Ships' Fastenings
From Sewn Boat to Steamship
Nautical Archaeology
7 x 10, 248 pp.
12 b&w photos., 95 drawings.
Pub Date: 09/14/2005
Ed Rachal Foundation Nautical Archaeology Series
Price:        $65.00 s


Published by Texas A&M University Press

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Ships' Fastenings

From Sewn Boat to Steamship

By Michael McCarthy

Without effective and durable hull fastenings, boats and ships—from the earliest days of seafaring through the twentieth century—could not have plied the seas.

In Ships’ Fastenings, this central element of boat construction receives its first detailed study. Author Michael McCarthy offers a fascinating, thorough description of a range from sewn-plank boats of the ancient world and Micronesia to Viking ships, Mediterranean caravels, nineteenth-century ocean clippers, and even steamships.

Along with the comprehensive account of ship fastenings, McCarthy provides a history of many of the discoveries and innovations that accompanied changes in the kinds of fastenings used and the ways they were secured. He discusses copper sheathing, metallurgy, the advent of Muntz metal, rivets of all types, welding in the ancient and modern sense, and the types of non-magnetic fastenings needed on World War II minesweepers. He even takes a glance at the development of underwriting and insurance, because the registries kept by Lloyd’s and others were not only guides to the suitability or a particular ship but also dictated the form and method of fastening.

Ships’ Fastenings will prove of value to shipbuilders, historians, and archaeologists. It is also written for the enthusiast and amateur boat builder.

MICHAEL McCARTHY, a member of the Department of Maritime Archaeology at the Western Australian Maritime Museum, holds advanced degrees in history and nautical archaeology. He has led numerous excavations and is the author of many articles and reports on maritime archaeological sites.

What Readers Are Saying:

“. . . an exceptional addition to the literature.”--James P. Delgado, Editor of Encyclopedia of Underwater and Maritime Archaeology

Ship’s Fastenings is a remarkable work. . .contains on of the most concise and easily digested histories of predominantly Western ship- and boat building.” --Nautical Research Journal, Vol. 40 issue 4

“This book, however, is far more than a dry catalogue of fastenings through the ages. McCarthy offers insight and background into the processes by which artisans secured ship’s hulls and discusses copper sheathing and the advances in metallurgy…For many it will be indispensable.” --Sea History

“…an important addition to every nautical library, especially since the study of Ships’ Fastenings has been relatively suppositious within the field of nautical archaeology…a valuable guide to take into the field for archaeologists involved in shipwreck studies or ethnographers studying traditional shipbuilding. Ships’ Fastenings provides a good overall synopsis for historians, ethnographers, archaeologists, shipbuilders, ship modelers, and for those individuals actually interested in such particularities.” --The Ina Quarterly

“…a worthy addition to the library of any boat or ship enthusiast…in providing a descriptive guide to the fastners that have been used throughout recorded history, McCarthy has succeeded admirably…While he examines well-known fastening systems in depth, he also sheds lights on some of he more obscure fastening material…There is a wealth of information on composite iron and steel fastenings. Previously, these types of fastenings have been considered too modern for in-depth study, or perhaps archaeologists have focused too much on the fasteners associated with wooden vessels. For whatever reason, the analysis of late-nineteenth century- and early twentieth- century ship-fastening technology has been neglected until now. McCarthy’s book goes a long way toward flashing out the story of these long-overlooked fastening technologies…McCarthy has synthesized a great deal of primary and secondary source material into a rich resource on the history of organic and metallic fasteners used to construct ships’ hulls…represents an important and long-overdue addition to our knowledge of shipbuilding technology. I would recommend it to anyone wishing to learn more about the methods and technology of ship construction.” --Technology and Culture vol. 47

“…clearly written, avoids jargon or, where that is not possible, explains technical terms carefully, and the style is both lucid and engaging…The line drawings are another strength. There are more than 100 of them and they enhance the text significantly, making clear via the visual sense what is difficult to put into words. ..a fascinating and erudite volume which should be on the refernce shelf of any serious maritime historian.” --Journal of Transport History


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