THE MERCHANT SHIP in the Ancien Régime An Historical study and a Monograph with all plans of the timber works
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There are few available studies of the French merchant ship in the Ancien Régime. This fact motivated a new awareness of the subject with the publication in 1983 of two volumes on the "Compagnie des Indes", followed in 1984 by a third volume on the slave ship. There was still call, however, for a more general study, since the fleet of the "Compagnie des Indes" had both a military and a mercantile function, and the slave ships exerted a highly particularized activity. Thus we are presenting a more "open" study, as the reader will note after taking a look at the table of contents. The period covered begins in the 16th century and ends in the first quarter of the 19th century, well beyond the end of the Ancien Régime.
Two volumes are projected, in order to present the monograph of the sample ship separately, according to the order of presentation of the earlier volume on the "Compagnie des Indes".
The first volume is especially important, as it defines the merchant ship, its evolution and variations over a period of approximately two centuries.
Twenty five chapters progressively develop the reader's knowledge of the subject. After introducing a theoretical base we shift our attention to practical information and then to the construction of a ship designed for long voyages, the Mercure, whose operations are the theme of the last chapter.
The typology of the commercial ship is the subject of a special chapter. Although it is only in essay form, it necessitated many pages and several illustrations. For the first time this volume offers readers a complete body of knowledge on the merchant ship, a subject which has largely been ignored until now. With approximately 220 figures or plates, the volume also required about forty plans at 1:00 scale in order to describe the ship and its evolution.
The second volume, in dossier format, contains 30 plates that facilitate the construction of a ship's model, with its timbers, of the "Mercure", a merchant ship of the 1730s.
Volume One : 24 x 31 cm format, full blue-grey cloth binding, laminated inside dust jacket representing an 18th-c. commercial ship by J. Vernet.
250 pages with abundant plans, tables, graphics and reproductions of historical iconographical documents.
Volume Two: 24 x 31cm format, laminated folder with the same reproduction
as v. 1, 30 plates (see list) with multiple fold-outs, instructions on building the frame
and model of the "Mercure" at 1:48 scale. 30 page companion text, paper cover, square spine.
Volume I : History of the Ship
Chapter I - The theoretical base
Ship's burden and tonnage, calculation of displacement, weight, sundry notes, expenses.
Chapter II - Technical Information
Major proportion of the merchant ship, sundry measurements of accommodations, proportions of building equipment, dimensions of hewn timber, remarks on the frame, proportions of the rigging.
Chapter III - Constructing the ship
Aspects of the merchant ship, its conception, specific study of a sample ship, a note on construction.
Chapter IV - Typological essay on the commercial ship
17th-c. commercial vessels. Western Mediterranean (barks, pinnaces, vessels). Eastern Mediterranean (tartanes, barks, polaccas).
18th-c. commercial vessels. Western Mediterranean (cutters, coasting luggers, schooners, brigantines, brigs, trysails and three-masters), Eastern Mediterranean (tartanes, pinks).
Chapter V - Use of the Ship
Arrangement of the seaboard, western havens, eastern havens, commercial activity in the ports, western ports, eastern ports, preparation of merchandise, stowing the cargo, loading the Mercure before departure from Bordeaux and upon her return from the islands, remarks on the ship's tonnage, Atlantic routes, some thoughts on the ship's burden.
Store and transport ships in the royal fleet.
Conversion of measurements
Source and bibliography.
Volume II : Monograph on the Mercure.
The textual commentary complements the material in the first volume. Rules of rigging, showing the successive steps in making rigging, illustrated by a suite of drawings.
A collection of twenty-nine plates at 1:48 scale and one plate at 1:60 scale including:
1 - Schematic view
2 - Cross-sections
3 - View of the wooden hull
5 - Plan of the hold
6 - Plan of the lower deck
7- Plan of the upper deck
8 - Plan of the forecastle deck
9 - Transversal sections
10 - Longitudinal section
11 - Various details of the timbers
12 - Building the head
13 - Building the stern
14, 15, 16, 17 - Sketch of the ribs
18 - Plan of the hold
19 - Plan of the lower deck
20 - Plan of the upper deck
21 - Plan of the forecastles
22 - Transversal sections
23 - Longitudinal sections
24 - View of the upper works of the hull
25 - Front and back views of the hull
26,27 - Fitting
28,29 - Masts and spars and their rigging
30 - The Mercure under sail at 1:60 scale.
Author : Jean BOUDRIOT
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