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standing rigging 1880s

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  • Member since
    March 2022
  • From: Twin cities, MN
standing rigging 1880s
Posted by missileman2000 on Friday, July 5, 2024 7:23 AM

I am getting ready to start an 1880s Chinese battle ship.  Would the standing rigging be tarred fiber rore or wire rope?


  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Friday, July 5, 2024 9:40 AM

An interesting article on the OceanNavigator website posits the introduction of wire rope rigging (presumably in general US use, from the context) between 1847 and 1851, then stating that its manufacture was common by the 1880's. My guess is that the UK would have been slightly ahead of that curve, given both their naval and industrial histories.

I seem to recall that most of China's ships in that era were built in British yards -- so barring any relevant photo references, I'd be inclined to go with wire rope.

But that's just me. Wink


George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Friday, July 5, 2024 4:47 PM

Would the standing rigging be tarred fiber rore or wire rope?

Excellent question to ask.

Iron wire rope will be about a 1/3 the size of equal natural fibre line.  It will also be greased, as it was difficult at sea to keep lamp-black lacquer adhered on wire.

Hadr part for modeling is that theconnections were usually in conical sockets fitted with iron wedges, or filled with tin solder.  Iron wire wanted to not be bent more than 9 times diameter lest the fibers/strands break.  So, an eyein 1" wire rope wanted to be 9" diameter when made up with a thmble or around an eye.

SO, for modeling purposes, the end points want to be much larger to the eye than for natural fibre lines.  This can be anomolous on a model, even while being prototypical.

Another tidbit from the 1880s is that chain was used for rathe a lot of running rigging as it could pass over smaller sheaves than wire rope.  Sometimes the chain was only used i nthe "working  range" of a given line, then a different line bent on the ends.

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, July 8, 2024 9:01 PM


Recommend "The Chinese Steam Navy" by Wright.

2000 Chatham Publishing. ISBN 1-86176-144-9

I bought it when I build Bronco Models Stettin-built battleship.

Not yet rigged but I used EZ Line, thin.

The Chinese yards were building steel ships by 1870, 20 years after the Europeans so wire rope standing rigging is a good assumption.



 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.


  • Member since
    March 2022
  • From: Twin cities, MN
Posted by missileman2000 on Tuesday, July 9, 2024 8:15 AM

Thanks, guys.  I'll go for the wire look.



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