At The Box… learning about the age of sail.

At the museum the other day… and learned a few things. The origin of the word ‘figurehead’ – the carved character placed on the bow (that’s the front, right?) of the ship. This figurehead would travel with the ship everywhere it went – seeing action, seeing the crew come and go, seeing storms and weather and wind. And then, when ships were destroyed and decommissioned, it was said that the soul of a ship was in the figurehead. So they would be salvaged, and memorialized in a harbour or harbourmaster’s office somewhere. Use the term figurehead, these days, and you really imply something, or specifically, someone, unimportant. “He’s associated with the cause, but he’d just a figurehead.” And yet figureheads were said to hold the soul, at one stage. Seems in life, the more things stay the same, the more they change.