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Ships Past and Present, from Harper's

SHIPS OF COLUMBUS. SHIPS OF COLUMBUS.
NORWEGIAN SHIP OF THE TENTH CENTURY. NORWEGIAN SHIP OF THE TENTH CENTURY.
THE FIRST OCEAN STEAM-SHIP. THE FIRST OCEAN STEAM-SHIP.
THE "MAYFLOWER." THE "MAYFLOWER."
OCEAN STEAM-SHIP OF TO-DAY. OCEAN STEAM-SHIP OF TO-DAY.
AMERICAN CLIPPER SHIP. AMERICAN CLIPPER SHIP.

SHIPS PAST AND PRESENT.

Above are given illustrations of six different styles of vessels, all of which are correct drawings of ships that in different ages have acted important parts in the history of this continent.

The upper right-hand picture represents a Norwegian war ship of the tenth century, and in such a one Scandinavian traditions assert that, early in the eleventh century, Olaf Ericsson and his hardy crew sailed into the unknown west for many a day, until at length they reached the shores of America. On the authority of these same traditions, some people assert that the structure known as the "old stone mill of Newport" was erected by this same Olaf Ericsson, and left by him as a monument of his discovery.

If Ericsson and his men did make the voyage across the unknown ocean, it was a very brave thing for them to do, for as the picture shows their ship was a very small affair when compared with the magnificent vessels of to-day, and was ill fitted to battle with the storms of the Atlantic. She was of about ten tons burden, or as large as an oyster sloop of to-day, and carried a crew of twenty-five men. A single mast was stepped amidships, and this supported the one large square sail which was all that ships of those days carried. Well forward of the mast was a single bank of oars, or long sweeps, that were used when the wind was unfavorable, or during calms.

Although this style of craft appears very queer to us, in those days it was considered the perfection of marine architecture, and in these little ships the fierce Scandinavian Vikings, or sea-rovers, became the scourge and terror of the Northern seas.

The upper left-hand picture represents three ships very different in style from the first, but still looking very queer and clumsy. They are the ships in which, in—who can tell the date?—"Columbus crossed the ocean blue," and made that discovery of America which history records as the first. These caravels, as they were called, were named the Santa Maria, Pinta, and Nina. The first-named was much larger than the others, and was commanded by Columbus in person; but large as she was then considered, she would now be thought very small for a man-of-war, as she was, for she was only ninety feet in length. She had four masts, of which two were fitted with square and two with lateen sails, and her crew consisted of sixty-six men. In old descriptions of this vessel it is mentioned that she was provided with eight anchors, which seems a great many for so small a ship to carry. The other two vessels were much smaller, and were open except for a very short deck aft. They were each provided with three masts, rigged with lateen-sails.

From this time forth a rapid improvement took place in the building of ships. They were made larger and stronger, as well as more comfortable; a reduction was made in the absurd height of the stern, or poop, and much useless ornamentation about the bows and stern was done away with.

In the third picture is shown a model ship of the seventeenth century, which is none other than the Mayflower, in which, in 1620, the Pilgrims crossed the ocean in search of a place for a new home, which they finally made for themselves at Plymouth.

During the eighteenth century trade increased so rapidly between the American colonies and the mother country that the demand for ships was very great, and the sailing vessels built then and early in the present century have not since been excelled for speed or beauty. But a great change was about to take place; and early in this century people began to say that before long ships would be able to sail without either the aid of wind or oars, and in 1807 Robert Fulton built the first steamboat. Twelve years later the first ocean steamer was built, and made a successful voyage across the Atlantic. She was named the Savannah, and our fourth picture shows what she looked like.

The last two pictures are those of a full-rigged clipper ship of to-day under all sail, and one of the magnificent ocean steamers that ply so swiftly between New York and Liverpool, making in eight or nine days the voyage that it took the Savannah thirty days to make.