Harland & Wolff Engineering Drawing and Plans. The earliest technical drawings are on cartridge paper in ink and pencil and often were tinted with delicate colour washes. To reproduce these for work around the Yard, a transparent medium was necessary and Tracing Paper was used initially.
Linen Wax Paper replaced Tracing Paper for general office us. This Drafting Fabric was treated with a waxy substance to stiffen it. This rendered the surface fit for drawing in either ink or pencil. Even to this day, the Harland & Wolff Engineering Drawings and Plans have a very distinctive smell. This fabric was found to be more durable, withstood frequent alterations and lasted better through the printing machines. However, it was still susceptible to tearing. These ink Engineering Plans and Rigging Plans were prepared by Tracers (usually women) from the draughtsmen’s pencil original once all the details were finalised. They were used for printing the plans that were distributed around the Yard for construction. Once they wore out another tracing might be made.
During World War 1 and 2 we were told the linen plans were boiled up to remove the wax and ink before being made into wedding dresses! Linen was replaced by Plastic drafting film known as Mylar in the late 1950s. This transparent medium eliminated the requirement to employ a Tracer. These Mylar copies could be used directly to make prints.
We have a wide variety of Engineering Plans of different sizes and complexity as they are drawn to scale. The interesting fact is that back in the 30’s when most of the ones we have were drawn they used both imperial and metric measurements.