Meeting Mineola: Bill Pugh

Bill Pugh

Bill Pugh with a photo aged 17 at top right and a photo from his military service in Korea.

Everyone knows that Mineola is the home of the Yellow Jackets, but it’s also home to interesting people with skills and stories that might surprise you. Bill Pugh is one such person. The former Soldier and actor is also a shipbuilder. Pugh’s hobby was inadvertently started by a gift. His daughter presented him with a ship in a bottle and confident Bill thought “I could do that.” He got a kit, and a lifetime of building, learning, and first-hand experience began. He knows the technical specifics and history of each ship he has built, and has even walked the deck of the actual HMS Warrior.


The interest quickly outgrew bottles. Bill carved his first ship model from a piece of solid mahogany. The whaler Charles W. Morgan was completed in 1965. His next model, the 1719 HMS Royal William, 1719 took five years to complete. Planks of wood were steamed to shape as he built the ship, and each window was hand cut and placed individually. The 1812 Astrolabe was completed in just one year. The blueprints called for painting the windows, but Pugh cut them out and put exposed black and white film behind them with the shiny side facing out to give them a more realistic look. Each model comes with pain-staking detail and even tiny little people to give scale.

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