Mediterranean Wooden Shipbuilding

Economy, Technology and Institutions in Syros in the Nineteenth Century

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In Mediterranean Wooden Shipbuilding: Economy, Technology and Institutions in Syros in the Nineteenth Century Apostolos Delis analyses the wooden shipbuilding industry of the port of Syros, an important maritime and commercial crossroad in the nineteenth century eastern Mediterranean. The main axes of analysis are the economic, technical and institutional aspects of the industry in relation to the wider international context of shipping and trade. Based on unpublished archival sources, multi-language secondary literature and the employment of interdisciplinary theoretical tools Apostolos Delis not only highlights the national and international significance of Syros’ shipbuilding industry, but also contributes novel material to our knowledge of wooden shipbuilding in the Mediterranean.
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Biographical Note

Apostolos Delis, Ph.D. (2010), is Junior Researcher in the Institute for Mediterranean Studies/FORTH. His research interests include the history of the technology of the sailing ship, the shipbuilding industry, port history and the institutions of the shipping business.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements ... xi
List of Illustrations ... xii
Maps ... xvii

Introduction ... 1

1 The City and the Maritime Centre ... 6
From a Refugee Settlement to a Port-City ... 6
The Character of the New Port-City ... 10
The Urban Area and Its Society ... 16
The Maritime Centre ... 25

2 Syros Shipbuilding: An Industry before Industrialization ... 36
The Shipbuilding Activity: Definition Issues ... 36
The Syros Shipbuilding Industry at the Domestic and International Levels ... 40
The Level of Shipbuilding Technology in the International Context ... 42
Factors of Rise of Syros Wooden Shipbuilding in the Nineteenth Century ... 44
The Search for the Competitive Advantage ... 46
Factors of Decline in the Syros Shipbuilding during the Nineteenth Century ... 50
The Role of Steam ... 50
The Role of the Markets ... 52
The Reallocation of Resources ... 53
The Transition to Steam: Continuities and Discontinuities ... 55

3 Production, Productivity, and Performance of the Shipbuilding Industry ... 57
Shipbuilding Cycles, Historical Conjuncture, and Productive Performance ... 57
Shipbuilding Industry and the Markets ... 57
Shipbuilding Industry of Syros and the Grain Trade: A Case of a Dependent Demand ... 60
Long Shipbuilding Cycles ... 63
Short Shipbuilding Cycles I (1838–61) ... 65
Short Shipbuilding Cycles II (1862–80) ... 68
International Comparison: Classification and Evaluation of Production Level ... 70
Repairs ... 74
The Economics of the Shipbuilding Industry ... 76
Cost of Production: Total Cost and Average Price ... 76
International Price Comparison ... 79
Individual Cost and Cost Structure ... 81
Revenue of the Shipbuilding Industry ... 85
Productivity of the Shipbuilding Industry ... 87
Average Tonnage ... 87
Delivery Time of Vessels ... 90
Capacity of Shipyards ... 91
General Performance of the Shipbuilding Industry on Syros ... 93

4 The Production Process ... 94
The Institutional Framework ... 94
Ship Construction, Institutional Process and Transaction Cost ... 94
The Shipbuilding Agreement ... 96
Variations in the Object of the Shipbuilding Agreement ... 100
Timber Quality Control Issues ... 103
Special Demands on Technical Issues ... 105
The Shipbuilding Timber Agreement ... 108
The Iron Components Agreement ... 110
The Property Document ... 111
The Four Types of Shipbuilding Product ... 112
Agency and Ownership ... 113
The Certificate of Construction ... 114
The Technical Process ... 114
Technology and Methods of Construction in Syros Shipyards ... 114
The Phases of Construction ... 117
The Skeleton ... 117
Keel, Stempost, Sternpost and Stern ... 118
The Frames ... 120
Longitudinal Fastening Elements ... 122
Vertical Fastening Elements ... 125
Covering of the Hull ... 127
The Ceiling ... 128
Decking and Bulwark ... 128
Planking ... 129
Subdivision of the Ship’s Hold ... 130
Superstructures ... 130
Ship’s Equipment ... 131
Caulking ... 133
Launching ... 133
Ship Types ... 134
Brig: The Barometer of Syros Shipbuilding Industry ... 142

5 The Demand: Shipowners and Investors ... 146
Geographic Origin and Ownership Distribution of Investors ... 147
Distribution per Number of Investors ... 147
Distribution of Investors per Tonnage Capacity ... 150
Distribution per Values of Ships ... 152
The Making of Shipping Knowhow of the Groups of Origin ... 155
The Hermoupolis Groups of Origin—The Psariots ... 155
The Chiots ... 157
The Outside Hermoupolis Groups of Origin-Andros ... 162
Hydra ... 163
Santorini ... 165
Mykonos ... 166
Spetses ... 167
The Ionians (Cephalonia and Ithaki) ... 169
The Occupational Groups of Investors ... 170
Most Important Individual Investors: A Socio-Economic Profile ... 173
Towards a Concentrated Ownership: Specialization and Shipowning ... 179

6 Factors of Production ... 182
Organization of Production ... 182
The Shipbuilding Enterprise ... 182
Structure and Characteristics of the Shipbuilding Enterprise in Syros in the Nineteenth Century ... 183
Shipbuilding Enterprises and Shipbuilders in Syros: Origin and Know-how ... 185
Productivity and Classification of Master Shipwrights and of Shipbuilding Enterprises ... 188
Shipbuilding Enterprises and Entrepreneurship—the Making of a Shipbuilding Elite ... 193
Koufoudakis Family ... 195
Pagidas Family ... 196
Maskas Family ... 198
Sehas Family ... 201
Krystallis Family ... 202
Potous Family ... 203
Cooperative Forms of Production—Partnerships of Shipbuilding Craftsmen ... 205
Labour ... 206
Specialization, Division of Labour and Hierarchy ... 206
Workforce Capacity and Wages ... 207
Capital ... 209
Land ... 210
The Old Shipbuilding Area ... 210
The New Shipbuilding Area ... 211
The Ship Repairing Zone ... 213
Auxiliary Trades-Raw Materials ... 214
Organization of Timber Trade ... 214
Charters Transportation ... 215
Sales ... 217
Metallurgy and Ironsmith Workshops ... 220
Other Shipbuilding Material and Maritime Stores ... 220

Conclusions ... 223

Appendices ... 227
Sources and Bibliography ... 295
Index ... 316

Readership

Readers interested in maritime and economic history as well as academics, scholars and university students along with University, Museum and Public or specialized Libraries.

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