The name, USS Tennessee, was written on paper (very small printing) and glued to both sides of the bow and maybe the stern. The bow for sure, the stern was illegible but a paper label was there. I'm 100% sure it's a representation of the Tennessee, just not a very accurate one thus the thoughts about it being a possible souvenir.
I'm not changing it to be a particular ship as that's already determined, it's a model of the steam frigate USS Tennessee. What I am doing is making necessary replacements to scale that match the hull and mast. Instead of reproducing lost cannon to an inaccurate scale, I'm taking the cannon from the original lower deck ports, putting them in the correct scale carriage and placing them topside. Two of the three hatches covers have been lost. Instead of coping the hatch type that remains twice and duplicate another inaccuracy, why not make three correct hatch covers and remove the remaining inaccurate one? And if I'm going to remove the one remaining hatch cover, why not try to create at least one (if not two) companionway to the lower deck?
If I were 100% positive this model was a US made piece of folk art, i wouldn't have done anything to it except replace the rigging. But I don't believe that to be the case. Folk art is simple (we live in a 150 year old house surrounded with antiques and folk art) please note the close up picture and note the inside of the rails. That isn't simple by any means, hence my shying away from it being a "folk art" piece.
But as a stated earlier, this had become a toy in it's later life. Pieces were broken (I've fixed the majority of those) and pieces (not just one or two) went missing.
I turn 70 in March, I have patience. I love history, I love to create, I love to restore things (a hobby from another life was restoring prewar English and American sports cars) I love to piddle away while my cat sleeps in the chair next to me. I've made the commitment to finish this project, if I'm unable to do so it will be because my ship has sailed, literally.
Thank you for your concern, I appreciate that. Don't fear putting a damper on my enthusiasm, I've got about two hundred hours in this project thus far, I've got another six to nine months of work to do before I'm able to start rigging. I've never rigged a ship before so I'll need lots of help when I reach that stage. And I'm a realist.
Again, thank you Toni..........KB