running from the earliest items at the front of the file to the latest at the end.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: The file is foliated from its front cover to inside back cover, using circled pencil numbers in the top-right corner of each recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. . There is an additional pagination system running throughout the file.

Folio 29 is a fold-out.

There is minor insect damage to papers throughout the file.

Written in
English in Latin script
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'File A/5 Pearl fisheries of Persian Gulf' [‎29r] (57/62), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/3, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 17 February 2020]

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