steam

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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Steam

This topic or should i say a rambling story of a time in history when imagination, technology and invention came at a rapid succession where engineering and the how to make it work were two steps behind the imaginative creations of men of the time. It is commonly believed a man named James Watt is the father of the steam engine. Actually, Tomas Newcomen produced the first steam engine to drive machinery; it was James who took it to the next level. It wasn’t long before steam engines were the power behind the industrial revolution and used in farm machines, water pumps for irrigation in factories to drive machinery and in passenger river boats

“For we are to bethink us that the epic verily is not arms and the man, but tools and the man- an infinitely wider kind of epic.” Thomas Carlyle

It is just our nature to take a tool such as steam and figure out how to weaponize it.

The application of steam power to navigation, especially to the navigation and operation of ships of war changed everything. Nations quickly realized a wooden sailing ship woefully under gunned with nothing larger than 32 pound cannons and at the mercy of wind and sea was a sitting duck for a steam ship to approach and fire it’s 120 pound cannons and blow the sailing ship out of the water.

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

The times they are changing and there is an arms and technology race in the air.

Stay tuned when we take the “way back” machine to the year 1814 and let’s see what was going on.
 

donfarr

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Wonderfull topic, and by the way GREAT Quotes. Don PS go for it Dave
 

Uwek

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I am already preparing two or three Book Reviews about books related to this time period.....It is a very interesting sbject and time period and unfortunately not often mentioned and shown something......
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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Stepping out of the way back machine we find ourselves in New York at the shipyard of Adam and Noah Brown. The war is raging between America and England and the brothers Brown have just returned from the lakes where they were involved in building sailing war ship. On the lakes the race is on to build the fastest and heaviest armed ships from 10 gun schooners to ship of the line. We are not here to see what sailing ships the Brown shipyard is building but we are here to see an odd ship under construction. Calling it a sailing ship may be a stretch as it looks more like a shoe box with a blunt bow on either end. The New York harbor was under constant harassment from British war ship blocking ships from going out or coming in so the order was given by the Coast and Harbor Defense Association to build the world’s first steam powered ship of war. Crowds gathered as this new type of vessel steamed about New York bay and reported by a journalist of the day “she exhibited a novel and sublime spectacle to an admiring people”. European powers were well aware of this new steam powered naval vessel and sheer terror of such a machine of destruction prompted the imaginations of the enemy, creating exaggerated descriptions. “length of deck of 300 feet and a breadth of 200 feet her sides are 13 feet thick of Oak plank. She carries 44 guns of which 4 of them are 100 pounders. To further annoy an enemy attempting to board, can discharge hundreds of gallons of boiling water in a minute, and by mechanism brandishes 300 cutlasses with the utmost regularity over her gunwales; works also an equal number of heavy iron pikes of great length, darting them from her sides with prodigious force, and with drawing them every quarter of a minute. Such reports are born out of fear of this new era of steam navigation and the less from actual facts. As we venture deeper into these times we will see there is no shortage of imagination gone wild.

Next we will investigate exactly what was built. Again some wondered was it fate or divine intervention that stalled the transformed of world navies from the romantic sailing ships and sailors to machines of war and destruction.

fulton1.JPG
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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thanks Don and Uwe for the visit to this topic.
just doing a build log on a vessel of this era just seemed to take it out of its time and place. The entire time from 1814 to after the civil war is a most fascinating period of maritime history.
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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The hull was built in the Brown’s shipyard, it was designed and the construction was over seen by Robert Fulton. This new type of ship was names DEMOLOGOS which means voice of the people. The real dimensions were 156 length 56 feet breadth 20 feet depth not even close to the reported size in European accounts of the vessel. When the hull was completed at the Brown shipyard it was moved to the shipyard of Fulton engine works and the machinery was installed. Guns for the DEMOLOGOS were brought overland from Philadelphia where they were taken from the captured British ship John of Lancaster.

fulton2.JPG

Fulton’s steam ship was more of a floating fort a battery used for harbor defense as opposed to a sailing ship. However, On the fourth of July 1815, she made a passage to the ocean and back, steaming fifty-three miles in all, without any aid from her sails, in eight hours and twenty minutes; the wind and tide were partly in her favor and partly against her, the average rather in her favor. In September she made another trial trip to the sea, and having at this time the weight of her whole armament on board, she went at an average of five and a half miles an hour, with and against the tide. When stemming the tide, which ran at the rate of three miles an hour, she advanced at the rate of two and a half miles an hour.
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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The ship was built as a catamaran with two separate half hulls separated by the paddle wheel race. The vessel had two complete decks except for an opening for the paddle wheel. Deck beams were 12 inches square and continuous across the vessel which connected both hulls. Unlike the standard frame construction for wooden hulls the Demologos framing was set tight to one another forming a solid bottom structure. Planking on the exterior was one 12 inch layer of timber. On the inside from the turn of the bilge upward was another 12 inches of ceiling planking, then another set of framing covered by a second ceiling of planking making the vessel a hull in a hull. In total the hull had five feet of timber protecting the gun deck and machinery.

fulton.jpg
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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"perhaps man has the knowledge to build such machines of war but not the wisdom to use them"

or as we say today giving a monkey a machine gun may not be such a good idea for anyone.

Call it what you will fate, karma or divine intervention or by an inexplicable twist of fate the inventor Robert Fulton died suddenly of unknown cause before the vessel was completed, so he never knew of the success he achieved. Report of the construction committee stated “ Their exertions were further retarded by the premature and unexpected death of the engineer. The world was deprived of his invaluable labors before he had completed his favorite undertaking. They will not inquire, wherefore, in the dispensation of a divine providence, he was not permitted to realize his grand conception. His discoveries, however, survive for the benefit of mankind and will extend to unborn generations. The Commissioners congratulate the Government and the nation on the event of this noble project. Honorable alike to its author and its patrons, it constitutes an era in warfare and the arts. The arrival of peace, indeed, has disappointed the expectations of conducting her to battle. That last and conclusive act of showing her superiority in combat, has not been in the power of the Commissioners to make. "If a continuance of tranquility should be our lot, and this steam vessel of war be not required for the public defense, the nation may rejoice that the fact we have ascertained is of incalculably greater value than the expenditure—and that if the present structure should perish, we have the information never to perish, how, in a future emergency, others may be built. The requisite variations will be dictated by circumstances.

It has become clear to the Navy as well as the government men of the old sailing navy yelling heave-hoe on ropes to set the main sail or lift anchor will soon be obsolete and given the heave-ho themselves and replaced by steam and machine engineers.
The commissioners submitted their suggestion to the navy department as follows.

' 'Owing to the cessation of hostilities, it has been deemed inexpedient to finish and equip her as for immediate and active employ. In a few weeks everything that is incomplete could receive the proper adjustment. "After so much has been done, and with such encouraging results, it becomes the commissioners to recommend that the steam frigate be officered and manned for discipline and practice. A discreet commander, with a selected crew, could acquire experience in the mode of navigating this peculiar vessel. The supplies of fuel, the tending of the fires, the replenishing of the expended water, the management of the mechanism, the heating of shot, the exercise of the guns, and various matters, can only become familiar by use. It is highly important that a portion of tie seamen and marines should be versed in the order and economy of the steam frigate. They will augment, diffuse, and perpetuate knowledge. When, in process of time, another war shall call for more structures of this kind, men, regularly trained to her tactics, may be dispatched to the several stations where they may be wanted."

There being no active service in the navy against the enemy; the Demologos, or Fulton, as she was afterward named, was taken to the Brooklyn navy yard and used as a receiving ship for many years, until, on the fourth day or June, 1829, her magazine, containing two and one-half barrels of damaged powder used for firing the morning and evening gun, blew up, entirely destroying the vessel, killing twenty-four persons and wounding nineteen others. Lieutenant S. M. Breckenridge was among the killed, as was also a woman who happened to be on board at the time. The cause of the explosion has never been known.

Then there was silence, no talk of building steam ships of war. The only steam ship to appear on the navy list was a small purchased ship the Sea Gull used in the West Indies to suppress piracy.

For ten years after the Sea Gull was laid up, steamers though the same period witnessed a most wonderful development of the application of steam to navigation for commercial purposes, and steamers had visited "India, China, the West Indies and other parts of the world, as well as having made the trans-Atlantic voyage no longer a marvelous one when performed under steam. That our navy was not the only one to remain in ignorance and indifference while this great change in marine affairs was going on all about it, is shown by the circumstance that in 1831 a steamer built in Quebec was, while on a peaceful voyage to London, fired on by a British frigate in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and compelled to heave-to until the officers of the frigate were satisfied that there was nothing diabolical in her construction. This same steamer, the Royal William by name, was sold after arriving in London to the Spanish government, and, under the name of Isabella the Second, became the first steam war-ship of that nation.
 
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donfarr

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Wonderfull research Dave, much needed for the hobby, PLEASE CONTINUE THIS INVALUABLE PROJECT. Don
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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It has been 6 years since the Fulton blew up and nothing is being done about anything, setting the date on the way back machine to June 26, 1835 let’s go back and see what is going on.
Mr. Mahlon Dickerson, Secretary of the Navy, sent a letter to the Board of Navy Commissioners, calling attention to an act of Congress dated April 29, 1816, which authorized the construction of a steam vessel, and requesting that the Board take immediate action for building such vessel; further directing that plans of the vessel and machinery be submitted to the Department for the approval of the President.

There was just one problem and it was a big one with building the steam vessel, the navy did not know how to build it. Looking around at the time period we find about 700 steam vessels in operation in North America almost all of them river boats and small vessels around the size of a tug boat. Their machinery was of a crude design and poor workmanship. There were at that time, men of science who were giving attention to the theory of the steam engine, and who had made considerable progress toward the solution to the problems, but theory and actual practice were still far apart. The Board of Navy Commissioners asked for advice and help from managers of the engine-building establishments, but they were of little help when it came to building a large war ship. The private sector was willing to work with the navy department under limited conditions, basically what the navy was told was sure we will build whatever you want but not take any responsibility of it actually working. We are ready to execute any plan which the more extensive views and experience of the Navy Board may decide on. A kind of twisted humor to it all the private sector was covering their butt by telling the navy, who was expected to build a state of the art steam vessel, hey this is what you told us to build, we thought you knew what you were doing. The Board of Navy Commissioners are under pressure from the Secretary of the Navy to build a steam powered naval vessel but know next to nothing in mastering the science of marine engineering,

What can you do? Construction work on the hull of the vessel went forward at the New York navy yard, but the Navy Commissioners were still totally clueless as to the engine work.

Hum interesting what will they do?
 

donfarr

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JUST GREAT RESEARCH AS ALWAYS DAVE, you are the MASTER AT THIS. THANKS FOR MAKEING THE HOBBY MUCH MORE INTERESTING. Don
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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There is a paper trail in the National Archives as to what happened next.


Navy Office, December 30, 1835.

Sir:
The Commissioners of the Navy have, in conformity with the terms of your letter of the 26th instant, caused an advertisement to be published asking for proposals for furnishing the steam engines for the steam vessel now building at New York. From their ignorance upon the subject of steam engines they are in doubt whether the advertisement gives the necessary information to enable persons to make proper offers. They are satisfied that they are incompetent themselves, and have no person under their direction who could furnish them with the necessary information to form a contract for steam engines that may secure the United States from imposition, disappointment, and loss, should the lowest offers happen to be made by persons whose general character and responsibility would not offer great security for their completing the engines in the best manner, according to the intentions and wishes of the board, in case the precise terms of the contract should leave them a legal opportunity of evading its spirit.
"The board beg leave, therefore, to request your authority for engaging some person who may be deemed competent to advise them upon this subject, and to superintend and inspect the engines during their progress, and until they shall be satisfactorily tested, and to designate the fund from which his compensation shall be paid.

Respectfully,

John Rodgees

This request for the professional services of an engineer not meeting with any immediate response from the Secretary, the board renewed its call for help a month later by the following communication:

Sir:
The board would respectfully recall your attention to their letter of the 30th ultimo, in relation to the employment of an engineer; his services will be much wanted in superintending the construction and arrangement of the engines and boilers, and afterwards to work them in the vessel. As it will be desirable to obtain satisfactory testimonials of the qualifications of any person who may be thus employed, which may consume some time, an early decision may prove advantageous.

Respectfully

John Rodgees



Mr. Charles H. Haswell of New York became an applicant for the position of engineer which the Board of Navy Commissioners was so anxious to have filled, but his appointment was not made until the Board had taken occasion, while admitting the excellence of his professional knowledge as shown by his testimonials and conversation, to express grave doubts as to his practical familiarity with the manipulation of marine machinery, from which circumstance we of this day, who not infrequently encounter the same criticism, may see that the mistrust, inconsequential as it is, is by no means new. The Board qualified its doubt in Mr. Haswell's case with the following ingenuous confession: "How far such practical knowledge may be absolutely necessary, or can be supplied by superior information upon the construction of the engine itself, the Board has no means of determining, except such as are common to other persons." Mr. Haswell's appointment, made two days after the comments of the Board were submitted to the Department, reads as follows: " Navy Department, February 19, 1836. " Sir: In your letter to the Commissioners of the Navy yesterday, you offer to furnish draughts of a high and low-pressure steam engine and boiler, on different elevations, suitable for the steam vessel now constructing by the Government of the United States, for the purposes stated. "You are therefore appointed, for the term of two months, to make such draughts and report the same to the Board of Navy Commissioners, for which you will receive a compensation of two hundred and fifty dollars. "Mahlon Dickeeson.

"To Mr. C. H. Haswell, Washington."

July 12th, 1836, Mr. Haswell was appointed chief engineer for the Fudton, as the steam vessel then building was named; he thus becoming the first person to hold the position of engineer in the United States navy. Mr. Haswell was then an engineer of ability and established professional reputation, being earnestly engaged in the task, at that time a doubtful one, of proving the reliability of steam as a marine motor, independent of any aid from sails.

The steamer was launched May 18, 1837, and the work of installing the machinery immediately undertaken; this work was much hindered by the action of the Board of Navy Commissioners in refusing to allow the hull to be taken to the engine builders' works on the North river, thus compelling the contractors to transport the engines in pieces to the navy yard. The Commissioners, in refusing the application to have the hull moved, said that they did not "feel themselves justified in permitting the vessel to be moved from the navy yard to a place over which they have no control," although why they should have felt this way is not apparent, as they had previously confessed their incompetency to deal with matters relating to the vessel's machinery. This action forced the contractors to file a claim for increased expense in the putting up of the work, together with an additional delay of not less than three weeks," just as contractors do now when their work is retarded by the interference of naval officers. Truly, there is no new thing under the sun.

The engines and boilers were built by the West Point Foundry Association of New York, under a contract dated January 23, 1837 the engines in type and location being from the designs prepared for the Board of Navy Commissioners by Mr. Haswell, and the boilers from the designs of Mr. Charles W. Copeland, the engineer of the West Point company.
 
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Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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thank you very much Don

personally if I am going to spend countless hours drafting, 3D modeling, and building a scale model I like to have a reason to do it other than the joy of the build. I like the historical back round and the creation of the back story this to me makes the final model come alive. I am not a lone wolf in such an undertaking many thanks go to the hired researcher at the National Archives and for the artisans I work with to create the work, this is a team effort.

coming up next

dammed if you do and dammed if you don't

the critics have a field day
 
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Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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On her trial trip it became clear the Fulton II was not adaptable to the open ocean.

She burned a great deal of coal which limited the sailing time to no more than 70 hours.

Her hull lines were to sharp causing the vessel to become swamped even in a light sea way.

The paddle wheels were set to close to the water causing them to choke and impair her ability for any speed

The vessel was unable to out run a storm which any sailing vessel would have had no problem in doing so.

A trip from New York harbor to Norfolk she ran out of coal and had to be rescued.

Her engines were too heavy to powerful and unnecessary for the size of the vessel

The sheer size of the engines limited stowage space

A total of four guns were all there were for a broadside shot. In tests the guns tore up the gun platforms.

Any hostile shot could not miss the ends of the cylinders, the paddle buckets, and the smoke stacks.

Ridiculed, were the wheelhouse, described as immense fungi growing out of the sides.

when light to buoyant and when full to deep.

From the public as well as from the navy and government all agreed the Fulton II was just flat out butt ugly. Calling her “ludicrous and unseemly” she looked more like a river barge than a war ship.

All in all the Fulton II was not a very good start for the steam navy.

USS_Fulton_(1837).jpg

despite all the short comings of the Fulton II
After being employed in active service along the Atlantic coast of the United States until 1842, the Fulton was laid up in ordinary at the New York navy yard, where she remained a neglected and useless hulk until 1851. In the latter year the machinery was entirely replaced by a different type, designed under the direction of Mr. Charles B. Stuart, then engineer-in-chief of the navy. The hull was hauled on the ways and thoroughly repaired, the upper deck and high bulwarks being removed and the interior arrangements were completely changed because of the altered arrangement of the machinery, but the original lines of the ship were not disturbed.
It is a matter of record, however, that the vessel had a reputation in the service as a very fast steamer. She was employed on general cruising duty in the home squadron and West Indies for several years, was one of the vessels of the Paraguay expedition in 1858, and in 1861 was in ordinary at the Pensacola navy yard.
The Pensacola yard was surrendered to the Confederates January 10, 1861, and the Fulton thus fell into their hands ; she was then in very bad condition, having sometime previously been stranded and nearly wrecked near Pensacola, but her captors hauled her on the building-ways and began repairing her. May 9, 1862, military operations compelled the Confederates to abandon the yard, they burning everything behind them. An account of this destruction is given in Mr. J. T. Scharf's History of the Confederate States Navy, in which account appears the last historical reference to this famous old steamer—"The Fulton, that was on the stocks in the navy yard, was burned."
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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while the Fulton II was laid up in ordinary at the New York navy yard the great debate raged on over building steam powered naval vessels both pro and con.

"Knowing that failure in the initiative of the experimental steam service might prejudice the public, and especially the incredulous and sneering old salts who had no faith in the new fangled ideas, ' It is difficult in this age of war-steamers, when a sailing man-of-war or even a paddle-wheel steamer is a curiosity, to realize the jealousy felt by sailors of the old school towards the un-naval men of gauges and stop-cocks. They foresaw only too clearly that steam was to steal away the poetry of the sea, It is not to be supposed that the inauguration of the policy of building steam vessels for the navy was unattended with skepticism and opposition; like the application of all great scientific discoveries, the introduction of steam power was combated and misunderstood, abroad as well as in our own country. The logic, if it may be so called, of the opposition is well indicated by the vehement utterance of Lord Napier in the British House of Commons in a speech fiercely antagonistic to the building of steamers of war: "Mr. Speaker, when we enter Her Majesty's naval service and face the chances of war, we go prepared to be hacked in pieces by cutlasses, to be riddled with bullets, or to be blown to bits by shot and shell; but, Mr. Speaker, we do not go prepared to be boiled alive.''

imagination and ingenuity ushers in a new age
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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There were a number of problems with steam powered war ship such as steamers were limited to no more than a hundred miles radius, the paddle wheels took up the entire mid section of the ship limiting the amount of guns that could be carried on deck plus the fact the paddle wheels were big targets to shoot at. The engine, boilers and coal bunkers took up a third of the hull space cutting way down on the amount of provisions the ship could carry. Another issue the wind was free coal was not so operating the vessel cost far more. Despite these problems the big advantage to steam power it did not depend on the wind and sea they could go anywhere any time.

Taking these problems one at a time there was no alternative to the side wheels the underwater screw was just an idea and not yet proven to work. A solution to the space used by the engines, boilers and coal bunkers the hulls were designed 1/3 larger to accommodate guns and provisions. Up to this time no wooden hulls were ever attempted to be built this big and resulted in construction problems. To give you a perspective on what had to be built just the bed the engine sat on weighed 15 tons, the frame that held up the engine weighted 10 tons and the paddle wheels were 60 tons. This did not include the engine itself the boilers or the 350 tons of coal needed. Something had to be done so the wooden hulls could support such weight. The first steam engines were far from efficient and burned 35 tons of coal per day. Yes that is over a ton per hour.
 
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Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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Before I go into the Steam Frigates built by the navy these were innovating times and great minds were working overtime both in science and science fiction, seems the visionaries were a step ahead of the actual science and building of machines. Once the ideas were realized it was a landslide of invention. One invention led to the next and like a runaway chain reaction Sailing ships were gone and the waves were ruled by the new steam navies of the world.

Building of the steam navy with all the new fangled ideas in time gave inspiration to what we call “steampunk” and sparked the imaginations of men like Jules Gabriel Verne.



NAUTILUS-Jules-Verne-Modellbauplan-_57.jpg

dd2f6fb0efe76cb6b2620222972705c4.jpg

1373036849_105_FT0_harold_steampunk_.jpg

As outlandish and farfetched the Ideas of the mechanical war ship powered by steam were, it was not beyond the navy to move forward into a time of trial and error and build ships on the cutting edge of steam technology and mechanical engineering. Perhaps not as far as science fiction and steampunk but none the less some imaginative and plausible ideas were tried.
 

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trial and error......and some ships which were built are looking like these science fiction ideas!
Look at the turret ship / ironclad predreadnaughts the french built during the end of the 19th century

French_battleship_Carnot_underway.png
french Carnot as an example

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_battleship_Carnot

extreme also sometimes were the barbette ships like the Marceau or Hoche
1200px-Marceau_Marius_Bar_2.jpg French_battleship_Hoche,_Mitchell_painting.jpg

Unfortunately not very often seen in the modeling scene

Sorry for high-jacking your topic.....
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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one big problem the navy had was the side paddle wheels so Lieutenant William Hunter came up with a wild idea to remove the paddle wheels from the side of the hull, turn it horizonal and place the wheel below deck. Hunter himself was not a trained engineer or even an inventor just someone who seemed to have a practical idea. At the time building naval ship were unregulated with no standards so any idea was worth a shot.

hunter wheel.JPG
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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Sorry for high-jacking your topic.....

by no means are you high- jacking the topic it is open to anyone who would like to contribute anything.

I don't know who was leading the period of ship design between 1840 and 1870 the si-fi and steampunk or naval engineers
Personally I began to see the wooden sailing ships were all starting to look alike and built all the same. It was time to expand my imagination and challenge my modeling skills.
I think one of the ruts ship modeling fell into was trying to build historic ships and stay confined to the wooden sailing ship. No doubt the old sailing ships dripping with scrolls and carvings look pretty like wedding cakes I now see the beauty in mechanical engineering and the work early engineers put into not only making the machine work but making it look like art.

bd1335eda1d69573645dff10b6cb2a3d.jpg

10558781904_9ed590a95c.jpg
 
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