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Paddle Steamers past and present
Mondsee is approximately 12 kilometres long and lies in the Austrian
Salzkammergut, close to Salzburg and to other lakes with paddlers,
including Attersee and Wolfgangsee. The first steamship company, the
"Erste Mondseer Dampfschifffahrts-Unternehmung", was founded in 1872
and offered two return trips daily from see to Mondsee by the screw
steamer Ida, which had inaugurated services on the Attersee three
yerars earlier. Ida proved unsatisfactory on this lake too, and for
the second season, a new paddler was put in service - the
Competition to the pioneer company run by Berthold Curant, a former
railway engineer, came in 1887, with the introduction of a 16 metre
long screw-steamer, "Helene", by the "Neue
Dampfschifffahnrts-Unternehmung", owned by Robert Baum, a local
factory owner. Clearly, two operators was more tha enough and
Curant's business was taken over by Baum during the following year,
and significant improvements were made to PS Mondsee, including a new
engine ordered from Escher-Wyss. Mondsee returned to service in early
August 1888, renamed "Stephanie".
Ida remained in Curant's ownership but spent most of her time laid
up, before being sold for scrap in 1898. Helene was lengthened in
1892 to improve the facilities for the growing tourist trade
encouraged by the coming of the railways to the shores of the lake.
Kaiser Franz Josef I's trip on the lake in the summer of 1893 also
helped raise the profile of tourism in the area.
The paddler, which had been renamed "Habsburg" in 1900 and retained
it's Imperial name after the First World War, was withdrawn in 1931
following a collapse in the tourist trade , but remaned laid up,
sinking at Mondsee during a storm in 1935. The vessel was
subsequently raised and the hull taken on to land, surviving until
scrapping in 1953
Helene was converted to a motor ship in 1951 and two small motor
launches, Eisenfels and Wartenfels were added in 1950 and 1952.
Helene remained in service until September 1995 and was purchased by
the local Mondsee community for preservation locally.
Mondsee (1873-1931 in service
: from 1888, Stephanie and from 1900, Habsburg. Scrapped in 1953)
(1872-1888, scrapped in 1898)
Helene (1887- 1995, converted to diesel power in 1951, now preserved