Question for sailors and/or naval folks

Ok…this is a bit of trivia, I guess. I was watching “Titanic” yesterday and wondered what a particular thing on a ship is called. It is only found in crew areas, it stands about 3-4 feet from the floor, has a round sort of “dial” on it, and it has all kinds of words on it like “stop” and “full”. A crew member will grab some kind of handle on it and push it to one side or the other until the indicator (like a little arrow) rests on one of the words. Supposely, crew in other parts of the ship are told what to do from this thing. I have tried to find out what it is, but I can’t seem to be able to find anything that resembles these things. Anyone know?

If it looks like this it is called a ships telegraph…used for transmitting signals from the bridge (captain) to the engine room.
Real ones are very valuable antiques these days but there are also alot of replicas out there.

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YEAH!!! That’s exactly what it looked like!! Do any ships still use these? Very interesting. I looked on a number of maritime websites, maritime definitions, maritime equipment and even images and couldn’t find a single explanation. Thanks, Cam!! I know I can always get the answers I need from you! :slayer:

P.S. I just looked up “ships telegraph” on Wikipedia and found a very interesting explanation of how it works. Cool, Cam!!

Yer welcome! They are not in use today except on very old boats of a historical nature since electronics allows more efficient and responsive control directly from the bridge and they don’t need to shovel more coal to get a head of steam up! You may see certain similarities in modern day “telegraphs” …note the LABEL!!

Wow…that is REALLY cool! I saw a documentary a few months back (on my favorite channel–the Military Channel) about Pearl Harbor and how one U.S. Naval ship (can’t remember the name now…) saw a Japanese mini-sub outside of waters of Pearl Harbor before the attack. It showed how this ship hit the mini-sub two or three times. The men on the ship claimed that they sunk it, but could never be sure. The mini-sub was found recently with it’s torpedos still attached and live. Then, they compared how difficult it was for the U.S.ship of 1941 to make such a hit by comparing it to the U.S. Naval ships of today. It was amazing–and almost a miracle–that these 1941 sailors managed to sink the sub after seeing what was involved in the modern day ship’s intricate systems to do the same job. It made the few remaining sailors who are still alive very happy to have this event validated. Very cool stuff, Cam!!

I read about that too…quite amazing feat and wonderful vindication for the ship and crew.
Technology for navigation is incredible today and available to the smallest boat owner for a pittance doing things that the WWII crews could never even dream of.

One example is GPS vs. Sextant. Can you imagine that battleships at sea could only estimate within a couple of miles where they were based on a sextant reading and calculations that were quite difficult (using log tables) and completely dependent on CLEAR skies! Today…anyone with a boat and $100 bucks can tell their exact spot on earth within 30 feet from moment to moment.
Makes boating accessible to a lot more people…but of course that means there are a lot more idiots out there too!

Wow, didn’t realize that! Technology is amazing! To think that our exact location is determined by a satellite orbiting around the earth miles above us is truly amazing. I have become so attached to my GPS that I don’t even look at maps anymore! Sort of scarey in a way…

Hey, what do you think NASA is going to do next now that the Shuttle program is defunct? There are some rumblings about sending some kind of spaceship to Mars. Think that’s possible?

Dunno CT…but if I had to guess…NASA’s days of major space initiatives are over given the budget issues. I expect however that private ventures may do it faster & cheaper if not better as they are doing now re-supplying the space station. The ONE thing that could change this is China going to the moon and then announcing a Mars program. THAT would get our attention!

My aunt used to have one of those!

And I’ll try and answer the NASA question. Right now, due to budget cuts, NASA’s main goal is to service the international space station using this bad boy, the Russian soyuz capsule:

Though SpaceX is trying to get some contracts with their Dragon line of spacecraft which made a cargo run last year:

For the future, NASA wants to try and use their old design that was cancelled, Orion, on top of the old horse, the Saturn V:

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Ahhh! Competition is always a motivator, huh?

Such COOL pictures, Trekky! I visit the NASA website often because I always love to see the new Hubble pictures. Maybe space exploration in the hands of private businesses is better because it then takes it out of the hands of the government. Less bureaucracy…and money.