A1 Journal article (refereed)
Young Lads and Old Tars : Changing Age Structure of the Nordic Sailors, 1750s–1930s (2022)

Ojala, J., Eloranta, J., Pehkonen, J., & Ojala, A. (2022). Young Lads and Old Tars : Changing Age Structure of the Nordic Sailors, 1750s–1930s. Social science history, 46(4), 861-886. https://doi.org/10.1017/ssh.2022.16

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsOjala, Jari; Eloranta, Jari; Pehkonen, Jaakko; Ojala, Anu

Journal or seriesSocial science history



Publication year2022


Issue number4

Pages range861-886

PublisherCambridge University Press (CUP)

Publication countryUnited States

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/84347


This article analyzes the changing age structure of Swedish and Finnish sailors for almost 200 years. We show that the proportion of the youngest men increased during the age of sail (i.e., the older technology). The average age increased significantly during the early twentieth century as steam (i.e., the newer technology) replaced sail in Nordic shipping. Thus, a technological revolution did not displace the older workers, but rather diminished the demand for the younger ones. This study shows, however, that technological changes were not the only drivers of changes in the age structure of Nordic sailors. Institutional and societal changes also played an important role, though they were at least partly coevolving with the technological changes. This study also shows that the maritime industry experienced professionalization especially during the latter part of the period.

Keywordsmaritime navigationmarinershistorytechnological development

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating2

Last updated on 2024-15-06 at 01:06