Vintage USS Constitution Plaque

Presented is a foundry cast bronze plaque made from metal reclaimed during the 1927 restoration of the famous frigate USS Constitution. The plaque features a ship's wheel on a base, which reads: "This material was taken from US Frigate Constitution 1927." The inner barrel of the ship wheel features a raised relief image of the three-masted heavy frigate, with the text: "Old Ironsides, Launched 1797, 1804 Tripoli, 1812 Guerriere Java, 1815 Cyane Levant, U.S. Frigate Constitution."

Launched in 1797, the USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship still afloat. The Constitution is one of the six original frigates authorized by the Naval Act of 1794, and one of only three that were completed. Joshua Humphreys designed the ship and it was built by Edmund Hartt's shipyard in Boston. The three-masted ship has a southern live and white oak hull; Paul Revere made the ship's copper fastenings.

The Constitution first saw action during the Quasi-War with France, providing protection for American merchant shipping, and then in the Barbary War from 1801 to 1805 off the coast of Africa. She earned her legendary nickname "Old Ironsides" during the War of 1812. The Constitution defeated five British warships and captured numerous merchant ships. Her most famous sea battle was against the HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia in August of 1812. During the battle, when a British cannonball bounced off the hull, a Constitution crewmember shouted, “Huzzah! Her sides are made of iron.” 

Built at a time when wooden sailing vessel lasted only 10 to 15 years, by 1833 the Constitution was in need of repairs, yet was saved from becoming scrap when public opinion was stirred to salvage the ship. The publication of the Oliver Wendell Holmes' poem “Old Ironsides” helped to galvanize the public opinion. 

Recommissioned in 1835, Constitution was often the flagship of the assembled naval force, and served in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Pacific.  She conducted anti-slavery operations as part of the African Squadron and captured the American slaver ship H.N. Gambrill in November of 1853.
When the Civil War broke out, the USS Constitution was used as a training ship for the U.S. Naval Academy. In 1873, the Navy decided that the ship would once again be overhauled to take part in the country’s centennial celebration. Although still in dry dock during the celebration, the Constitution carried valuable artwork to France for the Paris Exhibition of 1878. She was deemed unfit for service three years later.

Following restoration that began in 1925, she was recommissioned in July 1931 and sailed on a 90-port tour along United States' coasts. Constitution now serves as an educational and outreach symbol of courageous and patriotic naval service and is  berthed at Pier One of the former Charlestown Navy Yard.

In fine condition. Cast bronze plaque, lead weighted base. Raised relief and engraved. The plaque measures 6 1/2"H x 6" W.  

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