Monday, August 31, 2015

Going Dutch

In the 16th Century, the Dutch became rich through trade. They developed the first ship dedicated to carrying cargo--the fluyt. It had twice the cargo capacity of other ships and could be operated by a small crew using automation such as pulleys. By using specialized shipyards that built only fluyts, though larger, the ship cost half what it cost to build a warship. The sails were of linen with some hemp threads making up the canvas or duck sailcloth. In fact, the word duck applied to cloth comes from the Dutch word for cloth doek. Duck for sailcloth entered English in the time when the Dutch dominated trade.

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