THE CONSTRUCTION COMMITTEE


In 1739 the Construction Committee was established with the primary objective of examining all drawings for the Navy’s ships and of going through all the related calculations. Furthermore, the Committee should serve as an educational forum for young naval officers. In this way the Admiralty attempted to secure a certain degree of continuity so as to ensure that the Navy would always have a well-educated young Danish officer ready to take over the important post of Chief constructor to the Navy.
It was decided that the Construction Committee should be made up of the Chief constructor, a number of naval officers with experience in the field of science, a number of able naval officers and a shipwright. The Construction Committee no doubt had a beneficial influence on shipbuilding at Holmen. The improvements were most notable in the second half of the 18th century. This very competent forum thus came to constitute a much needed supplement to the already excisting administrative apparatus of the Danish Navy and in certain periods of time the Committee in fact controlled all shipbuilding at Holmen.

With the establishment of this Committee the two most urgent problems for The Danish Navy had been solved. Firstly, the supervision of the actual shipbuilding process had been centralized in one expert forum, thereby ensuring that the ships would not be subjected to inappropriate experiments in the future. Secondly, the creation of the Committee had to a certain extent detached the king from the actual construction process and the complicated technical issues involved.

The Committee quickly developed into the country’s leading forum for science and technology. Over time its composition changed and it came to include some of the country’s best minds. Callisen, Warberg, Hee and Ljungberg, among others, were called from the universities in Copenhagen and Kiel. From the middle of the 18th century the Construction Committee’s field of activity was extended. A number of mechanical and technical inventions with no direct connection to Holmen were sent both from Denmark and from abroad to be evaluated by the Committee. Concurrently with this development other departments began using the Committee as a consultative body in technical and scientific matters.