The Mariners Mirror Archive

Edye’s Account of Indian and Ceylon Vessels in 1833

By James Hornell

John Edye’s 1833 article details various types of coasting vessels used on the coasts of Coromandel, Malabar and Ceylon. Fifteen vessels were described; the first nine accompanied by sketches, the remainder by builders’ plans. The author, the late Director of Fisheries, Madras, reviews acerbically the information and concludes that Edye’s paper is of very unequal […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft | Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Whaling & Fishing

‘Things Produced by the Works of Nature’ Published 1639

By Dr T V King & Ivon A Donnelly

The article describes and illustrates the variety of cargo boats on which Peking depended for its immense supply of foodstuffs from the South. Canal boats, about 52 feet long, each carried about 200 tons of rice. Their masts and sails were adapted to pass under low bridges and yet to cope with the variety of […] Read More

Filed under: High Middle Ages | Other (Early Modern) | Pacific | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft

The Canoes of British Guiana

By Maud D. Brindley

Opening with a description of the ‘dugouts’, ‘buckshells’ and ‘woodskins’ of Guiana, this paper continues with an overview of other indigenous watercraft of South America, with some comment on cultural influences. A map is offered showing the distribution of various types, including the ‘pelota’, a circular hide-covered boat, the ‘balsa’, constructed of bundles of reeds, […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways | Other (location)
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft | Miscellaneous

Naval Museums Part VI Germany

By H. Szymanski

Berlin has a number of important collections which include models of 17c Dutch warships, Prussian coasters and inland traders, Egyptian and Eastern vessels, together with engravings and plates. The museums of Nuremburg, Munich, Lubech, Bremen, Hannover and Hamburg have ship-models from Egypt to the “Preussen”, and pictures of snows, schooners brigs and coasters. Bremen also […] Read More

Filed under: Prehistory | Antiquity | Medieval | Other (Early Modern) | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Leisure & Small Craft | Merchant Marines | Navies | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft | Ship Models & Figureheads

Development from Log to Clipper Part III

By D. D. Kirkaldy Willis

The dugout rather than the raft may be the predecessor of planked ships.   Predynastic Egypt used craft made of papyrus, ambatch, rush and acantha. Egyptian amphorae have ships, rowers and punters pictured; monuments and sarcophagi have larger sailing craft. The Phoenicians were, of political necessity, consummate navigators and traders; exploring from Malabar to the Baltic […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Prehistory | Baltic | Antiquity | Mediterranean | Other (Twentieth C) | Indian Ocean | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Leisure & Small Craft | Merchant Marines | Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

Wicker Vessels

By R. Morton Nance

The coracle is over-emphasised. In the time of the Romans, Venetian planked boats may have traded to Britain. However, the locals, as Pliny remarks, used hide-covered osier-framed sea-going boats rather like the umiak, that can hold over twenty Eskimos.   The Irish, oared, sea-fishing curragh is a survivor of the type still in ordinary use in […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Antiquity | English Channel | Medieval | Irish Sea | Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft | Merchant Marines | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

Development From Log to Clipper Part II

By D. D. Kirkaldy Willis

Skin boats were used where vegetable material was lacking; in the Artic and desert Arabia. Rush canoes were built of bullrushes or papyrus around the Pacific, Africa, the Persian Gulf , Peru and Bolivia.   Coracles or circular baskets from the Tigris and Nile were made large enough to transport horses. Another development was rafts, sometimes […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Prehistory | Baltic | Antiquity | Other (Twentieth C) | Indian Ocean | Other (location)
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft | Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Development from Log to Clipper Part I

By D. D. Kirkaldy Willis

The details of the evolution from floats to craft by primitive man are lost in the dark glass of the distant past. Floats included coconuts, drift logs, shaped logs and bundles of rushes.   Primitive boats comprised dug-outs, bark and skin canoes, rush-boats and coracles. The dugout was hollowed out by mussel shells or adze alone; […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Prehistory | Baltic | Antiquity | Other (Twentieth C) | Indian Ocean | Other (location)
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

Early Yachts

By Jules Sottas

Yachts were well known to officers and officials of the French Navy, though it had none of its own. This was a gap which Colbert wished to fill as soon as he had the chance. On March 13th, 1672, he had written to Colbert de Croissy to arrange for the construction of two small yachts […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Leisure & Small Craft | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Notes on the Boats of Siberia Part V

By H.H. Brindley

This article, the fifth and last of a series, covers “Coasting vessels of European origin”. The author lists two- and three-masted boats observed by travellers to northern Russia, as well as the vessels built locally for explorers such as Bering and Billings. The piece also includes a discussion of the Russian names of various types […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific | Arctic
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft

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