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Wood Shavings to Hot Sparks: The History of Shipbuilding in Milford, Delaware

36 min   |   English  |  2010

Director: Michael Oates

Narrator: Don Wescott

Title: Scott Emory

"Wood Shavings to Hot Sparks": Milford's Shipbuilding History
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For over 200 years, the history of Milford, Delaware was intimately tied to its shipbuilding industry. Initially drawn by the Mispillion River and locally abundant hardwood forests, shipwrights are among Milford’s first settlers, building the town as they built their businesses. Eventually Milford boasted seven shipyards, employing three quarters of the town’s work force, and launching 400 ships. As new shipbuilding technologies emerged, the evolving skills of Milford’s shipwrights contributed to the development of new businesses in Milford and the overall growth and prosperity of the area.


Yet today only one shipyard remains—the former Vinyard Shipbuilding Company—brought back from near abandonment by a determined couple. Along with a committed group of volunteers, they now work in the yard’s historic buildings, preserving the renown Vinyard boats using the same tools that built them, and re-discovering Milford’s shipbuilding history along the way.


Funded by Sudler and Joan Lofland, Milford Museum, and partially funded by a grant from the Delaware Humanities Forum, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities and 302 Stories, Inc.

DVDs of this documentary can be purchased at the Milford Museum, 121 S. Walnut Street, Milford, Delaware, 302-424-1080.

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