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-   -   Why Were Paddlewheels Painted Red ?? (http://www.steamboats.org/forum/river-talk-cruises/3403-why-were-paddlewheels-painted-red.html)

Ted Davisson 01-23-2010 05:25 PM

Why Were Paddlewheels Painted Red ??
 
3 Attachment(s)
Greetings From New Orleans ,
During the dinner and drinks with Capt. Doc Hawley and friends , I posed to him the question , " Why were steamboat paddlewheels painted red " and without hesitation he told me that .......................................................
Do you know ? I didn't but made perfect sense .
Smooth Sailing !
Ted Davisson

Shipyard Sam 01-23-2010 05:44 PM

Call the Doctor?
 
2 Attachment(s)
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.

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

Ted Davisson 01-24-2010 10:17 AM

Captain Don , You Are The Man !
 
Captain Don ,
You Are The Man ! For that matter , I would be more surprised if anyone else but you came up with the same answer that Capt. Doc did !
As always thanks for all your postings and contributions ! You are a great source of help and information !
Smooth Sailing !
Ted davisson




[QUOTE=Shipyard Sam;20139]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.

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

Capt John 01-24-2010 02:57 PM

I don't know why they were painted red originally, but I always thought that in modern times it was so you didn't have to repaint the wheel everytime an idiot in a pleasure boat or jet ski got a little too close...

John

Alan Bates 01-24-2010 04:20 PM

A lot of them were not. Queen City had a white wheel for a time. Parts of the Bertrand's paddlewheel were painted with red lead, which leaned heavily to orange. Red Lead was a cheap and durable paint. A lot of wheels were unpainted, expecially in winter when they got torn up too often to paint. Sidewheelers' paddlewheels were frequently unpainted at all.

For a couple of seasons the Avalon's wheel had two buckets with signs. The first one was marked "VISIT OUR" the following one (while coming ahead) was marked "GIFT SHOP," a message that was repeated about fifteen times a minute.

Jim Blum 01-24-2010 07:59 PM

The Side Wheel Steamers Admiral & President both had unpainted wheels. The Admiral's wheels were partially disassembled during the Winter months to keep them safe from ice and debris.

Taylor Abbott 01-24-2010 08:18 PM

I believe the steamer Washington had a lime green paint on its wheel. John Bowman is currently working on a model of this steamboat and after further research found that a lime green was used on the wheel. If anyone has information on this let me know. I am believe it is the Washington but don't quote me.

Lexie Palmore 01-25-2010 10:03 AM

# 1 in my book would be advertising. The paddlewheel itself is advertising, so paint it a nice bright color that is easily available. Then make sure all your advertising shows the paddlewheel. This is from a passenger boat viewpoint, and does not explain why a towboat paddlewheel would have been painted red, if they were. Or painted at all.


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