8
   

Why do American sailors........

 
 
lovejoy
 
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2010 02:48 pm
in TV progs refer to the toilet on a ship as "the head"?
 
edgarblythe
 
  4  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2010 03:02 pm
The term comes from the days of sailing ships when the place for the crew to relieve themselves was all the way forward on either side of the bowsprit, the integral part of the hull to which the figurehead was fastened.

I googled this.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2010 03:54 pm
@edgarblythe,
Quote:
The term comes from the days of sailing ships when the place for the crew to relieve themselves was all the way forward on either side of the bowsprit, the integral part of the hull to which the figurehead was fastened.


Seems awfully dumb to me, Edgar. Don't piss into the wind, and all that. Could be even worse if they had to take a dump.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2010 04:00 pm
@JTT,
Your point is?
hamburgboy
 
  3  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2010 04:10 pm
@JTT,
good explanation from wiki :

Quote:
The term derives from sailing ships in which the toilet area for the regular sailors was placed at the head or bow of the ship. In sailing ships this position was sensible for two reasons. First, since most vessels of the era could not sail directly into the wind, [1] the winds came mostly across the rear of the ship [2] placing the head essentially downwind. Secondly, if placed somewhat above the water line, vents or slots cut near the floor level would allow normal wave action to wash out the facility
Region Philbis
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2010 04:12 pm
@hamburgboy,

before i hit the road, i always hit the head...
roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2010 04:27 pm
@Region Philbis,
So, the admiral and the general were doing a coin toss. The admiral called heads. The general took latrines.

0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2010 04:30 pm
@edgarblythe,
Just that it seemed dumb, Edgar, that's all. But Hamburgboy has provided an explanation that points to me being the dumb one.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  2  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2010 04:33 pm
@hamburgboy,
Still, almost every painting I've seen of sailing ships has the sails billowing forwards, while the flag is streaming proudly to the rear of the vessel.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2010 04:35 pm
@hamburgboy,
Besides that, toilets on the head make it easier to get flushed (directly) with (sea-)water.


edgar: did you make the experience as well that we/you couldn't use the toilets because someone had used to much toilet paper ... it was a hell of a job to get that out without divers .... [I remember that it was worse when we had ladies on board, on "family day"]
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2010 04:50 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
I really don't recall a problem with that. We were constantly told we could only have so many sheets per day, but nobody gave me that for a reason.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2010 05:23 pm
I would like to point out that the term was used in the Royal Navy before the United States existed. It isn't exclusive to American sailors . . .
hamburgboy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2010 05:27 pm
@Setanta,
this has become a " head " turning thread Laughing
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2010 05:28 pm
Well, you'll have to excuse me . . . i need to use the head . . .
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2010 05:44 pm
Found this from the Naval Historical Center

The use of the term "head" to refer to a ship's toilet dates to at least as early as 1708, when Woodes Rogers (English privateer and Governor of the Bahamas) used the word in his book, A Cruising Voyage Around the World. Another early usage is in Tobias Smollett's novel of travel and adventure, Roderick Random, published in 1748. "Head" in a nautical sense referring to the bow or fore part of a ship dates to 1485. The ship's toilet was typically placed at the head of the ship near the base of the bowsprit, where splashing water served to naturally clean the toilet area.

Other maritime uses of the term refer to the top or forward part, such as the mast (top of the mast/masthead), and the top edge of a sail, as well as the compass direction in which the ship is pointing, etc.

JTT
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2010 07:53 pm
@edgarblythe,
Quote:
where splashing water served to naturally clean the toilet area.


And did everyone have to hold it thru three day storms? Smile
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2010 08:01 pm
@JTT,
Quote:
And did everyone have to hold it thru three day storms?
Emissions are never a problem in severe weather.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2010 08:16 pm
Don't know what the wooden ship sailors did. On a destroyer the head is a ways forward of mid ship and below deck.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2010 08:45 pm
0 Replies
 
hamburgboy
 
  2  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2010 08:59 pm
@hamburgboy,
and the wiki article continues :

Quote:
Only the captain had his private toilet near his quarters, below the poop deck.



and i say g'night all !
hbg
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

Take it All - Discussion by McGentrix
Cancelled - Discussion by Brandon9000
John Stewart meets Bill O'Reilly - Discussion by Thomas
Recommend good HBO series? - Discussion by dlowan
BEFORE WE HAD T.V. - Discussion by edgarblythe
What TV shows do you watch? - Discussion by Robert Gentel
Orange is the New Black - Discussion by tsarstepan
Odd Premier: Under the Dome - Discussion by edgarblythe
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Why do American sailors........
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 05/07/2021 at 07:20:38