MODEL TESTS AT PEERLESS POOL, 1761
Courtesy of the Netherlands Ship Model
In 1758, the Society of Arts offered prizes for what were known as "ship
blocks," that is, scale models of ships, in order to "ascertain by experiments
the principles on which a good ship is founded." Water resistance and resistance
to rolling were two of the main qualities it was desired to test.
It was not until 1761 that sufficient models had been submitted for the
prizes, but that year six entries -- four 32-gun frigates and two 74-gun ships
-- were tried out at Peerless Pool, near Old Street, in the City of London, as
shown in the scene reproduced here, which was especially painted for the Society
by Miss Anna Zinkeisen, R.O.I., R.D.I.
Water tests with models, as in this pioneer effort, are still usual in the
design of new ships, though the technique is greatly improved with present day
The Hydromechanics Directorate,
NSWC (formerly David Taylor Model Basin).
For some links to museums, see:
U.S. Naval Academy
Museum, Hart Nautical
Collections at MIT, Mary Rose Virtual
Maritime Museum Tour, Maritime History
Virtual Archives, Hall of
American Maritime Enterprise Science Museum, London.