On the Water

Ship Model, Colonial Sloop

During the period of North American colonization and early settlement, sloops formed the backbone of the trade along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and to the West Indies. They often sailed as smugglers and warships, too. This armed example from the late 1760s, with oars to maneuver in calms, is similar to craft used by Caribbean pirates a century earlier.

Little coastal sloops were the tractor-trailers of the colonial period, populating the waters along the eastern coast of North America right down to the Caribbean islands. Heavily built for bad weather and rough sea conditions, they were simple to sail, roomy for lots of cargo and passengers, easily handled by small crews, relatively swift, and usually armed for self defense wherever they might sail. They were also simple to build and inexpensive, so that if one were lost, it might not cause a crippling financial loss to its owners.

ID Number:
Arthur G. Henning Inc.
Place Made:
New York
wood, wood, string
9 x 13 x 5 in.; 22.86 x 33.02 x 12.7 cm