In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Historic Hallowell

Industrial Recources

In earlier days, ships were made of wood, but later were made of metal like iron. The ships also needed sails so that they could move. As they progressed in technology, the ships relied more on oil and an engine than wind power. On a ship, it was important to have lifeboats in case of an emergency. If the ship owners were really concerned about safety, they would put paddles on the lifeboats. One of the most important things of a ship was people. Skilled people were necessary to build the ship, inspect the ship, get the materials to build a ship, and sail the ship.

Ship's Caulking Tool Kit
Ship's Caulking Tool KitDavistown Museum

Early shipbuilding in Hallowell was quite different from modern shipbuilding today because of the tools used. Here are some of the tools they used followed with their descriptions: Auger, Caulking Mallet, Horsing Iron, Jerry Iron, Nog, Oker, Pitch Ladle, Racing Knife, Reeming Iron, and Wrung Staff.
Now here are the descriptions of each tool. The Adze was a shipright's tool used for shaping and dressing wood while the Auger was used for drilling holes. The Axe was a tool typically used for chopping wood with usually a steel blade attached at a right angle to a wooden handle. The Beetle was a tool with a heavy head and a handle used for tasks such as ramming, crushing, and driving wedges. The Caulking Mallet was a waterproof filler and sealant, used in building work and repairs. The Drawing Knife was one of the tools to build ships. Horsing iron, and jerry iron worked together on this, the horsing iron has caulk away deck seams while the Jerry Iron had to extract old seems from the deck seams. The Nog was a small piece or a block of wood, and the Oker was used to mark red chalk on wood. The Racing Knife marked or shaped a cut of an object. The Reeming Iron was an iron wedge used to wedge up seems before caulking it. A Shipwright's Tool was used in attaching the hull planking to frame timbers. It consisted of a sturdy, wooden rod tapered at both ends. The Rain Stave was used together with ring bolts called wrung or rain bolts to force the planks closer to their shape and the ship's frame.