Words About Ships: Snow

The snow is not actually a snow. It is a mispronunciation of the old Dutch word “snauw” which means beak and refers to the vessel’s sharp bow. Mispronounced or not, it was the most popular merchant ship in the Western world for much of the 18th Century.  One such snow, Jeannie, was built in 1760 amid Puritan shipyards of Boston .


For 25 years she sailed across the Atlantic, up the Firth and down the River of Clyde to the Tobacco Lords Glasgow. A full 80% of the colonies’ trade with Scotland at the time was accounted for by tobacco. On her return voyage, she carried a number of goods, most notably pig iron and ballast, materials needed to build infrastructure, and perhaps guns for the nearing Revolution.

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