Wooding up at Night

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Wooding up at Night

Post by cyberbadger » Wed Mar 17, 2021 4:38 pm

I enjoyed this drawing of resupplying fuel at night by a large steamboat on the Mississippi in the 1800s.

Some or all of the actual labor moving the fuel appears to be African American, perhaps slaves. I do personally genuinely believe that steam technology helped make slavery somewhat obsolete over time. This picture is an interesting snap shot in time.

If you've ever tried to get very far using wood with a steamboat, it can be a far bit of work to Wood it up! Must have been pretty ridiculous on some of these large steamships.
https://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewat ... n/4_5.html

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Re: Wooding up at Night

Post by PeteThePen1 » Fri Mar 19, 2021 4:40 pm

Yes, amusing cartoon full of period detail. Am I seeing things or is the person holding up the smoky lantern actually wearing a Coolie hat. Would that be meant to imply that Chinese labour was being used? I know a great many Chinese workers were used on the Canadian Pacific railway.

The man standing on the barrels looks to be in a dangerous position, given the propensity of a horizontal barrel to roll unless in some kind of rack, but the tumble of barrels suggests no such degree of organisation. The mooring rope is interesting too. Looped around a tree trunk but so slack as to be of zero use in holding the boat unless the bow is pointing upstream. Of course, it could be like that as part of the image's intent to show the whole exercise as being a bit of shambles. Thus I wonder if it was actually a 'political' cartoon at the time of publication.

What do folks think?


Last edited by PeteThePen1 on Thu Mar 25, 2021 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wooding up at Night

Post by Mike Rometer » Fri Mar 19, 2021 5:08 pm

I stand to be corrected but I was under the impression that it was usual to moor river boats with the bow facing upstream, even when travelling downstream, as it allowed bow control into the bank/jetty (no bow thrusters back then). Next question, is that something I picked up reading that very famous Mark Twain novel Huckleberry Finn? :lol:
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