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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
Can any friend throw light on the origin of the story about the ship agent interviewing candidates for a donkey-greaer job by asking them “Can you grease a donkey?"
Tks
 

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Hi,
Can any friend throw light on the origin of the story about the ship agent interviewing candidates for a donkey-greaer job by asking them “Can you grease a donkey?"
Tks
Wonder if this was a question from Suez Canal's Jimmy McGregor and his special edition of the Karma Sutra (Smoke)
 

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Wonder if this was a question from Suez Canal's Jimmy McGregor and his special edition of the Karma Sutra (Smoke)
To quote Basil Brush again...BUM BUM......

No but as an agent in the 50's/60's we were sometimes asked when doing a sign on....what does a donkey greaser do?.. Question usually put by first trip deck or catering!

geoff
 

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When I was at college there was an older lad who'd been in the RN. He told me that he saw a "donkey show" in Beirut. He was very disappointed that they put a large washer (sounded like a rat guard in his description) on the donkey's thingo so that it wouldn't go all the way in. Presumably that donkey had been greased, if only to instill some interest in what wasn't after all a lady donkey.

Where are you now, Tarquin?

John T
 

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When I was at college there was an older lad who'd been in the RN. He told me that he saw a "donkey show" in Beirut. He was very disappointed that they put a large washer (sounded like a rat guard in his description) on the donkey's thingo so that it wouldn't go all the way in. Presumably that donkey had been greased, if only to instill some interest in what wasn't after all a lady donkey.

Where are you now, Tarquin?

John T
Americans got to see that outside Tijuana, but I think it's been discontinued.
 

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Greasing a donkey is much worse than greasing a fireman I guess :)
 

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Donkey Greaser

Haha, this is a really funny turn of phrase. A donkey-man on a ship would have tended the donkey boiler, used for heating water. A greaser was a general engine room rating, he would do the greasing plus other engine room tasks, therefore, the position was for a donkey boiler attendant and engine room greaser, in short donkey/greaser. He would never have been asked to grease a donkey 😂.
 

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I believe it refers to a donkey engine, which was a small steam engine on deck to help move things about using lines on its work drum. It, of course, nneeded grease from time to time. The saying probably dates to the latter part of the 19th century.
 

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Worked with Donkeymen, Donkygreasers, Donkeywallahs, Agwallahs, Greasers, Wipers, Oilers,Talwallah and God knows how many more local and exotic Engine Room Crew. Their main job was to keep the Engine Room Tea-Corner supplied with tea, chini, dud, connie-onnie. And chapatis at 05.30 every morning.

If time permitted they kept water in the boiler and cleaned the purifier bowl and disc stack, after the Junior had dinged and dented everything with a lead mallet.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The Black Gang

Who remembers there were WATER TENDERs too?
I recall sailing with those in 1953, aboard Zim's first transatlantic pax vessel "Jerusalem" (Ex Argentina, ex Bergensfjord, built 1913). I remember them from the Muster List I prepared but am not sure what exactly they were doing.
 

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I sailed a Great Lakes C4 conversion named Joseph H. Thompson as a Fireman/Watertender 19620402-19621206-Thompson-FWT,
19630415-19631206-Thompson-FWT.

Firemen/Watertenders - FWT - operated the ships' boilers including making sure there was sufficient water in the boiler at all times. This involved looking at the water level on both boilers and adjusting the boiler feed water pressure by speeding up or slowing down the steam turbine powered boiler feed water pumps.

Underway during each four hours watch Firemen/Watertenders replaced all of the fuel oil burners with cleaned ones. Then cleaned those he removed to be replaced by the next watch. Sometimes there were fuel oil strainers in the fire room that the FWT would clean.

When the ship was maneuvering the FWT would light off or extinguish fuel oil burners as needed to maintain proper steam pressures. FWT was also responsible for speeding up or slowing down the boiler forced draft fans as needed to provide enough air to avoid smoking.

Greg Hayden
 

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I sailed a Great Lakes C4 conversion named Joseph H. Thompson as a Fireman/Watertender 19620402-19621206-Thompson-FWT,
19630415-19631206-Thompson-FWT.

Firemen/Watertenders - FWT - operated the ships' boilers including making sure there was sufficient water in the boiler at all times. This involved looking at the water level on both boilers and adjusting the boiler feed water pressure by speeding up or slowing down the steam turbine powered boiler feed water pumps.

Underway during each four hours watch Firemen/Watertenders replaced all of the fuel oil burners with cleaned ones. Then cleaned those he removed to be replaced by the next watch. Sometimes there were fuel oil strainers in the fire room that the FWT would clean.

When the ship was maneuvering the FWT would light off or extinguish fuel oil burners as needed to maintain proper steam pressures. FWT was also responsible for speeding up or slowing down the boiler forced draft fans as needed to provide enough air to avoid smoking.

Greg Hayden
Every time I visited an ER on a US steamship, there would be at least one paperback book by the boiler, and a chair.
 
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