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Thread: on the Origin of Centerboards

  1. #36
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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    Reviving this old thread, and not quibbling about the pivots or daggers, I ran across something of relevance. Seems that before 1820 along the shore of Woodbury Creek ( enters the Delaware opposite the Schuykill) at Red Bank, Mark Whitall a nd the Wilkins boys, sons of neighboring farmers, started experimenting with "sliding keels" thru a trunk on their skiff. The first large boat they built in about1820 was used to carry produce to Philly. By that time the Red Bankers were calling these centerboards. Boat out sailed all of the local boats, and two more were built in 1821/22; Benjamin Wilkins built a 4th in 1828 which became the model of the CB boats on the Delaware. Benjamin was the father of Rufus ( who was interviewed for this story about 1903, published in Forest & Stream); Rufus started building boats in the 1840s. The story goes on to state why they didn't patent it and does state that a New Yorker who did want to patent a centerboard that had been developed in RI about 1850 found out about the Wilkins / Whitall board and dropped his claim.

    For me this story does pass the skeptic test as you can see why a centerboard would take off fast in the Delaware river and Bay, and was eminently suitable for Jersey.

    Anyway thought it was too good not to share.
    Thanks for that. I'm still crediting the Swain brothers for the invention of the pivoting centerboard in 1811.

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    Thanks for that. I'm still crediting the Swain brothers for the invention of the pivoting centerboard in 1811.
    You don't happen to have the Swain patent number? I'd be interested to see how many people actually paid attention to it once they saw it.
    I don't think many boatbuilders would actually even think something like that would be patented when all they need is the idea and they can build it themselves. Classic case of diffusion. And as this thread has shown there have multiple places of independent invention. What interests me is how one of these might diffuse. For example, the Jersey/Delaware wasn't something adopted in other board cultures, and the Jersey/ Delaware db had a shape not seen elsewhere. There is some evidence that small boat styles and building methods were interchanged between the Jersey shore and the Delaware and the DB shape could have been one of them.
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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Probably about like the patent on the automobile or the steamboat, someone hoping to capitalize on the patent rights.

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    This thread reminded me of something I read recently about the HMS Lady Nelson. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Lady_Nelson_(1798) She had 3 "sliding keels" and apparently had quite a lot of trouble with them. She was a similar design to an armed cutter Trial of 1789. Still the 18th century though.

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    You don't happen to have the Swain patent number? I'd be interested to see how many people actually paid attention to it once they saw it.
    I don't think many boatbuilders would actually even think something like that would be patented when all they need is the idea and they can build it themselves. Classic case of diffusion. And as this thread has shown there have multiple places of independent invention. What interests me is how one of these might diffuse. For example, the Jersey/Delaware wasn't something adopted in other board cultures, and the Jersey/ Delaware db had a shape not seen elsewhere. There is some evidence that small boat styles and building methods were interchanged between the Jersey shore and the Delaware and the DB shape could have been one of them.
    I've found the text of letter granting the patent, but not the application. The patent number is #X001489.
    The History of Yachting, 1600-1815

    By Arthur Hamilton Clark
    https://books.google.com/books?id=zr...bottom&f=false
    Last edited by johnw; 03-07-2019 at 12:55 PM.

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    The Lady Nelson, a ship built at Deptford for the Thames estuary featured 3 'sliding keels' to aide manoeuvring in restricted waters. System 'invented' by Captain Shanck. She was originally designed with a fore and aft rig, but was square rigged for a voyage to Australia for exploration where amongst other things she explored Western Port Bay in Victoria in 1801. (There is confusion about her because there were more than one Lady Nelson).
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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jeff View Post
    This thread reminded me of something I read recently about the HMS Lady Nelson. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Lady_Nelson_(1798) She had 3 "sliding keels" and apparently had quite a lot of trouble with them. She was a similar design to an armed cutter Trial of 1789. Still the 18th century though.
    Sliding keels were daggerboards, which were invented independently in China and Central America. They are of quite ancient origin, whereas pivoting centerboards are a 19th century invention. I can find no evidence of them being in common use anywhere before about 1830, by which time the Swain patent would have expired. At the time, patents were issued for 14 years, so their patent expired in 1825.

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Probably about like the patent on the automobile or the steamboat, someone hoping to capitalize on the patent rights.
    The sweeping patent issued to the Wright brothers for the airplane, and their ferocious enforcement of that patent, held back American aviation development for quite a while. By the time WWI broke out, we were way behind the Europeans, who chose not to respect that patent.

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards



    Here in the UK the centerboard's origin goes back to Hugh Percy, 2nd Duke of Northumberland. He lived 1742-1817. He rose to Major General fighting against the American War of Independence. He was at the battle of Long Island and commanded 3000 troops at the battle of Fort Washington. He travelled around Boston Massachusetts, could he have seen boats in the region with centerboards, and brought the idea back to the UK?

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Pearson View Post


    Here in the UK the centerboard's origin goes back to Hugh Percy, 2nd Duke of Northumberland. He lived 1742-1817. He rose to Major General fighting against the American War of Independence. He was at the battle of Long Island and commanded 3000 troops at the battle of Fort Washington. He travelled around Boston Massachusetts, could he have seen boats in the region with centerboards, and brought the idea back to the UK?
    Did he introduce pivoting centerboards, or daggerboards? Daggerboards go back to at least 600 AD in China, and probably much further back in central America.

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Looked up Percy. He was an advocate of sliding keels, which used an adaptation of the Chinese style daggerboard.

    https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collec...cts/86095.html



    Plan showing a profile of a boat built at Boston for Lord Percy in 1774 with one long sliding keel; a profile of a boat fitted at Deptford with three sliding keels in 1789; and a profile, sections, upper deck, and part framing for 'Trial' (1790), an 8-gun Cutter, as built and fitted at Plymouth with three sliding keels. The plan also shows how these sliding keels can be used depending upon the angle and strenght of the wind.

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Percy was the patron of Schank, who is said by the Brits to have invented the sliding keel. Schank said that Percy hit upon the idea of a "surface sailing" boat, sort of a fin keeler, and that Schank then thought that the fin keel could then be lifted. Schank was aware of the advantage of shoal draft due to his involvement with the Lake Champlain campaign in the War of Independence. (Source - James Grant, master of the Lady Nelson mentioned above).

    I can find zero evidence for centreboards in the USA before Schank, and even for some time after. As early as the 1790s, "sliding keels" were used in Peggy's win in races on Lake Windermere and in other small racing boats in the UK. Peggy's owner George Quayle records having met and corresponded with Schank, who was pleased with Quayle's understanding of the "sliding keel" concept. (Source - Quayle's letters in the Isle of Mann maritime museum).

    The earliest use of the term "daggerboard" that I can find concerns a Rushton canoe, but I can't find details. The term seems to have come into British use via Linton Hope, who used it to refer to his dagger-shaped pivoting centreboards. I also note that Nathaniel Bishop referred to the drop-in foil of his Sneakbox as a "centreboard". So do other 1800s sources. It seems that the idea that a daggerboard drops and a centreboard pivots is a newer conception.

    Reading through this thread it was bemusing to see someone relying on customary use in one area of the world as a reliable definition. It's a big world out there; to assume that the usage from one small corner of one nation on one continent in one hemisphere must apply to the entire globe is pretty parochial.

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    Percy was the patron of Schank, who is said by the Brits to have invented the sliding keel. Schank said that Percy hit upon the idea of a "surface sailing" boat, sort of a fin keeler, and that Schank then thought that the fin keel could then be lifted. Schank was aware of the advantage of shoal draft due to his involvement with the Lake Champlain campaign in the War of Independence. (Source - James Grant, master of the Lady Nelson mentioned above).

    I can find zero evidence for centreboards in the USA before Schank, and even for some time after. As early as the 1790s, "sliding keels" were used in Peggy's win in races on Lake Windermere and in other small racing boats in the UK. Peggy's owner George Quayle records having met and corresponded with Schank, who was pleased with Quayle's understanding of the "sliding keel" concept. (Source - Quayle's letters in the Isle of Mann maritime museum).

    The earliest use of the term "daggerboard" that I can find concerns a Rushton canoe, but I can't find details. The term seems to have come into British use via Linton Hope, who used it to refer to his dagger-shaped pivoting centreboards. I also note that Nathaniel Bishop referred to the drop-in foil of his Sneakbox as a "centreboard". So do other 1800s sources. It seems that the idea that a daggerboard drops and a centreboard pivots is a newer conception.

    Reading through this thread it was bemusing to see someone relying on customary use in one area of the world as a reliable definition. It's a big world out there; to assume that the usage from one small corner of one nation on one continent in one hemisphere must apply to the entire globe is pretty parochial.
    I believe I mentioned that Snipe sailors call their daggerboards 'centerboards,' going against common usage here. What are usually called daggerboards in America are of very ancient origin, so while Percy may have introduced them to the UK, he can hardly be credited with inventing them. I cannot find any reference to pivoting centerboards prior to the Swain's patent for a 'leeboard through the bottom.' Have you turned up anything?

    The reason I've taken to using the term 'pivoting centerboard' is to make precisely the distinction you are talking about.
    Last edited by johnw; 03-08-2019 at 05:10 PM.

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    The more I read, the less I know.
    link [4] The pivoting centreboard, as distinct from the daggerboard-type “sliding keel” of Peggy and Schank, was designed by another Royal Navy officer, Captain Molyneux Shuldam, in when he was a prisoner during the Napoleonic Wars.
    Looks like the name was spelled Shuldham (1717-1798) He was clever enough to invent it 11 years after he died.
    Arthur H. Clark, author of a 1904 history of yachting, attributes the invention of the pivoted centerboard to a British naval officer, Molyneux Shuldham, who built a model of one in 1809 while a prisoner of war in France.
    He was a prisoner in 1756.
    The centreboard was invented in 1809 by British Naval officer Molyneux Shuldham, based on a concept developed by Captain Schank in 1775 called the sliding keel.
    Lt. John Schank (c. 1740 – 6 February 1823) was an officer of the British Royal Navy and is credited with the invention of the centerboard. Schank, however, gave credit for the idea to British Brigadier General Earl Percy.

    The Cynthia built in 1796 had 3 of Schanks sliding keels

    https://www.revolvy.com/page/John-Schank Maybe 1783? After being made a captain in 1783, he brought before the Admiralty his design for ships with a sliding keel which allowed navigation of shallow waters. His design was tested successfully and incorporated by the Admiralty into several larger vessels, most notably HMS Lady Nelson, which explored parts of Australia. HMS Cynthia, a 16-gun ship sloop launched in 1796, had three sliding keels.
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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Quote Originally Posted by MN Dave View Post
    The more I read, the less I know. Looks like the name was spelled Shuldham (1717-1798) He was clever enough to invent it 11 years after he died. He was a prisoner in 1756.
    The centreboard was invented in 1809 by British Naval officer Molyneux Shuldham, based on a concept developed by Captain Schank in 1775 called the sliding keel.
    Lt. John Schank (c. 1740 – 6 February 1823) was an officer of the British Royal Navy and is credited with the invention of the centerboard. Schank, however, gave credit for the idea to British Brigadier General Earl Percy.

    The Cynthia built in 1796 had 3 of Schanks sliding keels

    https://www.revolvy.com/page/John-Schank Maybe 1783? After being made a captain in 1783, he brought before the Admiralty his design for ships with a sliding keel which allowed navigation of shallow waters. His design was tested successfully and incorporated by the Admiralty into several larger vessels, most notably HMS Lady Nelson, which explored parts of Australia. HMS Cynthia, a 16-gun ship sloop launched in 1796, had three sliding keels.
    He was clever. Napoleon didn't come to power until long after 1756.

    This raises a couple of questions, like what were the real dates, and did Schank and Percy invent the sliding keel without knowing it had been invented by the Chinese long before. Some things, like calculus, are known to have been invented by different people without knowledge of the others' discovery, and Schank and Percy might have invented their sliding keels without knowing about the Chinese or central American inventions of the same thing.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molyne...Baron_Shuldham

    The Wikipedia page says Shuldham was captured during the runup to the Seven Years War, known in the U.S. as the French and Indian War. By 1859, he had been returned to England in a cartel, and was again fighting against the French. He was a prisoner of the French during 1856-1858, so if he did invent the pivoting centerboard in French custody, that would move the date of the invention back considerably.

    Chris's blog shows a footnote about pivoting centerboards, revering to Royal Institution of Naval Architects, Vol 9 1868 p 273. So I went and looked at that page, and found a reference to Shuldham, but no reference to centerboards. The reference is to a 'harpoon rudder' which went through a trunk. It pivoted from side to side, not up and down. The reference occurs in a discussion of balanced rudders, happened in 1815, and refers to 'Captain Shuldham,' who may have been a different man.

    https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?...ew=1up;seq=315

    I think it's a reference to something different, and does not disprove the notion that Molyneux Shuldham invented a pivoting centerboard at an earlier date. But I haven't found a reference on line that shows this is the case. I'll do some searching in my library tonight.

    It occurs to me that since the Molyneux Shuldham we know about was dead by 1809, it may have been the later Captain Shuldham who invented a pivoting centerboard, and his first name is something I'd like to know. He may have even been the son of the Molyneux Shuldham who was a prisoner during the Seven Years War. A man who could invent a 'harpoon rudder' would certainly be capable of inventing a pivoting centerboard.



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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Found a reference in a 1903 copy of Forest & Stream that says "Captain Shuldham" exhibited the pivoting centerboard at Boston, Mass. in 1809, and submitted it to the Ipswitch Museum. There is an Ipswitch Musem in England, founded 1846, and one in Massachusetts, founded in 1890. I submit that Captain Shuldham cannot have submitted anything to either institution.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=WU...ard%22&f=false

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    I suspect that the Forest & Stream article simply got the location wrong. The information at https://www.pem.org/about-pem/museum-history says "The roots of the Peabody Essex Museum date to the 1799 founding of the East India Marine Society..." in nearby Salem, Mass.

    Benson
    Last edited by Benson Gray; 03-08-2019 at 08:55 PM.

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Quote Originally Posted by Benson Gray View Post
    I suspect that the Forest & Stream article simply got the location wrong. The information at https://www.pem.org/about-pem/museum-history says "The roots of the Peabody Essex Museum date to the 1799 founding of the East India Marine Society..." in nearby Salem, Mass.

    Benson
    Now, that's encouraging. I'd like to see what we can find out about what happened in 1809.

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    I'd like to see what we can find out about what happened in 1809.
    You may not be able to find out much. They have a canoe from that period as described at http://wcha.org/catalogs/penobscot/ but they don't have much information about it.

    Benson

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Quote Originally Posted by Benson Gray View Post
    You may not be able to find out much. They have a canoe from that period as described at http://wcha.org/catalogs/penobscot/ but they don't have much information about it.

    Benson
    Sounds like they were 70 years off on the date.

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    I've found the text of letter granting the patent, but not the application. The patent number is #X001489.
    The History of Yachting, 1600-1815

    By Arthur Hamilton Clark
    https://books.google.com/books?id=zr...bottom&f=false
    I hunted around in the Patent office database with combos of that number and didn't turn up anything. I'll try by name. Clearly they were thinking about larger vessels than the small stuff that a few farm boys on the Delaware were playing with, and theirs is pivoting. So what was the path that it went for adoption? Hudson River Sloops? Delaware schooners? What can we link to the Swain pattern?

    I rather doubt that the Wilkins and Whitall boys knew about the Schenk/ Swain, large vessel efforts unless it was common on the Delaware in the 1810s. What is interesting about their efforts is that the article details how spread in that area. I also find of interest that the daggerboard/ drop keel in American small boats was a real Jersey/ Delaware thing and the shape they used (sabre shape moving the CLR aft) was only used to my knowledge in that area.

    For an invention to have any effect it has to be adopted; that's why the path is important. How did the Schenk/ Swain efforts get used? I think someone mentioned that the Swain patent was picked up by the Hudson River sloops.
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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    HMS Cynthia had three of Schenk's dagger boards.
    https://shipsofscale.com/sosforums/t...121#post-54093

    Larger images from https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collec...cts/84334.html

    Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the body plan, midship section and plan illustrating the keel box, sheer lines with some inboard detail and scroll fugurehead, and longitudinal half-breadth for Cynthia (1796), a 16-gun Sloop fitted with three sliding keels. A copy of this was sent to Mr Wells on 2 October 1795.

    Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the inboard profile for Cynthia (1796), a 16-gun Sloop fitted with three sliding keels, building at Rotherhithe by Messrs Wells.

    Scale: 1:12. Plan showing the elevation, plan and sections of the midship keel bod for the sliding keels for Cynthia (1796), a 16-gun Sloop fitted with three sliding keels. The plan shows the manner of framing used.

    Plan showing the constructional side elevation and section through the sliding keel for Cynthia (1796), a 16-gun Sloop fitted with three sliding keels, built at Rotherhithe by Messrs Wells.

    There might have been a Mollyneux Shuldham Jr. https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collec...cts/68600.html
    Scale: Unknown. A full hull model of a sailing vessel (1821-1827), with two revolving masts, made entirely in wood with metal fittings and painted in realistic colours. The hull is brown below the waterline, black above. The masts are made up of four individual spars on which are mounted fixed yards, which would set square sails similar to the type used on a lug rig. Fittings include two revolving platforms for the masts, the main, or rearmost, one being a large circular platform, the foremast platform being square and pivoting on a single pivot; eight transverse frames (one missing) that would have supported a main deck; and integrated rudder. On paper label tied to foremast ‘Lieut Mollyneux Shuldhams plan for turntable masts 1821 Mechanics Magazine vol 7 page 321’.
    Last edited by MN Dave; 03-09-2019 at 01:11 AM.
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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Quote Originally Posted by MN Dave View Post
    HMS Cynthia had three of Schenk's dagger boards.
    https://shipsofscale.com/sosforums/t...121#post-54093

    Larger images from https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collec...cts/84334.html

    Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the body plan, midship section and plan illustrating the keel box, sheer lines with some inboard detail and scroll fugurehead, and longitudinal half-breadth for Cynthia (1796), a 16-gun Sloop fitted with three sliding keels. A copy of this was sent to Mr Wells on 2 October 1795.

    Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the inboard profile for Cynthia (1796), a 16-gun Sloop fitted with three sliding keels, building at Rotherhithe by Messrs Wells.

    Scale: 1:12. Plan showing the elevation, plan and sections of the midship keel bod for the sliding keels for Cynthia (1796), a 16-gun Sloop fitted with three sliding keels. The plan shows the manner of framing used.

    Plan showing the constructional side elevation and section through the sliding keel for Cynthia (1796), a 16-gun Sloop fitted with three sliding keels, built at Rotherhithe by Messrs Wells.

    There might have been a Mollyneux Shuldham Jr. https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collec...cts/68600.html
    Scale: Unknown. A full hull model of a sailing vessel (1821-1827), with two revolving masts, made entirely in wood with metal fittings and painted in realistic colours. The hull is brown below the waterline, black above. The masts are made up of four individual spars on which are mounted fixed yards, which would set square sails similar to the type used on a lug rig. Fittings include two revolving platforms for the masts, the main, or rearmost, one being a large circular platform, the foremast platform being square and pivoting on a single pivot; eight transverse frames (one missing) that would have supported a main deck; and integrated rudder. On paper label tied to foremast ‘Lieut Mollyneux Shuldhams plan for turntable masts 1821 Mechanics Magazine vol 7 page 321’.
    Yes, I thought it might be his son. Certainly the younger Shuldham seems to have been an inventive chap. And the illustrious name 'Mollyneux Shuldham' seems to have still been in use in 1866: https://www.genesreunited.co.uk/sear...ine%20shuldham

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    I hunted around in the Patent office database with combos of that number and didn't turn up anything. I'll try by name. Clearly they were thinking about larger vessels than the small stuff that a few farm boys on the Delaware were playing with, and theirs is pivoting. So what was the path that it went for adoption? Hudson River Sloops? Delaware schooners? What can we link to the Swain pattern?

    I rather doubt that the Wilkins and Whitall boys knew about the Schenk/ Swain, large vessel efforts unless it was common on the Delaware in the 1810s. What is interesting about their efforts is that the article details how spread in that area. I also find of interest that the daggerboard/ drop keel in American small boats was a real Jersey/ Delaware thing and the shape they used (sabre shape moving the CLR aft) was only used to my knowledge in that area.

    For an invention to have any effect it has to be adopted; that's why the path is important. How did the Schenk/ Swain efforts get used? I think someone mentioned that the Swain patent was picked up by the Hudson River sloops.
    Yes, I have mentioned Hudson River sloops, because that's the first type of vessel I can find that adopted the 'leeboard through the bottom.' The advantage of the centerboard is that if you run aground, it kicks up gently rather than stubbing and stopping the vessel. I'm not sure why the Royal Navy never developed great enthusiasm for sliding keels, the structural damage a large vessel would likely suffer from running aground with them may have been a factor.

    In The Search for Speed Under Sail, Chapelle shows the centerboard schooner Santiago, 1833, used in the Cuban trade. In The History of American Sailing Ships he claims the Royal Navy didn't like the fact that it was hard to keep the centerboard cases from leaking. There is no citation for that information.

    On page 169 of The History of American Sailing Ships, Chapelle asserts that 'after the war of 1812, a number of large sloops were built with centerboards, some as early as 1815. Between that year and 1821, the use of the centerboard extended to the Chesapeake Bay, where the fitting was applied to schooners.'

    He also shows the lines of the schooner Union, fitted with two tandem centerboards, but he says the origins of the vessel are difficult to trace. He concluded that she was an American-built slaver. He makes it clear that this is not the schooner Union that was built in Jamaica in 1821, but maddeningly, he does not make it clear when the centerboard Union was taken into the Royal Navy. He refers to the Jamaican built Union as 'the earlier Union.'

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    http://www.staugustinelighthouse.org...te-description
    The first draught known to exist for a vessel with a pivoting centerboard dates to 1833. This schooner, named the Santiago, was built in New York by William Webb for a New Orleans sugar merchant (Marqhardt 2003:126).
    Can't find Marqhardt...

    http://www.duckworksmagazine.com/08/...ele/index8.htm
    Rex Rouse who lives on the North Shore of Auckland is an extremely talented model boat builder. One of his particularly lovely models is the Centreboard schooner, Belle Orlean modeled on a fullsize 67’schooner Santiago built by William Webb in New York in 1833 for a New Orlean owner to use in the Cuban rum trade.

    The Centre Board casing was built alongside the keel so as not to interfere with the mast arrangement, the idea behind it was to enable the ship to be beached on the high tide, loaded and then floated off the next high tide.

    https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_H...ting/Chapter_7
    The History of Yachting/Chapter 7
    There has been a good deal of controversy as to who first devised the centre-board. Whoever it was he really is not entitled to much credit for originality, as the centre-board is simply the lee-board of Holland substituted for the sliding keel in the trunk, or well, used by Schank. It seems highly probable that many different persons may have adopted this idea at the same time, and that a number of small boats and skiffs were probably fitted with the centre-board; but the first authentic record of the centre-board is a model made by Mr. Molyneux Shuldham, R. N., in 1809 while a prisoner of war at Verdun—still to be seen in the museum at Ipswich, England. This "revolving keel," as Shuldham called it, is hung on a bolt like the lee-board, and works in a trunk similar to Schank's, the trunk being lined with copper ribs, thereby adding strength and reducing friction. For decked vessels Shuldham proposed a revolving keel of lead, which, of course, was to be lowered and raised by a purchase attached to the after-end. At that time it does not appear that any vessel constructed in Europe was fitted with the revolving keel.

    In 1811 Jacocks Swain, Henry Swain, and Joshua Swain, of Cape May, N.J., applied for and received a patent for the centre-board, or, as they called it, "a lee board through the bottom." The following are the official papers relating to the matter: (text of the Swain patent follows, see link above this quote)
    http://www.ipswichtransportmuseum.co.uk/
    https://cimuseums.org.uk/visit/venues/ipswich-museum/

    https://ipmall.law.unh.edu/content/p...tees-1790-1829
    Patent History Materials Index - List of all U.S. Patents and Patentees -- 1790 - 1829
    This list was compiled from printed (usually annual) lists of patents which had been issued. The Patent Office records concerning these patents were destroyed in the 1836 fire. Most were not reconstructed, and the full patents are not now available in the Patent Office
    BEALE, JOSIAH; SWINGING KEEL; ALEXANDRIA DC 15 JAN 1812
    BUEL, SAMUEL; FLAT-BOTTOMED BOAT WITH MOVEABLE KEELS; BURLINGTON VT 7 JUL 1810
    HALL, PHILANDER; SWINGING FALSE KEEL; 2 APR 1816
    FOUNTAIN, GARRET; INCREASING THE SPEED OF VESSELS BY THE USE OF CENTER BOARD; STATEN ISLAND NY 15 MAR 1825
    SWAIN, JOSHUA ET AL; LEE BOARD; CAPE MAY NJ 10 APR 1811
    SWAIN, H. ET AL; LEE BOARD; CAPE MAY NJ 10 APR 1811
    SWAIN, JOSHUA ET AL; LEE BOARD; CAPE MAY NJ 10 APR 1811
    By the way, centerboard is American English, centreboard is English. other search terms center-board and center board and the first centerboard was probably not called a centerboard.

    P.S.
    https://morethannelson.com/officer/l...neux-shuldham/
    He had no issue from his marriage on 4 October 1790 to Margaret Irene Sarney, widow of John Harcourt of Ankerwycke Park, Buckinghamshire, and his barony lapsed on his death.
    Last edited by MN Dave; 03-09-2019 at 05:49 PM.
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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Quote Originally Posted by MN Dave View Post
    http://www.staugustinelighthouse.org...te-description
    Can't find Marqhardt...

    http://www.duckworksmagazine.com/08/...ele/index8.htm



    https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_H...ting/Chapter_7
    http://www.ipswichtransportmuseum.co.uk/
    https://cimuseums.org.uk/visit/venues/ipswich-museum/

    https://ipmall.law.unh.edu/content/p...tees-1790-1829


    By the way, centerboard is American English, centreboard is English. other search terms center-board and center board and the first centerboard was probably not called a centerboard.

    P.S.
    https://morethannelson.com/officer/l...neux-shuldham/
    He had no issue from his marriage on 4 October 1790 to Margaret Irene Sarney, widow of John Harcourt of Ankerwycke Park, Buckinghamshire, and his barony lapsed on his death.
    So, the Swain's patent was lost in a fire. It still seems possible that there is some record of Shuldham's work somewhere, possibly still at Ipswitch, though they may not care about it enough to provide information on line.

    It looks to me like the illustrious name of Molyneux Shuldham or Shuildham was used to give luster to some of his later relatives, even though he himself had no issue.

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Found the reference for "Marqhardt", they just left out the U.



    The Global Schooner: Origins, Development, Design and Construction 1695-1845 by Karl Heinz Marquardt (2003-04-17)


    If William Webb built the Santiago, that places its construction in New York, which would explain why a centerboard schooner in the Cuban sugar trade was built so early.

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    So, the Swain's patent was lost in a fire. It still seems possible that there is some record of Shuldham's work somewhere, possibly still at Ipswitch, though they may not care about it enough to provide information on line.

    It looks to me like the illustrious name of Molyneux Shuldham or Shuildham was used to give luster to some of his later relatives, even though he himself had no issue.
    I kinda buried the note that the text of the patent was in the link. It seemed too long to quote. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_H...ting/Chapter_7
    ... it is to be hung on a bolt sufficiently strong, passing through one pair of the aforesaid knees, with a head on one side and a forelock on the other, high enough to fetch the bottom within the keel with a clasp and thimble riveted on the upper side of the after end for the purpose of a lanyard ...

    EDIT: Well, this is embarrassing, this is the same book, different format, that you linked in Post #40 https://books.google.com/books?id=zr...bottom&f=false
    Last edited by MN Dave; 03-10-2019 at 03:06 PM.
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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Quote Originally Posted by MN Dave View Post
    I kinda buried the note that the text of the patent was in the link. It seemed too long to quote. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_H...ting/Chapter_7
    ... it is to be hung on a bolt sufficiently strong, passing through one pair of the aforesaid knees, with a head on one side and a forelock on the other, high enough to fetch the bottom within the keel with a clasp and thimble riveted on the upper side of the after end for the purpose of a lanyard ...
    Thank you for pointing that out, you've uncovered some fascinating information. So, According to Clark, no vessels were built to Shulham's plan, but it sounds like it was a perfectly good centerboard design. It seems that the Swain brothers' version is the one that gained traction. I wonder why Shuldham's didn't catch fire? Perhaps the Swains were able to demonstrate their device on a full-sized vessel to skeptics.

    I've got Clark's book somewhere, but couldn't lay my hands on it last night. He's mentioned in Traditions and Memories of American Yachting, not only for the history he wrote, but more particularly for skippering the sloop Alice across the Atlantic in 1865. Although the vessel was about 50' long, larger vessels kept stopping to inquire if they'd been swept off shore, because they didn't usually see such small vessels out at sea. The Alice was a big hit in Europe, and her lines are available from the Smithsonian. Unlike Una and Truant, Alice was a keelboat, and unlike them, she didn't have much impact on what was built in Europe.

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    Thank you for pointing that out, you've uncovered some fascinating information. So, According to Clark, no vessels were built to Shulham's plan, but it sounds like it was a perfectly good centerboard design. It seems that the Swain brothers' version is the one that gained traction. I wonder why Shuldham's didn't catch fire? Perhaps the Swains were able to demonstrate their device on a full-sized vessel to skeptics.

    I've got Clark's book somewhere, but couldn't lay my hands on it last night. He's mentioned in Traditions and Memories of American Yachting, not only for the history he wrote, but more particularly for skippering the sloop Alice across the Atlantic in 1865. Although the vessel was about 50' long, larger vessels kept stopping to inquire if they'd been swept off shore, because they didn't usually see such small vessels out at sea. The Alice was a big hit in Europe, and her lines are available from the Smithsonian. Unlike Una and Truant, Alice was a keelboat, and unlike them, she didn't have much impact on what was built in Europe.
    I'd think that the reason for adoption or not would have to do with need and percieved usefulness. Certainly there was a goodly demand for shallow draft and groundable inshore craft in the US, hence the adoption despite construction complexilty. Even after the CB was pretty well known for craft large and small, there is much less use on the Eastern side of the Atlantic.
    Ben Fuller
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    "Bound fast is boatless man."

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    I'd think that the reason for adoption or not would have to do with need and percieved usefulness. Certainly there was a goodly demand for shallow draft and groundable inshore craft in the US, hence the adoption despite construction complexilty. Even after the CB was pretty well known for craft large and small, there is much less use on the Eastern side of the Atlantic.
    Plus, there are a number of European harbors where the vessels ground on low tide. There would be a risk of a pebble jamming the centerboard every time the boat grounded on shingle.

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    To muddy the waters a bit more, I ran across a nugget whilst working with Forest and Stream on trying to understand what happened to the Delaware River small boat culture. To the editor of F&S writes a C.R. Moore then resident in Virginia. John & Townsend Stites, Beesley's Point, Great Egg Harbor NJ, died in the late 1860s both i their 80s. " They both told me that when they were boys all their boats carried lee boards, but when a colored man whose name they gave me, and which I have forgotton, put a centerboard in his skiff, and it was the first one that they had ever seen and heard of, and that its superiority to the old lee board was so manifest that they all adopted them. This is a simple statement of what the Messrs. Stites both told me."

    Makes sense to me that this and the Wilkins case came about independently of the larger vessel patents by Swain and others, especially since the Jersey/Delaware style for small boats was a simple daggerboard, eschewing the complexity of a pivoting board.]

    BTW it is possible to purchase a two disc set CD set of F&S via Amazon, and F&S is online and somewhat searchable at https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/...age/7/mode/1up. The canoeing material starting about 1880 is fascinating ( Kunhardt was the editor succeeded by Stephens) The speed by which inquiries were answered or verbal jousting happened was serious. I figure about two weeks between publication and rebuttal. These are a little more polite than social media or the Bilge but not much. And the amount of work it took to typeset one of these issues was astounding.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    To muddy the waters a bit more, I ran across a nugget whilst working with Forest and Stream on trying to understand what happened to the Delaware River small boat culture. To the editor of F&S writes a C.R. Moore then resident in Virginia. John & Townsend Stites, Beesley's Point, Great Egg Harbor NJ, died in the late 1860s both i their 80s. " They both told me that when they were boys all their boats carried lee boards, but when a colored man whose name they gave me, and which I have forgotton, put a centerboard in his skiff, and it was the first one that they had ever seen and heard of, and that its superiority to the old lee board was so manifest that they all adopted them. This is a simple statement of what the Messrs. Stites both told me."

    Makes sense to me that this and the Wilkins case came about independently of the larger vessel patents by Swain and others, especially since the Jersey/Delaware style for small boats was a simple daggerboard, eschewing the complexity of a pivoting board.]

    BTW it is possible to purchase a two disc set CD set of F&S via Amazon, and F&S is online and somewhat searchable at https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/...age/7/mode/1up. The canoeing material starting about 1880 is fascinating ( Kunhardt was the editor succeeded by Stephens) The speed by which inquiries were answered or verbal jousting happened was serious. I figure about two weeks between publication and rebuttal. These are a little more polite than social media or the Bilge but not much. And the amount of work it took to typeset one of these issues was astounding.
    Thank you, that's the sort of resource I could get lost in for a long time. I'm particularly interested in the recreational sharpies of the 19th century, and that's probably where I'd find information on them.

    Do we know what those men were talking about when they said 'centerboard?' As Chris pointed out, not everyone who talks about centerboards means the same thing. Could have been what's commonly called a daggerboard. But while the sourcing isn't very solid, it is intriguing that the pivoting board may have existed years before the patent. There is surprisingly little record of leeboards being used in American workboats, other than on scows. This may be because the smaller the boat, the less chance of it being documented.

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    Given the overwhelming preference of the Jersey shore and Delaware boats for daggerboards in their small craft: scows or garveys, sneakboxes, melonseeds, duckers etc. I'd be surprised if any of these were pivoting. They also often used a scimitar shape to the boards with was carried over from type to type.

    With Clapham leading the charge, there is lot on recreational sharpies in F&S.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

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    Default Re: on the Origin of Centerboards

    I'd like to find the plans for the sharpie David Brooks built from plans in found in Forest & Stream, published in 1886.

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