The historical background of corvette ELISABETH
The corvette ELISABETH was one of the first ships of the Imperial German
Navy with propeller drive. She was the last warship built totally from
wood, after Arcona, Gazelle, Hertha and Vineta. By today's judgement she
only had a weak engine of 2240 HP and 2.33 bar steam pressure in the
The corvette was built 1866 - 1868 at the royal shipyard in Danzig and
came into service 1869. She was named ELISABETH after the wife of
Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm IV. The building advanced only slowly.
The launch of the vessel still took place under the flag of the North
German Alliance. With her elegant hull, the rigging and the figure head
(created by the Stettin sculptor Pitschmann) being a reproduction of the
name giver, she was considered one of the most beautiful German warships
The scant coal storage on board and the limited possibilities for supply
in ports, particularly when visiting the German colonies, put many
restrictions on use of the engine. Under sails, with drawn-in propeller
and lowered smoke pipe, she reached a speed of 14 knots. Under steam
with favourable conditions she came to 12 knots. The crew was 380 men.
The sail area was calculated as 2653 m². Below the waterline the hull
was plated with copper.
The ELISABETH participated in the ceremonies on the opening of the Suez
Canal, together with the corvettes Arcona and Hertha, the yacht Grille,
and the gunboat Delphin. The North German Alliance was represented by
the Prussian Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm.
The experiences in the Crimean War proved that wooden ships had
substantially lost combat capability and no more could be used for war
purposes. On transfer to the Imperial German Navy in 1871 the corvettes
were used as training ships for sailors. The number of 24-pounder
cannons (breech-loaders of Krupp) were reduced from 28 pieces to 18. Two of the cannons were put as "chase cannon" on foredeck and
quarterdeck. Journeys lasting two years, including visits to the
colonies, were no rarity.
One of them being especially remarkable: early in the morning of May
20, 1883, the captain of the ELISABETH reported seeing an 11-km-high
cloud of ash and dust rising above the island of Krakatau, thus
documenting the beginning of the eruptions from this Indonesian island.
The ELISABETH was deactivated 1887 and broken up 1904.
figurehead is preserved in the Deutsches Schiffahrsmuseum
Bremerhaven where I found it on display in October 2011.
Corvette ELISABETH ship model, photos, description and dimensions
several pictures of the model that were taken be several
photographers on different occasions and lighting. If you click on a
photo you will get that photo in high resolution. (If you use Microsoft
Internet Explorer or Firefox, press F11 to minimize navigation bars and
have a larger screen with the photos.)
This ship model was built in three years and/or 4200 work hours with
much attention to details. It is a true masterpiece that was made after
the original plans from the German National Museum in Munich. The ship
stands over a mirror. It is most probably unique in being made from
ebony and ivory (the white strips at port and starboard, the windows,
the stern ornaments and the figurehead). The mast rings and fittings at
the tops are manufactured from silver sheets. The figurehead was carved
after the original by a wood carving master from a block of mammoth
The ship model is 1 : 70 scale. Length is 145 cm, width 46 cm, and
height of 80 cm. The display case is 179 cm long, 69 cm wide, and 105 cm
high. The ship model was built by Mr. Achim Spors, Muenster, Germany.
This model has been already sold. The pictures and the data are shown in
gallery of the ship models sold
for people interested in naval history and to let enthusiasts and model
makers enjoy the photos and maybe get ideas or some guidance, if someone
builds such a model by himself.