Why does the navy use porcelain onboard ships despite the risk of breakage?

When it comes to naval traditions, there are many that may seem peculiar to the uninitiated. One such tradition is the use of porcelain dishes onboard ships. Despite the obvious risk of breakage in a turbulent environment, the navy has continued to use porcelain for centuries. This practice may seem counterintuitive, but there are several compelling reasons behind it.

Historical Significance

The use of porcelain onboard ships dates back to the age of exploration. Porcelain, being a high-status product, was often used by the officers and the captain as a symbol of their rank and prestige. It was a way to maintain a semblance of civility and refinement amidst the harsh conditions at sea. This tradition has been carried forward to the present day, with porcelain still being used in the officers’ mess on many naval vessels.

Practical Considerations

While the risk of breakage is indeed a concern, there are several practical reasons why porcelain is preferred over other materials. First, porcelain is non-reactive and does not impart any taste to the food, unlike metals which can sometimes react with acidic foods and affect their taste. Second, porcelain is easy to clean and does not stain easily, making it ideal for use in a dining setting. Lastly, porcelain is durable and can withstand high temperatures, making it suitable for serving hot meals.

Psychological Benefits

Another important aspect to consider is the psychological benefit of using porcelain. Eating from porcelain dishes as opposed to metal trays can have a positive impact on the morale of the crew. It provides a sense of normalcy and comfort, which can be crucial in a high-stress environment like a naval ship. This small touch of home can go a long way in boosting the morale and overall well-being of the sailors.

Modern Day Usage

While porcelain continues to be used in the navy, it’s important to note that its usage is not universal. In modern times, the use of porcelain is typically limited to the officers’ mess and formal occasions. In other areas of the ship, more practical materials like plastic or melamine are used. These materials are lightweight, unbreakable, and easy to clean, making them more suitable for everyday use.

In conclusion, the use of porcelain onboard naval ships is a tradition rooted in history and practicality. Despite the risk of breakage, the benefits of using porcelain – from its non-reactive nature to the psychological comfort it provides – make it a valuable part of naval life.