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For millennia wooden ships that plied the world’s oceans were plagued by biological
problems. These were a multifaceted result of water temperature, salinity, levels of sunlight and
the quantity of nutrients in the water. Vessel hulls, in time, collected seaweed affecting their
speed and maneuverability. The ship’s longevity was impacted by infestations of two marine
the shipworm, a wormlike clam and tiny crustaceans known as gribbles. Combined they
largely destroyed the integrity of marine timber structures, often working together to bore tunnels
in wood to make it spongy and friable.
Countless schemes were tried over time to solve sea flora
and wood-rot problems. Some produced limited success until, in the eighteenth century, a
relatively simple and practical solution was found, one that would shape maritime history. The
evolution of that discovery ultimately affected two American icons, one a storied ship, the other
a patriot, entrepreneur and an industrial opportunist.



Norton, Louis Arthur. 2019. “Copper Sheathing, Industrial Espionage and an Eminent American Entrepreneur | Coriolis: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Maritime Studies.” Coriolis - Interdisciplinary Journal of Maritime Studies 9 (2): 37–44.


Neither should a ship rely on one small anchor, nor should life rest on a single hope.

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