Joshua Humphreys

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Joshua Humphreys (June 17, 1751 – January 12, 1838) was an influential and successful ship builder in the United States.

Humphreys was born in Haverford, Pennsylvania and died in the same place. His residence, Pont Reading, is still a private residence.

Life

As a youth, Humphreys was apprenticed to a shipbuilder in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During the American Revolutionary War he was active as a designer, and played a major part in planning Randolph, a frigate, and a 74-gun ship which was never built.

After the war Humphreys became a shipbuilder in Philadelphia. When Congress in 1794 passed the Naval Act of 1794 providing for the construction of six frigates, it called on him to design them. He was appointed Naval Constructor 28 June 1794 and began work on these ships, the beginnings of the U.S. Navy. Reputedly, one of the inspirations for his frigate designs was the South Carolina.

United States was built by Humphreys in Philadelphia, and was the first of the new ships to be launched on 10 May 1797. These vessels were larger and faster than other ships of their class and formed the core of the Navy during the War of 1812, and scored several victories against British ships. Humphreys' skill is evident by the fact that one of these ships, Constitution (Old Ironsides), is still afloat.

His six frigates were:

Family

His brother was Charles Humphreys, a member of the Continental Congress....
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