Behind every historic model ship that you see is a fascinating history. Building these ship models is arguably the oldest hobby known to mankind. The Egyptians were the first to build such ship models. They even placed it near the grave, when they buried sailors and merchants who spent their lives engaged in maritime activity. However, what seems like a hobby today was not so then. It was serious business. What remains today is a shadow of this fine art, which once enabled man to discover other civilizations and connect with them. It is difficult to imagine how human history would have been without the advent of model ships.
What a Historic Model Ship was first used for?
The earliest model ships were used for very practical reasons. They were tools that enabled engineering as well as commercial marvels. Here are some of the reasons our forefathers used historic model ship:
Prototype: Building a ship is a tough task even today. Imagine doing it without all the scientific advances and we know why ship models are useful. A ship builder would ask the specifications from their customers and then come up with a small prototype. This would enable the customer to know whether what they had in mind has been communicated to the shipbuilder. Furthermore the same ship model would then be used as a blueprint, since engineering was not well developed enough to map three dimensional objects on two dimensional papers. Some of these have survived till date and each of them is placed within museums as a historic model ship.
Education: The ancient civilization took due care that each model ship that they built was preserved. They did so to ensure that future generations did not have to reinvent the wheel. These models were then studied by students who came up with even better models and advanced the cause of ship building.
Religious Purposes: It is not unusual to find a historic model ship within a church or cathedral in Europe. The ancients worshipped what they could not control. Many countries in Europe were dependant on trade and ships were an important tool in procuring income. Merchants would worship their ships before they left on a voyage and would leave behind a model at the church for luck.
What a Historic Model Ship is Used for Today
Advancements in engineering have ensured that we do not need to build model ships anymore. But these ships have left a mark on the hearts of maritime professionals who still cherish them. Here is how a historic model ship is used today:
Glimpse of Previous Eras: A historic model ship may be found in a museum, where it has become a means to get a glimpse of a previous era. It reminds us of the adventurous times our ancestors lived in.
Memento: Many people present a model ship to their children or relatives if they are aware of their interest in all things maritime. These are cherished and used to create nautical decor in their living space.
Hobby: A large number of people also collect historic model ships as a hobby. Many collectibles are really rare and have sold for 6 figure prices, adding a financial incentive to it as well.
It is possible that a historic model ship is no longer rationally needed to build a ship. But the emotional attachment makes it a must have in any marine enthusiast’s collection.