This model was built by Captain Henry A. Starrett of Belfast aboard ship. Construction took 7 years and was done at sea while serving as Master of the Thayer and the Levi G. Burgess. The model has carved ivory fittings and silk and wire rigging. Starrett was the master of the Frank N. Thayer from 1874-1878. The vessel was the first one of that name, built for Thayer & Lincoln, a Boston firm, in Kennebunkport in 1868. A 1160 ton vessel, she was succeeded by a larger 1648 ton vessel of the same name built in Newburyport in 1878.
A display wall showing a number of builder's half models, used to design ships in the nineteenth century on the Maine coast. The lifts or layers of wood are taken apart and measured, in order to lay out the shape of the vessel and its frames for construction. The display also shows a number of shipbuilding tools, including adzes, caulking hammers, a drawknife, clamps, an auger, and a serving mallet.
After the planned vessel's hull is modeled using the carved half model, the lifts are taken apart and measured. The shape of the hull is laid out full size, a process called lofting, on a large floor. From the lofting of the frames, shipbuilders make molds or patterns, which are used to select and shape frame timbers made of parts called futtocks.
This image is from Basil Greenhill and Sam Manning, The Evolution of the Wooden Ship, 1988, p. 95. Used by permission of the artist, Sam Manning.
This diagram shows how a half model is used to design a ship. This lift model is made of a number of lifts or layers of wood, pinned together. The model is then carved. After the model has its final shape, the model is taken apart and the lifts measured. Vessels designed this way are usually said to be modeled rather than designed.
This image is from Basil Greenhill and Sam Manning, The Evolution of the Wooden Ship, 1988, p. 91. Used by permission of the artist, Sam Manning.
Builder's half model of the ship William H. Conner, built in Searsport in 1877 by Marlboro Packard, her master builder, working in the Carver yard.
The Conner was the last and largest full-rigged ship built in Searsport , costing over $100,000. Apparently in three voyages she earned her construction costs, but that was the exception; 15% was closer to the rule. Listed in the Register (shipping registers listed all merchant vessels) until 1898, she was finally turned into a barge and sunk off Sandy Hook.