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Battleship Texas: 1900

Circa 1900. "U.S. Battleship Texas, chief petty officers." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative by Edward Hart, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Circa 1900. "U.S. Battleship Texas, chief petty officers." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative by Edward Hart, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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God is Gracious

God is gracious, God is great, God is a Chief Boatswain's Mate.


Appears that G.K. Chesterton was photoshopped in behind our would-be "chubby-handed hispanic" friend on the right. That sort of cancels out the PC skullduggery.

In other news, what's with "Mr. 100-yard stare" in the back center?

Re: Photoshop trickery

And yet these people are entitled to vote. Explains a lot.
A shame about the spelling errors. Must have been those big hands on the keyboard.


Looks to be a small Marine in the back. Sorry jarheads!

"Ham Hands"

may indeed be quite senior (his sleeve chevrons indicate 24+ years service), but he is not a Chief, or at least he's not wearing a Chief's uniform or stripes. He appears to be a First Class Petty Officer, Boatswain Mate (as indicated by the "fouled anchors" 'neath the eagle). That's an E-6 in today's parlance; Chiefs equated to E-7 in the pre-1960 Navy, the highest enlisted rank attainable. My thought: he's been promoted to Chief, but his sew-on date was yet to arrive at the time of this photo.

Chief Bos'n Mates were, well, not quite God when I was a young lad in the Navy, but it seemed they were the only ones who had God's (and the Captain's) ear. Think you know a swear word or two? These Chief Boats wrote the book on profanity.

Photoshop Trickery

The following takes the cake (the whole bakery, actually) for Clueless Comment of the Day. Clapclapclap! - Dave

The hispanic head on the man on the far right does not match the rest of heads regarding lighting. The lighting on the right side is much more shaded on that head vs. ALL of the other heads which have balanced lighting. Also the hispanic head seems to be a different resolution. Another clue if you know hispanic people is that they do not have typicaly have such large hands as the body below the head. At some point in time, someone decided to PC the picture and Photoshoped a hispanic face into the crowd. This picture would not stand up forensicaly in a legal trial. Someone, rewriting history for political purposes, what a shame. Nice portrate though.

Shaped Up Seamen

This group looks sartorially acceptable but for the NCO on the starboard (?) side of the bench with the droopy pocket square.

Beam me down Scotty

There always seems to be a guy who looks like he's from the 21st century who has landed in these early photos. Most of the men with their full moustaches have a decidedly late nineteenth century look but see the good looking, clean shaven lad seated in the front. He looks like he's 2010.

Ham Hands

The senior chief seated on the far right is a classic old-school tough sailor, probably complete with an anchor tattooed on his forearm. I'm sure discipline problems weren't a problem at all in his section.


Although nominally the same basic uniform, each jacket is clearly different, made by different hands.

Welcome to "Old Hoodoo"

As the Duke of Wellington is quoted as saying, "I don't know if they frighten the enemy, but by God they frighten me."

The Olden Arches

I certify as a shoe fetishist, and the ones here scream ouchy, ouchy!

They called her "Old Hoodoo"

This USS Texas (a second one was launched in 1912) was launched in 1892 and was the first American battleship. She was built in England, and I’m not saying this because I had a handful of British sports cars that cheerfully illustrated the shortcomings of British engineering, but Texas had several failures early in her career. Right after her sea trials, a floor buckled and cement near the keel cracked. While those were being repaired an engine room component broke and allowed the ship to flood and sink in shallow water, her leaking “watertight” doors not helping at all. Other mishaps and a reputation for jinxes earned her the name "Old Hoodoo" and I wonder if the lads in the photo were waiting for another shoe to drop.

Texas saw combat in the Spanish-American War, taking a lead role in the annihilation of the Spanish fleet trying to escape from Cuban waters on July 3, 1898. Renamed San Marcos to make the Texas name available for her replacement, she ended up as a gunnery target in Chesapeake Bay in the years before World War I. During World War II she served the same purpose and finally, because her bones were a threat to navigation, Texas was demolished in 1959. USS Texas fun fact: At her christening, the granddaughter of Sam Houston was the champagne bottle smasher.

Mini Me

What's with the shrunken head?

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