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Counter Bands


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I've been reading about these , counter bands, on the friendly narrowboat do dah on that FB thing and I thought what a load of fetid dingo's kidneys. As for making your self more visible in tunnels really. Steamers had counter bands and I would have thought that, 1) all the smoke would be a clue that there might be a boat ahead of me and 2) I would be unable to see the boat ahead of me because of all the smoke etc. 3) and as diesels motors took over from 'orse boats and steamers they often boated with a butty so you still would not be able to see the counter bands. 4) I don't think that the old paraffin lamps would be able to shed more than a modest glow lighting up the tunnel walls either side of your stem so it seems unlikely that they pick up the counter bands of a boat in front unless you were right up to their tipcat.

And lastly I would have to be so close to the boat in front of me in a tunnel to see the counter bands that I would be able to see the boat anyway.

 

If they were really there as some sort of safety feature why did not the 'orse boats/butty boats have bright flashes on their arses.

 

Just asking that's all.

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21 minutes ago, Muddy Waters said:

I've been reading about these , counter bands, on the friendly narrowboat do dah on that FB thing and I thought what a load of fetid dingo's kidneys. As for making your self more visible in tunnels really. Steamers had counter bands and I would have thought that, 1) all the smoke would be a clue that there might be a boat ahead of me and 2) I would be unable to see the boat ahead of me because of all the smoke etc. 3) and as diesels motors took over from 'orse boats and steamers they often boated with a butty so you still would not be able to see the counter bands. 4) I don't think that the old paraffin lamps would be able to shed more than a modest glow lighting up the tunnel walls either side of your stem so it seems unlikely that they pick up the counter bands of a boat in front unless you were right up to their tipcat.

And lastly I would have to be so close to the boat in front of me in a tunnel to see the counter bands that I would be able to see the boat anyway.

 

If they were really there as some sort of safety feature why did not the 'orse boats/butty boats have bright flashes on their arses.

 

Just asking that's all.

 

Especially since a butty being towed would hide the motor boat from view from behind anyway.

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1 hour ago, Muddy Waters said:

I've been reading about these , counter bands, on the friendly narrowboat do dah on that FB thing and I thought what a load of fetid dingo's kidneys. As for making your self more visible in tunnels really. Steamers had counter bands and I would have thought that, 1) all the smoke would be a clue that there might be a boat ahead of me and 2) I would be unable to see the boat ahead of me because of all the smoke etc. 3) and as diesels motors took over from 'orse boats and steamers they often boated with a butty so you still would not be able to see the counter bands. 4) I don't think that the old paraffin lamps would be able to shed more than a modest glow lighting up the tunnel walls either side of your stem so it seems unlikely that they pick up the counter bands of a boat in front unless you were right up to their tipcat.

And lastly I would have to be so close to the boat in front of me in a tunnel to see the counter bands that I would be able to see the boat anyway.

 

If they were really there as some sort of safety feature why did not the 'orse boats/butty boats have bright flashes on their arses.

 

Just asking that's all.

We could all travel with black bitumastic counter bands and red oxide topsides. Many do, but some of us prefer not to!

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I nearly ran down Dane in Blisworth once. You can’t see someone’s counter bands in the tunnels they are too low, especially with a clothed up empty motor. ( mind you the y did’nt cloth them up when they were empty.) 

What alerted me was the brass in the cabin reflecting and I held  panic held back.
it gave both of us a real shock.

We had the then standard 21 watt headlight bulb. If I remember rightly he had had an electrical malfunction, making him slow down ( or the paraffin in the headlight ran out) 

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4 hours ago, Muddy Waters said:

I've been reading about these , counter bands, on the friendly narrowboat do dah on that FB thing and I thought what a load of fetid dingo's kidneys. As for making your self more visible in tunnels really. Steamers had counter bands and I would have thought that, 1) all the smoke would be a clue that there might be a boat ahead of me and 2) I would be unable to see the boat ahead of me because of all the smoke etc. 3) and as diesels motors took over from 'orse boats and steamers they often boated with a butty so you still would not be able to see the counter bands. 4) I don't think that the old paraffin lamps would be able to shed more than a modest glow lighting up the tunnel walls either side of your stem so it seems unlikely that they pick up the counter bands of a boat in front unless you were right up to their tipcat.

And lastly I would have to be so close to the boat in front of me in a tunnel to see the counter bands that I would be able to see the boat anyway.

 

If they were really there as some sort of safety feature why did not the 'orse boats/butty boats have bright flashes on their arses.

 

Just asking that's all.

 

Sounds more than "just asking". Perhaps ask on that FB thing amongst the fetid dingos.

a) If you had a steamer in front of you - you would probably be in the process of being towed by it, so you wouldn't be catching it up.

b) If you cannot see ahead - slow down.

c) See a). Replace steamer with motor, and back cabin lights would probably be lit. Something to watch out for. Rams heads were also usually painted white.

d) Once eyes have accustomed to a dim light, it's surprising what can be seen. 21W bulbs are better, but brighter leads to dazzle.

 

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A dingo kidney is what the dingo uses to extract waste from the dingo's blood stream. When the dingo dies the kidney, along with the rest of the dingo, becomes quite ripe. I mean it smells bad like you wouldn't believe. A fetid dingo kidney has no known value.
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10 hours ago, Derek R. said:

 

a) If you had a steamer in front of you - you would probably be in the process of being towed by it, so you wouldn't be catching it up

The earliest pictures of boats with counter bands were of the FMC steamers. These boats often boated fly and indeed if they were towing a train of boats you would not be able to see the bands. Lot of people call these bands tunnel bands and believe they are there as a safety feature in tunnels and some call them navigation bands.

Your point about electric lights in the back cabin - FMC use paraffin to the end and if you are towing a butty you might not see much from the cabin lights.

And as Roland said You can’t see someone’s counter bands in the tunnels they are too low . If the boat was empty the deck board and cratch would still be up.

 

In close to 60 tears of boating I don't thing I have ever seen a wholly white rams head on a motor.

 

As too fetid dingo's kidneys, first it is a Douglas N Adams quote and better than saying a load of old bollocks.

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I refer to the rams head on a butty - not a motor. Cabin light, electric or oil, still give off light.

Of course, if the boat was being 'legged' through, there wouldn't be much chance of catching anything up - save maybe a cold.

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9 minutes ago, Derek R. said:

I refer to the rams head on a butty 

Oops, silly me.

Any way - the point I was trying to make, poorly as it goes, is that counter bands in a tunnel are not really that visible.

I just think they look good on the back of a motor - I like mine any how.

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It may have been a form of warning for the turning propeller below, which wasn't present on a butty or horse boat. 

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1 hour ago, BWM said:

It may have been a form of warning for the turning propeller below, which wasn't present on a butty or horse boat. 

In the days before Elsan disposal points, pump out machines and laws on industrial effluent dumping, people didn't need any more warning not to fall in the cut!

  • Haha 1
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14 hours ago, BWM said:

It may have been a form of warning for the turning propeller below, which wasn't present on a butty or horse boat. 

Now that is the best idea yet - I could go for that.

 

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Decorative painting fore and aft preceded the development of motorised craft - healthandsafety is a modern idea anyway  ?

 

Tam

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16 hours ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

In the days before Elsan disposal points, pump out machines and laws on industrial effluent dumping, people didn't need any more warning not to fall in the cut!

Quite right.

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Although I have always known them as Tunnel Bands, I am certain that the colured infil between the guard irons is more to do with decoration than  visibility. The guard irons are there as part of the hull structure, and to prevent the hull sides from being worn away by constant contact with canal infrastructure. The horse boats nearly always carried quite lively decoration at the back end, but the shallow rounded steel presented a very dull appearance by contrast, so it probably took very little time for boatmen to decorate the areas between the back end guard irons probably about the same time as the Swan's Neck started to be decorated with bright colours. As a matter of interestI would be interested to learn when the term Tunnel Bands actually came into use.

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2 hours ago, David Schweizer said:

Although I have always known them as Tunnel Bands,  .................  As a matter of interestI would be interested to learn when the term Tunnel Bands actually came into use.

Was this from back in the 60s? I only ever came across it relatively recently, on CWDF, at much the same time that the rams head was being referred to as a 'swans neck' here.

 

Tam

Edited by Tam & Di
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2 hours ago, Tam & Di said:

Was this from back in the 60s? I only ever came across it relatively recently, on CWDF, at much the same time that the rams head was being referred to as a 'swans neck' here.

 

Tam

 

Not sure. To be honest, I cannot remember whether we called the bands anything in the 1960's, but I have photographic evidence that up to 1968 only the top band was painted white, the lower band being painted red in 1968, I was aware that the rudder post on Butty boats was called a Rams Head, but had never heard that term used to describe the tiller on a motor, at the time I think we merely called it the rudder arm. I assume that the terms Swans Neck and Tunnel bands must have been some time later, but I cannot recall when, just that it seems to have been some time ago, and certainly before the existence of CWDF.

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Slight diversion on "historical" artifacts.

 

I always thought a corn scoop or dipper was used by working boaters, apparently not.

The hand bowl was referred to as both hand bowl and dipper.

 

Also I have never seen a brass drawer cup handle on any photo on working boat cabin doors in its heyday.

George Harris had one on a water can.

Photo from "Narrow Boat" May 1964 by Hugh McKnight.

 

Unless anyone knows different.

 

Ron Hough dipper.jpg

017-650x488.JPG

George & Marion Harris with Janet & Paul.JPG

Edited by Ray T
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1 hour ago, David Schweizer said:

 

Not sure. To be honest, I cannot remember whether we called the bands anything in the 1960's, but I have photographic evidence that up to 1968 only the top band was painted white, the lower band being painted red in 1968, I was aware that the rudder post on Butty boats was called a Rams Head, but had never heard that term used to describe the tiller on a motor, at the time I think we merely called it the rudder arm. I assume that the terms Swans Neck and Tunnel bands must have been some time later, but I cannot recall when, just that it seems to have been some time ago, and certainly before the existence of CWDF.

 

Cannot vouch on the drawings authenticity, but Edward Paget Tomlinson's take on names. 

Terminology.png

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2 hours ago, Ray T said:

Slight diversion on "historical" artifacts.

 

I always thought a corn scoop or dipper was used by working boaters, apparently not.

The hand bowl was referred to as both hand bowl and dipper.

 

Also I have never seen a brass drawer cup handle on any photo on working boat cabin doors in its heyday.

George Harris had one on a water can.

 

Unless anyone knows different.

 

I spy with my little eye . . . .

 

1826931835_GeorgeMarionHarriswithJanetPaul.JPG.b54db4048e1f9ba53f047aae09cde649a.jpg.1a3624a6a16092aa155e3e06d04c3b11.jpg 

 

 

Chris Lloyd put one on YARMOUTH, though it was a swinging handle rather than a finger pull and TYCHO had a brass finger pull on the ticket drawer and also on both bottom panels of the cabin doors. That's not to say all boats had them.

 

 

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