Ships made up of human bones

by Rick Roberts
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Who won’t appreciate a well and nicely crafted model of a car, ship, or boat? But how would you satisfy the hobbyist in you when there is not a single craft store for miles?

Ships made with bones of humans

French soldiers that got prisoned during the Napoleonic war found an unusual hobby when they were left alone for many years at the start of the 19th century. This unusual hobby was of fashioning ornate replicas of British ships, out of human bone and bovine. The French soldiers used any bones they came across to create these fascinating models. The rare bone ship models tend to sell for tens of thousands of dollars at auctions because collectors of these macabre historical relics go nuts.

- Advertisement -

How did prisoners of war make such accurate ship models out of such bizarre materials? French prisoners obtained beef and mutton bones from the food rations that were issued to them by their English captors. After acquiring bones for use in building replicas of ships, prisoners boiled the bones and bleached them in the sunlight to make the bones easier to shape and carve. The French prisoners of war used any bones they found, no matter what or whom they might have belonged to.

Even the pigs around the POW (prisoners of war) camp also helped to supplement the French prisoners’ bone supply by uncovering human skeletons buried in shallow graves.

Cobbling all the things together

In addition to human, cattle, and mutton bones, French prisoners of war made use of their own hair to fashion sail ringing to create sails. On some occasions, visitors to the camp from nearby villages and British officers would smuggle in pieces of turtle shells, tools, metal, and silk for the Frenchman to use.

To build the structure of the ship models, Frenchmen used the larger bones, and for smaller pieces, they used wood scraps for the finely detailed cannons of masts.

Mechanisms into models

Many of the Frenchmen artists built mechanisms into their models and replicas. There were some popular models of the ships whose mechanism attracted huge sales. The French prisoners of war attempted to make the ships at scale, but they often failed. Their craftsmanship far exceeded this shortcoming.

So this article was all about how French prisoners of war showcased their craftsmanship by building up models of ships using bones of humans. Besides humans, they also used bones that they used to come across, no matter what and who they belonged to. The models crafted by these French prisoners of war became very popular and used to get sold for huge amounts of money.

More history for you