Newport This Week

IYRS Library New Exhibit

The International Yacht Restoration School maritime library is pleased to announce a new exhibit, “The Marine Trades, 1870s-1970s.” Grouped loosely into boatbuilding, propulsion, marine systems and hardware, the exhibit includes more than 30 books, prints, drawings, blueprints, trade catalogs and advertising items from the library’s collection.

One of the earliest works in the exhibit is also one of the most recent acquisitions of the library, a detailed pencil sail plan for the A.J. Fuller, a 2,500-ton “downeaster” built in 1881 by Flint & Co. in Belfast, Maine. The drawing has extensive pencil annotations of sail types and dimensions, and comes from a portfolio of sail plans from the same shipyard, ranging in date from 1868 to 1893.

A later item with a Herreshoff connection, from the era of their involvement with yacht design and construction rather than engines, is a syndicate account book for Resolute, the successful 1920 America’s Cup defender. The account book dates from 1914 (before the race was delayed due to the outbreak of war) and lists prices quoted for sails by Herreshoff compared to those obtainable by the syndicate from other sources.

For the practically minded in 1932 who had tired of their Model A Ford, Palmer Marine of Cos Cob, Connecticut, offered a conversion kit to allow the old Ford engine to be installed in a boat.

World War II spurred the need for skilled works in numerous marine trades, and the exhibit includes books from this period relating to ship-welding, wire-splicing and radar development. The exhibition is rounded out by the evolution of more modern means of boatbuilding, from fiberglass in the 1950s to poured epoxy construction developed by the Gougeon brothers in the early 1970s.

The exhibit is on view at the Aquidneck Mill Building, 449 Thames St., and will run to early June. The library is open to the public Wednesday to Friday, noon to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m.

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