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Object Record

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Catalog Number 2000.008.017
Description Philadelphia Model Ship by Charles Parsons at 1:16 scale. Wooden ship is a single masted, square sailing ship. Limited rigging on the masts secured with knots. Mast has rolled sails and a long, thin red flag at top. The ship has one deck, with the mast sunken in the center. There is the frame of a cabin being built towards the rear. Resting on the cabin frame are long wooden poles and rolled canvass. There are 6 small cannons, 3 per side, on rear half of ship. There is a large cannon on each side of the ship towards center, and one large cannon at front of ship. Sitting on the railing towards the front of the ship are rows of cannon balls. The side of the ship facing the plaque has open sections that reveal the interior of the ship, including cargo storage in the rear. There are two, black anchors at front of ship. The rudder has a deep curve at the top and is held on by two black hinges. The ship also has a male figurine with a green hat, green pants and beige shirt, standing near the front cannon, holding a rope and surrounded by building tools. Also lying in boat are various coiled ropes and barrels, especially where the mast sits. The wood on the boat is light and without finish. Ship is mounted to a brown painted base and light stained wooden base.
Object Name Model, Instructional
Collection 3D - Documentary Objects
Title Philadelphia Model Ship by Charles Parsons
Date 1985
Creator Parsons, Charles
Role Artist
Creator Smithsonian Institute
Role Designer
Inscription Text "PHILADELPHIA / 1776 / MODEL BY / CHARLES H. PARSONS / 1985" (engraved on brass colored metal plaque on base)
Provenance Model constructed by Charles Parsons at his home in San Carlos.
Notes USS Philadelphia
American Gondola (Gunboat), 1776
Model by Charles Parsons,
Model Plans by the Smithsonian Institution
1:16 scale, Completed 1985

The Philadelphia is the oldest surviving man-of-war of the United States. Launched in August 1776, the 53-foot gondola was armed with three guns.

She was part of a f leet under the command of Benedict Arnold (before he “turned coat”), that faced off against the British on Lake Champlain off Valcour Island. The Americans were defeated in a six-hour battle on October 11, 1776. The Philadelphia was one of the ships that was sunk.

In 1935, the Philadelphia was raised. She is now in the National Museum of American History in Washington, D. C.
Dimensions H-36.5 W-45 D-23 inches
Medium Wood
Search Terms Ships
Parsons, Charles H.
War Ships
Smithsonian Institution
USS Philadelphia (Ship)
Subjects Ships
People Parsons, Charles H.