On the bridge, in the wheelhouse...

Andrew Craig-Bennett
14th July 2010, 12:57
Can someone who knows more than I point me in the right direction, please?

I think, but I don't know why I think this, that the original "bridge deck" was an exiguous platform, fitted athwartships, above the weather deck, between the paddle boxes of sail and steam paddle vessels, to provide a means of conning the ship when under power, since the traditional location on the poop, whilst all but esential under sail, was impractical under power, due to the funnel, fiddleys and ventilators being in the way, not to mention the coal smoke.

I think that the original plan retained the wheel on the poop, possibly with a speaking tube, and that as time went on the wheel was moved to the bridge deck, where as time went on and ships, rather than the men in them, were made of iron, the binnacle compass and steering wheel were moved to the bridge deck and in due course enclosed in a "wheel house" .

Am I roughly right, here?

Duncan112
14th July 2010, 18:45
I'd say that you were spot on Andrew, as that is exactly how the two preserved ships in the transition from sail to steam were configured (Great Britain and Warrior), the wheel would have moved forward once mechanical steering engines had been developed, rod and chain mechanisms having a deal of friction and inertia on anything but small vessels.

Pat Kennedy
14th July 2010, 19:40
Where is the steering position on warships?
I have always had the impression, probably from films, that the helmsman on a warship was tucked away somewhere below the bridge in a compartment without any external view.
However, I recently saw a documentary about US Carrier,and the helmsman was steering from the convential console on the bridge.

Brian Twyman
15th July 2010, 14:37
Where is the steering position on warships?
I have always had the impression, probably from films, that the helmsman on a warship was tucked away somewhere below the bridge in a compartment without any external view.
However, I recently saw a documentary about US Carrier,and the helmsman was steering from the convential console on the bridge.

Hi Pat

You are correct , in larger ships the steering position was below decks but in small warships the helmsman was on the bridge. Things have turned full circle somewhat. ... These days both helm and engines are controlled from a console on the bridge.

Brian

chadburn
15th July 2010, 16:44
Hate to correct you Brian but not strictly correct, the open Navigation Bridge was a "feature" on RN vessels down to MTB's as well as the Ton's. The Ton's had both the wheel and engine control's below (at Foc Deck Level) the Nav bridge where the left hand down a bit order's came from. The RN were very keen on open Nav Bridges to aid vision and to try and prevent Watchkeepers from falling asleep (using the elements). No comfy boxed in bridges like MN vesssel's where the Watchkeeper can fall asleep and run into a REEF.

Pat Kennedy
15th July 2010, 18:01
So just where was the steering position on HMS Nottingham when she hit the rocks off Lord Howe Island?
Pat(Thumb)

chadburn
15th July 2010, 18:24
Point taken Pat(Sad) But it was a communications interface malfunction(Thumb) and at least they were awake but not alert.

Brian Twyman
16th July 2010, 11:39
Hate to correct you Brian but not strictly correct, the open Navigation Bridge was a "feature" on RN vessels down to MTB's as well as the Ton's. The Ton's had both the wheel and engine control's below (at Foc Deck Level) the Nav bridge where the left hand down a bit order's came from. The RN were very keen on open Nav Bridges to aid vision and to try and prevent Watchkeepers from falling asleep (using the elements). No comfy boxed in bridges like MN vesssel's where the Watchkeeper can fall asleep and run into a REEF.

No problem, I bow to your knowledge of RN vessels. An open bridge has nought to do with where the helmsman is though ! The RNZN miinesweepers had the helmsman on the open bridge, the older frigates and cruisers had them down below. Our modern ships are driven from the console on the bridge.(enclosed of course !) [=P]

Brian

Brian Twyman
16th July 2010, 11:42
So just where was the steering position on HMS Nottingham when she hit the rocks off Lord Howe Island?
Pat(Thumb)

Pat

Just like us Antipodeans to put a rock in their way ! But we were on hand to help them out. (Thumb)

Brian

Andrew Craig-Bennett
16th July 2010, 11:52
My late friend Ralf Rutkowsky was when I knew him a Salvage Superintendent for Bugsier but had the relatively unusual experience for a German Master Mariner of having been torpedoed and sunk, twice, by the Royal Navy, when he was serving aboard ore carriers running down the Norwegian coast from Narvik during WW2. Ralf strongly approved of open bridges and reckoned anyone who mollycoddled themselves in a wheelhouse was definitely "sissy".

Steve Oatey
30th August 2010, 22:18
The way I heard it - on the paddle steamers the Engineers had to do some kind of inspection at the paddle boxes. So, to save climbing up on one, then down, crossing the deck (and cargo or whatever) and up on the other side, a structure known as the "Engineers' Bridge" was constructed. It became evident that the bridge blocked vision from the steering position aft, while visibility from the bridge itself was much enhanced. So, watchkeepers moved to the bridge even if steering didn't move at the same time.

chadburn
31st August 2010, 10:05
A lot of the Old Hands in the RN preferred the open Bridge not only for it's "visual" aspect's but for it's "safety" aspects, this being in the event of a Mine going off under or nearby, as it would not restrict your upward journey, whereas on a enclosed Bridge a good smack on the Deckhead could break your neck. Possibly the other reason for the extended platform over the paddle box was just another means of getting on and off the vessel there were usually an inspection door's in the paddle boxes to check the blades (made out of wood which acted as a fuse) and the spider's arm,s