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Shipbuilding throughout Europe

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Hi, i am doing research on shipbuilding in Europe in the Age of Sail. I found some pictures, which i will show below. The first one is the Woolwich Dockyard, the second one is Holmen in Denmark, the third is Rotterdam in the Netherlands and the last one is Stockholm Shipyard

You can see the difference in how the ships are build. The difference in how the shipyard looks especially came too my attention. It looks as if the English and Danish made use of some sort of drydock to build their ships, in contrast to the Dutch and Swedes. 

 

Can someone explain why some ships are build in some sort of drydock and others are just build on a flat plane near the water?

 

I also noted that the Dutch and Swedes build their ships with the bow towards the water and the English and Danes build their ships with the stern towards the water, why is that?

 

I hope some of you can help me with this and maybe explain the difference in shipbuilding throughout Europe.

 

 

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I also noted that the Dutch and Swedes build their ships with the bow towards the water and the English and Danes build their ships with the stern towards the water, why is that?

Just a guess:

 

The bow has superior flotation than the stern, so if you are concerned about the depth of water at your building site (as might be the case in the Netherlands or the archipelagos of the Baltic), you should launch bow-first to avoid running aground.

 

Edit: Also, the shipyards that build in drydock look like they are building larger, more modern warships.

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There is difference in the time which these pictures reflect. The one over the shipyard in Stockholm shows the old castle Tre Kronor (can then be between 1588 to 1697, but looking at the shape of the ship its around 1650). story about the old castle you can read here http://www.kungahuset.se/besokkungligaslotten/kungligaslottet/museumtrekronor/historik.4.19ae4931022afdcff380005588.html(its in swedish but there is an option to read it in english or russian to)

https://sok.riksarkivet.se/bildvisning/K0025083_00001?beta=true#?s=0&cv=0&c=0&m=0&z=-0.0531%2C-0.0155%2C1.1516%2C0.6464this drawing is from 1820 and reflect how it looked

http://digitaltmuseum.se/011024828387?owner_filter=S-SMM-SM&query=ritning&producer=chapman,%20fredrik&advanced_search=1&pos=8here is Fredrik af Chapmans drawing of it from 1797

 

 

The Holmen shipyard pic the story about it you will find here http://milhist.dk/vabnet/major-danish-warships-built-holmen-shipyard-1692-1744/ 

There is also a thread about it from late 2014 http://forum.game-labs.net/index.php?/topic/2320-major-danish-warships-built-at-the-holmen-shipyard-1692-1744-article/

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The main reason why the dutch launched stern-first is simple:

The flat tuck will bounce when sliding into the water, creating uncalculatable rolling to the sides.

 I assume you mean bow-first, right?

 

Just a guess:

 

The bow has superior flotation than the stern, so if you are concerned about the depth of water at your building site (as might be the case in the Netherlands or the archipelagos of the Baltic), you should launch bow-first to avoid running aground.

 

Edit: Also, the shipyards that build in drydock look like they are building larger, more modern warships.

That is a interesting and logical thought. The ship being build in Stockholm was the Vasa, which we all agree on is kinda big :). Can it be, because the English were more industrialised, that they build ships in a more industrial way. I know from reading "De Zeven Provincien"* that the English started building ships from blueprints kinda early in the Age of Sail, and the Dutch didnt catch on to that until the end of the 17th century. So that could possible explain the less industrial look of the Dutch and Swedish shipyards. What do you think about this?

 

Why should a ship be build in a drydock, what are the advantages?

 

*: https://issuu.com/otteblom/docs/boektest

 

Ps: The shipyards are indeed from different time periods within the age of sail

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On differens can be when the pictures/model show. I would imagine that things was not done entirely the same in 1650 and in 1800... (but Iam just guessing)

Of course there were some developments, but it didnt change much(surprisingly) during these 200 years. Especially the Dutch kept building their ships very traditionaly.

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The dutch might not have used blueprints early, but they used some key ship buildings princples. Since im not home i cant share them, but they are along the lines of:

The width of the keel times 1,5 gives the ...

And many, many more.

Especially regarding the merchants, they used pre fabricated trusses, based on the planned size of the ship. These trusses would get stockpiled for certain ship sizes, for example 100 feet, 120 feet, 140 feet.

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Some shipyards even used shed based production, I will leave you some pictures of the Venetian Arsenal, perhaps the most impressive shipyard in the world from any point of history. The Venetians also employed partial sinking and raising of their ships for general maintenance, using shallows and a makeshift marina made up of other boats to work on the ship that needed repairs.

An old sketch of the Arsenal, with some artistic liberties taken from views atop the Campanile

venice_arsenale_2_1724.jpg?w=529&h=336

Another artists impression of the Arsenal, notice that they decided to leave the shed roofs off, This would not be the case, rigging would be finished off in one of the dry or wet docks after main construction had been finished in the sheds.

image002.jpg

The modern Arsenal as seen by Air

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A map of the Arsenal showing the arrangements of the sheds and waterways.

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Here is the ship based marina system I spoke about earlier :)

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Hope this all helps :)
 

Many common seamen were literate.

 

No major shipbuilder worth his salt worked from models.


That is simply not true, I would say that its more difficult to keep records of men who used models, they rarely have the survivability of normal plans that can be sent into archive. Its not the fact that shipbuilders who used models were simply worse at their jobs than the ones who drew up lines its just that models survived less readily. The problem is historians tend to be academics working from treatises and documents so they end up finding more information about shipwrights who write a little text about their design theories, which is often supplemented by models along the way, paper trails are hugely easier to follow than a string of models, its just easier so we remember the shipwrights who used paper.

Edited by Fluffy Fishy
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That is simply not true, I would say that its more difficult to keep records of men who used models, they rarely have the survivability of normal plans that can be sent into archive. Its not the fact that shipbuilders who used models were simply worse at their jobs than the ones who drew up lines its just that models survived less readily. The problem is historians tend to be academics working from treatises and documents so they end up finding more information about shipwrights who write a little text about their design theories, which is often supplemented by models along the way, paper trails are hugely easier to follow than a string of models, its just easier so we remember the shipwrights who used paper.

Put differently to allow for skilled provincial shipwrights:

 

None of the well-regarded designers who built the famous warships of the 1750s-1800s needed to work from models.

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Put differently to allow for skilled provincial shipwrights:

 

None of the well-regarded designers who built the famous warships of the 1750s-1800s needed to work from models.

 

That's an entirely different statement, reality is the scope of the famous warships used in the 1750-1815 period demanded plans, often they were built to much higher demands and the social and work lives of the period, often working in multiple shipyards across large distances the top architects needed to be in plenty of other places at once, overseeing different tasks so using a model was difficult. Plans make much more sense as you can put in much more technical information to leave to other people, accompanied by notes and writing you could explain what is going on and why you are doing it, which might not make sense or come to light properly just using a model. Lots of people also wanted copies of these plans, for example the Admiralties, Bursars, The Shipwrights themselves, Rulers and councils, various archivers and more, copying models is a huge amount of work to do it accurately and finely and it was just more economical to produce plans, they weren't better and the people who used them weren't more technically skilled because of them, but more the most technically skilled were forced to use them through convenience. Its about scale and resources not skill. Using a model isn't something to be looked down on, its just a different method, both methods have advantages and disadvantages but the scale of production meant that notes and plans made more sense during the period. Today we use both simultaneously for a reason.

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Many common seamen were literate.

 

No major shipbuilder worth his salt worked from models.

 

I didn't think any of them did, I was under the impression models were built as a selling tool 'ohh look at this nice ship we can build you'

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I didn't think any of them did, I was under the impression models were built as a selling tool 'ohh look at this nice ship we can build you'

Not totally, Models were used for all sorts of reasons, generally they were used to give an accurate visual aid to what the shipwright wanted to achieve, they were often later sold onto collectors or gifted to important dignitaries once their use had expired. They did use models for much the same reason that you said but they were a multi use item, used similarly to when modern industries like architects use a scale skyscraper model to show what they intend to build :)

Edited by Fluffy Fishy

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The only one in the Royal Maritime Museum that doesn't pre date it's ship is the Royal Oak, I think they it was built for the inquiry into why she sank

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The one I know about that was produced post build is La Muiron, Napoleon ordered the ship for himself as an ornament because she saved him from certain death or capture in Egypt. :)

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