The Influence of Iron in Ship Construction: 1660 to 1830

By Peter Goodwin, published February 1998


Shipwright Sir Anthony Deane began using iron for small hull components because suitable timber was becoming scarce. As the quality of iron improved, its use became more widespread. This paper describes the iron components, their production, the influence of French shipwrights on their design and an early structural test to compare strength. Iron was used in the 1814 refit of HMS Victory, and can also be seen in Trincomalee and Unicorn. Gradually, iron parts went from being used for repairs to being specified as an integral part of the ship’s structure. Seppings used iron extensively, especially as part of his diagonal bracing system, allowing major changes to warship design by the 1830s.

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Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

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