Bridging the Seas: The Rise of Naval Architecture in the Industrial Age, 1800-2000

October 30, 2020
Bridging the Seas: The Rise of Naval Architecture in the Industrial Age, 1800-2000

How the introduction of steam, iron, and steel requirednew rules and new ways of thinking for the design and building ofships.In the 1800s, shipbuilding moved from sail and wood to steam, iron,and steel. The competitive pressure to achieve more predictableocean transportation drove the industrialization of shipbuilding,as shipowners demanded ships that enabled tighter scheduling,improved performance, and safe delivery of cargoes. In Bridging theSeas, naval historian Larrie Ferreiro describes this transformationof shipbuilding, portraying the rise of a professionalized navalarchitecture as an integral part of the Industrial Age.Picking up where his earlier book, Ships and Science, left off,Ferreiro explains that the introduction of steam, iron, and steelrequired new rules and new ways of thinking for designing andbuilding ships. The characteristics of performance had to be firstmeasured, then theorized. Ship theory led to the development ofquantifiable standards that would ensure the safety and qualityrequired by industry and governments, and this in turn led to theprofessionalization of naval architecture as an engineeringdiscipline. Ferreiro describes, among other things, thetechnologies that allowed greater predictability in shipperformance; theoretical developments in naval architectureregarding motion, speed and power, propellers, maneuvering, andstructural design; the integration of theory into ship design andconstruction; and the emergence of a laboratory infrastructure forresearch.