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Ship Models in the Altonaer Museum (Hamburg)

The museum was conceived right from the beginning with an educational purpose in mind, explaining the popular culture of the region, particularly also that of seafaring, shipbuilding and fishing. To this end the museum commissioned at the beginning of the 20th century a collection of models of typical ships of sailing age to be built. The models are based on either plans in the museum collection or plans lent by local shipyards. Unfortunately, the latter were apparently returned and subsequently lost during WWII, the flood in 1962 or due to neglect. The models are all kept in the 1/24 scale and the 1/36 scale for the larger ones and built by local older shipwrights, block makers, riggers and sailmakers. While the prototypes in most cases had long disappeared, the model builders would have grown up with them and hence would have known late 19th building and rigging practices.
The other important convolut of models are those that formed part of the acclaimed 1908 fishing exhibition in Berlin and were first obtained from their owners, the seafish marketing association, as a permanent loan to the museum and subsequently were purchased. Some of the models are executed in a very large scale.
Sadly the museum recently was threatened with closure, as politicians and city administrators (and perhaps) do not seem to appreciate this aspect of cultural heritage very much. The non-seafaring cultural heritage related exhibits, such as those on the popular cultural of the region have disappeared largely from public display.

Historical note on flags flown on the models
The King of Denmark was also the Duke of Holstein. For this reason, Holstein formed part of the State of Denmark, with Altona its second largest city after Copenhagen. In 1864 attempts were made to incorporate Holstein (and the Duchy of Schleswig) as provinces into the Kingdom of Denmark violating the London Protocol. As both, Schleswig and Holstein, were also part of the Norddeutsche Bund, this resulted in the German-Danish War. Thus ships from Holstein, including Altona, would fly the Danebrog up to 1864 and the flag of the Norddeutsche Bund thereafter, which in 1871 became the flag of the German Empire. Ships sailing to the Westindies, namely to what are now the US Virgin Islands, which had been a Danish Colony until 1917, were allowed to fly the swallow-tail Danish naval flag, while ships sailing in the Mediterranean had the King's monogram in the Danebrog to make it more distinct from the Maltese flag.

Altona was an independent city, first in the State of Denmark and then in the German Empire. It became part of Hamburg only in 1938. Hamburg itself remained a free city until 1871, when it became formally part of the German Empire. However, until today it retained autonomy as a state within the federal structure of the German Empire and its various successors. Until 1871 Hamburg ships flew their own merchant flag.
Danebrog (before 1864)
Merchant flag of the Norddeutsche Bund (1864-1871) and then the German Empire (1871-1919)
Merchant flag of Hamburg (before 1871)

Double-click on thumbnails for full-size images

Schlup ELBE (1836) in 1/24 scale. Built by D. Behrens in Schulau (near Hamburg) for Hans Oestmann.
She was 24 Commerzlasten/50 Registertons  (Inv. No. AB 1813)

Jacht THETIS (1842) from Arnis (Schleswig-Holstein) (Inv. No. AB 1814)

Snow (brig) ELISABETH (1839). Built for Conrad Hinrich Donner in Altona (Inv. No. AB 1829)

Schooner LEVANTE (1846) from Blankenese. Built in Schulau for Hans Meyer. 53 CL / 106 RT (Inv. No. AB 1813)

Schonergaleass NEPTUN (1841)

(Inv. No. AB 1822)
Ship JAVA (1852)

(Inv. No. AB 1859)
(Inv. No. AB 1828)
Medium clipper TRITON (1858)

(Inv. No. AB 1832)
Eidergaliot ELSABE (1886)

(Inv. No. AB 1816)
Kuff from Hadersleben/ Haderslev (1820)
(Inv. No. AB 1820)
Lühejolle MEDUSA (1911)

(Inv. No. 1959/89)
Störprahm DIE FREUNDSCHAFT (1748)
(Inv. No. AB 1818)
Helgoland Kuff NORDSEE (c.1830)
(Inv. No. AB 1819)
Eiderschnigge WILHELM (1861)

(Inv. No. AB 1817)
Galiot GRÜNHORST (1830)
(Inv. No. AB 1815)
Ship DORIS (1800)

(Inv. No. AB 1831)

Barque MATADOR (1833)

(Inv. No. AB 1830)
Baltic Ewer ACTIV (1854)

(Inv. No. AB 1812)
Pilot-Jacht DIE ZWILLINGE (?)

(Inv. No. AB 1835)
Schooner ECLIPSE (1842)

(Inv. No. AB 1824)

Builder's half-models from the Dreyer Yard in Altona

Pfahlewer (1/2 scale)
Besanewer HF244 from Finkenwerder (1/5) scale

Dugout from Ellerbek near Kiel. These dugouts were used by fishermen's wifes to bring the previous evening's / night's catch to a landing stage in Kiel in the morning, where the fish was sold directly from the boat.

Ship carvers' workshop


KARTING, H. (1999): Von Altona nach Übersee, Bd. I, Schiffbaumeister Ernst Dreyer und Altonas Segelschiffahrt im 19. Jahrhundert.- 240 p., Bremen (H.M. Hauschild GmbH).

KARTING, H. (1999): Von Altona nach Übersee, Bd. II, Die Schiffe der Dreyer-Werft.- 320 p., Bremen (H.M. Hauschild GmbH).

SZYMANSKI, H. (1929): Zur Geschichte der schleswig-holsteinischen Jachten im 19. Jahrhundert.- Der Kleinschiffbau – Z. f. Gebrauchs- u. Sportfahrzeuge aller Art, 1(15): 209-214, Berlin.

SZYMANSKI, H. (1929): Die Segelschiffe der deutschen Kleinschiffahrt.- Pfingstblätter des Hansischen Geschischtsvereins, Bd. XX: 81+XXI p., Hamburg (reprint 1977,  Norderstedt, Verlag Egon Heinemann GmbH).

SZYMANSKI, H. (1932): Der Ever der Niederelbe. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der deutschen Schiffahrt und zur Volkskunde Niedersachsens.- Hans. Geschichtsver., Quellen u. Darst. z. hansischen Gesch., N.F., Bd. IX: 410 p., Lübeck.

SZYMANSKI, H. (1934): Deutsche Segelschiffe.- Veröff. Inst. f. Meereskunde, N.F. B, H. 10: 167 p. + 92 pl., Berlin.

TIMMERMANN, G. (1974): Das Schiffbauhandwerk.- Schausammlungen des Altonaer Museums, H. 1: 93 p., Hamburg (Altonaer Museum).

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