Skilled craftspeople and talented professionals
supported the ship- and boatbuilding industries and the ongoing
maintenance and operation of vessels throughout their working
lives, whatever their types and functions. Trades and services
included sailmaking, ropemaking, ships plumbing and provisioning
of vessels. Blacksmiths -- "shipsmiths" -- provided
metal fittings, and woodcarvers produced figureheads and other
decorative vessel features. As the age of sail waned, Connecticut
maritime industries adapted to focus on the manufacture and installation
of steam, diesel and gas engines.
Emma C. Berry, fore detail.
Photograph by Garrett Johnson.
Photo CD: 0397
Carving on the
billethead of the two-masted schooner Emma C. Berry. Built in
Noank in 1866 at the Palmer yard as a sloop-rigged fishing boat
and later re-rigged as a schooner, the Emma C. Berry was a well-smack,
having an open, water-filled hold for keeping live catch. She
is just one example of how vessels change form (and often function)
over time. In such vessels, Connecticut natives fished northern
waters in the warmer months and southern waters in the winter,
bringing New England architectural and other cultural influences
to areas such as Key West. The Emma C. Berry is now in the Mystic
Seaport watercraft collection.
Seven sailmakers, New London
Photo CD: 1341
Rope and sailmakers also played a key role in the
maritime industry. These men are standing outside Barry's Sail
Loft in New London. Two are holding coils of rope, and two long
wooden fids. Sailmaking provided the foundation of at least one
family fortune. Charles Mallory got his start as a sailmaker and
later established the Charles Mallory & Sons shipbuilding
firm. Like many families engaged in maritime trades, the Mallorys
involved themselves in a number of related enterprises.
Mianus Motor Works
Between 1895 and 1911
Photo CD: 4206
From the mid-nineteenth century on, marine engines
were another area of enterprise. There were a number of Connecticut
manufacturers and fitters of engines for ships and boats, including
the Mystic Iron Works, Lathrop Engine Company, Holmes Motor Company
of Mystic, and the Mianus Machine Works/Diesel Engine Company
of Mianus and Stamford. The Mianus Motor Works was originally
located on the Mianus River south of the current I-95 bridge.
Later renamed the Mianus Diesel Engine Company, it provided engines
for many types of vessels.
Engine room on board
the motor yacht Spindrift.
Photograph by Morris Rosenfeld
Photo CD: 3235
Increasingly, Connecticut-built working and recreational
vessels alike were powered by engines, as was the motor yacht
Spindrift, designed by R.M. Haddock and built by Luders Marine
Construction Company of Stamford.
Bark Caleb Haley at N.G. Fish Co.,
Water Street, Mystic
Photograph by Everett A. Scholfield
Photo CD: 4203
In the days when Connecticut ports were bustling
centers of seagoing commerce, vessels had to be outfitted and
supplied for their voyages. In some cities, businesses (called
chandleries) were able to focus on supporting these
needs. In many towns merchants had to diversify their stock and
services. The N.G. Fish & Co. store is an example. Nathan
Gallup Fish (1804-1870) had a long career in Mystic. He was a
ship's captain, shipbuilder and investor and owned the retail
store and coal yard that bore his name.
Newbury Block, Mystic
Photograph by Edward H Newbury
Probably late 1890's
Photo CD: 1341
Another family business serving the needs of the
maritime community was that of Thomas H. Newbury. He provided
ship's plumbing as well as other goods and services in the Mystic
area. Available at and through the T.H. Newbury store next to
the drawbridge on East Main Street were stoves, plumbing hardware
and souvenir plates, among other items. The commercial building
that housed his store and others, once known as the Mallory Block,
was referred to as the Newbury Block by the turn of the century.
Boats hauled out for the winter,
Between 1900 and 1915
Photo CD: 1343
Yet another source of livelihood was boat storage.
During the winter, many smaller vessels were hauled out and protected
from the elements.
Maritime Trades "Made
in Connecticut": Shipbuilding
sealing and fishing
for further reading