When viewing the town from the sea, few would guess that it used to be a shipping town. Due to its location, this farming village had what was known as a “royally privileged” inn, and in the early 19th century, it evolved from a traditional agricultural society with ample opportunities for subsidiary commercial fishing in Helnæs Bugt (Helnæs Bay) to a society in which most people earned their primary income from the shipping business – both locally and internationally.
In 1820, this change was intensified when a ship’s carpenter moved to Faldsled after marrying a local farmer’s daughter in 1811. During the next quarter of a century, he helped build more than 50 well smacks, cutters, schooners and galleasses.
The ships were not only built for the local population, but also for the merchants and shippers of nearby Faaborg. All the ships were built by eye; i.e. without the use of drawings and directly on the beach. The small community grew gradually, and one shipbuilder followed the other. In the mid-19th century, the town flourished. Towards the end of the century, however, the number of vessels hailing from Faldsled decreased. Steamships and, later on, diesel-powered ships eventually took over the trade, as they were less dependent on weather, particularly on wind. This development was also fuelled by the emergence of railroads that managed to deliver goods and passengers on time.