Ships' Bilge Pumps: A History of Their Development, 1500-1900
All wooden ships leak, a stark fact that has terrified sailors since the earliest days of ocean travel. Maritime historical literature is filled with horrific descriptions of being aboard a slowly sinking ship. Starting from this human perspective, then, Thomas J. Oertling traces the five-hundred-year evolution of a seemingly mundane but obviously important piece of seafaring equipment--and tells the story of nautical innovation--in this one of a kind history of the ship bilge pump. Beginning with early sixteenth-century documents that recorded bilge pump design and installation and ending at about 1840, when bilge pumps were being mass-produced, Oertling covers a period of radical technological change. He describes the process of making long wooden pump tubes by hand, as well as the assembly of the machine-crafted pumps that helped revolutionize ship construction and design. Also given in detail are the creation, function, and development of all three types of pumps used from about 1500 to well into the nineteenth century--the burr pump, the suction or common pump, and the chain pump. Of further interest is Oertling's overall examination of the nature and management of leaks in ships' hulls. This work is well illustrated, with line art depicting the placement and use of pumps aboard the ships, early drawings showing pump design, and photographs revealing artifacts recently found at shipwreck sites. Of obvious interest to nautical archaeologists, maritime historians, and ship modelers, this book is written in an interesting and informative style, rendering it easily accessible to laypersons and amateur enthusiasts.
Other editions - View all
appear Archaeology assembly attached auger base bilge body Bolt bore Boteler bottom brake British bronze burr pump chain pump chamber Charon's common pump consisted copper Courtesy cover cylinder dated developed diameter diaphragm disks drawing drive wheel early edge eighteenth century extremity Falconer fastened foot force pump French hold hole hull illustration improved iron Italy John keelson known land late later lead leak leather length lower valve machines Maine Marine mast metal Museum navy nineteenth century Parks Service passed patent Photo piece piston planking probably pump tube recovered remains rested round seating shaft shape ship ship's shows side similar sixteenth century sometimes spear suction pump upper valve vessels Virginia warships weight wood wooden wreck