Fan of Full Fathom Five? Be sure to check it out at its new home!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New in the SF Maritime NHP Library

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five, due to its lack of an rss feed:

New in the Library:

The Library's new accessions lists from the latter half of March and the first half of April are now available.

We download these lists from OCLC, whose public interface is known as Although we catalog directly on OCLC, we do not have the type of subscription that would allow us to appear as a holding library on, but you can see our holdings in the NPS Combined Library Catalog. (See our Catalogs & Finding Aids page for catalogs listing other Museum Collections.)

* Library New Accessions, Mar. 16-31, 2011 (.pdf file, 27 Kb)
* Library New Accessions, Apr. 1-16, 2011 (.pdf file, 31 Kb)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What is a fathom?

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five:

According to the library's 1988 edition of The Oxford companion to ships and the sea, a fathom:

...comes from the old English faedm, to embrace, and is a measurement across the outstretched arms of a man, approximately 6 feet in a man of average size; the length of a nautical fathom is therefore 6 feet.

So how far is "full fathom five?" About 30 feet, or a little over 9 meters.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Herman Melville's library

A catalog of Herman Melville's library has been created on LibraryThing. According to the library's profile page, the library "has been graciously catalogued by Merton M. Sealts, Jr. in his work Melville's Reading." The profile describing the library is delightful, with information "supplied by a sub-sub librarian," and Hart Crane's poem, "At Melville's Tomb."

When viewing the library, don't miss the gray text in on one of the top bars that informs you that, "HermanMelville has a suggested style for viewing this library (use it)." When you select the "use it" link, the library display will change to include a "Comments" column, pulling this field from the catalog records, which describes provenance, sources, existence of annotations, etc.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Log chips by John Lyman

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five:

(by Ted Miles, Assistant Curator)

Starting in July 1948 maritime historian John Lyman wrote and edited a mimeographed news letter called Log Chips: A Periodical Publication of Recent Maritime History. Each issue is twelve pages and each volume consisted of 12 issues. There were four volumes and later one of his friends Norman Brouwer edited a series of Log Chips Supplements.

The material covered within these pages is wide ranging and is a wonderful resource for those people who are interested in commercial sail in the Pacific after about 1860. For example there is a List of Launchings in the United Kingdom in most issues. The iron and steel sailing vessels that were built in the UK between about 1838 and 1907 were a major player in moving cargo around the world during this period. These vessels came to be called Cape Horners because so many of their voyages took them around Cape Horn into the Pacific Ocean.

Another area that Dr. Lyman was very interested in was west coast shipbuilding. In many issues he wrote biographical articles including launching lists on ship builders up and down the coast, for example Matthew Turner, Hans D. Bendixsen, the Hall Brothers and others. The men and the companies who built the East Coast schooners were covered especially in New England. There are lists of schooners from seven masts down to three mast and their histories.

Regular reports in Log Chips covered Recent Bibliography, Sail News and Book Reviews. An especially interesting group of reviews by California State Senator James Mills was a group of classic titles that were not new even 50 years ago and deserved to be better known. This writer has continues to use this approach in Relative Bearings today; the Newsletter of the Friends of the San Francisco Maritime Museum Library.

As mentioned Lyman did a lot of the writing, but other contributors included Commander Alan Villiers, maritime historians Hans Joaquin Gersdorf and Andrew W. Nesdall, Curator Robert G. Burgess of the Mariners Museum and so many others. Charles W. Morgan of Boston wrote letters and later contributed a 12 page index to the publication.

Further needs to be said on the Launching Lists of the United Kingdom. They are laid out geographically around the coasts from Newcastle and Sunderland all the way around to Belfast, Ireland. Changes of name and owners are recorded and in many cases final fates of the vessels. John Lyman took the annual lists back to 1875 and Norman Brouwer took them the rest of the way back to 1838 when the Iron Age was launched. She was the first ocean going iron sailing vessel in the world. I do not know of any other publication where you can get so much sailing ship data in one place.

Log Chips.

Kortum, Karl, and Routh, Donald. "John Lyman: the Hub of Our Wheel." Sea History No. 12 (fall 1978) (1978): p. 13-15. Print.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

"Potato, potato, potato"

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five:

An illustration of a one cylinder, eight horsepower Hicks engine that is in the Park's artifact collection, circa 1940. SAFR 17336, HDC 1092

Are you renovating a Hicks engine, or making a scale model of one?
Or even if you want to look at the engineering plans, we are an excellent source of accessible information. The Park’s archive collection, HDC 1092 SAFR 17336, includes blueprints, assembly and price lists, a catalog and instruction manual, photographs, and illustrations of parts. Blueprint title blocks indicate the unique engine series number, part name and number, and issue date. Plans for series B, C, D, E, F, W, Sketch, AY, BY, CY, DY, EY, FY, GY, HY, KY and LY model engines, which have one to three cylinders and horsepower ranging from 6 to 45, are included. Bay Specialties Company donated the collection in 1994. We also have a number of catalog records for our collection of Hicks engines and parts, and for related materials in the Library collection.

To read more about the collection, and to learn what a Hicks engine has to do with saying, "Potato, potato, potato," see the new Collection Corner article about the Hicks Marine Engine Archival Collection, and for more details, or to access the collection, call 415-561-7030.

--Contributor: Palma J. You, Archives Technician