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Old 05-27-2006, 03:22 PM
R. Dale Flick R. Dale Flick is offline
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,551
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Hi Dan & gang:
Good question about "uniforms used by the old steamboat captains." I don't know the whole answer other than through the 1850s, and possibly later, uniforms as such were unheard of. Fred Way touched on this years ago in one of the S&D REFLECTORS. As you say, "long coats...top hats etc." were photographed. It was my understanding that the custom of uniforms as we know them now began with the East Coast steamboats; this was borrowed from the U.S. Navy. Uniforms for steamboat officers came, in part, around 1870 by financier, stock manipulator and steamboat magnate Jim Fisk on the East Coast. This during the days when Jim Fisk, Jay Gould and the Vanderbilt interests were battling it out. There were steamboat officers back in the old days who lived out their entire long career without a uniform or cap, period.

Cincinnati was a center years ago for clothing and uniform manufacturing. 'Pettibone' and 'Cincinnati Regalia' were two well-known companies here. Tom Schiffer may recall others as would Shipyard Sam. These companies at one time housed large portfolios or sample books with artist renderings of maritime and other uniforms with fabric samples and name of the steamboat or steamship line with insignias and logo usually embroidered in gold. Some of the metal insignia and ornamental work was contracted out to concerns in Germany and shipped here.

The above mentioned fabric industries here linked to fine paper making lent, in part, the term 'Ragtown' for Cincinnati. That's about all I know or remember--which isn't much.

Cheers,
R. Dale Flick
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