Schanck, John

Schanck, John
SUBJECT AREA: Ports and shipping
b. 1740 Fife, Scotland d. 1823
Scottish admiral, builder of small ships with revolutionary form, pioneer of sliding keels.
Schanck first went to sea in the merchant service, but in 1758 he was transferred to the Royal Navy. After four years as an able seaman, he was made a midshipman (a rare occurrence in those days), and by perseverance was commissioned Lieutenant in 1776 and appointed to command a small vessel operating in the St Lawrence. Being known as an inventive and practical officer, he was soon placed in charge of shipbuilding operations for the British on the Great Lakes and quickly constructed a small fleet that operated on Lake Champlain and elsewhere. He was promoted Captain in 1783. In earlier years Schanck had built a small sliding-keel yacht and sailed it in Boston Harbor. The Admiralty accepted the idea and tested two similar small craft, one with and the other without sliding keels. The success of the keels encouraged the authorities to build further craft of increasing size, culminating in the Lady Nelson, which carried out many surveys in Australian waters at the end of the eighteenth century. Service with the Army and the transport board followed, when his special knowledge and skill were used to the full in the waterways of the Netherlands. Schanck rose to the rank of full Admiral, and advised not only the British Government on coastal defence but other groups on many aspects of hull design.
Further Reading
John Charnock, 1800, A History of Marine Architecture, etc., London.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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