The American Built Clipper Ship 1850-1856
Characteristics, construction, details
William Crothers
International Marine, 1997
ISBN 0-07-014501-6
530 pages, numerous illustrations

Review by John McCoy

Covers the details of the construction of the wooden clipper ship, based on contemporary newspaper reports and technical publications. Provides all known details for 152 American clipper ships in tabulated form.

This is an amazing book, which is an absolute requirement for any person with a serious interest in the clipper ship. The author has assembled an incredibly detailed description of the construction of clipper ships, with entire chapters devoted to single assemblies, such as “the keel” or “beams and knees”. All known details which could be extracted from contemporary publications are compiled, and for each section the author reviews the several different methods of construction employed on the various vessels, with commentary on why certain variations may have occurred. Each section includes a tabulation of the 152 vessels reviewed, indicating which of the pertinent methods and materials were employed on each vessel. The illustrations consist of numerous large scale, detailed line drawings showing the construction of each assembly, with multiple representations covering the variations when appropriate. There appears to be no detail which was too small not to be covered in this book. (note - this book does not claim to be a history of the clipper ship, and although a respectable coverage of the circumstances leading to the clipper ship era is given the book should not be approached with the expectation of finding lists of record passages or similar information).

Copyright © 1998 by John McCoy
Commercial reproduction prohibited without written consent of the author.

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