USS Constitution - "Old Ironsides" - Wooden Model Sailing Ship, 38" Long. Individually built, completely assembled, handcrafted model of the USS Constitution.
1794-1797: CONSTITUTION was built by Colonnel George Claghorn at Edmond Hartt's shipyard in Boston. Made from more than 2,000 trees, with timbers felled from Marine to Georgia and armed with cannons cast in Rhode Island and copper fastenings were provided by Paul Revere. Launched on October 21, 1797, she first put to sea in 1798. The USS CONSTITUTION has won every battle she's ever fought - over 40 of them! During the War of 1812 a British sailor saw that their shot seemed to rebound harmlessly off Constitution's strong live oak hull giving her the nickname "Old Ironsides". Resting in Boston Harbor, She is the oldest commissioned warship in the world.
Hand Built, Fully Assembled museum quality model with Display Stand
Measures 38" in length, 32" in height and 13" wide
Beautifully constructed of exotic woods such as ebony, rosewood, yellow and red cedar, mahogany, teak, black wood, walnut, cherry, birch and maple and other tropical woods
Researched and completely built from scratch, one at a time, in scale to the original plans
100% hand built from scratch using "plank on frame" construction method, gluing together multiple pieces of dry, thin wood
Finely painted and varnished finishes
Metal parts and details that are bronzed, gold tone or chrome plated or painted
Fabric sails with intricate line rigging
With these artistic assemblies, there will be minor differences in appearance
Each model ship or boat is individually packed in a carton box. A wooden frame is used to protect most model tall ships and boat models from breakage if the box is accidentally tipped over, dropped, etc... Sailboats and sailing ships with simpler detail are packed with masts folded down, ready to display after simple, easy assembly.
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Constitution was built at Edmund Hartt's shipyard in Boston, Massachusetts from the resilient lumber of 2,000 live oak trees (specifically Southern live oak) cut and milled at Gascoigne Bluff in St. Simons, Georgia. Constitution's planks were up to seven inches (178 mm) thick. The ship's design was also unique for its time because of a diagonal cross-bracing of the ship's skeleton that contributed considerably to the ship's structural strength. Paul Revere forged the copper spikes and bolts that held the planks in place and the copper sheathing that protected the hull. It took several abortive attempts to launch Constitution in 1797 before she finally slipped into Boston Harbor. Armed, Constitution first put to sea 22 July 1798 and saw her first service patrolling the southeast coast of the United States during the Quasi-War with France.
From 1992 to 1995, the Constitution underwent a 44-month refit and overhaul that returned the ship to fully sailable condition. Her refit was far less extensive and intensive than Constellation's, as Constitution was in much better shape. The refit restored many of her original hull design elements that had been omitted to save time and money in previous refits, including Humphreys' unique diagonal riders which resist hogging.
On July 21, 1997, as part of her 200th birthday celebration, Constitution set sail for the first time in 116 years. She was towed from her usual berth in Boston en route to an overnight mooring in Marblehead. The visit to Marblehead marked the first time since 1934 that the ship had been absent overnight from its berth in Charlestown. Embarked dignitaries among the approximately 450 personnel onboard included the Secretary of the Navy, Chief of Naval Operations, the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps (General Richard I. Neal), Senator Kennedy, and the venerable Walter Cronkite, an avid sailor. A little more than five nautical miles offshore, the tow line was dropped, and the commanding officer (Commander Mike Beck, USN) ordered her six sails set -- (jibs, topsails, and driver). Constitution then sailed unassisted for 40 minutes on a South South East course. With true wind speeds of about 12 knots, the ship attained a top recorded speed of six and a half knots. While under sail, her modern naval combatant escorts, USS Ramage (DDG-61) and USS Halyburton (FFG-40), rendered Passing Honors to Old Ironsides. The ship was overflown by the Blue Angels, honoring the ship's first sail in over 116 years. Inbound to her permanent berth at Charlestown the following evening, she rendered a 21-gun salute to the nation, abeam Fort Independence (Castle Island) in Boston Harbor.
The modern day role of "Old Ironsides" is that of "ship of state". USS Constitution is today considered the most famous vessel in American naval history. Her mission is to promote the Navy to millions of visitors and observers each year. The crew of 55 sailors participates in ceremonies, educational programs and special events (including sail drill) while keeping the ship open to visitors year-round and providing free tours. The crew are all active-duty sailors and the assignment is considered special duty in the Navy. Traditionally, the duty of captain of the vessel is assigned to an active duty Navy commander.
While Constitution is the oldest fully commissioned vessel afloat, she is not the oldest commissioned. HMS Victory holds the honor of being the oldest commissioned warship by three decades, however Victory is permanently drydocked.
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