Part 2 : Evolution of Shipbuilding

The introduction to Iron

Iron, The Vulcan  & Clippers 

If you want to read Part 1 : Click Here

When the transition from timber to Iron happened, it gave less designing constraints to naval architects. The notable change was the complexity of future vessels.
However, there was a transitory material which was Copper plates. This first improvement had happened during the napoleonic wars. Their main installment was situated below the waterline, and 1 mm thick plates reduced the growth of weeds and gave more durability to the vessels.
This important advancement led to a facinated community, since shipbuilders always had used wood. The mixture of both materials allowed for "composite hulls", a mix between wood and iron. It was in 1819 that the first Iron ship was launched. It was called the Vulcan.
To illustrate, the British Clippers (Tea Clipper) were constructed with composite hulls. Those ships amounted to a total of approximately 300 ships and their business came from the Tea trade.
The Clippers were at a high production rate during the 1830s and 1850s. They allowed for more speed due to a more narrow hull and were overall stronger ships. Another example are the Yankee Clippers. They amounted to 400 ships and their purpose was for the east-to-west transcontinental trade. Their business came from the California Gold Rush. 

With time it proved to critics that Iron had the ability of giving more deadweight to the vessel, or carrying capacity, and offered more workable characteristics versus wood. 

Chargement ...

Men of importance 

Barlow, Bonjean, Wilson & Smith

Peter Barlow was a mathematician and physicist. During his life, he became deeply interested in the pursuit of science, mathematics and the theory of numbers. 
Barlow is recognized today for his important piece : New Mathematical Tables published in 1814. In this book, Barlow has calculated all integers between 1 and 10,000 and lists their squares, cubes, reciprocals and other functions. This work was of great importance because it allowed to save time for naval architects. In the maritime world, they are called the Barlow Laws.

Antoine Nicolas François Bonjean had produced spectacular work in naval architecture with his well known Bonjean Curves. Bonjean was a constructor in the service of the French Navy, and in 1808 published his paper : Nouvelles échelles de déplacement. It describes the curves of cross sectional area which can be drawn for any convenient cross-section of a ship. This method then became the Bonjean Curves

Thomas Wilson was a true pioneer in the conventional construction of iron and steel ships. It was in 1818, that the appropriately named Vulcan (picture #2 above) was being built up. The ship was 20.2 meters long and 3.3 meters broad. In order to build the vessel, they had to have the items forged by blacksmiths. Notably, John and Thomas Smellie. For this reason, the Vulcan was probably the most labor intensive ship of all time. However, the vessel Wilson brought to life was an outstanding success. The Vulcan was also proof of longevity, as the vessel was launched in 1819 and broken up 1873. She lived for 54 years. 

Sir Francis Pettit Smith was a devoted researcher with the goal in mind to find a method of driving ships in a way that would be an improvement. His work brought the innovation of the screw propeller. In 1838, they lauched the fairly small steam yacht named Archimedes. The propeller was placed in an aperture in the skeg. The demonstration was of great success and introduced shipbuilders and owners to the screw. 

These are several names that brought innovation to the shipbuilding industry, but there are many others. As the evolution became more omnipresent, this allowed for more advanced and detailed work. Thus, the works provided begin to be topics of their own, as they are rich in understanding and discoveries. 


References :

Ships & Shipbuilders - Fred M Walker : Pioneers of Design and Construction

The Doric Columns, Clipper Ship Plans


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