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Ten Passaic-class Monitors That Were Built During the American Civil War

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Passaic-class monitors, designed by John Ericsson, were single-turreted warships that served in the Union Navy during the American Civil War. The new class of ironclad represented an improvement to the design of USS Monitor, invented by Ericsson, and there are a variety of written sources of information about the technical details of these ships as well as their service histories. John Johnson, author of The Defense of Charleston Harbor, explains that the thickness of iron that protected the turret was increased from 8 inches to 11 inches and that the the pilothouse was moved from the foredeck to the top of the turret. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, covering the years from 1860 until 1905, claims that the length of the monitors was 200 feet and that the beam was 46 feet. Monitors of the U.S. Navy, written by Richard H. Webber and spanning the era from 1861 until 1937, explains that ships of this class were equipped with two vibrating lever engines and a pair of Martin

Canals, Navigable Rivers and Commercial Ports That Were Accessible to Humber Sloops.

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Starboard view of an early twentieth century Humber sloop. Humber sloops were merchant vessels that traded along the inland waterways of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire as well as the East Coast of England. These flat-bottomed barges, able to beach on the sandbanks and mudflats at low tide, were designed to operate in the shallow waters of the Humber Estuary as well as the tidal sections of its tributaries. A typical sloop was equipped with a single mast, a triangular headsail, a quadrilateral mainsail, a pair of leeboards and a stern-mounted rudder that was steered by a tiller. Advances in metallurgy, occurring during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, made it possible to construct these vessels from iron while steel became the favoured building material at the turn of the twentieth century. Anti-fouling paint, containing toxic biocides such as black copper(II) oxide or red lead(II,IV) oxide, was used to discourage marine life from colonising t

Known Trades of Jigger Flats

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Jigger flats, built in the 19th and 20th centuries, were ketch-rigged sailing Barges. Ketch-rigged sailing barges, known in Cheshire and Lancashire as jigger flats, were built along the banks of the River Mersey from the late nineteenth century until the early twentieth century. The mizzenmast, shorter than the mainmast, was also known as a jigger mast and this may explain where these trading barges got their name from. These merchant vessels, a variation of the Mersey flat, were owned by businesses such as the Liverpool Lighterage Company and the United Alkali Company. A distinction arose between the mastless cut flats, or dumb barges, that did not leave the inland waterways and the sailing flats which were seagoing vessels. Sailing flats, including the ketch-rigged variety, could be towed along canals and rivers by horses but their rigging allowed them to operate in open waters. Jigger flats were built for coastal trade and made frequent voyages into the Bay of Liverpool, Dee Estuary

The Mersey Flat's Role in the Coal Trade

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Port side view of Mersey flat. Coal, mined from pits in Lancashire, played an important role in the industrialisation of North West England and Mersey flats were used to transport this valuable commodity from local collieries to the booming urban centres. Sailing flats, first appearing on the River Mersey in the early 18th century and capable of carrying eighty tons of coal in their holds, were of such importance to the mining industry that a series of river navigations and canals were built to accommodate vessels of this size. These flat-bottomed barges, equipped with a fore-and-aft rig that was attached to a single mast, only required a crew of three to operate. Lancashire, home to the  largest coalfield  in North West England, possessed a number of bell pits and drift mines at the beginning of the 18th century that provided fuel for the burgeoning industries in the region. Shallow mines such as these, prone to flooding and eventual collapse, could only be used to extract coal that w

A Brief History of the Brazilian Ironclad Tamandaré

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Tamandaré , constructed in 1865, was an armoured gunboat that was built for the Imperial Brazilian Navy. Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil, decided to modernise the navy by constructing an ironclad fleet that could withstand direct hits from explosive shells and solid shot. Paraguay, whose relationship with Brazil was deteriorating as a result of the civil war in Uruguay, possessed a series of fortifications along its rivers that were armed with some of the most powerful artillery pieces of the day. Unprotected warships, such as the wooden paddle steamers that participated in the Platine War, were vulnerable to these formidable weapons and the Empire of Brazil began to protect its ships with iron plates. The Crimean War and the American Civil War, fought on an industrial scale and utilising powerful new technologies, convinced the Brazilian government of the need to update the navy or suffer defeat at the hands of its enemies. Paraguay, a small country with vast ambitions, purchased Krupp ar