HAROLD MAXWELL HAHN
launches a career in ship modeling
Up until this point Harold
had little to no
contact with other ship modelers.
When an ad appeared in the newspaper a ship modeling contest was to be held at the Maritime Museum in Vermillion Ohio, Harold entered the Niagara
The model won first place, which was
the first of many awards Harold
the competitive print shows Harold
found a new and
exiting field in ship modeling.
At about the same time, Harold
found an invitation to join a Washington D.C. based group called the Nautical Research Guild
Joining the guild launched Harold
into a career that challenged his
artistic talents as well as provided an outlet for his
From the first model Harold
included figures on board each ship as well as a mini dioramas as a nameplate.
next project would be a diorama of a colonial shipyard.
In 1968 Harold M Hahn
appeared in the spring issue vol.15 no. 1 of the Nautical Research Guilds journal
under introduction of new members listed as artist and model builder.
The point where an accomplished, multi talented artist went from etching, watercolors, and drawing to a different medium, model ship building.
didn't just dabble with model ship building he
revolutionized it, setting the standard in research and model building, bridging the gap
between craft and art.
A prolific artist Harold produced a body of work from 1968 to 1984 when he printed his last etching and his last ship model was finished in 1994.
work shop and tools have been distributed to family members who can use them.
body of work consists of ship models, research archives, books, etchings, articles, photographs and ship drawings, at the age of 87 Harold
still contributes to the art of model ship building.
didn't miss an issue of the journal and continued to contribute shop notes and articles.
The following summer the NRG conference was held at Mystic Seaport Museum
At the conference he
met a fellow who lived on the Ohio Indiana border.
For a number of years after that first meeting Harold
made Saturday pilgrimages from Cleveland to Norwalk to visit Bob.
A query in the journal back in 1969 prompted the mechanical engineer in Harold
to come up with an idea to level and hold the frames of a plank-on frame model.
The article was the premier of the "Hahn jig" that every scratch model builder is familiar with.
The two models in the article were the HANNAH and the SULTANA built for the shipyard diorama.
The 1/8 scale models were made of Maple and delicate parts were of Boxwood.
Each model contained from 2,500 to 3,000 pieces.
Only four models were intended for the shipyard diorama, however a fifth model was added the SIR EDWARD HAWKE which followed in a separate article in the same issue.
An editorial note explained the back to back publishing of the two articles "It was originally planned to print the Sir Edward Hawke article in the next issue NRG
but it complemented and supplemented Mr. Hahn's
excellent discourse on miniature plank-on frame technique so well that the studies belong together and are so presented.
stated when he
finished the first article on the HANNAH and the SULTANA a set of frame drawings would make the story more meaningful.
Rather than rehash the working drawings of the first two models he
started fresh with the SIR EDWARD HAWKE.
By the summer of 1972 in the NRG journal
an announcement appeared "Western Reserve Nautical Guild
is a new group, centering on Cleveland.
The officers are: Larry Sperling, Pres Bill Schnabel, Vice Pres Michael Rybicki, sec Dr. Irwin Readerman, treas, Herndon Oliver Press secy.
Harold Hahn was the program director.
They started with fifty members and boundless enthusiasm, and we wish them the best of fortune."
Looking back Harold
said the club was a bit of a disappointment as most of the members were plastic kit builders and only a few worked in wood.
One important thing He
did pick up was the use of special carbon steel saw blades tapered on the sides which made cutting thin strips easier.
The club lasted only a few years.
The term "Hahnism" has turned up in this generation of model builders.
It refers to the reasons why Harold
did the thing he
Mind you Harold Hahn's
work was never intended to be a study of naval architecture nor a thesis on the principals and practices of 18th century ship building.
diorama of the colonial shipyard there were no plank-on frame modelers plans or true plank-on-frame kits, only a commercial ploy to produce a plank on frame kit economically, with no consideration to the modeler.
In 1969 Vol.16 no. 1 Harold
submitted another shop note on making eyebolts and ringbolts followed in issue no. 2 on drilling deadeyes in a jig.
In this same issue is the first of a long series of full articles this one on Carving figures For Ship models.
|Home | About Us | Alvin Clark | Dave's Place | Harold Hahn | Links | Lively | Oneida | Rogers | Wood | Revenue Cutter | Shop On-Line