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Why Were Paddlewheels Painted Red ??

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Old 01-23-2010, 06:44 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Rabbit Hash, KY and Decatur, Al Shipyards
Posts: 1,160
Default Call the Doctor?

My guess is red lead paint was readily available when they started painting the things. Barns were painted red because farmers added blood from animal slaughtering to linseed oil to preserve the wood. Rust was also an additive to homemade paint as ferrous oxide made an effective anti-fungal protective coating.

Red paint, in more modern times, is also the easiest matching color of paint to be found in any hardware store in any rivertown, and all of it usually matches the red that was ever applied in any other town along the river.

The US GREENBRIAR had a white wheel, and the HILTON FLAMINGO sported a HOT pink wheel until we got her, but had to go from pink to maroon because the model of the boat had a maroon paddlewheel. It took four GM's before one could be convinced that paddlewheels were traditionally painted RED, and not maroon. White 'go-faster" stripes add about 3 to 5 mph to the speed of the boat.

OK, Cap'n Ted-- what is the real answer?? Don't make me have to call the Doctor.

1. The model has a maroon paddlewheel.
2. Red wheel & white go-faster stripes. That's Rick the Master/Carpenter.
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