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The transition from wooden, to iron warships within theNetherlands Navy in the 19th century.

By Ed Wijbrands
The use of iron and steam were important to both merchant shipping and the Navy, but for different reasons. The merchant marine benefited from the greater regularity that offered steam propulsion, making regular scheduled services possible. For the Navy lay The importance of steam propulsion in more effective maritime operations.

The advantage of iron ship construction for merchant shipping was that it had little space and
weight requirement. This gave the opportunity to carry more cargo. Also, thanks to the
light ship construction carry more armament and carry more fuel, making the
ships obtained a greater radius of action.
The Navy introduced steam propulsion for ocean shipping during the period from 1830 to 1865
and performed pioneering work in this introduction of steam navigation.
When steam propulsion was introduced, the Navy led the way, but it certainly wasn’t
at the other innovation, the use of iron to build ships. For a long time, the Navy from
operational considerations an aversion to the use of warships with an iron in
Instead of a wooden hull. Until the second half of the nineteenth century, the
State Shipyards, where most ships for the Navy were built, primarily wood
apply. Private shipbuilding did include initiatives to build
iron ships. As early as the period from 1830 to 1850, private shipbuilders in
Netherlands that they could build iron steamships for seafaring. Yet these
initiatives did not lead to a breakthrough. Traditional shipbuilders continued well into the
second half of the last century essentially build wooden sailing ships, despite the aforementioned
advantages of iron construction.

The technique (iron and rivets)

After 1780, when the “puddle process” was invented, the cheap production of wrought iron
possible. This made it possible to use iron for shipbuilding instead of wood. A
important advantage of wrought iron was that the bandages could be forged and bent into any shape
were and that one was no longer dependent on what nature provided. Certain species
Indeed, wood was becoming increasingly scarce, so that shipbuilders, who relied entirely on wooden
constructions were in place, have reluctantly had to accept that wooden parts were made by
iron were replaced.

Iron further had the following advantages. The iron bandages and plating took less
space and weight than wooden structures and offered more cargo space. By the
ability to make stronger structures with iron, the construction of larger ships was possible.
Furthermore, iron was cheaper, incombustible and, under favorable conditions, more durable. But there
in return, iron could not be “copperized,” like wood, to prevent fouling.
Other disadvantages were that the iron adversely affected the operation of the compass and that
an iron ship sustained more damage in collisions, groundings and enemy shelling.
The first use of iron structures involved inland navigation. One of the first builders of
iron steamers was John Laird at Birkenhead. In 1833, he built the iron paddle steamer
Lady Landsdown. However suitable iron craft on the rivers and canals proved to be, for the sea
considered an iron ship too dangerous to “risk the life of the sailor and the merchant’s goods. It was believed that the sea water would cause the skin to rust completely
cause it to decay and would destroy the hull. The compass would be disturbed by the iron and the
ship would drift, lack stability and listen badly to the rudder. The first iron ships
had to navigate along the coast as a result of that compass deviation (deviation) and it took until
1855 before reliable compass correction for merchant ships was available.

Thanks in part to this compass correction, the benefits of iron began to weigh more heavily over time
outweigh the disadvantages and switched to building entirely of iron constructed
seagoing vessels. Construction initially consisted of “translating” wooden structures into those
of iron. Iron trusses, for example, were built in sections just like wooden trusses. This
translation can also be clearly seen in the evolution of the construction of the keel, which is based on the
attached illustration is explained. Slowly but surely, people began to use
of the specific properties of iron and went on to construct entirely on this material
apply. As early as 1845, the case in favor of iron ships seemed decided after the construction of the Great
Britain, designed by I.K. Brunel and built by John Scott Russell. What possibilities a
iron structure Brunel then showed with his design of the giant ship Great
Eastern. The launching in 1858 of the Great Eastern, which had both propeller and
paddle propulsion was provided, however, became a debâcle. The construction of the large ship worked more
deterrent than encouraging the construction of iron steamships. To deal with iron
be able to construct, required craftsmanship that was new to shipbuilding and that only
was present among iron smiths and boiler makers. One difference from timber construction was that the iron
had to undergo other pretreatments and that different tools were needed, There had to be
are heated, hammered, rolled, punched, cut and violence. As long as it involves the construction of a
single iron ship went these operations took place by hand power. But for building
of several iron ships in succession, the work was more routine and were
both machine tools and new techniques for the pre-processing of profile and
sheet material required.

‘Translation’ from wooden to iron keel. Initially, they forged iron plates in the shape of a wooden keel. The shape depended on the method of attachment to the skin plates as shown in the first two figures. To increase strength, they then made the keel solid by adding shims. In wooden ships, a beam called zaathout ran across the bottom trusses parallel to the keel. In the evolution of the iron keel, this zaathout played a role. This was because, for strength reasons, they made the iron keel narrower and raised it so high that it took the place of the wooden zaathout. In iron shipbuilding, this part of the ship’s structure is no longer called the keel but mid-sawn wood.

The various iron parts were connected with rivets. Initially, it was
riveting work in shipbuilding performed by boiler makers. The handiwork of the boiler makers was
too expensive for this work, however, and bricks appeared in the yards, which in time replaced the wooden
shipmakers were going to be displaced. Clinkers were the ones who joined the loose iron plates together
had to attach in such a way that no more water could get between the seams of the aan
riveted together plates could come through. With the riveting work, the work to create a
watertight connection to be established yet. After riveting, the seams had to be
of the chiseled plates joined together are sealed by the edges of the upper
plate with a special chisel against the lower plate. This operation had an equal
function as the waterproof caulking or caulking of the skin of a wooden ship. The English
designation for caulking is “to caulk,” a term the British also use for waterproofing
making the seams of iron and steel plates. The Dutch name for this operation is
derived from the English and is “cooking. The special chisel was called cooking chisel. This naming
points to the English influence on iron shipbuilding in the Netherlands.

There were attempts in the nineteenth century to rivet and cook and other handicrafts.
mechanize. This did involve working with steam hammers and hydraulic hammers. But these machines
were difficult to move and were only used in the shipbuilding shed, the workshop where the
pretreatments took place, applied. For riveting work on ships in the pipeline,
which often required working in hard-to-reach places, handiwork continued into the
twentieth century maintained. Iron construction also required a different method of transportation. The
tools for moving wooden structural components were not adequate for
transporting the iron material.

Developments within the Dutch navy.

The fact that the Dutch shipbuilding industry before 1870 did not involve the construction of iron
naval vessels was involved had two causes. In. first, the Navy built the most
ships in Empire’s own yards. Second, until 1865, the Navy had no need for
iron sea ships. This was not conservatism, but a deliberate choice. The policy on the use of iron was similar to that of the British Navy. The Dutch
Navy was therefore not far behind England in terms of building iron ships, for even
the British Admiralty continued to build wooden ships until the 1960s. The British had earlier
had a number of iron warships and supply ships built by private shipyards,
including the HMS Ruby. By 1846, however, shooting tests on HMS Ruby had shown that the
iron skin shattered by the impact of bullets and shells. The projectiles had large
caused devastation in the interior of the ship. After this, the British Navy stopped for the time being
with the construction of iron warships. It was not until 1860 that the Admiralty took the armored ship
Warrior the construction of iron ships again. In 1863, Dutch naval engineers visited
British Empire yards to investigate the state of armoring of warships, and then they saw that even in the yards of the British Admiralty, except at Chatham, no iron ships were yet being built. The debate between proponents of iron and wooden ships was undecided. The Netherlands did have iron ships in the pipeline before 1860, and a dry dock was built for the government in 1864, but it was commissioned by the Minister of Colonies, not the Navy. The Navy did not begin to play a significant role in the introduction of ironclad ship building in the Netherlands until the armored age. This era
began about 1860, following foreign events in the maritime field.
Gradually, the Navy then moved to using iron as a structural material in the

In connection with developments in iron armored ships, the minister of
Navy a number of engineers and officers visited England to learn about
the armor technology. He then proposed to the House of Representatives the new construction of wooden ships

At the Rijkswerf in Amsterdam, the first iron armored ships were built in the Netherlands.
Shortly after 1860, British private shipyards, notably Napier at Glasgow and Laird at
Liverpool, began designing and building small iron armored ships for
foreign account. The Secretary of the Navy himself went to see some built iron
armored ships view, after which negotiations began with Laird for the delivery of
a new armored ship.

In February 1865, a contract was signed with Laird for the delivery of the first armored ship
for the Dutch Navy, the ramship Prince Hendrik of the Netherlands. It was an iron
armored propeller steamship with an armament of 4 guns mounted in two rotating
armored towers were set up. Furthermore, the ship was equipped with a ram stern and two

The naval engineer Bruno Joannes Tideman had drawn attention as early as 1862 to the need for
acquire armored frigates for ocean duties. Armored ships, according to him, were
needed to protect merchant shipping on connections to the West and East Indies. The
armored ships had to be built in the Netherlands, according to Tideman, as well as the necessary
armaments and infrastructural facilities such as docks, cranes and railroad equipment. In short,
The Netherlands should seize its opportunity to create a heavy industry, which would provide the
could compete with foreign countries.

Bruno Joannes Tideman: Shipbuilding engineer; founder of modern shipbuilding in the Netherlands and
of the Kon. Mij ‘De Schelde’ te Vlissingen. Became an engineer cadet for the East Indies at the Breda Military Academy in 1851. Studied shipbuilding from 1853-1857. Became adspirant engineer at the Vlissingen State Shipyard in 1857 and there successively appointed engineer 2nd class, first attending engineer and chief engineer. Published Treatises on Shipbuilding in 1859; Dictionary of Shipbuilding in 1861. From 1865-1867 he was in charge of supervising the construction of the armored ship “Prince Henry of the Netherlands” at Birkenhead.

Tideman must have exerted great influence on the minister’s opinion formation. The
concept of the ramship Prince Hendrik of the Netherlands, which had already been created, before the
commission to revise coastal defense took office, did not deviate much in terms of intent
Of Tideman’s ideas.

Tideman had great faith in the capacity of shipbuilding in the Netherlands, which not only had the
iron armored ships for the Navy, but also modern iron merchant ships should be
deliver. In 1865 he applied for a concession to establish a modern
shipbuilding company on the grounds of the former State Shipyard at Flushing. The location was convenient
through the deep waters. He wanted to establish a large industry there for building steamships
for Navy and merchant marine, railroad equipment and all other heavy equipment that the Netherlands has in
would need in the coming decades. The Secretary of the Navy supported the application, but Paul
of Flushing protested and the Interior Minister therefore opposed approval.
He saw an advantage over pre-existing industries. This argument prevented the
establishment of a state-subsidized modern shipbuilding company. Tideman went to
England to supervise construction of the Prince Henry of the Netherlands at Laird. He
left in April 1865 and stayed there until February 1867. He also spent his time studying
of the state of the art in England and Scotland in the field of marine and
mechanical engineering. He wrote treatises and books on the subject. Also, his brother Bruno Willem
Tideman, who had previously supervised the manufacture of armor plates, wrote a book
On the construction of iron ships. In this way, knowledge was transferred regarding the
design and construction of ships, which was important not only for naval shipbuilding,
but also for merchant shipping. In April 1867, the House of Representatives gave approval for the implementation
of fleet renewal with iron armored ships as by the committee to revise the
coastal defenses had been recommended. The Navy placed orders with private shipyards in England
and France. It was planned that those first ships would be at the Rijkswerf in Amsterdam
be recreated, and the minister accordingly sent engineers to England and France to
overseeing construction while looking off the trade. The first ships to arrive in
Netherlands were built were the ram monitors Cerberus and Bloodhound. Before that, the
drawings of the Heiligerlee and Crocodile supplied by Laird used. The NSBM provided the
complete machinery installations for these two ships. The third ship to visit the State Yard at
Amsterdam built was the ramship Guinea, made to the modified design of the
Buffalo that was under construction at Napier. This ship received an engine from the Royal Factory of
Steam and Other Tools. The Cerberus was completed in January 1869, making it the first in
Netherlands-built iron armored ship.

An impression of the quality of Dutch-built armored ships compared to the
products supplied by England can be obtained by ordering ships in England to
compare with the ships that were subsequently (re)built in the Netherlands. The speed of the in
Amsterdam-built Guinea on the sea trial was 9.5 knots at a power of 2460 ipk
(Indicator ground forces). The nearly identical Napier-built Buffalo was used during the
trial run achieved a speed of 12.7 knots at an indicative power of 2168 iphp. The large
speed difference cannot be explained from the difference in draft or water depth. Also, the in
Amsterdam-built monitors during the trial voyages underperformed the ones from England
originating ships. It is not known what caused those differences. Only from the
Bloodhound was known to be “dirty,” that is, the ship’s skin had grown on.
Because the first ships built in Holland were virtually replicas of those built in England
built ships, the difference in speed could not be due to a difference in size or shape
of the hull. Rather, the difference indicates a lower efficiency of Dutch machinery installations compared to those of British-built ships. Probably the mechanical and thermal losses were relatively large in the NSBM and Royal Factory’s
delivered machines, because the power in the steam cylinder was large enough on its own.

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