CharlieZardoz

The subsciption frigate New York and other details

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Greetings everyone so been discussing with frolick possible details that one might extrapolate if attempting to build a model of subscription frigate USS New York 1800-1814. coming from New York myself this is a project that would definitely interest me in time. Most of these frigates are lacking in stem and stern details (possibly deck layout as well), so it seems like it's a matter of using ones imagination while working with various themes that would have accompanied the ships via the ports they came from. Got me thinking a lot about what we do know via surviving plans of such similar ships (Essex?, Chesapeake, etc) I am reposting here what we started via message and feel free to offer any thoughts on this process and lets have fun. :)

 

As per uss frolick:

The Frigate New York's figurehead: Nothing is known. However, all three other 36 gun frigates had either the Allegorical figure "Columbia", or a roped female figure representing "The Genius of America" - the same thing. I am willing to bet that the New York also had the figure of Columbia on her stem - especially since the city has a great university of the same name! Even the USF United States had something very  similar. A drawing of Chesapeake's "Columbia" has turned up on the first page of one of her captured logbooks. A similar figurehead appears on Chapelle's redrawing of the 36-gun class, which he said "was not used", but he doesn't say why. Another drawing of a Columbia figurehead survives in the Willia, Rush papers, but it is not identified as belonging to any specific ship.

 

Next, the New York's stern carvings. Nothing at all is known. But it probably was a play on the Seal of New York, which was essentially the same then as it is today.

 

From Manhattanunlocked.blogspot.com.

 

"John Buckley Pine's, Seal and Flag of the City of New York, 1665-1915:  

 First the basics. Let's break down the current, official seal. 


Seal+of+the+City+of+New+York.JPG
 
images.jpeg

The seal is wrapped in a laurel wreath.Most often used as a symbol of victory (to "rest on one's laurels" is to milk past achievements), it's the bay leaf.  A more familiar symbolic image may be this...


An eagle, facing and rising towards asailor, surmounts a hemisphere at the top.
 
A ribbon inscribed with the Latin words, SIGILLUM CIVITATIS NOVI EBORACI, simply translates as "Seal of the City of New York." 
 
 
The two figures on the seal, a sailor and a Native American, are almost always identified as having the names Dexter and Sinister. But there is a designated name for every position on a seal (for example, the eagle occupies a position called the "crest"), and “the dexter” and “the sinister” are seal positions: they are Latin for "right" and "left."  On the official seal, the figureshold up the shield (they should never be leaning on it), and the sailor is the "dexter support," while the Native American the "sinister support."

The sailor holds a plummet in his right hand, the Native American holds abow in his left.  Some accounts say the sailor is holding a plumb, a carpenter's tool, but it's actually a lead-lined plummet used for measuring water depths. And just because visuals are fun,
 
 

Both figures stand on a laurel branch

On the rare occasion that the seal gets any press coverage at all, it's usually because of the date at the bottom, which since 1977 has been 1625, a date most agree is meaningless. Over its history, though, the seal has displayed different years depending on whatever hallmark event was fashionable to recognize at the time. 

 
 

Now for the really interesting history. At the center, a shield is emblazoned with two beaver and two flour barrels in the spaces between the arms of a windmill. 

The beaver (their pelts for fur and skin for hats) is most famously associated with New York's economic beginnings under the Dutch. To give you an idea of just how central beaver were in the early economy, the Netherlands-bound ship, the Arms of Amsterdam, delivered the Schagan letter bearing the news of Peter Minuit's purchase of the island in 1626, which also enumerated this cargo: 

7,246 Beaver skins

178 1/2 Otter skins

675 Otter skins

48 Mink skins

36 Lynx skins

33 Minx

34 Muskrat skin

Beaver were, by far, the main commodity of New Netherland and could actually be used as currency. But according to the indispensable Gotham, by Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace, the beaver trade fell off  80% just 25 years later, by the mid-1650s.

The English took over in 1664 and a decade later a "new beaver," so to speak, was found--and just for Manhattan--in the actions of Governor Andros who ordained that all imports be processed through the port of New York.  As well, all exports had to be packed, loaded and shipped from New York. With Andros' decree, every community from Albany to Amboy to Hempstead had to send their cattle,  pigs, and harvest to New York for export. Flour, though, was the “new beaver.”

"Bolting" flour was the arduous multi-stage process of separating wheat into flour and bran.   Apparently New Yorkers were quite adept at it since one of Andros' main arguments for the law was that it was needed to ensure a consistent and high quality product. With bolting, barrel-making became a booming island industry.

Had the decree not come about it’s hard to say how much New York's run up to power would have been affected later on. The Erie Canal stood on the shoulders of previous booms, just as the flour boom stood on the shoulders of the beaver trade. Its benefits to Manhattan were nothing short of mind boggling.  Stokes Iconography sums it up from a written complaint lodged by a New Yorker lamenting the 1694 repeal of the pro-Manhattan law. (The "Bolting Act," a term often attributed to the law itself, was actually appears to have been the repeal of the law that would release the outlying areas from Manhattan's firm economic grip.)  It may be ironic that the author of these words was formulating a complaint, but that's classic New York... 

When the city enjoyed the bolting monopoly several advantages accrued to this city and province. In 1678, when the bolting began, there were only 343 houses in New York. By 1696, 594 new buildings had been added. This increase is to be attributed to the bolting. The revenue in the years 1678, '79, and '80 did not exceed £2,000; but after that it increased annually until it amounted in 1687 to £5,000.... In 1678, there were three ships, eight sloops and seven boats belonging to this port; in 1694, there were 60 ships, 62 sloops, and 40 boats.... In 1678, not over 400 [beaver] were killed; in 1694, nearly 4,000. Lands were low-priced during those years; since then they have advanced to ten times their value. Of the 983 houses in New York, 600 depend upon bolting.

In 16 years the port went from owning 18 seaworthy vessels to 142, mostly due to sifting flour.  Andros' laws did for Manhattan what the Erie Canal would do 125 years later: triple the economy in a few years and put Manhattan in the enviable position of middleman. So the flour barrel got its place on the seal.

The windmill's connection to the Dutch is not necessarily a given; when it first appears on the seal we were under English rule, and windmills were popular there, too. But the 1686 seal, when it first appears, was the first seal created by New Yorkers themselves. And since there were many Dutch in positions of authority, and many of them had windmills on their coats-of-arms, it probably does symbolize Dutch heritage.  But the best argument can be found in the position of the windmill's arms, they mimic the saltire, or St. Andrew's Cross, and three saltires arranged vertically was the official Dutch emblem.   "

 

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From the same source:
 
"Here are some versions of the (pre-1977) seal on buildings throughout the city...

CCNY+HS.JPG A High School on the CCNY campus uptown displays an accurate and faithful representation of the official seal in every detail. 
 


 

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This is the Landmark Preservation Commission's plaque on the Bowling Green fence.




 
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The Louis Lefkowitz State Office Building, 80 Centre Street, 1930. The year 1664 is there, just very tiny. 

 
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99 Jane Street again. Because it was installed after 1977, the dateshould read 1625. Still, beautiful piece of work.



 
 
 
 




There are great examples of builders and sculptors taking liberties with the seal prior to 1915.  In John Buckley Pine's account of the seal's history, he goes off on an entertaining riff about the vagaries the seal was subjected to. I considered inserting [Native American] for "Indian," but since it's already been noted...
In woodcuts of the beaver these animals sometimes appear like dogs and sometimes like pigs with pointed snouts. The Indian is represented with a western war-bonnet on his head, or baldheaded....He shifts uneasily from the sinister side to the dexter side, and when he gets tired he sits down. The dexter supporter is equally unreliable in his conduct and more uncertain as to nationality and occupation.... He exchanges places with the Indian from time to time, strikes different aesthetic attitudes and keeps the Indian company in sitting down occasionally. He also keeps progress with the times in nautical science. He discards the old cross-staff [remember the cross-staff had vanished and so was not available to sculptors or builders!] and contents himself for a while with the lead-line....The eagle, too, is restless on his perch, as perhaps is to be expected of a liberty loving eagle. In 1784 he is rising to the dexter, as required by law, but in the 19th century he mounts in the other direction. Generally he looks where he is going, but occasionally he looks backward to see if he is being followed, as has been his habit of late years. Just after the Revolution, some flowers sprang up around the eagle, but with the increasing population of the City the opportunities for gardening have grown less and the flowers have disappeared, together with the old date 1686 which was retained for a while in the same seal.

And here are a few.  If you know of others around town, let me know and I will add them!…
 
135+Charles+St+Le+Gendarme.JPG
135 Charles Street, 1897. Le Gendarme apartments, the 9th police precinct until 1971. As they appear to lean on the shield, the sailor holds an oar and the eagle rises toward the center. 
 
IMG_0717.JPG
Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, 1902. Perhaps because the monument was to recognize Civil War veterans, it would have been uncouth to spotlight a sailor from another era. Here, both "supports" definitely relax on the shield, and the dexter holds a shovel! 
use.jpg
The seal put to rest in 1915.  The eagle looks again to the left, no cross-staff, and it's questionable whether the figure is a sailor at all.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
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226 West Broadway, formerly the Fire Department's High Pressure Services headquarter, 1918. Built during an apparent period of seal chaos, the sailor and Native American lean on the shield with a left facing eagle.  Though the sailor's forearm is missing, you can see a plummet neatly wrapped in his floating fist.  
 
PS+3+Grove+Street+III.JPG
PS 3 on Grove Street in the Village.  Though the school was definitely constructed after 1915, an explanation for the nonconformist seal might be found on the school’s own self-described history from their website:  “The current PS 3, also known as the John Melser Charrette School, is very much a child of the 1960's, which is one reason you may occasionally hear it referred to as the 'hippie school.'”  No cross-staff, leaning figures, eagle facing the wrong way.
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Two more examples of the seal around town...

This one is from the City Water Department at 179th And Amsterdam...a pretty sad seal.  Not so ironically, it looks to have a lot of water stains.

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But here's a gorgeous example..and the one other seal in public that has the year "1625."  It's on 33rd Precinct at 170th and Amsterdam.

IMG_1889i.jpg

 

IMG_1887.JPG

(added 3/6/2011)

Not a seal per se, but a sculpture that certainly picks up the theme--and was quite liberal with it, at 58 Bowery (1924, Clarence Brazer).  Originally Citizen's Savings Bank, it's the HSBC at Canal and the Bowery, across from the entrance of the Manhattan Bridge. These guys are really taking a break--most significantly, they've swapped positions!
 

IMG_2345i.jpg

 

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And I took this out of Chapelle's book, sorry for the annoying crease but shows pretty much what we are working with. A very handsome frigate which to my eyes looks a bit similar to the Chesapeake. I am curious as to who made her carvings, did the designers work on any other ships one could use as reference and if the ship ever received any significant upgrades before she burned in 1814. :)  

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Good start, Charlie!  Love the seal story and assemblage - quite the variety in style and interpretation!

 

I guess a good place to start would be to see if there be records such as there were for the Salem Frigate (the Essex) maintained by the subscribers.  Any info out there on the Peck and Carpenter ship yard?  I have started some light searching at the Papers of the War Department web site with no success yet, but the search engine there is not particularly robust (difficult to refine searches very well unless you know the writer and recipient precisely).

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I'll cut and paste from an earlier post:

 

The Frigates President, Adams and New York were all building at the same time in New York yards. Stern carvings of the other two survive:

 

 

USS Adams, 28 gun frigate launched in in New York from the New Hampshire Gazette, June 4, 1799:

 

"On the stern in the centre of the taffrail, are the arms of the U. States, supported by Sybele and Neptune - the latter with his left hand resting on his Trident and his right extended over our "Infant Navy", with some Attributes of Commerce. The former reclining on a sheaf of wheat with a septre in her right hand, in her left is the Key of the Earth and Supporting a Cornucopia ..." 

 

 

USS President, 44-gun frigate, built in New York, from Claypole's American Daily Advertiser, Philadelphia, April 14, 1800.

 

"Stern: In the center of the taffrail, the figure of America the right arm resting on the base of a monument and three books representing the three branches of government; in the right hand a pen, to record the heroic actions of her sons; in her left, the Constitution of the United States; at her feet, the American Fasces erect, supported by the standards of the Army and the Navy. On her right the figure of Wisdom, and the left the figure of Strength, both inclined, and looking to the center; in the right hand of Wisdom, a spear, the left resting against the port, and the bird of vigilence at her feet.; the left hand of Strength resting on a herculean club, the right hand resting against the port as the grand supporters of America ..."

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The USS Maryland, 24 gun subscription-built ship-sloop of war, was built in Baltimore. Since she too was named after the state that built her, we should note that she sports the coat of arms of her state on her central taffrail. The description comes from the Federal Gazette and Baltimore Daily Register, June 4, 1799:


 


"On the Taffrail is the Seal of Maryland, representing the figure of Justice and Peace with proper insignia; It is supported on the right by a Genius with a book and pen preparing to record the honors  the ship may confer on her country, while on the left the Genius of Music is ready to strike his lyre in celebration of the rising greatness of America."


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Its nice to know that descriptions of the Adams detailing survives despite the loss of the plans. If a reconstruction of her ever came to pass (sir Armstrong Im talking to you ;) it could be decorated with a fair deal of accuracy. Up to now most depections of these ships through models Essex or President dont show much carvings so I assume that many of them were removed by 1812 or that they were just not added to the models. One thing I do find interesting is that many of these ships had their stern windows reduced from 6 to 5 (not including the false windows which seemed to eventually be covered up). Essex went through such an alteration as did Constitution most likely. I will assume New York had only 5 windows and probably the stern looked very much like these images im about to post. :)

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So first is what I believe to be the bone model of Chesapeake. Not sure why the stern differs a bit from the admiralty drawing though will assume it is meant to represent an earlier time nice detailing. The second is a Paul Garnett rendition of Philadelphia burning. I know there are a few models built of Philadelphia though haven't seen them in person but I assume the stern probably looks similar to this. You can see the false windows by the quarter galleries since she was destroyed before the fleet was modernized by 1812. 

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Sorry for the belated reply. Fun start on this thread, the subscription frigates are a fun topic.

 

First attachment is a better version of the side profile from Chapelle. I'll post the rest of it later, I need to stitch it back together.

 

The second is a set of New York plans from Barbary Wars: Register of Officer, Personnel, and Ship's Data. This is the original source of Chapelle's drawing and the only draught he could find. It was drawn by Henry Allen at a later date from offsets. It displays incorrect solid bulwarks and a head and cutwater of a later period frigate. Chapelle backdated the appearance to the "standard" look of American frigates of the era, including partial measurements given by Samuel Humphreys in a memorandum to his offset book, which was missing when Chapelle looked. He also points out that the hawseholes in the plan would be technically impossible where they are. Her only plan that survived, which he used to detail his take on the ship, is an inboard profile. You can see that he opened up the bulwarks, but kept the same lines.

 

The Philadelphia plan is the same (with a sail plan that survived too) and was made at a later date too. I'm attaching that to the post as well.

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I know, I mentioned it in my post. ;)

 

That being said, I wonder if Humphreys' offset book was ever found. Chapelle listed the record number for it at the time (C&R 81-6).

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Ah yes ive seen the anachronistic Henry Allen drawings in Donald Canney's Sailing Warships book. Thank you for the clear images Talos much better than the one I scanned. :) When I get a moment ill start posting some figureheads/sculptures of Columbia for New Yorks plausible detailing. Hopefully Chapelle's offset book wasnt also burned by the ex-wife ;)

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Ah yes ive seen the anachronistic Henry Allen drawings in Donald Canney's Sailing Warships book. Thank you for the clear images Talos much better than the one I scanned. :) When I get a moment ill start posting some figureheads/sculptures of Columbia for New Yorks plausible detailing. Hopefully Chapelle's offset book wasnt also burned by the ex-wife ;)

Unlikely. Chapelle said that it was missing when he looked for it. It's probably misplaced somewhere in the archives. Then again, he also said something similar about the plans that were, according to the story, burned. Though that might have been written before that incident happened.

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Should one have an abiding interest in the papers of Samuel Humphreys, one would be well served to inquire of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania concerning the availability for public research in the following collection - Joshua Humphreys papers (Collection 0306), The Historical Society of Pennsylvania.  Listed amongst the collection, should one be so inclined to investigate, are found the following entries -

 

Volumes 1739-1845   2.0 Linear feet ; 19 volumes

Volume 18: Samuel Humphreys Philadelphia Naval Yard journal (1818 - 1820)

Volume 19: Samuel Humphreys surveys of ships (1834 - 1845)

 

Also -

Box 3, Folder 8: Samuel Humphreys documents (1806 - 1838)

Box 3, Folder 11: Loose documents from Volumes 18 and 19 (1818 - 1845)

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Hello All,  I built a model of the New York about 30 years age, not very good, needs a "Constellation" rebuild.  I'll look for my papers and Bill Dune's notes to see what I used.  I believe that the carving may have been done by Daniel N. Train, not sure if I found something or if it was something Bill thought.  I also think the figurehead was Columbia, but don't think NYC seal type stern.  If Train carved its stern I think it would be something like President's.  Train was trained by Rush and had just gone out on his own.  Very interesting topic .  I am currently building Philadelpia, I built 5 stern windows but I'm changing it to 6.  Wood cut "USS Philadelphia off Tetuan,Morocco" shows 6 windows.Photo Note:#NH65865-A, but don't remember where I found it, memory not what it was.  P.S .I Built New York with 5 stern windows, but that was a guess,  the stern was described as in the" French Style" in a news article, but nothing on the carving, stated they were impressive.   

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The "French Style" for that period generally means a central coat of arms, or stack of flags and cannon, with surrounded with heavy rope and vine tracery, and few, if any figures, unless they are a part of the coat of arms. President was definitely not in the French Style.

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Hi Steve, Hal Bosche here, my models in your book, its been a long time.  Interesting what you describe as in " French Style", I learn new things all the time, I always thought it referred the the shape of the Stern/ Taffrail. I'll have to rethink the New York when I "rebuild" it.  I just don't like the City Seal, but that may be a part of carvings.  My personnal feelings for the City getting in the way.  The President  carvings were very much in the "Wm. Rush" style.  So much the learn and relearn, this is a great format. I wish there was something like this 20  -30 years ago.   

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Just a History correction:  The New York was NOT burned at Washington Navy Yard in 1814.  Howard I. Chapelle was wrong.  I have Bill Dune's notes;  from  (Taylor Peck, Round-Shot to Rockets, A History of the Washington Navy Yard and US. Naval Gun Factory, Annapolis:  U.S. Naval Institute Press, 1949) .  Also, 02-01- 1830,  note on letter from William R. Nimmo of Baltimore to Secretary of the Navy John Branch inquiring about the possibility of salvaging the wrecks around Washington Navy Yard of which the New York was the only one visible above the water.  If I can get Bill's note scanned and if anyone is interested I will add them.  Basically New York was raised and surveyed in 1830 and found to be too expansive to do anything, was allowed to settle back into the Potomac mud.  Bill was looking for more information as to what ever happened to it, but I don't know if he ever found anything more.

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Hal !!! OMG!!! I'm glad you're alive -  and well - and still modeling! I tried looking for you online a while back, but came up empty. I wondered if you had retired to Hawaii, or somewhere equally special. I tell people all the time that there is this guy on long Island who is scratch-building the entire Federal Navy in 1/8th scale! Your models of Johnston Blakeley's early ships really made my book something truly special. Thanks again, Brother! :)

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Hi all! Been a bit I've been neck deep in my new business, I see this post has been evolving a bit. Interesting to think New York was salvageable by 1830. Regarding this "French style" was the Boston's stern also done this way? I say looking at Dan's version of the model on this site which also seems to have that central stack of flags type thing frolick described. What is the source of this info regarding New York's stern? Is it accessible somewhere?

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Hello Steve,  I'M still here, Retired from driving School Buses- Clam company died in 1998.  Just started modelling again after 17 year "break".  Started the Philadelphia 2 months ago, have the hull about 80% done, started the cannons so I can finish the gun deck.  Interesting picture of the salvaged guns,  especially the 9 pdr, I found no reference of 9 pdrs, 1 or 2 Chase guns?  I don't have Bill's notes on Philadelphia.  I wish I was better with computer back then, he had so much information.  I don't know if anyone has his computer files, and Southhampton College is gone.  Between modelling and things I started going through my files.  In my youth I thought I knew a lot about the Carvings, but time has made me realize there is a lot unknown.  Do you have an opinion on the Taffrail recovered from the Philadelphia, now missing from Annapolis, for some reason it doesn't look very Wm. Rush like to me?  Just as a note:  I found a "rough" drawing of the Essex stern carving I made 30 years ago,  center is the Coat of Arms of Massachusetts with 4 flags and 4 cannon barrells behind the shield with an Eagle with downward  wings imposed over the shield , on each side of it are cornucopua (sp?), this seems like something Samuel McIntire would do.  I may have found this when I was searching for New York carvings, I don't remember the source and didn't note it.

Charlie, I will look for anything I have on the Boston,had some files on it.     

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I believe the Naval Historical Center in Washington has Bill's old data files. I don't have Philadelphia's file. I never thought the NA tafferail looked very Rush-like either (not sufficiently detailed), but maybe they sub-ed the job out to a local carver. I wondered if the dimensions of that tafferail survives. I once speculated that maybe the fastenings holes in it, might betray how far apart the counter timbers were, and thus, how many windows she had. I looked at that same engraving of Phillies stern, and I thought I counted seven windows. There is a frame drawing for an unknown 36 gun frigate (14 gun ports aside) in the Fox Papers labeled "proposed deck for Chesapeake", but the plan shows eight counter-timbers (seven windows, not counting the two additional false windows on the back of the galleries), two more than the Chesapeake had, and I wondered if this wasn't the Philadelphia's proposed gun deck plan instead ...

 

Your Essex drawing sounds very McIntire-ish to me. He carved many fireplace mantels in Salem, exactly as you described, but he always replaced the Indian in the State Seal's shield with an eagle ... and put him instead on the Essex's bow.

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Frolick was McIntire the one who did New York's carvings? And thank you Sir Seahawk id like these posts to be sort of online resources for these ships if possible. I feel what info does survive is scattered about and forgotten in some instances. Regarding the New York seal im leaning to the idea that it was used as a theme for the stern, meaning parts of it scattered about and implied throughout rather than just plastered on the center of the stern whole. But I could be wrong about that?

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No, McIntire did the Essex's, and maybe also the Pickering's and the Merrimack's. Its all guess-work at this point, since no one bothered to preserve any carving details, but if you are willing to guess, I think you are probably right about the New York's stern, Charlie. The tafferail of the USS Maryland had the seal of Maryland in the center, if I recall correctly. I would go with the female figure of "Columbia" as a figurehead, since Columbia University is in the city. Use perhaps the figure on Chapelle's draught of the Congress as a guide, since the New York was basically a reduced Congress, according to contemporary sources.

 

 

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It is assumed that the New York's carving was done by Daniel N. Train, he did a lot of this work in N.Y.C.  He did the work on the Adams and President,  I would guess the New York carvings and subjects would be in that "style", a strong influence of Wm. Rush.  The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts had a great book,_William Rush  American Sculptor, shows his ideas and works on the Goddesses, etc.  He liked doing Hercules and Columbia.  Most of this is guess work, but based on the sculptors style you can get a feel for what he may or may not have done.  I have thought the main library in the City may have some information in the old newspapers, but I hate going into there.

The Philadelphia's Taffrail went missing a long time ago,  I never thought to ask if they had anything on size, etc.  They gave me a 8X10 picture of it, but it doesn't show much.  It would have helped if they had put a ruler with it.  Do you know when the Philadelphia's guns were recovered or what happened to them?   It would have been good to bring them home.  The wood cut shows 6 windows on the stern,  I enlarged it as best I could, I think it shows an accurate of the ship, small details are right for Philadelphia.  Sorry if I rabble!  Its age catching up with me. 

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I'm realizing I need to make a list of carvers and builders of these ships and then follow the line to see who worked on which ship and what their specific style were. Looking at New York next to Constellation/Congress I can see how the lines are very similar. Seems same is true with Boston and Essex I believe. :)

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I read somewhere long ago (weasel disclaimer, don't recall) that the Boston's carvings were done by the Skillins family of Boston. There are unidentified sketches of ships' sterns in the Peabody Museum of Salem by Samuel Skillins, according to their catalog. I think the elder Skillins did the Confederacy's carvings ... ?

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On 4/6/2017 at 11:01 AM, Seahawk1313 said:

Hi Steve, Hal Bosche here, my models in your book, its been a long time.  Interesting what you describe as in " French Style", I learn new things all the time, I always thought it referred the the shape of the Stern/ Taffrail. 

Indeed I've thought the same, with the french favoring the horseshoe shape (right) and the British separated quarter galleries (left)

Capture_of_the_French_Frigate_La_Tribune

But frolick's description hardly sounds inaccurate, do you recall if the article mentioned anything more specific than 'stern' to clarify if they were discussing the transom shape or the carvings? 

druxey, mtaylor and Canute like this

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It was a short reference from a NY newspaper at the time of the New York's launch.  I never got to the NY library to search for more information in their newspaper archives.  The library person told me this was all he found at the time, but a search might find more, and I could do it.  May be someday?

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