It wasn't until the mid-1850's that glass technology advanced enough to give a reasonably clear, bubble free bottle suitable for model building. Sailors at sea whiled away the long hours carving and making many things and a high degree of skill was developed by many of these mariners. No one knows who first put a model ship in a bottle, but it occurred sometime during the mid 19th century.
The sailors used available materials, scraps of wood, thread and sail. The common tool was the jackknife most sailors carried. Usually the mariners modeled the ship they were on, or other ships they were familiar with. These were built outside the bottle, carefully measured to ensure the completed model would fit through the neck. The masts were folded down and rigged so that they could be pulled up after the model was inserted into the bottle.
The ship in a bottle is a type of mechanical puzzle called an impossible bottle. It is called this because items thought be impossible to fit inside a bottle are placed there, leaving the observer to wonder how it came to be. Many types of items can be found in this traditional puzzle, including decks of cards, tennis balls, scissors, and of course the ship in a bottle.
The complete "how to guide" to mastering the ancient mariners art of building ship in a bottle models,
Digital Woodworking Resources:
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Furniture Craft Plans
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My Shed PLans
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DIY Solar Panels Building Guides
Earth 4 Energy - Make your own solar panels or wind turbine. More info here
Home Made Power Plant - There are some other guides for DIY wind and solar generators, but all of those that I've read don't get into the same details. More info here