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Merchant Marine circa 1800's?


I am a retired Merchant Marine and am trying to outfit myself in something peorid correct for a seafarer. NOT Navy. Can anybody help?

What ever ya was wearin' in the saloon when the drugged yer drink. ;D  Sorry could not resist that one and might be a lot of truth to it.  Welcome pard, I am interested in the answers you should get from those more qualified than I to give you guidance.

First thing to do is figure out who and what you are. Age can help determine that. You sound like you ought to shoot for "old salt".

Basically you need to do a great deal of research - that means you do it, you don't just ask around and take whatever anyone tells you. Move in to your local library. Look on the Internet and in the library catalog for lists of books about seafaring in the 19th century, there are literally thousands of books on that subject. Read, read, read. Think and talk about it. Read a lot more.

Look for groups that study the subject, there are probably hundreds in the US, it will just take time and effort to find them.

Best last book I read about it is Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana. The most common garb for a seaman at that time and place was "loose ducks and checked shirts". They called their hand-made garments "slops".

Museums are perhaps the place to see clothing like what you'll be wearing. Check them out on the 'Net, look at the pics. Write to the curators and ask questions. Get thee hence for long weekends of study. Mystic Seaport in Connecticut is Mecca for this stuff. New Bedford in Massachusetts is where you'll find out everything you need to know about whaling. The China and Yankee clippers are a lifetime study all by themselves.

And you must learn to do fancy knotwork, because you're not going to make a very convincing seaman unless you have tons of things made of knotwork such as fancy ends on the rope that closes your seabag, knotted handles on your seachest, etc. You'll get to know what an "arse" really isĀ  ;D

You could have an impression that few could rival. Fair winds and following seas, shipmate.


Thanks for the tips. Some of which I already should of thought of.

Steel Horse Bailey:
Seafarer, whatever happened?

Frenchie, did you ever hear any more about this?

Ride easy!


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