In the 17th and 18th centuries, ships large and small carried Europeans from the British Isles, European colonists and American natives from the Eastern Seaboard and the West Indies, Africans from the slave forts, and all sorts of goods across and around the Atlantic and Caribbean, as a British Atlantic empire grew in population, wealth, and exploitation. The ships were the principal technology and most complex and expensive machines of their world—in fact they made that world possible, and thus in time made our own world possible. But in the general course of maritime technological history, the merchant ships of the Atlantic World have not been the subject of much attention, either popular or academic. From a macro perspective, they are considered rather static technology, treading water or marking time between the development of the ocean-going European ship of the late 1400s and the viable steamship and “clipper ship” of the 19th century. But given the dynamism of the British Atlantic World between its tentative establishment and its commercial re-integration after the American Revolution, it is difficult to believe that this core technology was indeed static; perhaps an examination of the continuity and change in British Atlantic ship technology has something to teach us about how this world worked, how technology works in human society, and how our ability to design and build ocean-going watercraft has evolved.