Description of, and Remarks on, an Alteration in the Heads of Ships,

Proposed by John Hallett, Esq.

To an eye so impartial as to be divested of prejudice in favour of what it has been accustomed to, these heads must certainly appear more ornamental than the present ones, in as much as a continued line is handsomer than one which is abruptly terminated by the interposition of another in a contrary direction. It must be added, that they will present that appearance, which is now so generally attempted by boarding up in a straight line above the upper rail of the head, and carrying the painting of the side quite forward to the head itself.

These heads may be made to terminate either in the head of an animal, the bust of an man, a shield with a coat of arms, or any other device.

That these heads are lighter by nearly one half than the present ones, must be evident on inspection. And this is certainly no small circumstance to recommend them, without taking into the account the consequent reduction of expense. At the same time they afford equality for gamoning the bowsprit, and for conveniences for the people, though the latter will have the advantage of being higher out of the water, and will consequently be more dry and comfortable.

It is proposed to make the rails curved on the horizontal plane, by which means they will break into the rails of the side as fairly on the horizontal as on the perpendicular plane. The lower rails must break in further forward than the upper ones, by which means a gradation will be preserved as at present. It is proposed to have a pair of cheeks in the wake of the lower rail, or rather the lower rail itself may be a cheek with the throat rather deep, which therefore will not be apparent; and if these are not thought sufficient to secure the knee of the head, a pair of iron ones may be added lower down, which will instantly render these heads at least as secure as the present ones, especially as the weight and likewise the surface exposed to the impulse of the sea is so much reduced.

Scotland-yard, Whitehall.

Naval Chronicle, Vol. V (1801), pp 430-432.

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius

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Copyright © 1996 Lars Bruzelius.