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On a new principle of constructing His Majesty's ships of war. [With] On the great strength given to ships of war by the application of diagonal braces. [With] On a new principle of constructing ships in the Mercantile Navy. [With] A letter addressed to the Right Honorable Viscount Melville, Baron Dunira, First Lord of the Admiralty on the circular sterms of ships of war. [With] Contemporary Ms copy of "A new method of raising the lower masts of ships..." [With] Contemporary ms copy of "A plan for mooring ships in ordinary with chain slip bridles" [With] 2 printed reports of trials on HMS Northumberland and HMS Albion [With] Contemporary ms copy of letter from Vice-Admiral H.Neale on the circular stern of HMS Revenge.
London, 1814,1818,1820,1822,1816,1816,1816,1817, 1814, 1818, 1820, 1822, 1816, 1816, 1816, 1817, 1825

Sir Robert Seppings, Surveyor of the Navy, solved the structural problems of the wooden warship which had impeded its development both in terms of size and of strength and durability. The papers collected in this volume are Seppings's seminal writings on his system of ship building.

A major feature of his structural reforms was an internal diagonal trussed frame to overcome hogging and the first two papers here show the history and development of this and other ideas and describe the warships to which he applied them. Of particular note is the description in the second paper of the remarkable practical experiment carried out on 'Justitia', probably 'the first full-size trials ever conducted in connection with the strength of a ship's structure' (Wright, Thomas Young and Robert Seppings, Newcomen Society Trans. Vol.53). The deflection of the ship was measured both with and without the trussing, proving conclusively its effectiveness.

The third paper shows how these principles could be modified and applied to mercantile ships. Of particular interest here is his idea of using iron members as part of the truss at a period when structural ironwork was at an early stage of its development. His system was widely adopted for both naval and commercial shipping, notably by Brunel in the design of his innovative transatlantic paddle steamer, 'Great Western'.

Another of Seppings's structural reforms concerned the redesign of the stern replacing the traditional square form with the altogether stronger round form. Seppings met with much opposition and in a lengthy and substantial printed letter to Melville, First Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty, he counters that oppostion by describing the faults of the square stern.

Seppings was concerned with all aspects of ship design and not only with large-scale changes. The remaining material concerns some of these smaller improvements together with testimonies from naval officers on the excellence of others.

The first three papers were read before the Royal Society and appear here as reprints of the Philosophical Transactions while the others were separate publications. They are all of the greatest rarity.


4to. 9 items in 1. (ii) + 18 + xvii + (i)pp, 1 folding engraved plate ; (ii) + 8pp, 1 folding engraved plate ; (iv) + 11 + (1)pp, 4 engraved plates ; (ii) + 39 + (1)pp, 7 litho plates ; (2)pp, 1 engraved plate ; (1) + (1)blank pp, 1 engraved plate ; (2)pp ; (2)pp ; (4)pp. Contemporary full polished calf. Corners bumped and title leaf of first item repaired but overall a lovely copy of an unusual volume. The first 3 items are reprints from Phil.Trans. of the Royal Society.



Catalogue No: 4438