The Slow Yet Satisfying Hobby of Building Ships Inside Bottles

Popular Mechanics spoke with Jim Goodwin of Carolina Ships in Bottles about the slow, time-consuming art of fitting ships inside of bottles. The retired geologist explained how he got into such a specialized hobby. He had started off building model ships but a friend suggested he take it one step further.

I’ve been hitting the bottle for about 22, 23 years now. A friend of mine, he saw the big model ships that I had built, and he said, “Hey, Jim, why don’t you try a ship in a bottle?” So I read two book and I got hooked on the engineering aspect of having the mast collapse, as well as building the vessel, so that it would insert into the mouth of the bottle and making sure that it would fit inside the bottle.

Goodwin jokes that each process go slowly but the end-product is always worth it.

The art of ships in bottles requires a lot of patience. In fact, they are also known as patience bottles, and I joke and say that you either have patience or you lose it. But when you get it inside the bottle, and raise the masts, and everything fits perfectly, that is really exciting. That’s what kind of drives me to do this, as well as to do the next one.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.