Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

J.M WHITE...A Discovery

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    J.M WHITE...A Discovery

    I just recently discovered, in studying photos of the J.M. WHITE, that the whistle is located not on the side of the pilothouse but in the middle of the pilothouse's roof. I have never seen this on any other boat. Look at the picture of the pilothouse you'll see the steamline going inside the pilothouse (or it looks like that to me).
    My question is why did Howards put it there and is this the only boat they did it on
    Attached Files

    #2
    In 1987 Capt. Fred Way generously presented me with the 7 foot model he built of the J.M. WHITE in 1937. It had been relegated to a dusty basement storage room after being on display for many years in the original River Museum (opened in 1941) in the basement of the Campus Martius Museum at Marietta, Ohio. Capt. Fred was NOT too happy that the model was not included in the displays when the new Ohio River Museum opened in 1974.

    Anyway, I noticed on the model that the whistle was in the middle of the pilothouse roof. Capt. Fred told me that he didn't know the reason why, but that was where it was located on "the real deal" and that he had fashioned the whistle from five bullet shells that he referred to as 'the five rats' - due to the fact that he had shot at rats around his garage at 121 River Avenue in Sewickley, PA.

    Today's "River Trivia"!

    Comment


      #3
      Love it. I wish dot.org had a "like" button for posts such as this.

      Comment


        #4
        Jim, this might have been a case of the owner specifying the whistle be placed there. Sometimes when people build something (or have it built) they have funny requests.

        Comment


          #5
          I'm a believer in the old saying "nothing happens without a reason". If John W. Tobin specified the whistle be placed in the center of the pilothouse, he must have had a reason; but for the life of me, I can't figure out what that reason would be.

          Comment


            #6
            re: Where is the steam pipe?

            Can anyone come up with other photos of the pilot house that might solve this mystery?

            Keep your steam up!

            Russ Ryle

            Comment


              #7
              Look at both pictures...it looks to me that right in the center of the pilothouse you can see the steam pipe....in the front on picture of the pilothouse you might think its the sash of the back window. At least that's my opinion.

              Comment


                #8
                From research I did for a video I did on the life of James Howard, I found that John W. Tobin"s story was pretty interesting. He went into the cotton business in New Orleans in the early 1840's, he failed so he went to the California gold rush and in California he was successful. He came back to New Orleans and went into the steamboat business, in the late 1850's he had James Howard build him the FRANK PARAGOULD, a large side wheeler. When the war broke out, he still owed the Howards considerable money. As the war went on Tobin ended up burning the boat to keep his pride and joy from falling into the hands of the Yankees. After the war Tobin saw that there was a great shortage of steamboats but he had no money and he still had his debt he owed the Howards. In 1867 he traveled to Jeffersonville where he stayed in James Howard's home. While there he convinced Howard to build him a boat largely on credit, promising to not only pay off the new boat but also his past debt. James Howard built a second PARAGOULD for Tobin. The second boat was the right boat at the right time, not only did Tobin pay off his debt, pay off his new boat but made enough to build the J.M.WHITE.

                Comment


                  #9
                  re: Where is the steam pipe?

                  Morning Jim and all,

                  Upon closer examination I think I agree with your analysis of the steam pipe. If you enlarge the side view of the boat there is a vertical line (pipe?) smack dab in the center of the pilot house ceiling to floor. If that is in fact a steam pipe I wonder how many folks got burnt bumping into it moving around the pilot house?

                  Interesting piece of our steamboat heritage.

                  Keep your steam up, safely!

                  Best regards,

                  Russ Ryle

                  Comment


                    #10
                    *J.M. WHITE whistle pipe/How and why with Tobin?*
                    Morning, Steamboating colleagues:
                    Great thread here from Jim with observations from Keith, Bob, Russ, and I agree with the steamboat forensics revealed in the photos. Who would have thought and leave it to Jim's keen eye. Went on line, dug in other books/photos here of the WHITE but found none more detailed with the whistle pipe. Jim and Keith probably know for sure, but seems to me [?] there could, possibly, perhaps be 'another' WHITE photo inside her pilothouse. Or am I thinking of another boat with no center pipe evident?

                    Eons ago Capt. Fred Way showed me an original copy of the Louisville newspaper article written by sage Will S. Hayes when the WHITE was finished. These big 'blows' in newspapers of the day were long, detailed with a wide public audience. I don't recall any mention of her whistle or that pipe in the article Fred had. Several other original news articles by Hayes I have here mention whistles but not how mounted. Pulled down 'Paddlewheels to Propellers' by Fishbaugh reading those pages on the WHITE with no mention. But then really why would there be?

                    Tobin may have been a man who got what he wanted and able to afford it, but to mount a steam pipe like that today would give the Coast Guard heartburn. I wonder also about working around the pipe, heat radiating from it in all seasons? No doubt the Howards employed asbestos insulation with steam pipes, engines, boilers as it had been on the market from the very early 1870s and earlier with emergence of the industrial revolution. Already by the 1890s medical literature focused on the dangers of breathing asbestos. This a prelude to what we know today. And there is no such thing as "inert asbestos." What impresses me is that incredible sign board on the front, sides of the J.S, WHITE pilothouse with incised letters in gilt, dark field in black no doubt done with finely ground coal applied with mastic that glistened in the light. Those signs even then were admired as a fine piece of craftsmanship if not art. Well, what do I know?

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

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Wet whistles...

                      Just a thought...on the JBS if the pilot blew the whistle after a lengthy "quiet time" between blows the condensation built up and puked out with the steam pressure racing to the bell. If the wind was just right, and the pilot stood too close to the sash on the port side, he got wet, much to the enjoyment of the gallery of Sky Parlor visitors. With the EXTREME height of the White I would imagine a lot of condensation had to be cleared before the live steam reached the bell(???). Being centrally located the water to drain down the spouts and not soak the pilot. The Sprague's whistles were mounted between the stacks on the spreader bar if memory serves me correctly...same reason? Would admit having a hot pipe running up through the parlor floor would be weird.
                      I can't think of any other reason. Good stuff to think about! Luke ( somewhere on the Illinois )

                      Comment


                        #12
                        *Wet whistles/Rude steam pipe on the WHITE*
                        Steamboating colleagues,
                        Luke brings up information RE: about "Wet whistles" I hadn't thought of. Takes a real 'steam man' to know that. The WHITE was huge for sure and I can imagine what it was like during a southern thnderstorm with tons of rain water cascading off of her, filling downspouts. I looked not seeing downspouts on her pilothouse but they had to have been there. That pilothouse big as many a home then or a detached garage today. Also note all the other big stacks, tin stove pipes sticking up here and there along with her scape pipes. I also thought about that steam pipe running up from the boilers through the main cabin ["Parlor" in Luke's terms]. No doubt cleverly concealed below in an ornamental boxing or framing as such. No way the Coasties today would allow a live steam line "running over, around, under, through a passenger or crew area."

                        The WHITE was the epitome for sure but came out just at the end of the era of the really big cotton boats. There were some built later but fewer. I 'thought' I read/heard [Help me] that the WHITE had mixed reviews on her financial success. I'll pull Way's PACKET DIRECTORY here when I get 'unlazy' to refresh my mind with his text. Cheers to all!

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

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Mrs. Howard said that just as the WHITE came out, the bowl weevil struck the cotton crops in the south and there just wasn't enough cotton transported to make the boat the financial success Tobin hoped it would be. Picture from the Murphy Library collection
                          Attached Files

                          Comment


                            #14
                            *Will S. Hayes on the WHITE/Cotton depression*
                            Morning, steamboating colleagues,
                            Jim, thanks for further notes about the J.M. WHITE from Mrs. Loretta Howard. Back around 1957 Mrs. Howard said to me as a teen, "I just don't understand how you young people can be so interested in all of this old steamboat stuff." The WHITE photo attached above no doubt her one record shipment of 5,078 bales in 1878 according to Capt. Fred Way in his PACKET DIRECTORY Pgs. 234-235 Entry No. 2867. Again, when we want to know, we pull down 'the Bible' Fred wrote for research. She was originally "calculated to carry 10,000 bales of cotton." Now, IF the above is her record photographed load of 5,078 bales, I wonder how she could have loaded on another near 5,000 bales? *More later on loading cotton bales.

                            Right on about her rather questionable financial record on the docket. Capt. Way does quote in part the longish Will S. Hayes article he showed me in the original when he was preparing his PACKET DIRECTORY. Again, no mention of her whistle or the infernal steam pipe so discussed. I'll read again, go to the original article. Yes, in time the infestation of the bowl weevil from Mexico, Central and South America caused billions $$ in losses then. The then American cotton industry was a world-wide factor in economics similar to the huge oil industry today. Another factor was the slump with a mini 'panic' in the finanance markets, drop in cotton prices, appearance of dreaded Yellow Fever. Those were perilous times financially far from "beautiful, romantic old steamboat days." Fred describes the loss of the WHITE by fire, Point Coupee Parish, December 13, 1886.

                            As a side note. At the time more than a few marine insurance companies noted increasing losses of floating 'stock' by fires. Many no doubt accidental with stack sparks, lanterns, careless crew/passangers, spontaneous combustion etc. Investigations revealed some patterns of 'corporate lightening' at the time with a crack-down on insurance coverage. Sound familiar? Many more detailed steamboat freight bills then also included a small notation "Ins." added to the cost for insurance. Again, what do I know?

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

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I have been through four big folders of material concerning the J.M. WHITE. Not a word could I find regarding the whistle!

                              Comment

                              ADVERTISEMENT
                              Working...
                              X