Friday Dec 2nd, 2022
The iron-hulled U.S Paddle Frigate Michigan, homeport Erie, was launched in 1843 and commissioned in 1845. Michigan was the first iron-hulled ship in the U.S. Navy. The reader might be familiar with the “ironclads” of the Civil War. These ships were often just that-wooden ships clad in iron sheets to deflect enemy cannon shot. Michigan was made of iron. The 1840s was a time of experimentation in naval design. Ships had been made of wood for thousands of years, and that art had progressed to a high state development and had begun to see the introduction of steam engines to power vessels-even if most, like Michigan, were still fitted with sails. Michigan’s steam engine powered two large paddle wheels, one on each side.