Aside from their studies of the iron industry, historians have given relatively little attention to the non-household manufacturing industries of colonial America—perhaps, many would say, for the very good reason that there was not much activity along these lines before the conjuncture of the American and the Industrial Revolutions. Yet there were manufactures that reached significant volumes for those times. One of these was the colonial shipbuilding industry which not only provided most of the vessels that carried North American commerce with the West Indies and the Old World but also provided the capital starved colonies with a significant export. In spite of its importance this trade has not received much attention from modern economic historians, including those who deal with the balance of payments. One reason is, perhaps, that the British government in the eighteenth century did not consider colonial built ships as foreign in any sense and did not regard their transfer to metropolitan ownership as “imports.” Thus the values of such transfers were not included in the Inspector-General's accounts of imports from the colonies nor were any other records kept of them, except for the ship-by-ship entries in the Registries of Shipping (which for the most part have not survived).