Show us your . . . battleship memorabilia | Show us your [____] | Chicago Reader

Show us your . . . battleship memorabilia 

We check out lawyer David Schroeder's collection of old battleship stuff

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Schroeder's boat-shaped bookends carved from the HMS Warspite

Schroeder's boat-shaped bookends carved from the HMS Warspite

David Schroeder

The era of the great battleship may be over, but not for David Schroeder, whose downtown law office is dotted with battleship memorabilia: sketches of early-20th-century British battleships, books on ships and on noted German battleship artist H.W. Bernartz, a model of the HMS Hood still in pieces. Schroeder even keeps his pens and highlighters in a little barrel made from the wooden deck of the battle-hardened HMS Warspite.

A boyhood interest in constructing ship models developed into a passion in the late 90s when Schroeder discovered eBay, buying a few items including his favorite piece, a pair of boat-shaped bookends carved from the Warspite. He's been collecting ever since.

Schroeder drops the names of vessel and long-buried naval captains as if they're common knowledge, but can't pinpoint why battleships hold such a fascination for him.

"The era of the big battleship was basically from 1905 through the start of World War II," he says. "The thing I think is such a shame is that so many countries spent so much money on battleships—they were sort of the A-bombs of their day—but all of the ones in the U.S. that haven't been turned into museums are gone."

And what did Schroeder think of the new Battleship movie released this summer? He wasn't bothered by the alien invasion of Hawaii or the glut of special effects. No, he took issue with the inaccuracies in how the ships functioned.

"They got the Missouri up and running again, which would be close to impossible given that it's been sitting there for several decades," he says. "I also thought that scene where they drop the anchor and swing the ship around so that the ship's guns are trained on the aliens was pretty hilarious. That's a 60-ton battleship—the anchor chain would have snapped like a piece of string!"

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