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The Making of the Ship


THE earliest and simplest means of water carriage employed by man consisted of the rafts or floating logs, which have doubtless been used since the dawn of the human race for carrying men and their property.

This early and crude form was supplemented by the "dug-out," found in all parts of the world, and made from the hollowed-out trunk of a tree. Later followed various forms of the canoe; often a mere framework of bone or wooden ribs covered with hides or tree-bark. This led to the conventional built-up boat, which still, however, remained of the open or undecked type.

Decked craft are of unknown antiquity; but it is certain that the ancient Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans all possessed ships of this class, capable of transporting large numbers of men, that these vessels were composed of keels, frames and beams, and had decks and planking secured by fastenings of metal or wood, and that they were also fitted with the conventional appliances for rowing, sailing, steering and anchoring.

In B.C. 350 the Greeks are known to have possessed a navy and dockyards, and from this time forward, through­out the Mediterranean, great progress was made in maritime affairs with regard to the transportation by ships both of men and goods.

The Phoenicians were the first to construct warships (of the "galley" type) about 900 B.C., propulsion being effected by two banks of oars. The Greeks later em­ployed oars arranged in several banks, and rising in tiers one above the other, a type which existed among the Mediterranean nations for ships (both of War and State) until well into the middle ages.

The later merchant ships of the Western Mediterranean nations in general did not differ greatly from the war­ships of the time, although there seems to be more dis­tinction of this kind among those of the ancient Greeks and Romans.

As all the early battles must have taken place at close quarters, or at least at a range suitable for the bow and arrow, a demand at once grew up for the lofty castellated structures which adorned the prows and sterns of 'most mediaeval ships; a form which, with some modifications, survived well into the nineteenth century,' and still leaves its traces in the modern appellation which is given to the crew's quarters in the fo'csle or fore-castle.

The art of shipbuilding progressed very slowly for centuries, the transition from type to type being but gradual. In the seventeenth century the national characteristics of build were but slightly marked; all the vessels of that time having the following features in common, which have since disappeared: a lofty and often highly decorated stern; a square sail hung forward below the bowsprit; and a diminutive lateen sail on the mizzen mast, doubtless intended as an aid in steering, and Which survives to-day in the common "yawl" rig.

During this period the armament was increased, in order to give a heavier broadside, and the ships pro­portionately increased in beam. This heavier type may be said to have endured well into the last century, with such modification as the development of the arts and sciences had then brought about.

The use of iron for the construction of a ship was tried in a small craft as early as 1787, but the first iron ship (of any magnitude) to be built was the paddle steamer Aaron Manby, in 1821. The practical establishment of iron shipbuilding dates, however, from a few years later, When John Laird, of Birkenhead, in 1829, first made a commercial success of iron ship-construction. The Sirius, in 1837, was the first iron vessel classed at "Lloyd's"; but this innovation was generally opposed until almost the middle of the century, when this method of construction first met with unqualified favour.

The adapting of the steam-engine to all classes of ships, and the employment of steel instead of iron in the construction of the hull have, to a yet further extent, revolutionised the world's mercantile marine. The substitution of mild steel as a substitute for iron — an invention originally introduced into this country from France — is now thoroughly established, and has re­sulted in producing a class of ships which, ton for ton, are not only stronger and more durable than vessels of wood, or even vessels of iron, but are actually proved to be 50 per cent. lighter than boats built of timber, and 15 per cent. lighter than iron-built ships.

Finally, the now established practice of sub-dividing these steel-built vessels into watertight compartments (which can be used at will for water-ballast) has still further diminished the chances of lives being lost in the event of a wreck or a collision.



In the last sixty years the duration of the Transatlantic voyage has been reduced by more than 50 per cent., the size of the ships has been multiplied by fifteen, and their power and carrying capacity by more than fifty. Enormous strides have been made in shipbuilding and in increasing the size of ocean steamships.

Year Built. Vessel. Length Feet. Beam Feet. H. P. Tonnage.
1840  Acadia 228 34 425 1,150
1850  Atlantic 276 45 850 2,800
1855  Persia 300 45 900 8,300
1862  Scotia 379 47 1,000 8,871
1881  City of Rome 560 52 17,500 8,144
1885  Umbria 520 57 15,000 8,128
1889  Teutonic 582
17,000 9,685
1889  City of Paris 527 63 18,000 10,499
1893  Campania 625 65 25,000 13,000
1897  Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse 649 66 27,000 13,800
1899  Oceanic 705 68 30,000 17,040
1900  Deutschland 662 67 30,000 16,502
1901  Kron Prinz Wm. 630   30,000 15,000
1901  Celtic 700 75 14,000 20,904
1902  Kaiser Wm. d. II 706   38,000 19,500
1902  Cedric 700 75   21,000



The consumption of coal in steamships has (proportionately) much decreased since the introduction of the compound engine. Previous to that time a vessel fitted with the best type of engines, such as the Scotia, of the Cunard line — which was floated in 1862, and had a midship section of 841 square feet — consumed 160 tons of coal per day, or 1,600 tons on the passage between New York and Liverpool. The City of Brussels, a screw-steamer of the Inman line, floated in 1869, with a midship section of 909 square feet, consumed 95 tons per day; while the Spain, a screw-steamer of the National line, launched in 1871, with compound machinery, and at that time the longest vessel on the Atlantic — with a length of 425 feet 6 inches on the load-line, beam-mould 43 feet, draught (loaded) 24 feet 9 inches — when making the passage in September of the above year, consumed only 53 tons per day, or 500 tons on the run. All these three vessels had a similar average of speed. There are still later instances where but 40 tons of coal per day were used.

Ocean steamers are large consumers of coal. The Orient line, with their fleet of ships running from England to Australia every two weeks, may be instanced. The steamship Austral went from London to Sydney in 35 days, and consumed on the voyage 3,641 tons of coal; her coal bunkers held 2,750 tons. The steamship Oregon consumed over 330 tons per day on the passage from Liverpool to New York; her bunkers held nearly 4,000 tons. The Stirling Castle brought home in one cargo 2,200 tons of tea, and consumed 2,800 tons of coal in doing so. Immense stocks of coal are kept at various coaling stations — St. Vincent, Madeira, Port Said, Singapore, and elsewhere; the reserve at the latter place being about 20,000 tons.

The Oceanic consumes from 400 tons to 500 tons of coal per day, the Majestic and Teutonic about 150 tons less.

An enormous increase in coal consumption is necessary for a comparatively slight increase in the vessel's speed. Suppose the propellers were turning 57 times to the minute, and it was desired to make them turn 58. It would require the burning of five additional tons of coal a day. The coal burned varies as the cube of the speed attained. If the vessel could be driven 12 knots an hour by burning 90 tons of coal a day, by burning twice that amount (180 tons) her speed is advanced to 16 knots, a gain of only one-third. Increase the coal to 300 tons a day, the rate of gain is even less, the speed being 20 knots. It is estimated that if the present horse­power could be doubled by extra furnaces and firemen and the burning of sufficient coal, the result would be to shorten her time across the Atlantic by a bare half day only. So enormous is the cost of the gain of an hour's time to an Atlantic "greyhound."



The earliest ship builders gave little thought or care to the design or construction of the hull, but devoted their attention rather to the interior arrangements and the upper works of their vessels. The reason for this was that the factors of speed and capacity in relation to size were then less paramount than at present.

During the middle ages the purely decorative features or what is called the "top hamper," were extravagantly increased, but with due regard for stability and strength these gradually gave way to more serviceable plans and models, until at the latter part of the eighteenth century, the types of our sailing craft first began to approach the forms with which we are now familiar.

Certain accepted rules and formulae were eventually laid down which, without restricting shipbuilders to any very definite dimensions, enforced due regard for the rules of proportion and measurement which had proved suitable or satisfactory in practice — thus meeting the special demands that were likely to be made upon the various types of craft, whether war vessels or merchantmen, under the more stringent modern conditions.

When all ships were of small size, the masts usually consisted of a single piece or "stick," but the modern sailing vessel of large dimensions (1,500 to 3,000 tons) has its masts of steel, or made up of smaller pieces of timber strapped or bound together with steel bands; while the required height is obtained by constructing them in two or more lengths, the one standing above the other. Top masts, top gallant masts and "royals," are each formed of one stick surmounting another. The bow-sprit is also usually formed of a single stick.

The earliest sails in our northern latitudes were pro­bably made from the skins of animals; but in the tropics large palm-leaves, at first singly, and later more or less roughly fastened together, have been used since time immemorial. Later still, the sails of all races seem to have consisted of woven fabrics, constructed from the sterns of certain plants (e.g. flax) or grasses. These primitive sails, moreover, were generally of a more or less square (lug-sail) shape. These, however, were followed by the more simple fore and aft lateen rig, the latest development of which is the lateen sail still used on small craft in the Mediterranean.

In a modern rigged vessel sail is reduced firstly by the division of the total sail-area into small sails of manage­able shape and dimensions; so that they may be taken in one after the other as occasion requires, and secondly by "reefing," an arrangement which allows of a portion of individual sail only being furled at a time. Numerous devices for furling sails have been used to accom­plish this from time to time, but the usual course is to employ several rows of "reef-points " or short ropes attached to the sail itself, by means of which it can be fastened down to the yard to which it is attached, thereby effectively reducing the area, but still allowing a portion of the sail to remain in position.

Rigging is divided into two classes, the "standing rigging," by which the masts and spars are supported, and "running rigging," by which the sails themselves are manipulated or trimmed. Modern improvements and developments with regard to rigging consist chiefly in the substitution of wire rope in place of the Manila or hemp rope formerly used.

The question of ballast has always been a serious one for sea captains making long voyages in sailing vessels. Water ballast is used on large ocean steamers, and many of the modern sailing craft have tanks arranged in their holds, so that they can take on water ballast direct from the sea. But the old-time sailing vessels have to wait to see what ballast they can pick up before making the homeward trip. The most common ballast is stone or rock, and the relative value of its grades is known to every shipmaster, who can often dispose of such a cargo for more than the cost of loading and unloading, Sand and common dirt are also shipped in ballast.

Of late there has been much speculation as to the life of a ship. This is of course a question that depends very much upon the builders. It is found that Norwegian vessels have a life of 30 years; Italian, 27; British, 26; German, 25; Dutch, 22; French, 20; United States, 18. The average death-rate of the world's shipping is about 4 per cent. and the birth-rate 5 per cent.

The largest cargo carrier is, at present, the White Star steamer Celtic. She is 20,880 tons gross measurement, and her dimensions are: over-all length, 700 feet; beam, 75 feet; depth, 49 feet.

The Pennsylvania, of the Hamburg American Line, is the next largest cargo carrier, being rated at 20,000 tons burden.

Four steamships of enormous dimensions are projected (two of which are already laid down in Connecticut, U.S.) for the Great Northern Steamship Co.'s Pacific Service. They are to be of 21,000 R.T.

The largest tank steamer is the St. Helens, which is built to carry 2,850,000 gallons of oil in bulk.

The largest schooner in existence is a seven-masted schooner (building in Maine, U.S.A.). It is 310 feet long on the keel, 345 feet over all, and will register about 2,750 tons net, with an estimated coal-carrying capacity of from 5,000 to 5,500 tons.

The largest sailing ship afloat is called the Potosi. She was built at Bremen, with five masts, is 394 feet long, 50 feet beam, with a draught of 25 feet and a carrying capacity of 6,150 tons.

The second largest ship in the world is the five-masted French ship France: length, 3I6 feet; beam, 49 feet; depth, 26 feet. She has a net tonnage of 3,624, a sail area of 49,000 square feet, and has carried a cargo of 5,900 tons. The British ship Liverpool, 3,330 tons, is 333 feet long, 48 feet broad, and 28 feet deep. The Palgrave is of 3,078 tons. She has taken 20,000 bales of jute from Calcutta to Dundee in a single voyage.

The biggest of wooden ships is the Roanoke, built by Arthur Sewall and Co. Her dimensions are: length of keel, 300 feet; length over all, 350 feet; height of fore­mast top from deck, 180 feet; length of main yard, 95 feet; main lower topsail yard, 86 feet; main upper topsail yard, 77 feet; main top-gallant yard, 66 feet; main royal yard, 55 feet; main skysail yard, 44 feet; bowsprit, 65 feet; deck to keelson, 22.2 feet; keelson to bottom, 12 feet; height of keelson, 9 feet 8 inches. With all sails set she spreads 15,000 square yards of canvas. She has four masts — fore, main, mizzen and jigger. She has four headsails with an aggregate of 646 square yards of canvas in them. Her main and mizzen sails contain 2,424 square yards of canvas. In her hull are 24,000 cubic feet of oak, 1,250,000 feet of yellow pine, 225 tons of iron, 98,000 treenails and 550 hackmatack knees.



1, hull; 2, bow; 3, stern; 4, cutwater; 5, stem; 6, entrance; 7, waist; 8, run; 9, counter; 10, rudder; 11, davits; 12, quarter-boat; 13, cat-head; 14, anchor; 15, cable; 16, bulwarks; 17, taffrail; 18, channels; 19, chain-plates; 20, cabin-trunk; 21, after-deck house; 22, forward-deck house; 23, bowsprit; 24, jib-boom; 25, flying jib-boom; 26, foremast; 27, mainmast; 28, mizzen­mast; 29, foretopmast; 30, maintopmast; 31, mizzen-topmast; 32, foretopgallantmast; 33, maintopgallant­mast; 34, mizzentopgallantmast; 35, foreroyalmast; 36, mainroyalmast; 37, mizzenroyalmast; 38, foresky­sailmast; 39, mainskysailmast; 40, mizzenskysailmast; 41, foreskysail-pole; 42, mainskysail-pole; 43, mizzen­skysail-pole; 44 fore-truck, 45, main-truck; 46, mizzen-truck; 47, foremast-head; 48, mainmast-head; 49, mizzenmast-head; 50, foretopmast-head; 51, maintop­mast-head; 52, mizzentopmast-head; 53, foretop; 54, maintop; 55, mizzentop; 56, dolphin-striker; 57, out­riggers; 58, foreyard; 59, mainyard; 60, cross jack-yard; 61, fore lower topsail-yard; 62, main lower topsail-yard 63, mizzen lower topsail-yard; 64, fore upper topsail-yard; 65, main upper topsail-yard; 66, mizzen upper topsail-yard; 67, foretopgallant-yard; 68, main­topgallant-yard; 69, mizzentopgallant-yard; 70, fore­royal-yard; 71, mainroyal-yard; 72, mizzenroyal-yard; 73, foreskysail-yard; 74, mainskysail-yard; 75, mizzen­skysail-yard; 76, spanker-boom; 77, spanker-gaff; 78, mainskysail-gaff; 79, monkey-gaff; 80, lower studding­sail-yard; 81, foretopmast studdingsail-boom; 82, fore-topmast studdingsail-yard; 83, maintopmast studding‑ sail-boom; 84, maintopmast studdingsail-yard; 85, foretopgallant studdingsail-boom; 86, foretopgallant studdingsail-yard; 87, maintopgallant studdingsail­boom; 88, maintopgallant studdingsail-yard; 89, fore-royal studdingsail-boom; 90, foreroyal studdingsail­yard; 91, mainroyal studdingsail-boom; 92, mainroyal studding-sail-yard; 93, bobstays; 94, bowsprit-shrouds; 95, martingale-guys; 96, martingale-stays; 97, fore-chains; 98, main-chains; 99, mizzen-chains; 100, fore-shrouds; 101, main-shrouds; 102, mizzen-shrouds; 103, foretopmast shrouds; 104, maintopmast-shrouds; 105, mizzentopmast-shrouds; 106, foretopgallant-shrouds; 107, maintopgallant-shrouds; 108, mizzentopgallant-shrouds; 109, futtock-shrouds; 110, futtock-shrouds; 111, futtock-shrouds; 112, forestay; 113, mainstay; 1I4, mizzenstay; 115; foretopmast-stay; 116, maintopmast­stay; 117, spring-stay; 118, mizzentopmast-stay; 119, jib-stay; 120, flyingjib-stay; 121, foretopgallant-stay; I22, maintopgallant-stay; 123, mizzentopgallant-stay; 124, foreroyal-stay; 125, mainroyal-stay; 126, mizzen­royal-stay; 127, foreskysail-stay; 128 mainskysail-stay; 129, mizzenskysail-stay; 130, foretopmast-backstays; 131, maintopmast-backstays; 132, mizzentopmast-backstays; 133, foretopgallant-backstays; 134, maintopgallant-backstays; 135, mizzentopgallant-backstays; 136, foreroyal-backstays; 137, mainroyal-backstays; 138, mizzenroyal-backstays; 139, foreskysail-backstays; 140, mainskysail-backstays; 141, mizzenskysail-backstays; 142, foresail or forecourse; 143, mainsail or main-course; 144, crossjack; I45, fore lower topsail; 146 main lower topsail; 147, mizzen lower topsail; 148, fore upper topsail; 149, main upper topsail; 150, mizzen upper topsail; 151, foretopgallant-sail; 152, maintopgallant-sail; 153, mizzentopgallant-sail; 154, foreroyal; 155, mainroyal; 156, mizzenroyal; 157, foreskysail; 158, mainskysail; 159, mizzensky-sail; 160, spanker; 161, mizzenstaysail; 162, foretopmast-staysail; 163, main. topmast lower staysail; 164, maintopmast upper stay­sail; 165, mizzentopmast-staysail; 166, jib; 167, flying-jib; 168, jib-topsail; 169, maintopgallant-staysail; 170, mizzentopgallant-staysail; 17I, mainroyal-staysail; 172, mizzenroyal-staysail; 173, lower studding-sail; 174, foretopmast-studding sail; 175, maintopmast-studdingsail; 176, foretopgallant-studding sail; 177, maintop­gallant-studding sail; 178, foreroyal-studding sail; 179, mainroyal-studding sail; 180, forelift; 181, mainlift; 182, crossjack-lift; 183, fore lower topsail-lift; 184, main lower topsail-lift; 185, mizzen lower topsail-lift; 186, spanker-boom topping-lift; 187, monkey-gaff lift; 188, lower studdingsail-halyards; 189, lower studdingsail inner halyards; 190, foretopmast studdingsail-halyards; 191, maintopmast studdingsail-halyards; 192, foretop-gallant studdingsail-halyards; 193, maintopgallant studdingsail-halyards; 194, spanker peak-halyards; 195, signal-halyards; 196, weather jib-sheet; 197, weather flying-jib sheet; 198, weather jib topsail-sheet; 199, weather fore-sheet; 200, weather main-sheet; 201, weather crossjack-sheet; 202, spanker-sheet; 203, mizzentopgallant staysail-sheet; 204, mainroyal stay­sail-sheet; 205, mizzenroyal staysail-sheet; 206, lower studdingsail-sheet; 207, foretopmast studdingsail-sheet; 208, foretopmast studdingsail-tack; 209, maintopmast studdingsail-sheet; 210, maintopmast studdingsail-tack; 211, foretopgallant studdingsail-sheet; 212, foretop-gallant studding sail tack; 213, maintopgallant studding­sail-sheet; 214, maintopgallant studdingsail-tack; 215, foreroyal studdingsail-sheet; 216, foreroyal studdingsail­tack; 217, mainroyal studdingsail-sheet; 218, mainroyal studdingsail-tack; 219, forebrace; 220, mainbrace; 221, crossjack-brace; 222, fore lower topsail-brace; 223, main lower topsail-brace; 224, mizzen lower topsail-brace; 225, fore upper topsail-brace; 226, main upper topsail brace; 227, mizzen upper topsail-brace; 228, foretop­gallant-brace; 229, maintopgallant-brace; 230, mizzen­topgallant-brace; 231, foreroyal brace; 232, mainroyal­brace; 233, mizzenroyal-brace; 234, foreskysail-brace; 235, mainskysail-brace; 236, mizzenskysail-brace; 237, upper maintopsail-downhaul; 238, upper mizzentopsail-downhaul; 239, foretopmast maintopsail-downhaul; 240, maintopmast studding sail-downhaul; 241, fore-topgallant studdingsail-downhaul; 242, maintopgallant studdingsail-downhaul; 243, clew-garnets; 244, clew-lines; 245, spanker-brails; 246, spanker-gaff vangs; 247, monkey-gaff vangs; 248, main bowline; 249, bowline-bridle; 250, foot-ropes; 251, reef-points.

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