Between 1904 and 1914, under German ownership, Kurt shipped coal from Wales to South America, nitrate from Chile to Germany, coal from Australia to Chile, and coke and patent fuel from Germany to Santa Rosalía, Mexico.
On the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Kurt was sailed to Oregon in command of captain W. Tönissen, then laid up in Astoria until being seized when the United States entered the war in 1917. She was first renamed Dreadnought ("one who fears nothing"), then, because there was already a sailing ship of that name registered in the US, she was renamed the Moshulu (which had the same meaning in the Seneca language) by Edith Wilson. Between 1917 and 1920, Moshulu was owned by the U.S. Shipping Board and carried wool and chrome between North America, Manila and Australia.
From 1920 to 1935, Moshulu was in various private hands based in San Francisco. From 1920 to 1922 owned by the "Moshulu Navigation Co. (Charles Nelson & Co.)", San Francisco, in 1922 sold to "James Tyson", San Francisco, and in 1922 purchased back by Charles Nelson. The big four-masted barque run in the timber trade along the U.S. west coast to Australia and Southafrica from 1920 to 1928. After her last timber run to Melbourne and Geelong in 1928 she was laid up in Los Angeles, later on in places in or near Seattle, Washington: Lake Union, Windslow (Puget Sound), and Esquimalt in British Columbia, Canada (100 sm north west of Seattle).
In 1935, the Moshulu was bought for $12,000 by Gustaf Erikson. On 14 March 1935, when the contract was signed, captain Gunnar Boman took over the ship and sailed it to Port Victoria. Gustaf Erikson had her run in the grain trade from Australia to Europe. In 1937, John Albright sailed on her as a young seaman.
The ship was seized by the Germans in 1940 when she returned to Kristiansand, Norway, with a cargo of wheat from Buenos Aires in command of captain Mikael Sjögren. She was derigged step by step in the 1940s and after having capsized in a storm close to shore in a beach near Narvik in 1947, she was demasted by a salvaging company to be re-erected, stabilized, and towed to Bergen in July 1948. The ship's hull was sold to Trygve Sommerfeldt, Oslo. A few month later the ship was transferred to Sweden to be used as a grain store in Stockholm from 1948 to 1952 when she was sold to the German shipowner Heinz Schliewen, who wanted to put her back to use as a school ship carrying cargo. Schliewen already used the four-masted steel barques Pamir and Passat (both former Flying P-Liners) for that purpose, but before Moshulu was re-rigged, Schliewen went into bankruptcy. In 1953 Moshulu was sold to the "Swedish farmers state union" ("Svenska Lantmännens Riksförbund"), Stockholm, and again used as a floating warehouse since 16 November 1953. In 1961, the Finnish government bought the ship for 3,200 tons of Russian rye; she was towed to Naantali, a municipality of Turku, and used for warehousing.
In 1970, the ship was bought by the American Specialty Restaurants Corporation, rigged out in Holland with phony masts, yards and cables and eventually towed to South Street Seaport, New York. Other sources have the The Walt Disney Company, Disneyland Park, that bought the ship, but transferred it soon to the American "Specialty Restaurants Corporation".
The journey was documented in Newby's books The Last Grain Race (1956) and Learning the Ropes: An Apprentice in the Last of the Windjammers (1999), the latter being a book of photographs he took while aboard. The titles of the books, however, are misleading as the 1939 race was not the last grain race nor was Moshulu the last windjammer: two more grain races followed the race won by Moshulu, the last being held in 1949. Also, while windjammers exist and sail the seas to this day, the last windjammer carrying cargo was the Peruvian Omega (ex Drumcliff) which was in use until her loss in 1958; the Moshulu, in contrast, does not hold any record in being the "last" or "oldest" or "largest" ship of any kind.
Moshulu, like all grain ships, was undermanned. If a sailor became ill or injured, chances were slim that he would receive treatment on shore. When a man like Newby applied for a position in the crew, the captain had him climb to the top of the mainmast, pointing out that at sea he might have to climb it while it was swaying wildly. For many applicants that was enough; they were never seen again.