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J.M WHITE...A Discovery

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    I have a theory about the whistle in the it could be seen. Back in the days before electric lights, there was no yellow light on top of the pilothouse which lit when the whistle was blown. We have all seen certain atmospheric conditions where sound just does not travel. I imagine back then that pilots relied on seeing the plume of steam as much, if not more, than they did the sound of the whistle, With those huge smoke stacks I'm sure many times the whistle, if it was placed at the side of the pilothouse, would be blocked from view of an approaching boat.
    That's just a blow a hole in my theory...if the above where true, why didn't they mount the whistle on the spreader bar between the stacks?


      Legend has it that the man in the middle is John W. Tobin. If it's not, that man who ever he is looks like a successful Southern business man. This picture,from the Murphy Library collection, was taken on the boiler deck guard of the J.M. WHITE.
      Attached Files


        *Will the real John W. Tobin please stand up*
        Steamboating colleagues,
        Jim, you could be right RE: "the man in the middle" being Tobin himself but further steamboat forensics would be required. I did sleuth out a number of photos of Tobin [There aren't many so far] with one older photo showing a man very close to the gentlemen we see above down to the Billy goat whiskers. The other photo shows Tobin as a bit younger and thinner. Who the two much gaunter gents on his left and right are a good question. I am no doubt wrong, but the two remind me possibly of steamboat pilots. Who knows? Did you ever think your topic could extend this thread on and on? I also closely examined those fine interior cabin photos of the WHITE looking in vain for the offending steam pipe to the whistle up through the deck to the pilothouse with no luck. Possibly the camera angle varied. Steamboat cabins then also had one, two, three or more pot belly cast iron stoves for winter use. One photo hints of a stove in the far distance of the WHITE cabin. The steam pipe could have been angled left or right up on the outside; then in under the pilothouse and up to the roof to the whistle. Idle speculation on my part.

        "A successful Southern business man" isn't the word for it. A steady diet of steamboat food--especialy on the WHITE--did that to more than one man. Those high in social and business society of the day were exceptionally well fed. The J.M. WHITE was some boat and I would have liked to have tripped on her once...just once. Cheers?

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


          The 12 December 2016 issue of the WJ made its landing in our post box today. Here the WJ is always read from back to front--old boat column always being read first. That being said I dug out Grandpa's old magnifying glass and gave the whistle steam line another look.

          Looking at the photo of dead on forward of Pilot House (as also appeared on this forum) I began counting window lights and am thinking that the whistle steam line might have been on the center-line, but aft of the PH with the Port Side sliding window opened just slightly. Not thru the PH and whistle itself not on top of PH.

          From the left side of Starboard window there are three glass lights and then a heaver piece of (apparently) wood frame, then three more glass panes and an even thicker "window frame" or possible window frame and whistle steam line ? then an open space apparently then what could be a window frame (sliding window?) then 3 more glass lights then just to the port side of man who has hand on wheel a slighter "thicker" divison (window frame?) then two more glass panes which leads me to think, that just maybe, the aft PH window is slid slightly open.

          Could the "thicker--i.e wider) piece of Starboard window frame be actually window frame AND whistle line?. The second of Keith's photos--3/4 stbd side forward to aft view appears to the whistle aft of Pilothouse.