Title: Building Warships and Nurturing Technical Talent at the Foochow Navy Yard during the Self-Strengthening Movement
Author: Li Mingyang    
Jounal: Chinese Annals of History of Science and Technology
YEAR: 2020
Vol.: 4
No.: 2
Page: 1–34
In 1866, after the Opium Wars, the Chinese official Zuo Zongtang established the Foochow Navy Yard, which aimed to facilitate the independent construction of modern warships. French advisers, engineers, teachers, and craftsmen were hired, and a series of French schools for naval construction, drawing, and apprenticeship were set up. Previous studies have nearly exhausted the historical material on the Foochow Navy Yard, but few of them give an exact evaluation on its shipbuilding and educational levels. This paper traces the French sources on the shipbuilding technology and educational system at the Foochow Navy Yard and conducts a comparative study. With the guidance and assistance of foreigners, the Foochow Navy Yard gained the ability to assemble ships and imitate engines, while it remained necessary to import design drawings and structural components. The most outstanding students that the navy yard nurtured may have reached the level of école Polytechnique graduates, but the quality of students was hard to maintain. The backwardness of its conceptualization and the lack of financial and political support also contributed to its decline.