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Why Were Paddlewheels Painted Red ??

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  • Lexie Palmore
    replied
    # 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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  • Taylor Abbott
    replied
    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.

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  • Jim Blum
    replied
    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.

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  • Alan Bates
    replied
    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.

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  • Capt John
    replied
    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

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  • Ted Davisson
    replied
    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




    Originally posted by Shipyard Sam View Post
    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.

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

    Leave a comment:


  • Shipyard Sam
    replied
    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.

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

    Leave a comment:


  • Ted Davisson
    started a topic Why Were Paddlewheels Painted Red ??

    Why Were Paddlewheels Painted Red ??

    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
    Attached Files
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