Danish Naval History Web Forum

Danish Naval History Web Forum
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DAnish ship Copenhagen/Slesvig

Forgive for writing to you in English, but I have picture of paddle steamer with two funnels flying what seems to be a Danish post office flag, and I think she may be the Copenhagen built in 1846 by Napier of Glasgow for C H Donner of Altona and bought in 1848 by the Danish government. She was used a mail carrier between 1850 and 1854 operated by the Danish Post Office between Korsør and Kiel. In 1855 she was converted to the Royal Yacht, and reverted to the Royal Danish Navy in 1880.
I believe her conversion in 1849/50 or in 1855 her machinery was changed and the number of funnels was reduced to one. The only picture that I can find of Copenhagen/Slesvig is late 1880s when she looks like she is going to the breakers. Does anyone know what she looked like in the years 1846-1855?
My regards

Re: DAnish ship Copenhagen/Slesvig

Perhaps the best way to get an idea of what the COPENHAGEN looked like in 1846 is to obtain her architectural design plans which - if they exist - may be found in the U.K., or even more precisely in Scotland.

There is a Scottish Maritime Museum that exists, where you may want to start your inquiry. for leads.

Robert Napier, coincidentally, built the iron "turret" warship ROLF KRAKE for the Danish navy - Napier's detailed design plans for the ROLF KRAKE exist and have been publicized in scholarly literature.

Robert Napier was honored by King Christian IX of Denmark, with the Danish Order of the Dannebrog.

Robert Napier established and owned a shipping yard in Glasgow, Scotland, but I am not sure that this yard had a formal name, i.e., was officially incorporated with an official name.

The archives of Robert Napier's firm may also include photos of the COPENHAGEN, as built, which is what you want.

Napier was the "father" of Scottish naval architects and marine engineers during the early industrial age, and seems to have personally trained several important early Scottish naval architects and marine engineers. This fact bodes well that all of Napier's design plans for his ships have survived until today - the same applies to photos of ships designed and built by Napier in his yard.

I do not know if the Danish Postal Service has its own archives or museum, but if it does, that might be a source to contact.

I believe there may be a maritime museum in Altona.

I am sure that the Danish navy would be interested in being informed of any successful results of your investigations.

Re: DAnish ship Copenhagen/Slesvig

I have a very distinct memory of having seen an artist's illustration of the Danish royal yacht SLESVIG that was in a copy of the LONDON ILLUSTRATED NEWS, from around 1855 - it was one of those "lithograph" type of illustrations. The caption to this illustration stated that the illustration was of the Danish royal yacht SLESVIG.

Although in black and white, the illustration in the LONDON ILLUSTRATED NEWS included the unmistakeable swallow-tailed Danish naval ensign. My memory is that the illustration depicted only one funnel. This illustration showed a schooner-type hull, and the SLESVIG had two masts, rigged with fore-to-aft schooner type sails.

I remember having once seen a Danish list of all of the Danish royal yachts, but that the SLESVIG was not included in this Danish list.

There is in fact a maritime museum in Altona - in German, the Altonar museum. I remember, from photos, that the Altoner museum contains a number of sailing ship models which are flying the Dannebrog. Some of these models are modern models, but there are also historical models.

Re: DAnish ship Copenhagen/Slesvig

It's possible that the SLESVIG was re-engined by the Danish commercial firm of Burmeister and Wain, which designed and produced marine engines for installation in the ships of the Danish navy.

If Burmeister and Wain produced the marine engines that re-engined the SLESVIG, then you may want to contact the Burmeister and Wain museum in Copenhagen, to see if they have any photos, etc., in its archives.

Re: DAnish ship Copenhagen/Slesvig

I believe that the Danish Naval Museum (Orlogsmuseet) - the website of which is listed in the "links" section of this website - has a searchable data base of all of the photos in the Danish navy's archives.

I just tried to locate this feature on the Danish Naval Museum's website, but was not successful in doing so.

The webmaster of the Danish Naval Museum's website must be from Aarhus, because EVERY time the Danish navy's website is revised, the website gets worse.

The Danish Navy Museum's website does have a searchable data base of the design plans of Danish naval ships throughout history. I searched this data base, and there were no design plans of the SLESVIG, but there was one page of technical details of the SLESVIG, shortly after her acquisition by the Danish state.

Re: DAnish ship Copenhagen/Slesvig

Thank you for all your information: I didn't understand the Aarhus joke - I was there in a ship once and it seemed a very welcoming sort of place, and don't they produce very good brannvin too?

I have a colleague who's is looking for drawings of Napier's ship and may yet strike lucky.

The problem with identifying these ships is that the sailing rigs could be changed depending on the weather (but not the masts), and the iron hulls lasted so long while there were terrific advances in machinery which become more compact over the century, so their profiles did alter over time. But the hull form of ship and of Slesvig look very alike.

I have already emailed Altonaer Musuem and also the (present) private bank C H Donner,and am seeking a link to the B&W museum.

My regards

Re: DAnish ship Copenhagen/Slesvig

Hi Peter.
The e-mail to the Royal Mail Museum is: museum@ptt-museum.dk.
Best regards Peter

Re: DAnish ship Copenhagen/Slesvig

Thanks - a very helpful young man there has already sent me pages from a book in Danish (lyckligvis var jag student i Lund for 40 ar sen och kan lasa dem) and someone else has sent me a picture of PS Copenhagen.

I am now convinced that the hull form I am looking at is the same ship (ie my two-funneled ship/Copenhagen/Slesvig), now all I have to do is show when she was re-engined and one funnel removed)

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