We have repeatedly urged the necessity of a mixed construction of wood and iron for vessels, beyond that of the fastening and inside strapping used in wooden vessels, and we find that our efforts are seconded by our transatlantic friends, not only in the hulls of vessels, but also in the spars.
A ship-builder and timber merchant of Greenock has taken out a patent for an improvement in the constrcution of masts and spars for ships and other vessels. The improvement is thus described: the heel of the mast is made of plate iron, formed into a hollow tube, and extends from the keelson to the upper deck, into which the wooden mast is stepped. If the spar be a yard, the central part, or that usually denominated the slings, is also tubular, and formed of plate iron; the length of this central tube bears a proportionate relation to the length of the spar; each end of the yard is shipped into this tube and properly secured. It is asserted that not only greater strength is acquired, but reduced cost, and greater facility afforded for repairing damages to these appendages to a vessel's propulsory power. We are entirely favorable to the introduction of this method of making masts and spars for two reasons: 1st, it furnishes a greater amount of strength, and 2d, it affords a safeguard against the use of the spongy butts and knotty tops of trees, by reducing the length required.
Not unfrequently the scarf of a ship's mast comes directly in the partners; wheras, by this improvement, not only the expense of scarphing and hooping may be saved, but the hollow heel may be used for a water-tank or safe. The weight of the tank, filled with water, would in many instances weigh no more than the wet mast-heel, which absorbes the moisture of the whole mast. How convenient it would be to have the mizzen-mast in the cabin accessible by a door in which to store the ship's valuables, now that we need have no fears from local attraction.
Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius
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Copyright © 1996 Lars Bruzelius.