Nicolaes Witsen and Shipbuilding in the Dutch Golden Age
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Texas A&M University Press
Whoever tries to master the text of Witsen’s Aeloude en Hedendaegsche Scheeps-bouw en Bestier (Ancient and Modern Shipbuilding and Management) soon discovers that the task is akin to finding one’s way in a decayed labyrinth, even if he or she reads seventeenth-century Dutch without difficulty. ...
A few words of gratitude are in order. This book is the product of many specialists who contributed to the project with dedication and enthusiasm. In the Dutch version, published in 1994 in Holland, I included a long list of people to whom I offered my sincere thanks, and I will repeat only the names of those who were important for this English edition...
Chapter 1: Introduction
This book is about seventeenth-century Dutch shipbuilding, a rather inaccessible field of research up to now. The earliest written sources appear only in the second half of the 1600s, known as Holland’s Golden Century. It is unfortunate that the fi rst Dutch book ever written on the subject is very impenetrable. ...
Chapter 2: How Ships Are Built in Holland Today.
The seventeenth-century Dutch shipbuilding method was a proportional system in which shipbuilders applied traditional formulas inherited from their predecessors. The treatises of Witsen (1671) and Van Yk (1697) provide two sets of such formulas, and their accuracy can generally be confirmed from the many ship specifications that are still in existence today. ...
Chapter 3: Contracts as Historical Sources
The data on the pinas, which we have seen in the previous chapter, could be called a contract. However, such elaborate contracts were rare. Strictly speaking, the contract was more than a collection of shipbuilding data. It was also a business contract in which costs and delivery date were stipulated. ...
Chapter 4: Conclusion
In the preceding chapters, the portion of Witsen’s treatise devoted to seventeenth-century shipbuilding was rearranged and explained where necessary (and possible, of course). As noted in chapter 1, this translated material represents only a fraction of the wide-ranging work, which goes far beyond the subject of shipbuilding. ...
Appendix: Variations on Witsen
No modern standard textbook exists for the study of historical Dutch shipbuilding, and scholars with an interest in the subject have long felt this omission. This work by A. J. Hoving is the first serious attempt to explain and render accessible one of the foremost seventeenth-century sources, Nicolaes Witsen’s Aeloude en Hedendaegsche Scheeps- bouw en Bestier...
Table 1: Comparison of Witsen’s and Van Yk’s shipbuilding formulas.
A key dimension in Witsen’s formulas is the width (thickness) of the inboard face of the stem, which was calculated as one inch for every ten feet of the ship’s total length. Almost half of Witsen’s formulas (about 46 percent) are based on the width of the inside stem. Van Yk’s formulas also use this reference point but to a much lesser degree (about 10 percent). ...
Table 2: Main dimensions, number of lasts, and last factors of early ships.
Table 3: Witsen’s measurements for eight locations along the hull of the pinas.
Table 4: Key to parts shown on the plans of the pinas (see plan drawings 1–5 following table).
Page Count: 310
Illustrations: 313 b&w images. 9 tables. App. Bib. Index.
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Ed Rachal Foundation Nautical Archaeology Series
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