Steam power pushed the Thayer to switch from transporting lumber to barrel staves (holding salmon) and salt. In April 1912, The Thayer sailed from San Fransico all the way to Western Alaska carrying empty barrel staves and salt. The Thayer would then sit in Squaw Creek or Koggiung, where the sailors would capture fish. The Thayer would return to San Fransico with its cargo hold filled with salted salmon from Alaska.
When WWI broke out, inflation became an issue for the Thayer. The cargo ship began making two-month voyages to Australia carrying Northwestern fir and redwood. Coming back from Australia the cargo would consist of coal, hardwood or copra. Beginning in 1925 the ship made yearly visits to the Bering Strait from Poulsbo, Washington to codfish. In 1942, the U.S. Army bought the Thayer to help with the war effort, turning it into an ammunition barge in the British Columbia. After the war had ended, J.E. Sheilds bought back his boat from the Army and returned it to shipping.
The ship's final voyage was in 1950. It was the last commercial sailing vessel to ever operate along the West Coast.