Re-inventing the Ship : Science, Technology and the Maritime World, 1800-1918 book cover
1st Edition

Re-inventing the Ship
Science, Technology and the Maritime World, 1800-1918

ISBN 9781138261051
Published November 23, 2016 by Routledge
240 Pages

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Book Description

Ships have histories that are interwoven with the human fabric of the maritime world. In the long nineteenth century these histories revolved around the re-invention of these once familiar objects in a period in which Britain became a major maritime power. This multi-disciplinary volume deploys different historical, geographical, cultural and literary perspectives to examine this transformation and to offer a series of interconnected considerations of maritime technology and culture in a period of significant and lasting change. Its ten authors reveal the processes involved through the eyes and hands of a range of actors, including naval architects, dockyard workers, commercial shipowners and Navy officers. By locating the ship's re-invention within the contexts of builders, owners and users, they illustrate the ways in which material elements, as well as scientific, artisan and seafaring ideas and practices, were bound together in the construction of ships' complex identities.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: re-inventing the ship in the long 19th century, Don Leggett and Richard Dunn; Symbolic ships, sail and steam, Christopher Harvie; 'This great national undertaking': John Scott Russell, the master shipwrights and the Royal Mail steam packet company, Crosbie Smith; 'The Robinson line of boats': networks of trust in a 19th-century shipping company, Oliver Carpenter; Neptune's new clothes: actors, iron and the identity of the mid-Victorian warship, Don Leggett; The health of workers in the Royal Dockyard, Portsmouth, Richard Biddle; Where is Bathybius Haeckelii? The ship as a scientific instrument and a space of science, Anne Flore Laloë; 'Their brains over-taxed': ships, instruments and users, Richard Dunn; Naval culture and the fleet submarine, 1910-1917, Duncan Redford; 19th-century American warships: the pursuit of exceptionalist design, William M. McBride; Epilogue: 'A force to be reckoned with', Andrew Lambert; Index.

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Dr, Don Leggett, University of Kent, UK; and Richard Dunn, National Maritime Museum, UK.


'In Re-inventing the Ship, the two scholars have compiled a collection of essays that investigates the British ships of the long nineteenth century as objects of science, technology, and maritime culture. ... would make an appropriate addition to the bookshelf of anyone interested in maritime affairs.' EH.Net 'As a whole, the contributors to this volume offer a hugely enriching behind the scenes perspective on the re-invention of the ship in the long nineteenth century. The approaches, questions and findings generated by these authors afford historians of science, technology and the sea a much fuller understanding of the intersection of science and technology during this collaborative period of transition from wood and sail to steam and iron.' The Northern Mariner 'The diversity of these approaches makes a truly dense and thought provoking collection that often feels as if it is bursting with potential. The manner with which its authors re-visit debates, re-examine old scholarship and introduce new approaches often excites the reader with the possibility of future research. Consequently, Re-inventing the Ship will be of interest to anyone interested in the interconnected themes of the economic, political, cultural and technological transformations of Atlantic maritime traditions between the late eighteenth and early twentieth century.' Journal of Transport History