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So here’s an old diesel, visible at low tide.  By its current habitat, I’d be accurate in saying it’s a submarine engine.  But that would not be a statement about the vessel it once moved.  Can anyone deduce any identification from the foto? 

And another whatzit . . ..   This vessel is between 25 and 30 feet loa.  I’m guessing it had a military role, but, as is true with the engine above, I’ve no clue what this vessel was called.

But here I do have an idea about the metal cage in the center of this wooden lighter.  I’ll share my idea at the end of the post, but conjectures/tall tales I’ve heard include . . .   a gorilla cage for the sixth boro harborman who had a large pet primate,

a lock-up for valuables that were being transshipped between ship and shore,  and still others have said it was a brig.  In fact, from about a year ago, here was a post in which I speculated about the purpose of just such a structure.

The most credible explanation is this:  this metal cage served as a fireproof seal between the pot-bellied stove and any flammable material shipped on the barge.  A foto I saw yesterday but have no copy of shows the barge and cage in better state of repair;  on that foto,  lockers were mounted on the bars to hold ice to keep the cargo somewhat chilled. 

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

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September 2011