1650 (ca.)Shipbuilding in Chebacco (Essex) began around this time.Economy and Industry, Maritime & Fishing Industry

The Chebacco shipyards built as many as 4,000 ships of all kinds over the course of four centuries, for many coastal towns including Gloucester. Chebacco’s woodlands were full of oak and pine that were perfect for shipbuilding. Schooners and fishing boats such as “pinkies,” chebaccos, and dogbodies were the primary products but yachts, steamers and tugboats were also produced. The town’s workforce became known for its specialists in all aspects of boatbuilding. Upon taking an order, a shipyard made templates that determined the boat’s shape and dimensions, particularly the keel and the ribs that framed the vessel. Hull planks would be secured to the frame with “trenels” (short for “treenails) that were long wooden spikes usually made from black locust. To make the hull watertight, gaps between the planking were sealed with oakum and pitch. After the decking was installed, Gloucester schooners were launched into the Essex River and towed to Gloucester for final outfitting with interior holds, masts, sails, rigging, and after 1900, auxiliary engines. Once the area’s forests had been depleted by the mid-1700’s, the oak used for the hull and the hard pine used for decking was imported from northern New England and later, the southern states.

EHSSM. “Historical Society Archives.” https://www.essexshipbuilding.org/historical-society-archives. “Fitz Henry Lane | Vessel Types | Historical Materials.” https://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/historical_material/?type=Vessel+Types§ion=Chebacco+Boat+%2F+Dogbody+%2F+Pinky&ref=catalog:18.
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