US Frigate Constitution


"Old Ironsides"

History of the US Frigate Constitution

The US Frigate Constitution was designed by Joshua Humphreys and built under the supervision of Col. George Claghorn at Hartt's yard in Boston, Massachusetts in 1797.

Length overall



43' 6"



Gross Tons


She sailed with a crew of 475 Officers and Men.

The US Frigate Constitution, popularly known as "Old Ironsides", is the best known of our old time fighting ships. Her record of battles won and prizes taken is important, not only as an impressive account of gallant and successful engagements, but as a symbol of the spirit of independence of our young nation.

The US Frigate Constitution was built at a cost of $302,917. The hull was built of live oak timbers 18" to 30" thick, fastened with bolts and hardware, some of which was made by Paul Revere. She was launched October 21, 1797.

According to official classifiacation a frigate is a ship carrying from 24 to 44 guns; smaller than a ship of the line yet larger than a corvette. Actually the Constitution carried 52 guns and was oversize for a frigate. It must be remembered that the Constitution and other large frigates built at the time were somewhat of an experiment both as to size and lines.Fortunately they were admirably suited to our needs as history bears out.

The three most famous engagements in which "Old Ironsides" took part were the capture of the Guerriere, the capture of the Java, and the capture of the Cyane and Levant. The importance of these events in our history is far greater than just the local successes of the individual engagements. For the first time in history an American fighting ship had defeated an English fighting ship! We were asserting our maritime powers and the moral effect on our young and uncertain country was electrifying.

Our Model


The US Frigate Constitution has been built with great care and skill from the lines taken from the original ship. The hull has been carved from select basswood and finished to simulate the appearance of the real ship. Fifty-two brass cannons line the deck and protrude through gun ports. Decorated trail boards, quarter galleries, and the transom contrast with the dull black topsides and antiqued copper-green bottom. Masts are white, banded black, and stained and the yards are black. The model is mounted on a mahogany base with brass finished nameplates on each side of the name block. This model is a charming replica of American shipwight's artistry. The bluff bowed frigate lines are nicely proportioned and the intricate details make this an unusually handsome model.

Model Measurements

Length overall



15 1/2"

Width of main yard

6 1/2"


How to Order

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