Ships Past and
SHIPS OF COLUMBUS.
NORWEGIAN SHIP OF THE TENTH CENTURY.
THE FIRST OCEAN STEAM-SHIP.
OCEAN STEAM-SHIP OF TO-DAY.
AMERICAN CLIPPER SHIP.
SHIPS PAST AND PRESENT.
Above are given illustrations of six different styles of vessels,
all of which are correct drawings of ships that in different ages have
acted important parts in the history of this continent.
The upper right-hand picture represents a Norwegian war ship of the
tenth century, and in such a one Scandinavian traditions assert that,
early in the eleventh century, Olaf Ericsson and his hardy crew sailed
into the unknown west for many a day, until at length they reached the
shores of America. On the authority of these same traditions, some
people assert that the structure known as the "old stone mill of
Newport" was erected by this same Olaf Ericsson, and left by him as a
monument of his discovery.
If Ericsson and his men did make the voyage across the unknown ocean, it
was a very brave thing for them to do, for as the picture shows their
ship was a very small affair when compared with the magnificent vessels
of to-day, and was ill fitted to battle with the storms of the Atlantic.
She was of about ten tons burden, or as large as an oyster sloop of
to-day, and carried a crew of twenty-five men. A single mast was stepped
amidships, and this supported the one large square sail which was all
that ships of those days carried. Well forward of the mast was a single
bank of oars, or long sweeps, that were used when the wind was
unfavorable, or during calms.
Although this style of craft appears very queer to us, in those days it
was considered the perfection of marine architecture, and in these
little ships the fierce Scandinavian Vikings, or sea-rovers, became the
scourge and terror of the Northern seas.
The upper left-hand picture represents three ships very different in
style from the first, but still looking very queer and clumsy. They are
the ships in which, in—who can tell the date?—"Columbus crossed the
ocean blue," and made that discovery of America which history records as
the first. These caravels, as they were called, were named the Santa
Maria, Pinta, and Nina. The first-named was much larger than the
others, and was commanded by Columbus in person; but large as she was
then considered, she would now be thought very small for a man-of-war,
as she was, for she was only ninety feet in length. She had four masts,
of which two were fitted with square and two with lateen sails, and her
crew consisted of sixty-six men. In old descriptions of this vessel it
is mentioned that she was provided with eight anchors, which seems a
great many for so small a ship to carry. The other two vessels were much
smaller, and were open except for a very short deck aft. They were each
provided with three masts, rigged with lateen-sails.
From this time forth a rapid improvement took place in the building of
ships. They were made larger and stronger, as well as more comfortable;
a reduction was made in the absurd height of the stern, or poop, and
much useless ornamentation about the bows and stern was done away with.
In the third picture is shown a model ship of the seventeenth century,
which is none other than the Mayflower, in which, in 1620, the
Pilgrims crossed the ocean in search of a place for a new home, which
they finally made for themselves at Plymouth.
During the eighteenth century trade increased so rapidly between the
American colonies and the mother country that the demand for ships was
very great, and the sailing vessels built then and early in the present
century have not since been excelled for speed or beauty. But a great
change was about to take place; and early in this century people began
to say that before long ships would be able to sail without either the
aid of wind or oars, and in 1807 Robert Fulton built the first
steamboat. Twelve years later the first ocean steamer was built, and
made a successful voyage across the Atlantic. She was named the
Savannah, and our fourth picture shows what she looked like.
The last two pictures are those of a full-rigged clipper ship of to-day
under all sail, and one of the magnificent ocean steamers that ply so
swiftly between New York and Liverpool, making in eight or nine days the
voyage that it took the Savannah thirty days to make.