Patent Model for Ship Framing, 1838


This patent model accompanied Henry Higginson’s patent application for "Improvements in the Mode of Building Ships." Higginson, who received patent number 673 on April 4, 1838, thought wooden ships could be made stronger if more principles from "ordinary carpentry" were applied to "the perfecting of naval architecture" without any material increase in their cost or loss of room for stowage.

Foremost in his thinking was the extensive use of diagonal bracing. The rib-like frames that constitute the skeleton of typical wooden hulls extend in Higginson's design only from the keel to the approximate level of the load waterline. Above this point, he specified diagonally crossing timber braces, either placed between short upright ties (as seen on one side of the model), or running between long timber bands reinforced by occasional iron straps (as on the other side). Outside the diagonal braces, Higginson placed multiple horizontal courses of long-grained planking, rigidly fastened together with treenails or bolts and insulated by waterproof paper or cloth. Along the bottom the hull is double planked. Other details less easy to pick out on the model are the double-rabbeted keel, longitudinal ties connecting the floor timbers, and the extensive use of wedges to brace the entire construction together.

Date Made: 1838Patent Date: 1838-04-04

Patentee: Higginson, HenryInventor: Higginson, Henry

Location: Currently not on view

Associated Place: United States: Massachusetts, Boston

See more items in: Work and Industry: Maritime, America on the Move


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: TR.308541Catalog Number: 308541Accession Number: 89797Patent Number: 673

Object Name: hull construction, framing modelpatent model, ship building methodObject Type: Patent ModelOther Terms: patent model, ship building method; hull construction; Maritime; Ship

Physical Description: wood (overall material)Measurements: overall: 25 1/2 in x 7 1/2 in x 5 1/2 in; 64.77 cm x 19.05 cm x 13.97 cm


Record Id: nmah_843823

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