Griffiths, John W.


London : George Philip & Son, 32, Fleet Street ; & 51, South Castle Street, Liverpool. ‘New Edition’, N.D. (c.1850s). 199 pp ; tinted lithograph frontis., 2 tables (1 double-sided) + 45 guarded white on black plates. Original blind-tooled green cloth ; gold lettering to front board ; re-backed in green cloth ; gold lettering to spine. 32 x 25cm. Some shelf wear to original covers ; old name stamp ("A. E. Long") head of endpapers, title, etc., o/w V.G. Signature of "Basil Lubbock. Hamble" ; his copy. (Captain Alfred Basil Lubbock, 1876-1944, was a renowned British sailor, yachtsman, soldier and maritime author of numerous fine books recording the last fleets of deep-sea sail. Educated at Eton, instead of going on to Cambridge, he set out for the Klondyke during the 1896/7 Gold Rush. Having little success, he found himself in San Francisco where he signed on before the mast aboard the four-masted barque ROSS-SHIRE of Glasgow bound for Queenstown for orders via the Horn. His experiences during this 123-day voyage were published in 1902. He made a voyage in another square-rigger but fell from a mast and was taken off. Lubbock fought in the Boer War and was Mentioned in Dispatches for helping to save life under enemy fire. He also served in the Army during the First World War in India and France and was awarded the Military Cross. He was founder and first Commodore of the Hamble River Sailing Club, 1919-1931, and a member of the RYS. He died at Monks Orchard, Blatchington, Sussex, 3rd September 1944). John Willis Griffiths (1809-1882) produced the first major American study on naval architecture in 1849 and it appeared in several editions on both sides of the Atlantic (London/Liverpool and Glasgow editions in the UK) during the 1850s. (See Scott, No. 713 for the Glasgow edition of 1857). It was Griffiths who designed the first true clipper ship, but he is equally remembered for his fast steamships and was at the forefront of bringing the United States to international status in the art and science of shipbuilding. He began lecturing and writing on the subject in 1836, and in 1845 built the first extreme clipper, RAINBOW, designed for the China trade. She was so sleek that many thought her unsafe, but Griffiths quickly proved them wrong. He was considered a genius as a naval architect although somewhat eccentric in his zeal to improve American naval architecture. Besides leading the clipper ship era, first with RAINBOW and then with SEA WITCH, he also designed many successful steam ships and warships. He had many patents to his name as he experimented with shipbuilding procedures, and he wrote of his theories with great exuberance. He was proud of SEA WITCH and confessed "It will be entirely proper to add, that the model of the SEA WITCH had more influence upon the subsequent configuration of fast vessels, than any other ship everbuilt in the United States". Her builders, Smith and Dimon, penned a letter two years after her construction. "Having known Mr. John W. Griffiths for many years, a number of which has been in our employ, during which time he has obtained celebrity for honesty and industry. It affords us pleasure to testify to his ability and moral worth. We have no hesitation recommending him as a "Marine and Naval Architect" of the first order. A gentleman who has reached an eminence in the line of his profession rarely attained, and whose skill in this branch of Mechanism we believe to be unsurpassed." His colleague and shipbuilding rival, Donald McKay, wrote from East Boston in 1859 : "In this testimonial I am happy to state what I believe all the Commercial World knows, that you are a Master of your profession, have no Superior in it – a Scientific and practical Ship builder - & an illustrious Citizen." Over the course of twelve chapters the author deals with the early history of shipbuilding, an exposition of the tonnage laws both in America and elsewhere, taking off tables, sheer plans and sheering in general, its int

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