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Hammocks, cranes and covers


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Usually the hammock cranes are the easiest topic, the construction is quite clear out of square or round iron rods, from a certain height on with a rod holding them together on the top.

 

The netting is already more confusing: diagonal as mostly shown or horizontal and vertical as seen in Brays drawings and some museum ships today?

http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/200823.html

 

Also were they black or white - both versions seen on the vic over the years, the actual one is diagonal in white.

 

The cranes were covered with tarred (?) canvas. Does this mean light brown or a deeper color?

 

And now the most complicated. Usually (if shown) the hammocks are a small roll of tissue, bent in the middle to a "u"-shape and stored vertical.

 

I am rather sure, that there were about 7 lachings holding it tight together and they looked like giant (dirty) white maggots :-)

But were they stowed vertically? Especially on the poop decks the cranes had a very reduced height, so it would be more logical to lay them horizontally. How was it done with the higher cranes? Also horizontal or mixed directions?

 

Could not find contemporary hints for that one yet.

 

As usual, plenty of questions, hope they are interesting to you too, Daniel

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Daniel,

 

I'm answering from the point of practicality as I've not seen a whole lot of authentic documentation.

On the netting... I don't think they would have been tarred as the tarring would have transferred to the hammock. 

Where I've seen them bent is only on the short cranes.  The taller ones, it would have been easier to have them unbent.  Stacking would have easier by standing on end. 

 

What I have seen documented is that the hammocks were 18 inches wide by 6 feet long.  They were provided with a "bag" for storage.  The hammock was rolled such that the final dimension was 18 inches long (the width of the hammock) and about 7 inches in diameter.  The bosun had a hoop that each hammock had to pass through before they could be stowed. 

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Daniel

The 1st shot is of my HMS Snake, I elected to only show a few hammocks and covered the rest as when at sea.

Hammocks are scale 2'x6', lashed 7 times, folded and stowed.

2nd is of my South Caroilina, same thing as with the Snake, this shot shows the cover lashing better.

Tom

post-30-0-38891100-1361829963.jpg

post-30-0-50298200-1361830203.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just was posting this picture in another place and realised the hammocs on this drawing of Thomas ender of 1817 on the austrian frigate Austria

 

Ender-Freg.jpg

Also diagonally as shown in the models.. Nice to see the lashings.

 

Daniel

Edited by dafi
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Don't know how authentic it is Daniel, but here's how the  hammocks are stored on the Trimcomalee in low cranes.

 

107.JPG

 

Also regarding your associated  query about access to the shrouds..

 

111.JPG

 

It doesn't look that difficult  for fit young guys, at least on a Frigate.

 

Regarding the tarring of the canvas covers, I believe this was the case in the early period of use but due to complaints about the stuff getting on  the Hammocks and cases the practice was dropped.

 

According to Carr-Laughton the Theseus at the Nile had her hammock cloths painted to represent an additional deck of guns, and he also refers to the Cambridge of 1824 as certainly having this arrangement.

 

 He also mentions that perhaps Victory when commissioned in 1803 had  gunport painted cloths.

 

dp1auxGZdU0yNkSmdFUBcieo4T1qsXV50258.jpg

Along the waist perhaps as suggested by this Constable sketch drawn of her in the Medway.

 

M

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Many year ago, I was faced with similar questions. I was building what turned out to be my first completed model. It was of a British man of war battlestation. You can see the pictures in the completed builds forum. What I found is this -

 

As mentioned above they were rolled very tight and lengthwise to get the best airing. They were folded in the middle to simulate a U shape. They were lashed using what is called a Marlinspike hitch (which does include 7 wraps). The lucky sailor who actually had a blanket (very few) rolled his balndet inside the hammock. Covering was not done until the early 19th century. Storing in the hammock cranes had 3 purposes:

 

1. Air the bloody things out. They tended to smell after a few days at sea.

2. Protection from splinters and small arms fire when in battle

3. Improvised life preservers. Most sailors could not swim. The hammock would often float for up to 1 hr. ie it took that long to get water logged.

 

As to storing then sideways or at an angle. My research found this was not done in the American or British navies. I never found any evidence of taring the covers. The only way a Hammock got washed was by exposure to the sea.

Edited by Floyd Kershner
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Thanks for posting the link to your article Robin, an interesting hypothesis.

 

The stern quarter sketch always gave me trouble with its clear indication of open galleries, as the closed in stern following the 1803 refit is perhaps one of the more confirmed aspects of her Trafalgar appearance. The drawing by Livesay of her stern when she returned after Trafalgar confirms this.

 

B.E.

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Thomas Ender made various coloured pencil drawings on board of SMS AUSTRIA during the passage to Brazil. The main purpose of the voyage was to take the austrian prinzess Leopoldine there to become the wife of the brazilian Emporer. Ender's artistic legacy is preserved in the Kupferstichkabinett of the Viennese Academy of Fine Arts. I have several books on Ender, but only one plate shows another deck view of SMS AUSTRIA.

 

As to the accessibility of the shrouds, I seem to have seen that in some instances a sort of net with a mesh-width similar to the ratlines was installed on the inside of the bulwark reaching to the top deadeyes to facilitate climbing into the shrouds.

 

wefalck

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Hello Robin,

 

please do not regret as it was great input :-)

 

I added Thomas Ender´s in the earlier picture, thank you for the hint! There is a second similar picture existing which also shows this wealth of great details that you mentioned.

 

Thank you all for your replies and to make me feel not to be the only one being interested to the side topics of historical seamanship!

 

Daniel

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  • 1 month later...
Somewhere here on the board already posted by someone else, but I do not find the original source, here a copy from the document how the Royal Navy was doing the hammocks (thanks to the original poster!!!)
 
 
 
This is what Nares, Commander R.N. wrote in 1868 
 
 
 
And here the US Navy in 1915 doing it still the same way
see 8:40 
 
Here 2 stills
 

post-182-0-81927000-1367327922_thumb.jpg

 

post-182-0-77564600-1367327934_thumb.jpg

 

Gruß, Daniel
Edited by dafi
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Hammock plan of the Bedford 1775, around 1790, ZAZ6793





 

Some of my shots of the Vic:

 

800_victory-hammocks_324.jpg

 

Open and rolled hammocs

800_victory-hammocks_7698.jpg

 

This one looks rather tiny, is this something else??

800_victory-hammocks_7705.jpg

 

In the cable tier

800_victory-hammocks_7742.jpg

 

The better standard of the sickbay ...

800_victory-hammocks_7628.jpg

 

... also to be found in the cabins under the poop.

800_victory-hammocks_V407.jpg

 

Cheers, Daniel

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  • 1 month later...

Just discovered in AOTS Bellona:

 

A sketch of the hammoc nettings - the hammoc much more looking like Cannon balls :-) - showing the protecting cover.

The index says: "Cover (tarred before 1780, painted afterwards)"

 

I suppose that this was a rather light tarring for not spoiling the hammocs?!?

 

Daniel

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  • 4 weeks later...
Thanks Dennis.

 

Just for testing purposes: Children clay, made rolls of 3,5 mm, long about 19 mm and taking a glimpse how this could look in the cranes.

 

800_victory_hammock_8369.jpg

 

800_victory_hammock_8370.jpg

 

Could this be ok like this? What were original length and diameter of the sausage?

The securing was done by 7 marlin hitches representing the seven seas.

 

Lieber Gruß, Daniel

Edited by dafi
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This may have varied from navy to navy, but most models of the time seem to show the hammocks bent to an U-shape. The picture below shows the somewhat later BELLE POULE in the Musée de la Marine, but practices remained unchanged for some 200 years.

 

090137-72.jpg

 

These rolls consisted not only of the hammock as such, but also of the associated bedding.

 

BTW, 'children caly' is neither in my mental nor printed dictionary, what is it ?

 

wefalck

Edited by wefalck
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Thank you wefalck,

 

this is one of my questions. The hammock rolls in Bradys book and in the pictures of the american Navy look rather sturdy. Was it possible to bent them like into U-turn?

 

DAniuel

 

PS: It was meant to be children´s clay :-)

I corrected it, thank you.

Edited by dafi
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Daniel,

 

I read one source saying that the hammocks were doubled into a 'U' and lashed, then placed in the hammock nets with the 'U' end down and the two ends upward.  This sort of makes sense in that doubling them would provide for a much more dense barricade to stop musket balls and grape shot, which is why the hammocks were placed there.  I'm looking for the source.

 

Patrick

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I read somewhere that in addition to the hammocks providing some protection (not Much) There were 3 main reasons for having them in the Cranes -

 

1. To air them out. It must have stunk to high heaven below deck.

2. To deflect splinters and small arms fire in battle. Not much of a bullet proof best but that's what they had.

3. As crude life preservers. As we all know most sailors could not swim. and a well rolled and tied hammock would float for up to 1 hour. so if the ship went down or you went over board a Hammock was better than nothing.

Edited by Floyd Kershner
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Thank you all, so finally a new version, 30 cm diameter and 180 cm length. And the bend shows up - great hint from wefalck for no rain or spray can be collected in there. 

 

Victory-130720_8679.jpg

 

Victory-130720_8676.jpg

 

Looking more reasonably?

 

XXXDAn

 

 

PS: Just to make shure: The netting is still missing on purpose ;-)

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Hello wefalck,

 

the best material I found so far is a tulle from the craftshop for decorating presents and flowers. it comes in 50 mm width.

The tulle from the cloth department usually has a hexagonal shape and is therefor not a very good choice.

 

Luckily this one has the needed square/rhombic shape but is a little bit sturdy and difficult to color. I already did some tests on the heads and it proved to be quite good down there. I made a jig to give it a frame and to paint it properly.

 

800_Victory_heads05_7699.jpg

 

800_Victory_heads05_7704.jpg

 

800_Victory_heads05_7712.jpg

 

Afterwards it was sewed on.

 

Victory-120106_7729.jpg

 

It gets a bit the wanted unevenness of the original.

 

Victory-120106_7730.jpg

 

Also applied on the fighting tops.

 

800_Victory_tops_8229.jpg

 

But I do not know yet how this will be applied on the hammock cranes properly, still have to use my brains a tad ...

 

Amicalement, Daniel

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Here we go, just fixed the first version of the cranes, nettings and hammocks in my report:

                                          #335                         

 

Victory-130723_8863.jpg

 

Victory-130723_8870.jpg

 

 


Victory-130725_8899.jpg
 
Victory-130725_8907.jpg
 
Victory-130725_8910.jpg
 
Victory-130725_8916.jpg
 
Victory-130725_8925.jpg

 

As I always see this as a chance to try out things and to use it to verify the results here the thoughts that arose:
The thickness of the hammock is orientated onto the films of the US navy of 1915 which should be near the RN-results. The crane has exactly the double of the thickness of the hammock, so this too makes sense respectively the U-shape bending of the hammock.
 
The  question that was asked in my german forum is:
Is this correct as there is faaaaaar less then 800 hammocks fitting onto the decks.
The fo´castle has 35 each side in this version.
 
Where were the other ones stowed?
 
Daniel
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