Various sayings, phrases and terminology related to the Dixie.
Backing Down The process of switching the paddlewheel into reverse.
Bicycle Boat Early steamboats turned the paddlewheel by moving a connecting rod known as a pitman arm. By the late 1890's, gasoline powered sternwheelers came into being. Instead of pitman arms, they used large sprocket gears and chains to turn the paddlewheel. These boats were known as "Bicycle Boats" because their chain-drive resembled that of a bicycle. All sternwheelers on Webster Lake have used chain-drives.
Blinker A friendly form of greeting, used at night, between the Dixie and shoreline residents. The shoreline residents flash their lights, and the Dixie flashes its lights in acknowledgement. Blinking began in 1961 when Tag Huffman's 1st Mate used the Dixie lights to signal his girlfriend on shore (the signal indicated that the Dixie was on its final round for the evening). At that time, the Dixie's wiring caused all lights on the boat to blink. Residents on the other side of the lake saw this and began blinking as well. By the end of the year this greeting was used all over the lake, and is still used today.
Bucket The proper name for a paddlewheel blade.
Cribbing Describes the way timbers are stacked underneath a vessel (or any large object) to support it, as it is slowly raised.
Cylinder Timber The proper name for the I-beams that support the paddlewheel. The origin of this word comes from the days when steamboats had wooden hulls, and the two horizontal steam engines (or cylinders) were attached directly to the timbers that supported the paddlewheel.
Dog Legging The Dixie's shallow draft allows the wind to significantly affect its steering. Dog legging describes the way the Dixie must angle (or tack) into strong winds.
Fan Tail The proper name for the "catwalk" that extends out alongside the paddlewheel, and is supported by the cylinder timbers. The Dixie only has one fan tail, on the starboard side of the paddlewheel. The port fantail was destroyed when a storm drove the Dixie into several piers near Yellow Banks Hotel, in the early 1950s, when Earl Ungeright was captain. Earl never rebuilt the port fan tail after the storm.
Flag Stop For many years the Dixie would make special, unscheduled stops at various locations around the lake. The people on shore would flag the Dixie to indicate that they wanted it to stop. In the early years this was mainly for grocery or mail delivery. From the 1930's onward it was mainly for passenger pickup. Miller's Landing and the Yellow Banks Hotel were common flag stops. The practice of flag stopping faded away after 1981.
Followin' George Sternwheel boats create a "washboard" wake behind them which are often called "rollers". The very last wave in the wake is typically much larger than the others. For the Dixie, this wave is known as "Followin' George". It is a term coined by Tag Huffman in the early 1960s and is named after George Slyger, who would often be seen in his yellow-lapboard boat, following the Dixie, just behind the huge wave.
Galvanized Steel A method of rust-proofing steel by coating it with zinc. When the Dixie's hull was fabricated at Barbour Boatworks (St Louis) in 1928, it was given three coats of zinc. This process was known as "Triple-coat" galvanizing.
Hog Chain The hog chain is a solid steel cable which helps support the weight of the paddlewheel and other structures. Hog chains often incorporate double-threaded turnbuckles, which makes them adjustable. The Dixie's hog chains are anchored to the hull, extend through the top deck, and back down to the paddlewheel girders. Wooden hulled sternwheelers, such as the first Dixie, required several sets of hog chains throughout the vessel for structural support.
Hog Truss A hog truss is a solid supporting beam, such as a wooden post or steel angle iron, upon which a hog chain applies leverage to.
Jackshaft A jackshaft is the name of the axle that carries belt-driven flywheels and/or rollerchain gears. The Dixie has a flywheel/jackshaft which acts as the "transmission" between the electric motor and the paddlewheel. By use of gear ratios, the flywheel/jackshaft reduces the torque required to turn the 2-ton paddwheel, allowing the electric motor to work efficiently.
Kicked out the window The Dixie's speed is controlled by a large electric cam switch which was once used by an iterurban train. The switch is located in the pilot house near the forward window. In the fastest position, the switch lever is moved all the way forward to the window frame. When the Dixie's paddlewheel is switched to its fastest speed, it is said to be "kicked out the window". This phrase was coined by Captain Earl Ungeright in the 1950s.
Lazy Bench A small bench located in the back of the pilothouse. It provides a place for the pilot to rest. It is also used as extra seating for crew members and visitors. The Dixie had a lazy bench from 1914 to 1949. The lazy bench was removed when Earl Ungeright redesigned the pilothouse in 1950. The old Captain's Chair (a tall stool) was located in its place. In 1981 the valuable Captain's Chair, which had been in use since 1914, mysteriously vanished and went to Phoenix with the new management. A lazy bench was built in its place.
Packet Steamboat Refers to the type of steam powered vessels that dominated America's river systems in the 1800's. Packet boats were designed to transport people and commerce on the larger rivers. The first successful Ohio/Mississippi river packet boat was built in 1811. The last true packet boats were built during the first decade of the 20th century. By the 1930's the packet steamboat was practically extinct.
Packing 'em in Term coined by Captain Jay Knapp when he took a record load of 285 passengers on the Dixie (early in the 1940's).
Pilot The person who actually steers the ship. A good Pilot is familiar with the waters they are navigating, and can avoid hidden dangers, such as snags and sandbars. A Captain, on the other hand, has the foremost authority and responsibility of a vessel. On smaller vessels the Captain and Pilot may be the same person, or have overlapping job functions.
Port Assuming you are aboard a ship and looking forward, the left side of the ship is the Port side.
Rollers The proper name for the "washboard" wake produced by sternwheelers.
Shakedown Cruise A test run of a vessel to "shakeout" any problems that may need to be fixed. The Dixie's shakedown is done each spring before the regular passenger season begins. Shakedowns may also be done after any major repairs during the season.
Speaking Tube A pipe which is used as a low-tech method for communicating between the decks of a ship. The Dixie had a speaking tube between the pilot house and the concession stand on the lower deck. This was removed in 1981 when the concession stand was moved further aft.
Spring Line A mooring line used to help secure the boat in high-wind or storm conditions. The regular mooring lines can snap if they are pulled tight too quickly by the wind. In windy conditions, the spring line slows the boat's rate of movement before the regular mooring lines become too tightly bound. A spring line is much longer than the regular mooring lines and has plenty of slack. It is tied from the boat to the shore as high as possible, allowing the weight of the rope to hold the boat firmly to the dock.
Starboard Assuming you are aboard a ship and looking forward, the right side of the ship is the Starboard side.