Bizarre Ships of the Nineteenth Century

A terrible thing happened to me late last year. Whilst walking through the Central Library I passed a shelf with a sign on it saying “All books 50p”.

I bought a lot of them.

Most of the books have subject matter suitable for Steam Geek, so I’m going to start scanning some of the images from them and posting them here.

First up is Bizarre Ships of the Nineteenth Century by John Guthrie. Published by Hutchinson Scientific and Technical in 1970. From the Editor’s Note-

This series of books is primarily intended to be of interest to those professionally concerned with the design, construction and operation of ships and other marine vehicles. Many remarkable changes are now taking place in the size, shape, speed and capability of conventional ships of all types, while hovercraft, hydrofoil ships and other unusual vessels are beginning to have a striking effect on the maritime scene. Technical staff and management increasingly need up-to-date design data and specialist information on a wide range of topics, and it is hoped that most books in the series will be of direct value to them, and to many students at universities and technical colleges.

In addition to specialist monographs and stuent textbooks, the series also includes books having a broad appeal to all those who want to know more about the fascinating variety of craft which can be seen in ports, on rivers and at sea: this book is one of that group. Its principal purpose is to remind us of some of the odd and highly unorthodox vessels which have played a minor but not inglorious role in the development of the modern ship. This chapter of nautical history is easily overlooked and often decried, but many of the freak ships built a century ago taught a technical lesson which had to be learnt the hard way and which is not always fully understood even to-day. Quite apart from its professional value, this story of the mostly unsuccessful, but always brave, attempts of bold inventors and enthusiastic cranks has a personal appeal which is difficult to resist. It is written simply and directly by a ship surveyor with a lifelong experience of all types of craft and an enduring passion for the telling details which are essential to a real understanding of the way in which ships, large or small, successes or failure, matter to the men who design and build them and then risk their lives to test their belief in something different.

I’ll be uploading images from a chapter a week, usually on a Monday or Tuesday. And when this book’s finished, I’ll dig out another one.