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2 AM trip to the john and I'm thinking...


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I have never heard the front of a ship called the head. It's the bow. Occasionally it's the prow. But not the head.

 

The walls of a ship are called the bulkhead, and I have heard that these holes were cut in the bulkhead, which is how they came to be called the head.

 

But then, I have also heard that fertilizer was marked Store High In Transit, prostitutes were arrested For Unlicensed Carnal Knowledge, and if you were on a ship bound for India, if you wanted the best ride you made sure your cabin was on the Port Out, Starboard Home side.

 

Point being, that you can hear the weirdest explanations for why something is called what it is, and most of them are stupid.

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Posted (edited)

The front of the ship above water is the the head, or the prow. That’s why a ship moving forward is said to be, ‘making headway’.

 

The toilets were in the front because when the ship was underway, the wind would blow from the rear or diagonally across the front — not directly aft. Made the odiferousness more tolerable 

Edited by Ozark Huckleberry
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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, Alpo said:

I have never heard the front of a ship called the head. It's the bow. Occasionally it's the prow. But not the head.

 

The walls of a ship are called the bulkhead, and I have heard that these holes were cut in the bulkhead, which is how they came to be called the head.

 

But then, I have also heard that fertilizer was marked Store High In Transit, prostitutes were arrested For Unlicensed Carnal Knowledge, and if you were on a ship bound for India, if you wanted the best ride you made sure your cabin was on the Port Out, Starboard Home side.

 

Point being, that you can hear the weirdest explanations for why something is called what it is, and most of them are stupid.

The bulkheads are not the hull. If you pooped through a bulkhead somebody on the other side would come after you with a cutlass. :D

2670B06B-C756-49F9-9C05-15BB1325341A.jpeg

Edited by Utah Bob #35998
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The heads in the bows were it for everybody except, in most cases, the Captain on most civilian and military vessels.  He had a private 'closet' built into his quarters.

 

That's to be expected since he also had the largest quarters on the ship.  On the other hand, he shared the space with the stern chasers, if present, too, unless the ship was large enough to have a dedicated gun deck.

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1 hour ago, Branchwater Jack SASS #88854 said:

Learned something new today. I always thought they just used the poop deck.

aYy1KxO_700b.jpg.c2882acb52ace153df5921e739d92dff.jpg

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Cold water splashing up through the head gave rise to the term scuttlebutt. :lol::P

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1 hour ago, Utah Bob #35998 said:

Cold water splashing up through the head gave rise to the term scuttlebutt. :lol::P

Not to put too fine a point on it, but butt was a term that referred to a keg or barrel, and the 'scuttlebutt' was a keg of drinking water. Later 'scuttlebutt' came to mean a 'rumor' or the 'real story' -- probably from swabbies getting together at the water keg (the scuttlebutt) and talking.

 

Nowadays it refers to either a drinking fountain or, as mentioned, a rumor or information passed informally between sailors  

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1 hour ago, Branchwater Jack SASS #88854 said:

 

Is that our starboard or our portside hand?

Could we be ambidextrious? inquiring minds want to know

 

Imis

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