Portholes admit light and air into a ship, but need to be watertight and sturdy to withstand heavy weather. For this reason they are typically round, cast in strong metal, fitted with thick glass, and provided with screws or bolts to fasten them securely shut. Hiddens porthole features special screws that cannot be completely removed from the frame and lost. Where the brass porthole frame passes through the side of the vessel, a lead ring prevents water from seeping between the frame and the wooden hull. Additionally, the light framethe portholes window panepivots in projecting ears, which allow it to sit firmly in a rubber seal when closed, but to be hauled from its seat when opened so as to allow the plane of the light to be placed at any angle to the main frame, thus freely admitting of ventilation. Hiddens patent was reissued twice, to himself in 1863 and to his son in 1864.
Enoch Hidden (ca. 1795-ca. 1865) ran a prominent brass foundry in Manhattan. He was father-in-law to the renowned New York shipbuilder William H. Webb.
Enoch Hidden, Side Lights for Ships, U.S. patent no. 9,811, June 21, 1853.
Enoch Hidden, Side Lights for Ships, patent reissue no. 1,533, Sept. 8, 1863.
Enoch S. Hidden assignee of Enoch Hidden, Side Lights for Ships, patent reissue no. 1,638, Mar. 15, 1864.
Rodes New York Directory, 1852-53.
Wilsons Directory of New York City, 1852-53.
Edwin L. Dunbaugh and Willaim duBarry Thomas, William H. Webb, Shipbuilder (Glen Cove, N.Y., 1989), 30.