LV 605 - Wheelhouse/Pilothouse

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Rudder Indicator


Engine Order Telegraph

Underway, this compartment was manned by the Officer of the Deck, a helmsman to steer and a lookout. On station a seaman was posted to stand watch in the wheelhouse 24 hours a day. Watch schedule was usually 4 hours on, 8 hours off. Duties were primarily lookout and radio watch. Also, the off-going watch sent weather conditions to Coast Guard. The brass wheel was connected to the rudder by wire cables run the length of the ship. When the King Spoke with the fancy rope work is upright and the rudder indicator is at zero, the rudder is amidships and the ship should go straight.

The wheelhouse is constructed entirely of 1/4” brass plate, so as not to interfere with the ships magnetic compass. The binnacle houses the magnetic compass shielding it from lights and reflections. The iron balls to the left and right of the binnacle are the compensating balls that can be adjusted to correct for magnetism of the ship's metal hull.

The device on the pedestal to the left of the compass is the Engine Order Telegraph; it does not actually operate the ship’s engine but merely communicates orders. When the handle is moved, bells ring in the Aft Engine room and the indicator on that telegraph dial moves to the same order. The engineer moves his handle to change this small arrow to indicate the order is understood.

This electronic equipment is not all original but is needed today when the ship is underway. The square unit over the binnacle is the fathometer or depth finder. To the right of the wheel is the radar, used by the watch stander at night or during reduced visibility. Over the chart table are the ship to shore radios and the Loran C receiver. The telephones are voiced powered and will work despite loss of power. They connect to various stations throughout the ship.