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The Century Before Steam - The Development of the Sailing Ship 1700-1820
Author: McGowan A.P.
Publisher: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office
Quality: Scanned pages
Pages count: 68
Description: The Ship is a unique series of ten books about the development of merchant vessels and specialized vessels of war, from the earliest times to the present day. Each book is a self-contained study by a leading authority on one aspect of the whole subject, dealt with in realistic terms that are detailed, accurate and up-to-date. Each breaks new ground, incorporates the latest available information, summarizes the most recent thinking and is illustrated where possible from contemporary sources.
Commissioned and produced jointly by the National Maritime Museum whose Director, Basil Greenhill, is the series General Editor, and by HMSO, the ten books represent the most authoritative short history of the ship ever published.
In ‘The Century Before Steam: 1700-1820’, Alan McGowan explains that for the wooden ship the period was one of modification rather than of revolutionary changes in design. For all that, it saw ships becoming larger than their predecessors, and it heralded the introduction of fore and aft sails which brought some ships to a relatively high level of efficiency. The schooner, perhaps the best known of fore-and-aft rigged ships, emerged as a major new type of merchant vessel.
Warships of the maritime nations were also significantly improved. The introduction of rounding of both bows and sterns, an innovation towards the end of the period by Sir Robert Seppings, resulted in greater structural strength, though the long peace of the Victorian age meant the innovation was never seriously tried in action.