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Navy Cooks: 1897

Circa 1897. "Berth deck cooks, U.S.S. Oregon." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative by Edward H. Hart, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Circa 1897. "Berth deck cooks, U.S.S. Oregon." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative by Edward H. Hart, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Navy cooking

Another interesting photo. Every man in the group displays the rate of Seaman Third Class (one stripe on the cuff) except of course the Marine and those who have their cuffs turned up. Not one has the rating badge of a Petty Officer on his upper arm. Wonder who was in charge?

That probably meant that cooking chores for enlisted men were turned over to the lowest rated and newest men. Officers of course had cooks and stewards to handle their food needs. Enlisted men didn't fare so well. The rating of Commissary Steward (enlisted cooks) didn't appear until about 1905.

Surprised No One Has Mentioned It

Guy with the cigarette: what the heck's with the paper heart cutout on his shirt?

[It's a handkerchief sticking out of his pocket. - Dave]

Take a Powder

Baking or washing? Make sure you get the right one for the job!

Display your tools

No doubt the gunner's mates had just taken their group picture in front of a stack of shells, and the galley crew felt compelled to display their weapons.

Tough cuts

I'd say there were few complaints about the food, but we haven't seen the rest of the crew yet.

Fate of the Oregon

In a burst of patriotic enthusiasm, the Oregon was partially scrapped at the begining of WWII, for the steel. The hull was used as a barge during the war, and eventually scrapped in the 50's.

What's on the end of those lanyards?

Besides the scarves (ties?), most of these guys are wearing a lanyard around their necks that ends in their left breast pocket. What's attached?

Soap classic

The "Gold Dust Twins" is cool. Always heard about this stuff from my Grandmother. She is about the same age as these guys. Now I get to see it. I can take that off the list. Thanks Shorpy.

Holding the cig

Is that a cannoli tube or are you just glad to see me?

Where's a Bos'n when you need him?

Ahoy mates, that's a pretty scurvy looking deck. And sticking a blade into the teak!

All I can say is that the Oregon must have been a pretty loose ship. In my Navy days, a ship with a teak deck was kept "Bristol" -- that's squeaky clean to you landlubbers. Holystone, seawater and sand every day. And if you had so much as a nail in your shoe, the Chief Bos'n would have your hide.

The rest of the boat

I can see the mast of the USS Oregon from my office. It's a memorial in the Waterfront Park in Portland. I've often wondered about the ship, so these photos from her are very gratifying.

Eagle, Globe and Anchor

And there's a Marine among them (perched on the ladder).

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