Riveting began with the first iron hulled ships in the early 1800's and followed on the way blacksmiths joined two pieces of metal together. As new technology was developed the process could be done by fewer men and more efficiently.
Liberty ships continued to be built with rivets after welding hulls had become more common. Skilled rivet teams were plentiful and welders were still learning their trade. Welding also came with problems of cracks and fractures. The riveted hulls of the Liberty Ships produced at the Fairfield shipyard did not experience any failures. The method used produced extremely strong hulls and the ships were in great demand even after the war for this reason.
The challenge to having rivet work done today is that there aren't many people who can do it. Beyond skill it takes strength and endurance. The rivet gun is heavy and most of the work is done facing upward on the bottom of the hull. A visit to the shipyard takes a great deal of coordination, and money. One way to raise funds for new rivets is to place old rivets in good homes. For a tax deductible donation you can own your own piece of history. Once you've read through the blog and watched the video you can CLICK HERE and send for your own rivet on a commemorative stand.
Our Rivets are available for a donation of $100. We invite all donors to pick them up on the ship on April the 11th from 11am to 2pm. We will offer light fare, VIP access to the ship and the ability to have a preview of some of the new parts of our Living History Cruises. If unable to attend April 11th, we will ship the rivets at that time to the remaining donors.
Here's a video showing the process of riveting the hull. This is our own JOHN W BROWN at Colonna's Shipyard this past fall.
Seen above: The double bottom tanks of the BROWN do not offer a spacious work environment for the "Bucker." There are at least two men in the tanks at any time during the process.
You can own your own piece of history! CLICK HERE to make a tax deductible contribution to the Rivet Drive. All contributions will go towards keeping the JOHN W BROWN in tip top shape and sailing for years to come.
Project Liberty Ship, Inc is a 501(c)3 non-profit, all volunteer organization engaged in the preservation and operation of the historic ship JOHN W. BROWN as a living memorial museum. Gifts to Project Liberty Ship are tax deductible.