The general name for any large vessel fitted with one or more masts and sails, for the purpose of navigating on the sea. The name ship is, however, more strictly and properly applied to a vessel with three masts and a bowsprit; each mast consisting at least of two, and most frequently of three component parts; namely, lower-mast, top-mast, and top-gallant-mast, each of them having its corresponding yard carrying a square-sail rigged aloft, the bowsprit also being fixed, and furnished with sprit-sail-yard, jib-boom, etc. The distinguishing features of sea-going vessels of other descriptions are noticed under their respective heads; and as it will not accord with the prescribed limits of this work to enter at large into the subject of naval architecture, we shall in this place introduce to the attention of the reader some interesting improvements and suggestions, which have recently been made by ingenious and scientific men.
A few years since, Mr. David Redmund, an engineer of the City-road, London, (who was originally a shipwright,) took out a patent for improvements in the mode of constructing the hulls of ships and other vessels, the main objects of which were the obtaining of a more effectual security against shipwreck, and facilitating the general adoption of steam navigation. The annexed description, together with the observations upon it, we extract from the specification of the ingenious patentee.
"The present mode of framing the hulls of vessels leaves a vacancy between the ribs and frames, which said ribs or frames are not firmly connected together, so as to unite their strength, until the planking is affixed to them; so that, previous to planking, the hull has no strength whatever. Now as this is, I conceive, the foundation of the structure, I respectfully submit that, when in that state ready for planking, the vessel should be, if possible, of sufficient strength to resist all such shocks or concussions as vessels are liable to meet with; so that when planked, she should acquire the full portion of additional strength which can be imparted to her construction by that process, and that the shocks or concussions to which all vessels are liable, should not be received on, or affect, the tree-nails, or bolts, which secure the planking to the frame of the vessel. Now, as the present vessels, previous to planking are not, by their constructions, capable of supporting themselves, and only acquire strength by their planking being secured to the frame or timbers, by wooden tree-nails or bolts, I presume it is evident that the greatest portion of every violent strain, shock, or concussion that the vessel is subject to, must, in a great measure, be received and sustained, in some direction or other, by the aforesaid wooden tree-nails or bolts, which have first given strength to the fabric by securing the frames and planking together.
The ribs or timbers not being united close together, there seems to be nothing to prevent the greatest portion of the shocks being received by the tree-nails or bolts; the repetition of the shocks soon works the tree-nails loose in their holes, and the vessels then become crazy and leaky; which shows clearly how very inadequate they must be for the purpose of sustaining any lengthened continuation of such strains and concussions as all vessels are liable to. In my construction of vessels I have no vacancy between my ribs or timbers; but I begin at the middle of the ship, and bolt each rib or frame firmly to its fellow, inserting the bolts in each that are to receive the next, as shown in Fig. 3, which shows six of the first ribs connected together, with the heading joints always crossed, and the bolts standing out to receive the next rib; so 1 work right and left to the head and stern, as shown in Fig. 1, which is a longitudinal section of all the ribs or timbers, showing the bolts let in at the heads to admit of each rib being bolted close to its fellow, each requiring to have holes made in them, to receive the nut of the bolts of the previous one, as is seen in Fig. 1. My heading joints are each grooved a little way in, and a tongue or tenon of metal driven in after it is in its place, which will serve as a stop to the caulking, and give steadiness to the ends; and the tongue or tenon should enterabout an inch or more into the ribs on each side.
It will be requisite to have as large washers or plates under the heads of the bolts, and also under the nuts, as the size of the timbers will admit of, only the edge of the plates should not come within three quarters or half an inch of the face of the timbers; so that, when caulked inside and out, both bolts and plates are secured from air and water. The holes for the bolts should be about one-fourth of the thickness, or a little more, from each edge; so that, if the timber were eight inches, the centre of the hole should be about two inches and a quarter, or two inches and a half from each edge. It may be found proper in some light constructed vessels to have the bolts in the centre of the timbers; in such cases the vessels will be exceedingly strong, but will not be so stiff as the other way. It will be seen by Fig. 1, that all my timbers are made smaller at the upper end, and larger at the lower part next the keel; and, as every good practical ship-builder is acquainted with the prevailing methods of striking out the timbers to stand at any angle or inclination, I need only remark, that the angle of inclination at which I have shown the timbers, appears to me to be the best.