Concrete Ships

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Concrete ships played an important part in naval history when shortages of raw materials such as steel and timber threatened to halt the building of warships.

The concrete ships were built with the use of Ferrocement which is made from mortar or cement plaster which is applied to finely woven metal mesh. The mesh was usually made from iron which is Ferum in Latin, and this gives it its name.

In the beginning

One of the first concrete boats to be built was seen in 1855 at the Paris Exhibition.

It was designed by Joseph Louis Jambot and it showed that there were real possibilities for boat building using materials that were not typically traditional.

Other designers latched onto the idea in Europe and small craft such as barges were produced.

Later in the development of concrete boats, small ships were built using this method.

One of the most famous concrete ships was the Liguria which was designed by Carol Gabellini in 1898.

Later development

Continued experimentation took place in Europe and the USA. California businessman W. Leslie Comyn started the San Francisco Ship Building Company to produce much larger vessels using Ferrocement boat building practices.

In March 1918 the SS Faith was launched. It was a steamer which was over 6 000 tons and cost $750,000 to build.

The SS Faith was used as a cargo ship for about three years until its decommission.


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