Anonymous: The crazy ship of Rotterdam (1653)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

A print by an unknown Dutch artist. This newsprint shows a ship which was designed by Nicolas Desson (mentioned on this print as Mathesios le Sieur de Lisson) in 1653 in the town of Rotterdam. The ship is a ramming ship which was submerged half under water and was propelled by a paddle wheel. The inventor claimed it could 'sink 100 ships within 24 hours and could make the trip from the Netherlands to Indonesia in a matter of 8-9 weeks' so it quickly got the attention of the Dutch admiralty. However before the ship was launched in 1654 the inventor had fled the city, leaving behind him the project and a lot of financial debts. The ship was left to rot when it was eventually sold for firewood. The text at the top of the print states that this is an accurate image is of the ship which in constructed in order to perform a great miracle'. the text below gives an explanation of the size of the ship. Engraving from 1653.