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Old ships and Ship-building days of Medford. Chapter 6: The California clipper Ship Era. the names of Medford-built ships are italicized. THE New York builders took the lead in the changes designed to improve the speed of vessels after 1840. Mr. John W. Griffiths, a New York designer, advocated increasing the proportion of length to breadth and sharpening the body fore and aft, with long hollow water lines, and bringing the greatest breadth and center of buoyancy further aft. Another improvement he suggested was to round up the ends of the main transom, thereby relieving the quarters and thus making the after-body finer and the stern above the water-line much lighter and handsomer. Captain Clark. Clipper Ship Era. Mr. Griffiths, in 1843, designed the Rainbow on these lines, although she was not launched until 1845. The superiority of this type of ship was that with their sharp lines and lofty canvas they could point higher, and were able to cross belts of calm and