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Delta Queen wheel.

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    Just came across another view of the Str. IDLEWILD (today's BELLE OF LOUISVILLE) in her early days with a WHITE sternwheel. This view was taken at the St. Louis levee.
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      Paddlewheel question

      I recently was at a business show and a man had a trailer made for food service. It had an attached deck made from trex, which is a plastic composite. It was infused with red color and looked like a paddlewheel bucket. The owner claimed it was fifty times stonger than wood, won't chip, color fade, or break. It was solid and looked VERY good. Has this material ever been attempted on a paddlewheel. I know the Spirit of Peoria has fiberglass paddle wheel (I am not sure about the buckets). This seems to me an interesting new technology. Any thoughts?


        Mark, the paddlewheel on the Spirit of Peoria is a mixture of materials. The shaft is steel, the arms/radials are fiberglass and the buckets are wood. The Spirit was originally built with an all steel wheel with wood buckets. The original wheel was too heavy (actually the bow was too light) and they could not keep the bow of the boat in the water. The wheel was replaced after the first or second season with the current wheel, the fiberglass was used to reduce the weight at the stern. The Casino Rock Island had the exact opposite problem, she was built with a steel, fiberglass and wood wheel, but she was too light in the stern. Instead of replacing the wheel with a heavier wheel, they filled the sponsons (pontoon type structures at the stern) with tons of lead shot and set concrete blocks on the deck next to the paddlewheel for ballast.

        I've never heard of anyone using "Trex" for a bucket, but there have been many experiments with different configurations and materials for paddlewheels over the years. I don't think you can beat wood for buckets, buckets need to be strong, but not too strong. When a paddlewheel come into contact with drift, the bank, rocks or a drydock...something's got to give. It's better that the less expensive, relatively easily replaced wood of the wheel give, rather than the expensive, more difficult to replace machinery driving the wheel.



          Searching for the thread on paddlewheels and dip, etc., I ran across this old thread. Lo and behold, in this picture I do believe that is Capt. Don Summers working in the ADMIRAL's wheel!


            hi all riverrats
            I only know the Dredge Lewis wheels. The arms were of finished, planned wood with faded red paint, The bucket boards were raw wood. as she was a side wheeler. there were extra bucket boards to off set the weight of the crank and the wheel was egg shaped so that at the end of the stroke there was less bucket in the water.

            going way back in history to the Missouri Packet lost on the Missouri River in 1819. She had metal arms and boards for buckets not the 2 plus inch thick planks of the Lewis. the Missouri Packet only had one engine with the wheel in a boot jack arrangement. there was an iron balance wheel on the other side to keep her from dead centering. In looking at that engine and the rods to the sliding valve she may have had a cut off to the valve to save steam. The last I know that engine was at the Arabia museum in KC.