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Need some help interpreting what I am seeing here. In the attached photo of Galilee's middle deckhouse port side, there is evidently a sliding door mounted on wheel tracks top and bottom.

 

Here are some questions:

  1. How was such a door made reasonably weatherproof?
  2. Would there be water stops built into the frame to prevent major water intrusions during boarding seas?
  3. Would the door handle/latch be a lever or just a hand grab like a staple?

As you can see, the photo is pretty muddy where a handle would be. There is a suggestion of a vertical metal rib along the forward edge of the doorway, which might be a water stop.

 

Like all sliding doors on ships in my experience, there was probably a standing latch when the door was fully open and a latch when it was shut. I have no idea if technology of the late 1800s would have produced a mechanism that would operate both latches.

 

If anyone has reference photos or other images of such an installation, I'd appreciate seeing them.

 

Thanks.

 

Terry

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Hi Terry, cannot answer your question directly but it would help us to have a little extra info (especially WRT the watertight aspects of the door).  For example, the location of the deck house it services, direction it was facing (into the elements or aft where a little more sheltered).  This may allow some of our better informed members to establish the likelihood of of water ingress?

 

cheers

 

Pat

Edited by BANYAN
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Looks like a normal door with high comings and extended door frames, kind of like a hatch that could be secured for sea, doorway made water tight by covering with a cover secured with bands and wedges only when needed. It might be a slider, have seen them used for doors into wheel houses from the rear, never on the side or front. Aboard a troller tied up in Sitka in 65 and heard a large boom and felt some shaking, got into the wheelhouse quick enough to see everything that went up, coming down. The boat ahead of us about 50 feet was powered with a gas engine and had developed a drip-drip leak in the fuel line, Skipper left the boat to find some repair parts and slid his sliding door closed and the drip kept dripping, building fumes because the boat was closed up, when that sliding door was opened, the fuel-air proportions were correct for an explosion, blew the deck and wheel house off as a unit, the planks were blown from the ribs. Skipper was stripped, thrown over the stern, other than shaken up with light burns, was uninjured. Summer of 65, probably could look it up in the local paper for details. Does not solve the question of type of door for you but does provide a story centered around drips and a sliding door.

jud

Edited by jud
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I have not seen such (exterior) doors during my service; however, as JUD points out, the high coamings may have been deemed sufficient if the ship was a relatively dry one?  I am researching an 1855 built steam screw/sail sloop which had open gratings set into a raised box type coaming around the funnel.  This elicited similar questions from me as I thought the boiler room may have been prone to flooding with such an arrangement.  Hence my earlier response re location etc.  The consensus of reply WRT to my query  was that high coamings (which it had) and being a relatively dry ship in most weather may have influenced this design. 

 

cheers

 

Pat

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The book Specialize Joinery, by  Corkhill and Duckworth ( http://woodcentral.com/books/specialized_joinery.shtml)  has a section on ship's carpentry that shows a construction detail of a sliding door similar to the picture.   Based on the design, I doubt the door is water tight, and unlikely to be totally wind-tight either, but would be good for keeping spray out of a deck house. The book authors note that sliding doors are better than hinged doors as they do not bet caught by the wind and are less likely to hit things (people) or be hit.

 

I have a copy of the book.  It was formerly available from Lee Valley, but is not in their current catalog.  This is a reprint from the 1920's so there may be scanned copies of the original somewhere on-line.  Amazon and Abe Books have listings.

 

 

 
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Thanks for the responses.

 

I'll take a look at the possibility that the door is actually hinged, but there just seems to be too much external hardware for a standard door. Besides, there isn't a door knob or handle evident at the aft edge, which is reasonably clear.

 

W. H. Curtis's diagram of a conventional door frame, which I have attached, is much simpler and looks very much like a conventional door, even with the high deck coaming.

 

My reconstruction of the forecastle can be seen at my build log.

 

The earlier photo is taken on the ship's weather deck looking forward at the aft port corner of the forecastle deckhouse of the brigantine Galilee, built by Matthew Turner in Benicia CA in 1891. She was hired for Pacific Ocean magnetic survey work in 1906 by the Carnegie Institute's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM/CIW) and served in that capacity until 1909. My grandfather was one of the survey physicists on board for the second and part of the third chartered cruise. Check out Galilee's Wikpedia page and the Ocean Magnetic Surveys pages at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism website.

 

Attached here is another photo, very grainy, of the Galilee's port side, showing the relation of the forecastle to the ship. A small galley structure was added for Cruise II forward of the foremast. You can see that there is no exterior door evident, which means it must have opened into the galley. The galley is structurally similar to the forecastle in all respects except for size.

 

The forward end of the magnetic observation bridge is above the forecastle.

 

Terry

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Terry, taking a closer look at your initial photo, I note that the gap at the top of the door is smaller to the rear (left of photo), and that the door appears to be angled slightly inwards towards the rear (more of the after jamb is visible).  This gives the impression it is slightly ajar which is consistent with a hinged door.  Would not a sliding door have a consistent gap right across the top?  That said, earlier photographs (due to the camera focal length) can give a false impression and this could simply be a trick of the light.

 

This also does not explain the hardware, or lack of visible doorknob/handle.  Could it simply be masked/shadowed, or removed for maintenance (hence door ajar)?  I have also attempted to clean-up the shot just a bit and can make out what could be the hint a handle (circled); what do you think - I could be just jumping at shadows here?  Click on the image for larger view.

 

post-385-0-39980800-1464310433_thumb.jpg

 

cheers

 

Pat

Edited by BANYAN
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The photo looks a lot like a sliding door, but I can't rationalize a need for one aboard. Why not just an ordinary hung door? But as I said, it does look like it slides. I can't rationalize making the door watertight or excessively weatherproof either, and there are many accounts of water sloshing around within deckhouses. The crew were used to it, complained about it, but endured it. I can imagine a tight fitting sliding door becoming stuck with the working of the ship and the warping of the framework. But a regular hung door is robust and simple.

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Well sliding doors are of course common on many  vessels and have been for a long time - well back to the late 1800s   - as has been said they dont swing and obstruct passageways. - they just crush your finger off as the ship rises to a swell !!

 

But as far as this query is concerned - if you have a look at Cutty Sarks deckhouse doors - swung -  there are some pics which look very much like the pic shown.

I rather go along with it being an odd view of a swung door - though a sliding door wouldnt be out of time or unsuitable for purpose

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If there are exterior sliding doors on wood ships I am sure there will be some documentation somewhere and it is only a matter of time before someone here posts a drawing or a photo. I still think they would be more trouble than they would be worth. A swinging door opening onto the deck would not be impeding anything, a sliding door would not be an advantage while also being more difficult to build and maintain.

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Well Mary Rose hada  sliding door (the poor ships dog was caught in it !) so the concept has been around for a long time.

It may be a US thing but in Europe sliding doors are common especially on wheelhouses - fishing boats , private yachts,  commercial and warships - just google something like wheelhouse or bridge sliding doors.

 

I just cant resist putting up a pic of the last vessel I was on with sliding doors  "off Fiji"  :dancetl6:

 

 

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I apologize for not responding sooner. For some reason, I'm not receiving notifications of comments on this topic.

 

Pat, in reference to your 26 May comment, you made several interesting observations. I hadn't noticed the angled upper edge of the door before. However, taking all the perspective cues into account, like the door panels, it seems that the upper edge is simply not quite parallel to the track or framing above it. If the door were hinged adjacent to the opening, then the near side of the door would have to be higher than the hinge side because everything is made to conform to the deck sheer in this area. Nothing is square. When closed, the edge of the door toward the bow would be higher than the aft edge.

 

In the image you enlarged, there does seem to be some kind of plate where a door handle/latch might be located.

 

Last night I was reading in my copy of The American-Built Clipper Ship in a section that dealt with doors and cabin joinery. The book mentioned that on clipper ships, weather-deck doors on the outboard bulkheads of deck houses invariably were hinged on the forward edge. Then when exposed to boarding seas, normally flowing forward to aft, the water would tend to close the doors minimizing the amount of water shipped in the cabin. If Galilee's side door were hinged, it wouldn't be following this very logical consideration. Of course, clippers were built around 40 years before Galilee, and mainly on the opposite coast.

 

Steamschooner, thanks for that photo of a sliding door. It's framing is far heavier than shown in Galilee, but it doesn't negate the idea.
 
I have been thinking that, with the significant modifications to the forecastle required for the second cruise, the regular deck house door may have been removed. There is a photo of the ship before that modification, shown below. These doors might have been the main access to the forecastle, and the port-side door was added after this section was removed. I hadn't noticed something else before tonight--both of the doors in this photo were sliding! The starboard door is slightly open.
 
So, for this ship at least, sliding doors seem to be part of Turner's design. I wonder if this was typical of the U.S. West Coast vessels in the 1890s, or if this was his particular inclination?
 
Anyway, I will continue to tease details out of the photos and other records available to make a decision.
 
Have a blessed Memorial Day, for those of you in the U.S. Let's remember all of our fallen dead who served our respective countries to preserve our freedoms.
 
Terry

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