The Mount Temple


Jim Currie

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Hi Sam,

I would just like to know what the manuals say, and what the practice would be in that era with regard to patent logs when going through ice fields.

Your question is relevant but only in so far as it relates to ships that don't cross ice fields - we know on the 15th April The Californian went through the ice field 3 times.

Even going down the western side of the ice field, according to Groves, bits of ice were bumping against The Californian.

I think it's quite a simple question - would you use a patent log in such conditions?

Or only in ice field free water steaming along normally?

Cheers,

Julian
Julian,

I have an old copy of Nicholl's Seamanship & Nautical Knowledge which spans the sail-steam-motor eras. It also covers measuring methods from the chip log to the electronic variety.
As far as use is concerned, it relies on common sense and good seamanship practice in that no practical seaman would drag anything behind his vessel - be it log line or fishing gear- through an area in which, he, the seaman , knew for certain that the tackle being used will be damaged or lost.

Does that answer your question?
So would it be wise to use in a icefield?
No.
 

Mike Spooner

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Hello Mike. I'll try and answer as best I can'
No, the spinner does not "turn at 900 rpm" The faster it is pulled through the water, the faster it turns. It simply clocks-up 1 mile after it has turned 900 times. The more often it turns 900 times , the greater number of miles are clocked up. This answers your Q2.
If you look at Gorge's post No. 595 on this thread (2 pages ago) you will see a picture of 2 sets of log gear, 1 log line an a log register. The register is the bit that is either on a"shoe" bracket on the ships rail at the stern or on a boom out from the bridge wing. This piture answers your Qs 1, 5 and 6.
In the case of 5 - heavey weather,-the length of the line strailed astern, + the weights (the brass thing with the hole in it) keep the rotator well bellow the surface andclear of the ship's wake.

As for your Q 4. These were used to time the enterval between successive marks on the log line as it was steamed over the stern from the ship. They were last seriously use back in the 1800s and by sailing ships.

Hope these answers help.
Hello Jim. Thanks for your rely and with Gorge post 595 got a better idea on how it works now. Just one more question.
Now you have said about the brass weight keeping the instrument under water. However in the Titanic The Ship Magnificent book, A common problem with these instrument was caught a lot grit from smoke from the funnels, causing them to require regular cleaning! I am thinking if the item is under water how the funnel grit getting into the instrument?
 

Julian Atkins

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So here's the rub.

I haven't fully worked this out.

Captain Lord was intending to resume his Boston course when he discussed matters with Stewart that morning, before Evans was woken up and started tapping away and receiving wireless messages.

The inference is that according to Captain Lord and Stewart they were initially going to go westwards somehow through the ice field. Stewart questioned this.

Sam has a slightly different bit of admitted speculation in a footnote in his book, that I don't think detracts from the above to any great degree.

So, The Californian is close to an ice field ahead of it's Boston course.

Captain Lord never took the arguably easier course that The Parisian took the previous evening, and didn't follow the Carpathia round the ice field.

Instead it cut across the ice field for the 3rd time on the morning of the 15th April.

Captain Lord and The Californian did not clear the ice field until 2.30pm on the 15th.

So what was the need for Gibson to spend 1 hour or so of his 4 hour watch during 'The Middle Watch' finding and preparing a new patent log that wouldn't be needed in any event for well into Stewart's 4 - 8am watch the next morning without the wireless messages of the Titanic disaster from 5.15am onwards?

Why not simply wait till the morning to get a new patent log and it's line in order?

Why on earth was it a priority at 12.25am for Gibson to be sent away from the bridge to get a new patent log?

And take so long to do this?

And whilst in the meantime Stone was seeing rockets being fired?

One might consider that if Stone wasn't that sure what he was seeing, at the very least he ought have got the quartermaster to get Gibson back on the bridge to see what was going on, and as some corroboration, before he communicated with Captain Lord?

I should perhaps add there is no evidence that we have of Captain Lord ever referring to the patent log records in any of his evidence in various forms over 50 years.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Why on earth was it a priority at 12.25am for Gibson to be sent away from the bridge to get a new patent log?
It wasn't a priority Julian. The ship ship was stopped for the night and there was nothing better for Gibson to do. So why not have him stream a new log since they lost the one they had at the time the ship was forced to take avoidance action when she previously came up to the pack ice at 10:20pm?
 

Jim Currie

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Hello Jim. Thanks for your rely and with Gorge post 595 got a better idea on how it works now. Just one more question.
Now you have said about the brass weight keeping the instrument under water. However in the Titanic The Ship Magnificent book, A common problem with these instrument was caught a lot grit from smoke from the funnels, causing them to require regular cleaning! I am thinking if the item is under water how the funnel grit getting into the instrument?
I don't know who wrote that book, Mike. Hans Christian Andersen perhaps?
So much rubbish has been spewed forth and continues to be spewed forth by self-professed "experts". In practice, the biggest problem was sea weed or more likely, some clown forgetting it was there and throwing an old tarpauline wire composite cutings, old waterloged rope ends or other such rubbish over the side.
 

Julian Atkins

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It wasn't a priority Julian. The ship ship was stopped for the night and there was nothing better for Gibson to do. So why not have him stream a new log since they lost the one they had at the time the ship was forced to take avoidance action when she previously came up to the pack ice at 10:20pm?

Why not instead get Gibson to obtain potentially valuable experience of taking the bearings of a stopped vessel on the edge of an ice field and getting called back onto the bridge when Stone started to see unusual things happening?

(When I did my 'articles' as an indentured 'articled clerk'/'trainee solicitor', I had all the difficult and unusual jobs thrown at me).

Stone could certainly have nothing but benefited from Gibson's presence on the bridge, rather than Gibson being below apparently attempting to find a new patent log that Gibson took a very long time to find, and by
his own 18th April statement proved inconclusive for the first 30 minutes!

Why then after eventually finding the replacement patent log was he sent below again to prepare it from 3.40 - 4am?

Was Gibson arduously splicing up rope, or just clipping it on?

It does seem to me that Gibson spent a lot of time during The Middle Watch that raises some questions.

At 3.40pm, the obvious example is that they, Stone and Gibson, ought to both have stayed on the bridge together to see eventually what this ship was that was firing rockets from some 3.20am just on the horizon, especially after everything that had happened earlier.

That would be the priority I would consider for an Officer of the bridge and for Gibson, rather than Gibson going below again for something that wasn't going to be required on The Californian for a substantial number of hours and in any event into the next watch.
 
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Mar 22, 2003
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Well, IMO, streaming a new log line had to be done by somebody, and that somebody was poor Gibson. Stone wasn't about to do it. When he was sent to do that job there was no reason why anybody was needed to take continuous bearings on a vessel that appeared to have stopped for the night for the same reason Californian had stopped. After Gibson arrived back on the bridge and informed about the rockets seen by Stone, and informed that Lord had been called, Gibson was used to operate the Morse lamp, which proved to be unsuccessful previously, while Stone allegedly took bearings from the compass. Why not let Gibson take a few bearings? I'm not the one to answer that. Too bad he didn't.
 

Julian Atkins

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At 12.25am, Gibson was sent below to find a new patent log, having not got to the bridge for his 12 midnight start of his watch when he came up with the coffee at 12.15.

At 12.45am, Stone starts to see something unusual.

Stone could have whistled down to the engine room to get Gibson back on deck, or called via the QM on duty to get someone to get Gibson back on the bridge.

Gibson via his own 18th April statement does return to the bridge briefly because he can't find the new replacement patent log. Stone doesn't ask him to stay with him, but according to Gibson, sends him below again.

Obviously you wouldn't expect the 2nd Officer to leave the bridge unattended to deal with a patent log, but surely another member of the crew could have done this? Plenty of spare hands at the time as they were stopped for the night.

So why Gibson?

And for what amounted to one hour or so in total of his 4 hour watch?

At the time there was no urgency to stream a new replacement patent log, and to my mind no logical reason why Gibson should have been given this task and taken so long to do it when arguably there were other priorities - assisting Stone on the bridge- and in any event the new patent log wouldn't be required at the end of their watch.
 

Mike Spooner

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Hello Jim/Sam,
Now I have a better upstanding on how the instrument works. I have to ask is it necessary to have this item on board? After all they have been sailing for hundred years without them. Titanic had two Walker Patent Neptune on board where only one was used and the other was a spare unit. I guest the Californian had a similar instrument and can one see they are vulnerable to damage hence the spare unit.
Question: Does Californian need one to compete her crossing to Boston?
 

Jim Currie

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So here's the rub.

I haven't fully worked this out.

Captain Lord was intending to resume his Boston course when he discussed matters with Stewart that morning, before Evans was woken up and started tapping away and receiving wireless messages.

The inference is that according to Captain Lord and Stewart they were initially going to go westwards somehow through the ice field. Stewart questioned this.

Sam has a slightly different bit of admitted speculation in a footnote in his book, that I don't think detracts from the above to any great degree.

So, The Californian is close to an ice field ahead of it's Boston course.

Captain Lord never took the arguably easier course that The Parisian took the previous evening, and didn't follow the Carpathia round the ice field.

Instead it cut across the ice field for the 3rd time on the morning of the 15th April.

Captain Lord and The Californian did not clear the ice field until 2.30pm on the 15th.

So what was the need for Gibson to spend 1 hour or so of his 4 hour watch during 'The Middle Watch' finding and preparing a new patent log that wouldn't be needed in any event for well into Stewart's 4 - 8am watch the next morning without the wireless messages of the Titanic disaster from 5.15am onwards?

Why not simply wait till the morning to get a new patent log and it's line in order?

Why on earth was it a priority at 12.25am for Gibson to be sent away from the bridge to get a new patent log?

And take so long to do this?

And whilst in the meantime Stone was seeing rockets being fired?

One might consider that if Stone wasn't that sure what he was seeing, at the very least he ought have got the quartermaster to get Gibson back on the bridge to see what was going on, and as some corroboration, before he communicated with Captain Lord?

I should perhaps add there is no evidence that we have of Captain Lord ever referring to the patent log records in any of his evidence in various forms over 50 years.
Hello Julian.

The Second Officer on a 3 Mate ship was, in 1912 an during my time, the Navigating Officer. As such ,among many other things, his duty was to ensure that all navigation charts, instruments and equipment used for navigation were in good working order and ready for immediate use at all times. Fifteen minutes before the end iof his Watch , Stone, like his colleagues Groves and Stewart would make his end-of-Watch check. In this case, Stone knew that the patent Log was damaged, however, he did not know what his boss's plans were. Can you imagine what relationship the nasty stuff would have with the fan if at a later time, Lord wanted to stream the Log and it was not set-up for doing so? As I pointed out earlier, streaming the log wasn't just a case of chucking the thing over the side - a lot of preparation was necessary before that final action took place. I hope you see my point.
 

Jim Currie

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Why not instead get Gibson to obtain potentially valuable experience of taking the bearings of a stopped vessel on the edge of an ice field and getting called back onto the bridge when Stone started to see unusual things happening?

(When I did my 'articles' as an indentured 'articled clerk'/'trainee solicitor', I had all the difficult and unusual jobs thrown at me).

Stone could certainly have nothing but benefited from Gibson's presence on the bridge, rather than Gibson being below apparently attempting to find a new patent log that Gibson took a very long time to find, and by
his own 18th April statement proved inconclusive for the first 30 minutes!

Why then after eventually finding the replacement patent log was he sent below again to prepare it from 3.40 - 4am?

Was Gibson arduously splicing up rope, or just clipping it on?

It does seem to me that Gibson spent a lot of time during The Middle Watch that raises some questions.

At 3.40pm, the obvious example is that they, Stone and Gibson, ought to both have stayed on the bridge together to see eventually what this ship was that was firing rockets from some 3.20am just on the horizon, especially after everything that had happened earlier.

That would be the priority I would consider for an Officer of the bridge and for Gibson, rather than Gibson going below again for something that wasn't going to be required on The Californian for a substantial number of hours and in any event into the next watch.
Hello again, Julian.

Sam cannot answer your questions because he was never an Indentured Apprentice... I was for 4 years and did exactly the same jobs as did Gibson. I know that you guys hate the idea of me quoting experience, but its all I've got.
When In started my career at sea a few years after WW2, we used exactly the same type of basic equipment as supplied the the Californian. Also I have prepared and streamed the Patent Log more times than I can remember. As a matter of fact I still have my Indentures.. not my in - dentures, I hasten to add , I prefer to keep them in. :D
Who said Gibson was in the engine room? Why would he be in such a place?
Gibson's first trip below after coffee would have been to find the box containing the replacement Patent Log. There was no need to actually prepare it at that time... he knew he had four hours ahead of him. Besides that, he would not leave the bridge unless ordered to do so by Stone. He may of course, have suggested that he do so. He was of no use to Stone up on the exposed bridge. In addition, he was almost at the end of his time and therefore a Company Senior Apprentice. As such he would have been ready to sit for his 2nd Mate's Examination, so taking bearings was very old hat to him. However, there was one skill he would have developed during his years as an Apprentice, and that was the art of "Skiving". If you want to know why he was off the bridge for so long... look no further but look up the slang term which incidentally was used all the time in the British MN.
 

Jim Currie

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Well, IMO, streaming a new log line had to be done by somebody, and that somebody was poor Gibson. Stone wasn't about to do it. When he was sent to do that job there was no reason why anybody was needed to take continuous bearings on a vessel that appeared to have stopped for the night for the same reason Californian had stopped. After Gibson arrived back on the bridge and informed about the rockets seen by Stone, and informed that Lord had been called, Gibson was used to operate the Morse lamp, which proved to be unsuccessful previously, while Stone allegedly took bearings from the compass. Why not let Gibson take a few bearings? I'm not the one to answer that. Too bad he didn't.
Gibson did not go to "stream" the Patent Log, Sam. He first went to make sure they had one and where he could find it when he was told to go an prepare it. I'm sure you know it would have been "streamed" when it was safe and appropriate to do so.
As for Gibson taking bearings? Why on earth should he do so? That was the job of the OOW. Why do you think Gibson very clearly stated that his boss was taking bearings, and I quote:

"Second Officer remarked to me that she was slowly steaming away...and..."
7741. Could you see whether she was steaming away?
- No. The Second Officer was taking bearings of her all the time
."

Obviously Gibson was telling you, me and the ship's cat that he knew why his officer said what he said about the other vessel. If you cannot accept that, Sam, it is because, like Gibson's interrogators, or should I say Inquisitors? - you have pre judged and his answer does not fit your judgement.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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However, there was one skill he would have developed during his years as an Apprentice, and that was the art of "Skiving".
It reminds me of the worker who is paid by the hour. "Don't rush me, I get paid for doing a very, very thorough job."

Your right, he didn't stream a new log, he was sent to prepare a new log for streaming when the ship got underway again. By the way Julian, Stone was simply following Lord's orders by sending Gibson on that errand. Apparently, Lord told him to do that when he talked with Stone shortly before Stone took over from Groves.
 

Julian Atkins

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My call to "the engine room " was rather off the top of my head, as they were all on standby, if not exactly on "stand by" via the Bridge Telegraph, that Middle Watch. Many could arguably have assisted Gibson to find the new/replacement patent log, or done this instead of Gibson.

Nevermind.

Why was The Californian's 'stores' of replacement parts potentially so disorganised that Gibson couldn't find the spare/replacement patent log line within 30 minutes or some 50 minutes?
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Why was The Californian's 'stores' of replacement parts potentially so disorganised that Gibson couldn't find the spare/replacement patent log line within 30 minutes or some 50 minutes?
One can ask that question of those on Titanic as well. Boxhall didn't know where the socket distress signals were kept, and had to ask someone where they were. I don't think it is reasonable for anyone to know everything.

What I'm curious about is your line questioning here and the relevancy to the overall affair. Maybe I just don't get it.
 
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Julian Atkins

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One can ask that question of those on Titanic as well. Boxhall didn't know where the socket distress signals were kept, and had to ask someone where they were. I don't think it is reasonable for anyone to know everything.

What I'm curious about is your line questioning here and the relevancy to the overall affair. Maybe I just don't get it.

I think we have both been exploring a "textual analysis" of the documentary evidence, Sam, but I don't think we have yet explored fully a number of 'gaps'.

Harrison has left with the Liverpool Museum apparently a diary of his research that has not been fully disclosed, and cannot be examined currently during covid.

We ought to be able to properly explain why Gibson was away from the bridge for pretty much 1 hour out of his 4 hour 'Middle Watch'.

We ought to explore this a bit further?

Why was Gibson sent off the bridge to go and find something that apparently he couldn't find easily and within a reasonable amount of time?

I am very curious over all this, and incidentally grateful to the Moderators for allowing me to continue this line of questioning.

(I've got my first covid vaccination on Wednesday - hope you are keeping safe all of you - I really do sincerely hope you all are).
 
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Jim Currie

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My call to "the engine room " was rather off the top of my head, as they were all on standby, if not exactly on "stand by" via the Bridge Telegraph, that Middle Watch. Many could arguably have assisted Gibson to find the new/replacement patent log, or done this instead of Gibson.

Nevermind.

Why was The Californian's 'stores' of replacement parts potentially so disorganised that Gibson couldn't find the spare/replacement patent log line within 30 minutes or some 50 minutes?
That's a fair question, Julian.

The actual Log Gear would have been fairly easy to find. It came in a manufacturer's box and would have been stowed in the Lazerette...a very small, cramped compartment accessed via a hatch somewhere on the poop deck. However that compartment would also contain mooring ropes, heaving lines, paint, oil and lots of other stuff used around the after end. The contents would be stowed on and under wooden shelves and suspended from the deck head. Large drums of oil and paint would be stowed on the deck and chocked against movement in heavy weather. Storage space on a cargo ship was kept to a minimum for obvious reasons. Add to the the foregoing the fact that back in 1912, it is unlikely that the space would be well lit, if indeed, lit at all. Now you see the problem of an individual trying to find a specific item. The gear box would be fairly easy to locate but the special log line was another separate problem. It would be "hanked" and either over-stowed or more than likely hanging among a lot of other hanked rope.
Your problem is that of so many present day researchers - you are applying modern day organization practices and capability to the limited technology of over a hundred years ago.
Given what I have described to you and the fact that the search took place after midnight, there is no mystery in how long it took Gibson to first locate all the bits and pieces. His actions at 3-45 am would have been aided by the standby AB. and straight forward. There would be three seamen on the Watch with him. The other two would be: one in the nest and one on the bridge wing.

I hope this helps your quest for clarification.
Meantime, I'm glad you have had your first "jag" I had mine in the middle of January. Now my central heating pump has packed in and I wish I was back in Madeira. Take care.
 

Jim Currie

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Well, IMO, streaming a new log line had to be done by somebody, and that somebody was poor Gibson. Stone wasn't about to do it. When he was sent to do that job there was no reason why anybody was needed to take continuous bearings on a vessel that appeared to have stopped for the night for the same reason Californian had stopped. After Gibson arrived back on the bridge and informed about the rockets seen by Stone, and informed that Lord had been called, Gibson was used to operate the Morse lamp, which proved to be unsuccessful previously, while Stone allegedly took bearings from the compass. Why not let Gibson take a few bearings? I'm not the one to answer that. Too bad he didn't.
You wrote " there was no reason why anybody was needed to take continuous bearings on a vessel that appeared to have stopped for the night for the same reason Californian had stopped"

Of course there was. a reason Sam, just one of several. If you had ever served on a steamship bridge you would know these reasons. Instead of informing you, I'll let you Google the answers. Perhaps it will help to prevent you from making such broad statements. ;)
 

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