If you have an old photo of the Ideal-X lying around, the organizers of the McLean Container Center would like to hear from you. The center kicked off a campaign last month to collect artifacts, historical data, and photos that document the history of containerization in the maritime world for display at its museum.
Located in Kings Point, N.Y., the center is named for the late Malcom McLean, who made the first ocean container shipment back in 1956 when he loaded 58 highway trailers onto the Ideal- X, a modified World War II tanker. McLean's innovation is credited with revolutionizing world commerce and accelerating the pace of globalization.
The American Maritime Museum and Bland Library at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy will house and maintain the artifacts, which will be available to historians, researchers, students, and the public. "The story of the container industry is a spectacular one," says Center Chairman Paul F. Richardson, "but for all the immense benefits it has brought to the world, it's still less understood than it should be. The shipping container is called the box that changed the world—and not just maritime commerce. It changed global economies, societies, and cultures too."
Those wishing to learn more or even contribute to the effort are asked to contact Dr. George Billy at (516) 773-5501, or firstname.lastname@example.org. His mailing address is U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, 300 Steamboat Road, Kings Point, NY 11024-1634.