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The Last 1,945 Sailing Ships

  • Lance E. Davis
  • Robert E. Gallman

Abstract

More than three decades ago, John Hughes and Stanley Reiter published an article that has been widely recognized as a major milestone on the path to the “Cliometric Revolution.” In “The First 1,945 British Steamships” (1958), Hughes and Reiter, employing both the techniques of marine engineering and Purdue University’s then newly installed mainframe computer, analyzed the technical characteristics of the British steam mercantile fleet in 1860.1 The authors concluded that, because maritime historians had badly underestimated the carrying capacity of the steam driven fleet, the degree of the new technology’s market penetration was much greater than had been thought. Moreover, they suggested that, current historiography aside, steam had become the dominant maritime technology by the beginning of the sixth decade of the nineteenth century.

Keywords

Marine Mammal Sperm Whale Gray Whale Ship Design Merchant Ship 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Jonathan R. T. Hughes and Stanley Reiter, “The First 1,945 British Steamships,” American Statistical Journal, June 1958, Vol. III, No. 282 p. 360. The paper’s title is based on the authors’ initial supposition—later shown to be incorrect—that the “Parliamentary Paper” [No. 449 of Session 1860, Accounts and Papers, 1861, LVII (371)] that was used as the primary source contained an enumeration of the first 1,945 entered permanently into U.K. registry. In fact, the 1,945 refer to vessels that had been built and still operated under U.K. registry at the beginning of 1861.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    H. I. Chapelle, The Search for Speed Under Sail, p. 283; Isaac Webb is credited by L. H. Boole with the introduction of the half model in the New York area, but Griffiths credits the first half model to David Seabury. See L. H. Boole, The Shipwright’s Handbood and Draughtsman’s Guide, Milwaukee, 1858, and John W. Griffiths, Marine and Naval Architecture, p. 47. One reason for the paucity of information on the design of merchant vessels in the pre-1800 era was the absence of plans or half models. There were few artifacts to leave behind.}Google Scholar
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    H. I. Chapelle, The Search for Speed Under Sail, p. 364. Griffith’s book was titled the Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Shipbuilding. His magazine was first called The U.S. Nautical Magazine and Naval Journal (1853–55) and then The Monthly Nautical Magazine and Quarterly Review.Google Scholar
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    Donald McKay’s maritime biographer goes so far as to call McKay “the augmentor of the medium clipper model afterward universally used by the American shipbuilders.” (Richard C. McKay, Some Famous Sailing Ships and Their Builder Donald McKay, New York & London: G. P. Putnam & Sons, 1928, p. 293.) Chatterton is aware of the fact that McKay, who had designed a number of China clippers, including the Lightning, went on to become the most famous builder of the new class of vessels, and he notes similarities between the two classes of vessel. Even Chapelle, although arguing that the medium clippers were merely larger and better built “revivals of the last and sharpest of the packet-ship models,” recognizes that many of their fittings both on deck and aloft had been developed in the clippers. (H. I. Chapelle, op. cit.)Google Scholar
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    R. C. McKay, Some Famous Sailing Ships and Their Builder, p. 293. “Deadrise” is the term used to refer to the rise of the bottom of the midship frame from the keel to the bilge. It is usually expressed as a ratio of inches per foot.Google Scholar
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    A “snow” was an eighteenth-century vessel that closely resembled a brig (two masts, both fore-and-aft rigged), except that its gaff-rigged “brigsail” was set on a separate trysail mast attached to, but abaft, the mainmast.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lance E. Davis
  • Robert E. Gallman

There are no affiliations available

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