Robert Seppings

(1767—1840) naval architect

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

(1767–1840), British naval architect and structural engineer. Born at Fakenham in Norfolk, Seppings was apprenticed as a shipwright at Plymouth Dockyard, but his talents soon earned him promotion. In 1800 he began a series of experiments that transformed the structure of the wooden ship. At this time wooden warships were built with transverse frames and longitudinal planking, which was not the ideal structure to resist the strains imposed on ships in a seaway. Once the fastenings had been damaged, the seams would open and render the ship leaky and prone to further degradation. Seppings recognized that a ship was only as strong as its weakest part and that it had to be viewed as a single structure. He improved the structure of the ship and the fastenings in order to reduce the working of the timbers. He also improved the durability of the timber, so that the fastenings would hold longer.


From The Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Maritime History.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.