Model ship collecting is one of the worlds oldest hobbies. In the ancient world, model ships reflected the peoples love and sometimes fear of these outstanding technological advancements. Back then, ships were the most advanced and complex technological achievements in the world. Interest in ships were high due to the impact they had on trade, adventure, and war, among other things. Model ships were used for many different purposes. Some of which coincide with what they are used for today, while other purposes have dropped off completely mostly due to cultural changes. Today, model ship collecting is still a world wide hobby. It seems that our fascination with sea faring vessels remains intact, and the enthusiasm has not died down one bit.
Model Ship Collecting in the Ancient World
Ancient model ships from Greece, Egypt, and Phoenicia were discovered lining the Mediterranean. Using these models as guides, we can determine the cultural influences and economic conditions of the time period. Model ship collecting in the ancient world was done for a variety of reasons. For instance, many model ships served as burial votives for the dead. While this may not be seen very much or at all in modern culture, ancient ship models were also used as toys, household decorations, and as art. Furthermore, the model ships used as household decor could also serve as more than display purposes. Some models were made into lamps or used as drinking appliances.
In Europe, up until the the 18th century almost all model ships that were made were done so strictly for the purpose of showcasing how the actual ship would look when finished. It was not until the Napoleonic wars that model ship collecting became a hobby, and even an art form, in Europe. This was due to imprisoned French and English seamen who created ship models out of random scraps laying around their cell floors. When people began buying these models, the prisoners where supplied with better materials such as ivory to craft much more luxurious models. And by the 1880s Britain was home to three model ship sailing clubs.
Model Ship Collecting in the Modern World
Today model ship collecting around the world is still very popular. They make excellent toys for children, great decorations for households, and fun gifts for those people in your life that you are unsure of what to get come the holidays. Unlike model ships of the yesteryear, in the modern era model ships can be manufactured much more easily. This is because of the industrial revolution that made it so that practically anyone can build a model ship from pre-existing kits. Before that, model ships were built strictly by master artisans who slaved for hours on end in order to create works of art. In spite of this there are still master craftsmen today who take model ship building and collecting very seriously. Furthermore, new to the modern era of model ship collecting are RC boats. RC boats are remote controlled boats that can be fully functional on water. These boats are great fun for young and old alike.
Model ship collecting around the world is as strong as it has ever been. While there have been some changes in the application and practical purposes of ship models, the joy of creating and collecting them still remains the same.