M19000 | Model of ship

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Model of ship
1875-1900, 19th century
111 x 26 x 147 cm
Gift of Dr. Gordon Byers
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Model (422)
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Keys to History

New technology, including steam propulsion, the screw propeller and steel hulls, revolutionized sea transportation in the 19th century. However, the gradual disappearance of the tall ships did not prevent many ports from accommodating different types of ships at the end of the century.

This miniature model carried the inscription "Ella May & Joggins Mines," a Nova Scotia mining company that regularly supplied Montreal with coal. Very likely transported on board ships like this one in the late 19th century, coal was then used to heat many Montreal factories and houses. Sailing ships built in the Maritime Provinces were designed to favour the transportation of heavy loads at the expense of speed. They were not expensive to build and took advantage of various technological advances, so they were both competitive and profitable.

  • What

    This model is of a three-masted square-rigged ship. The increased sail area made possible by the third mast made it easier to sail against the wind.

  • Where

    In the 19th century, sea transportation was essential to the economy of the Atlantic Provinces, which depended on the exploitation of natural resources.

  • When

    The tall ships, such as this miniature model, had their golden age from 1870 to 1890.

  • Who

    Technological improvements on ships resulted in reduced crew sizes. It took 33 men to handle a 1200-ton three-master around 1860, but only 17 by the 1880s.