The Ship Wheel As An Icon

Feb 1 08:51 2011 George Roy Print This Article

A ship’s wheel is what the crew trusts to guide them in stormy seas. To guide and direct a ship on its path, the most vital component of any ship - the wheel - is used. The most iconic part of a ship, a ship wheel, can be hung on a wall on open space for maximum effect, highlighting the wheel’s deep luster and unique shape. With eight spokes around its edges, a ship’s wheel is identified as one of the most easily recognizable parts of a ship. 

A ship’s wheel is what the crew trusts to guide them in stormy seas. The ship’s wheel is a vital part to controlling the ship on its journey. The most iconic part of a ship,Guest Posting a ship’s wheel, can be hung on a wall on open space for maximum effect, highlighting the wheel’s deep luster and unique shape. Even small children can recognize the unique shape that is the ship’s eight spoke wheel. 
The rudder is what controls the ship’s angle, but the rudder itself is controlled by the ship’s wheel. The helm is not the ship’s wheel alone, but the steering mechanisms that run through the boat as well. In older times, the ship’s wheel did not use hydraulics or electronic pulses to change the steering, but a long bar called a tiller, or whipstaff. The tiller has not been completely abandoned as a method of steering, however, and many ship sailing enthusiasts still use the tiller for its ability to give greater control and a sense of safety; electronics, while sturdy in ships, are prone to act up from time to time. Having been around for centuries, the ship’s wheel is a mainstay icon of sailing, even as it is slowly being replaced with sleeker, modern versions that look nothing like the wheels depicted in the past. 
The eight spokes on a ship’s wheel also serve varying navigational purposes. During storms and deep fog, the eight spokes could be used as markers for the helmsman, enabling him to create a ‘brain map’ of makeshift points in the ocean. When taking out a sextant was impossible due to storms or heavy rain, a skilled navigator could use the spacing of the eight spokes as a rudimentary scale for determining an angle. The number of watch shifts and the spokes of the ship’s wheel are both eight, and it has been speculated these two were interconnected in some way. 
The weight of ship’s wheels when detached from their post varied from manufacturer to manufacturer, but most were quite heavy. In the distant past, ship’s wheels were commissioned by ship yards from blacksmiths and metallurgists. Hard woods were what made up the first ship’s wheels, with extremely hard woods such as cherry being most favorable. Wood ship wheels were treated with a combination of lacquer and tar to make them water resistant. The lacquering process was intensive, and only the wealthiest companies could afford to lacquer all their ships wheel’s, resulting in the saying that a ship was ‘richer’ the deeper the wheel was shined. These well polished ship wheels are now commonly used as nautical decor.
As time passed and great amounts of metals became available, metal ship’s wheels became common place. Full metal wheels would present themselves after two centuries of metal coated hard wood wheels. The benefits of having a ship’s wheel made of entirely metal was that it rarely had to be replaced, and maintained form as long as it was oiled daily to offset the ocean’s salt spray. A ship’s bell and ship’s wheel shared in the fact that the name and company of the ship would oftentimes be embossed upon them. 

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from

  Article "tagged" as:

About Article Author

George Roy
George Roy

George is an avid collector and connoisseur of all things nautical- nautical decor, model boats, historical artifacts, etc. He has written articles for several large manufacturers and retailers of model ships, and he is a master ship builder himself. He brings a unique perspective from both the retail and the consumer side of the nautical decorating and model boat building markets.

View More Articles