REED, Edward J.

On the Unequal Distribution of Weight and Support in Ships, and its effects in still water, in waves, and in exceptional positions on shore. From the Philosophical Transactions.—Part II. 1871.

London: Printed by Taylor and Francis…1871

Large 4to, title leaf + pp. 413–465, and 6 lithographed plates (numbered XVI–XXI) of diagrams. Contemporary blue morocco, sides with ornate gilt border, spine gilt, marbled endpapers with inner gilt dentelles, gilt edges; a fine presentation binding with the author’s monogrammed initials in nautical emblems in centre of upper cover. Bookplate of Robert J. Hayhurst. Presentation copy, inscribed on front free endpaper “Arthur Wilson Esq. etc. etc. With the kind regards of The Author. Kirk Ella, Feb. 29, 1872.”

OFFPRINT of Reed’s highly important paper on naval architecture. The first comprehensive theory of structural loading was by W.J.M. Rankine in 1866, who showed that a curve could be drawn showing how the load varied along the length of the ship. Reed realised the importance of Rankine’s work and initiated action within his department to apply it to ship design. The work was carried out by White and John (acknowledged on the last page), and led to the present paper by Reed to the Royal Society. The implications of this work were enormous. Once the weight distribution was obtained, the waterline at which the ship was balanced on a wave in both the hogging and sagging condition had to be found and hence the distribution of buoyancy. Once the loading on the hull was known, it was possible to design a structure without excessive factors of safety, leading to significant weight saving. See David K. Brown, Warrior to Dreadnought. Warship design and development 1860–1905. “Under Reed there was a complete revolution in the way ships were designed; rules of thumb gave way to calculations based on theoretically sound principles and careful experiment” (ODNB).


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