Amazing Facts About The USS Constitution

The Ship Design Was Controversial

black and white image of the Constitution
Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images
Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Ship designer Joshua Humphreys elected to use a frigate design, so the ship could carry heavier weapons with the goal of outshooting and outrunning ships in her class. The hull had diagonal beams from the fore to the aft that supported heavier planking on the outer hull. It also had heavier decks and a longer hull for increased speed.

Traditional shipbuilders found this design a bit controversial, and construction was costly. Another issue was using live oak (60 acres of trees were demolished to build the ship and its lower masts). Most of the wood came from swamps in South Carolina and Georgia.