Wire Rigging for Ships

Wire rigging for ships: - The Liverpool Courier says three-fourths of all the ships now fitted out of Liverpool are rigged with wire rope. It is described as a fourth less in weight, and not on-half the bulk of that made of hemp, and the cost is also 25 per cent less. It is much less susceptible than hemp of atmospheric changes, and it is predicted that in a few years it will supersede hemp rope for standing rigging. A recent trial of wire, hemp and Manilla ropes was recently made at the King's dock, Liverpool. The straining tests showed the immense superiority of wire rope over that made even of the best fibrous material. The testing of the hempen ropes proved the strength of Manilla to be far superior to Russian hemp, taking many of the merchants, shipmasters and riggers present by surprise, as a different opinion had been entertained by many of the gentlemen present.

The English have the advantage of us in regard to iron ships was well as wire rigging, on account of the cheapness of material. Iron ship are increasing in number in England, and in many respects they are superior to wood, but they can not be built here until iron becomes cheaper. An iron ship in England cost only about the same as a first-class wooden ship, but in the United States would probably cost three times as much as a wood-built ship. The depreciation on an iron ship is much less than one of wood, and when the iron vessel is worn out, the old material will go far towards paying for new. These are important considerations. There is no one thing which we so much need, as the ability to produce iron as cheaply as England. We have the crude materials in abundance, cropping out on the surface of the earth instead of being compelled to dig hundreds of feet deep for it, but we need the skill and the labor which is requisite.

Daily Traveller, Boston, 1857 August 31.

Updated 1996-10-05 by Lars Bruzelius

Sjöhistoriska Samfundet | The Maritime History Virtual Archives.

Copyright © 1996 Lars Bruzelius.