*River today is better*
Morning, Patrick,
Interesting comments on your research in "...a few thousand pages of the WATERWAYS JOURNAL from the '40s' and 50s.'" Look longer going back earlier in those years and you'll learn even more. You'll even read at times about engineers, strikers, oilers and others suffering bad burns and steam scalds. Other times missing fingers, hands or feet. Think of the casualties lost that were never reported other than the local news where they hailed from. Also at times poor to no protective work boots, hats, goggles. Some of those 'romantic' old steamboat photos show roustabouts carting heavy boxes, barrels, sacks with no shoes, bare feet. Today required sound ear protectors from OSHA and other agencies. Steam is and has been a dangerous power to be carefully controlled, monitored. In the early days and on down steam was just as dangerous then as nuclear energy has been in our time. Back then wages were dirt cheap and laborers expendable. Roustabouts rested/slept where they could flop down, ate out of a tin pan with a spoon only--no knife or fork. Glad I talked, listened, wrote down what the 'real old timers' told me. They took it for what it was. That's the way it was then. We can't judge that era from the very few steamboats we know operating today. Capt. Bill Judd another who can tell you plenty. "Steamboat romance?" Yeah, sure...Uh Huh. What do I know?

R. Dale Flick
Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati