Fishing Steamer Henny Pickenpack. This 1:50 scale half model of a fishing steamer is a testimony to innovation. This applies both to the shipyard where it and its model were built and to the company that ordered it.
This 1:50 scale half model of a fishing steamer is a testimony to innovation. This applies both to the shipyard where it and its model were built and to the company that ordered it.
The history of the shipyard begins in 1827, when Matthias Wichhorst founded a small business repairing boats in Veddel, now a district of Hamburg. His son Johann Heinrich Nikolaus took over the business in 1839 and began to expand it. In 1847 he began building the first dry dock in the area. The work was completed at the end of 1850: The dock had an area of 40 x 15 m, drained by a screw pump driven by a windmill. Not very large, but a great success, nonetheless. Until the siltation of the Elbe made the entrance too shallow and limited the size of boats that could enter the harbour. For this reason, the Wichhorst shipyard moved to Kleiner Grasbrook in 1860, where it built a patent slipway. This is a slipway with rails and a „cradle“ with which boats can be lifted out of the water for repairs or maintenance. Invented by the Scottish shipbuilder Thomas Morton in 1818, this system was cheaper to operate than a dry dock and the slip built by Wichhorst was the first in the Hamburg area. In 1887, the shipyard decided to start building iron ships. A bold step that required a large investment, but was a great success that led to further expansions. But then came the First World War with material and labour shortages. The company, which had not been in the hands of the Wichhorst family since 1905, was sold to the neighboring Reiherstieg-Werft shipyard.
But before the war began, in 1914, they had built the „Henny Pickenpack“ for Julius Pickenpack’s fishing company. He had founded his company in 1906 in Altona, a town that became a district of Hamburg in 1937. One year after its foundation, Pickenpack had the „Esteburg“ built. She was the first ocean-going fishing steamer in the region. This step away from tradition paid off. The company remained successful for decades, entered the frozen seafood business in 1957 and eventually became a Holding. The Pickenpack family sold the company at the end of the 1990s. After that, the company changed hands several more times until it filed for bankruptcy in 2015.