“Folk Art Battleship”

I was recently in Milwaukee at a very interesting antique store in the 5th ward called the “Riverview Antique Market“. A model caught my eye…

Of course it was a very well made “4 stacker” US destroyer of WW1 vintage. These destroyers were built in large numbers towards the end of WW1 to defeat German U-boats and were subsequently transferred to England in 1940 as part of “lend lease” as the US tried to help the Allies while remaining neutral prior to our entry in WW1.

When I looked at the price tag I was appropriately saddened as they described it as a “folk art battleship”. The antique owner didn’t even think to spend a couple of minutes online trying to figure out if it was a model of a real ship or just an “art object” that someone built from scratch.

Sad but likely only 1 in 10,000 individuals who passed by that model would have seen that it was a “real” model; the odds are probably even less in a hipster neighborhood of people looking for “vintage” objects. After all, it is all just art, anyways.

I, for one, was impressed.

Cross posted at LITGM

9 thoughts on ““Folk Art Battleship””

  1. So? You are an American, make lemonade out of these lemons.
    Use their ignorance to your advantage.
    [me, I like the copper lamp next to that boat.]

  2. One piece of California history was when a flotilla of these 4 stackers ran aground on Point Arguillo NW of Santa Barbara near what is now Vanderberg Air Force Base. This happened back in the 1920s.

    Very embarrassing for the Navy!

  3. My uncle actually served in the Royal Navy through most of the war on one of those – HMS Rockingham (formerly DD273 USS Swasey). He died earlier this year, but just prior to that, went on a cruise where it was eventually sunk off the Scottish coast and left a wreath. It wasn’t the most heroic of stories – in the last days of the war the captain (a notorious alcoholic) got roaring drunk, decided to steer the ship himself and ran it into one of our own minefields!

  4. There’s an alt-history series by Taylor Anderson, Destroyermen, positing a couple of WWI vintage DDs transported to a parallel universe by a storm during the in the early days of WWII, during the Second Battle of the Java Sea. Along with them come a Japanese battle cruiser, a Catalina, and assorted other naval trinkets. These are not the first ‘transportees’ however. The British East India Company–and likely others–had been transported in the past.

    The alt universe is one where dinosaurs didn’t exactly go extinct; where lemurs became the intellectual pinnacle of the mammal line; where awfully big things swim the seas.

    This, to my taste, gets to be a too bit much ‘Alt’, but the descriptions of naval action aboard vessels already archaic at the time are interesting reading.

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