Book Review: ‘John Lenthall: The life of a naval constructor’ by S. C. Kinnaman

By Andrew Lambert, published February 2023

Abstract

This generously scaled and thoroughly researched text by a fellow naval architect examines the life and career of John Lenthall 1807–82, a naval architect, chief constructor and latterly director of the United States Navy’s Bureau of Construction and Repair. Born in Washington DC to English immigrant parents, Lenthall’s architect father was killed a year later, when part of the rising Capitol Building collapsed. Precocious mathematical talent and links to the nearby Washington Navy Yard secured an apprenticeship with leading naval constructor Samuel Humphreys, who recognized his abilities. Family resources allowed Lenthall to shape his own career, with Kinnaman emphasising how he mastered his profession before securing an official appointment…

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Filed under: American Civil War | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Shipbuilding & Design

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