Wavertree was built in Southampton, England in 1885. She was first employed to carry jute for use in making rope and burlap bags, voyaging between India and Scotland. Within two years, she entered the tramp trade, taking cargoes anywhere in the world. After 25 years, she limped into the Falkland Islands in 1911, having been almost dismasted in a gale off Cape Horn. Rather than rerigging her, her owners sold her for use as a floating warehouse at Punta Arenas, Chile. Wavertree was converted into a sand barge at Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1947, and was acquired there by the South Street Seaport Museum in 1968 for eventual restoration to her appearance as a sailing vessel. By the time Wavertree was built, she was nearly obsolete, being replaced by ocean crossing steam ships. At the same time, iron-long the choice of ship builders in iron producing countries such as England-was giving way to steel. Wavertree was one of the last large sailing ships built of wrought iron, and today is the largest afloat.