William Tompkins built 307 different model ships at a scale of 1/600. Mr. Tompkins started building his massive collection when he was in his early teens, and he continued to make highly detailed models throughout his lifetime. The fleet of model ships includes a wide array of models that span several decades, if not more, so the collection offers an insightful view of naval evolution over time. The Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum has been fortunate to receive a portion of William Tompkins’ model ship collection for display. While the total fleet numbers over 300 ships, our display has over 70 of Bill’s 1/600 scale models which illustrate a great deal of US naval history.

USS Langley (CV-1, 1923) was the first carrier in the United States military arsenal. The ship was constructed in 1920 by placing a flight deck atop a collier (coal ship) called the USS Jupiter. The ship was named after aviation pioneer Samuel Pierpont Langley. The Langley was refitted as a seaplane tender and fought in WWII until it sank from a bomber attack. In addition to being the first US carrier, this was also the Navy’s first electrically propelled ship.

Exhibit added: May 6, 2014 - Last modified: January 25, 2024

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship