Maritime Antiques: Brass Portholes

If you are searching for antiques of the maritime variety then it is important that you know more about the most common ones you will find. One of the most common types of maritime antiques that you can shop for are brass portholes. A porthole is a round window that is used on the hull of ships to allow air and light through. Even though this particular term is of maritime origin, it is also commonly used to describe circular windows on aircraft and automobiles as well.


The function of a brass porthole is to permit both light and cool air to enter into the dark and cold below-deck region of the ship’s vessel. It also allowed occupants to get a view of the outside world, no matter how small or brief it was. When the porthole was closed it provided a water and weather-tight barrier to keep out water from storms. When searching for maritime antiques you may also hear a porthole being referred to as a scuttle.

Structure of a Porthole

A porthole traditionally consists of a round glass disk that is inside of a metal-based frame that is securely bolted so it can fit safely on the side of the ship’s hull. When you are antique shopping, you may also notice many portholes have a storm cover that will protect the window and the occupants from rough and heavy waters. You will also hear the storm cover referred to as a deadlight.

A porthole can be constructed of several different types of materials such as steel, iron, aluminum, as well as brass. As you begin your search for maritime antique portholes, you may notice more brass portholes than any other type. These are typically the most collectible of the different materials and are also very sturdy can hold up over the years. You will also find brass portholes that have an iron latch and come all different sizes.


Portholes have a number of different uses and many collectors love to collected these salvage items. Most people tend to fasten them onto the wall in order to provide a true, unique sense of nautical d├ęcor. You could even add a piece of glass to make it look just like a mirror. Regardless of which way you use it, portholes make great collectors pieces for anyone who enjoys maritime antiques and finding creative new ways to use them.
Big Ship Salvage has a wide variety of maritime antiques for you to browse. Visit their website to check them out.