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Updated: Nov. 24th, 2007

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Painters Under Counter. Author’s collection.

Painters Under Counter - Painters at work beneath the counter of a large ship. Author’s collection

Titanic in the Fitting-Out Wharf. Ray Lepien collection.

Titanic in the Fitting-Out Wharf. She is seen here in her lead-colored primer, applied shortly after launch. Ray Lepien collection

Mill Scale. Steve Hall collection.
Mill Scale - Steel plates await fitting on Titanic. The mill scale is clearly visible on the plates. Steve Hall collection

Newalls Insulation Co. Advertisement. The Shipbuilder / Author’s collection

   Exterior and interior paints - Oil paint differs from varnish in that it dries by oxidation and increases in bulk, whereas a varnish dries by evaporation and diminishes in bulk. Paint consists of two parts, the vehicle and the pigment. Linseed oil was the usual vehicle in those days; in drying it oxidized and formed a tough, leathery skin termed “lenoxin.” If used alone it was too thin and porous; to give it the necessary body or substance, a pigment was added - usually a mineral oxide. Although it then formed a tough elastic covering, it was neither perfectly air- nor watertight, for it contained minute pores which enlarged as the paint aged. To provide the durable and watertight surface required, two or more coats were applied so that each could fill or cover the pores or fissures in the one below.

  To achieve the desired color in a given paint, there were several pigments in general use in shipyards of the time and into the years which followed: red lead or oxide of lead, white lead or carbonate of lead
. . . (continued)


Image above, Newalls Insulation Co. Advertisement.
The Shipbuilder / Author’s collection

   Antifouling paint - The biofouling of iron and steel ship hulls was, and still is, a constant source of trouble for ship owners. As marine growth accumulates over the large underwater hull area, a ship's speed becomes markedly reduced, with a corresponding rise in the consumption of fuel. In ships such as Titanic, this meant a large additional expenditure of coal. As speed was the name of the game in 1912, fouled hulls became a serious chore to attend to. Ever since the introduction of iron ships there has been a sustained endeavor to produce a perfect antifouling paint - a composition which would be completely resistant to the attachment of seaweed and barnacles. Hundreds of methods of avoiding fouling had been tried, patented or proposed by 1912 (even before 1870, 200 patents were taken out), but a perfect one had not yet been invented, nor has there been one to this day . . . (continued)


   Cement - Portland cement was composed of chalk and clay (lime, silica and aluminum). When mixed, or “gauged,” with water into a dough, it quickly underwent a chemical and molecular change, stiffened and set. Some cement would set in ten minutes or less from the moment of mixing with water, while others took much longer - half an hour or more. The set did not leave the cement hard, it merely transformed it from a soft, wet dough into a comparatively dry solid; its surface, formerly glossy with water, became dry, and, to work it further, more water was added. The final set, or actual hardening of the cement, occurred gradually after the first set. A distinctive characteristic of Portland cement is that it hardened just as well under water, and for this reason was termed “hydraulic cement.”

   Portland cement was extensively used in the shipyard. As a wash, it formed a substitute for paint; and as a thick layer or paving, it protected the bottom plating from attrition as well as from corrosion
. . . (continued)


Other topics in this chapter:
Anticorrosive coverings - Shell markings (draft markings, sheer stripe, name and port, freeboard markings, draft markings)

Copyright 2007 Beveridge, Hall, Andrews, Klistorner and Braunschweiger.

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