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Updated: Nov. 24th, 2007

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Sidelight Illustration. Author’s collection.

Drawing of an ordinary sidelight showing the shutter installed. The shutters on White Star Line ships each had a five-point star cast within the fitting (not shown here).
Author’s collection

Utley’s Ventilating Sidelight on Olympic as seen in 1911. Author’s collection.

Ventilating Sidelight on Private Yacht - At left, an Utley’s Ventilating Sidelight as fitted in a private yacht. Image courtesy T. M. Utley Offshore, plc

Pattern “A” Windows. Illustration by Jason DeDonno; image from author’s collection.

   Sidelights - The terms used to describe the parts and fittings of the round windows and openings in a ship varied depending on the shipyard and the county of origin. Most landsmen are conversant with the term “porthole” - an opening in the side of a ship or deckhouse, usually round in shape, and fitted with a hinged frame in which one or more glass pane(s) are secured. “Sidelight,” on the other hand, is the term used to describe the glass and framework attached to a porthole to provided light and ventilation to the interior of the ship. Sidelights varied in design. Typically, a fixed brass frame was bolted or riveted to the shell plating and a separate frame holding the glass was hinged to it; in this manner it could be opened as desired to permit the exchange of air. The closure was made watertight by pivoted bolts that pressed a V-shaped projection on the one frame against an India-rubber packing ring in the other.


Image above, Utley’s Ventilating Sidelight - Two versions of the Utley’s Ventilating Sidelight. The version to the right is similar to one that has been raised from the Titanic wreck site.
Drawing from Practical Shipbuilding; image from author’s collection

Sidelights vulnerable to broken glass caused by high seas were supplied with a portable plug in the form of a disc of cast steel, to be installed in heavy weather. It was fitted from within and held in position by . . . (continued)


   Teak skylights - Traditional skylights, made of teak, were fitted onto the roof of the Officers’ Quarters deckhouse. One of these teakwood skylights was mounted over the Officers’ Lavatory, with a matching skylight located just aft. The latter skylight was mounted over the Marconi Operating Room, slightly to starboard of the centerline, with its crown also oriented fore-and-aft. These skylights were the ordinary pitched type, having two sashes that angled up to the center like the roof of a house. The actual rise of the sashes was about 1-in-2. The center beam, called the “crown piece,” held the hinges for the port and starboard sashes; each sash contained two panes of glass. Both skylights stood 2 feet off the deck at the crowns, which were oriented fore-and-aft. The outside dimensions of both skylights were 5' x 5', with 6"- high coamings.

  In a traditional teakwood skylight, the glass was set into the teak sashes so that they could be raised and lowered internally by the use of a quadrant operated by a wheel and screw. Because these skylights were in exposed positions, with the glass at risk of damage from the elements, falling ice or other hazards, they were fitted with protective bars or barred frames that covered the glass panes; this type of protection was typical for skylights mounted on weather decks. These bars, of brass or galvanized iron, were set at about 2-inch centers
. . . (continued)


   Prismatic skylights - For locations where a traditional skylight would obstruct a deck surface or roof area subject to frequent foot traffic, prismatic skylights could be employed. These had the advantage that they could be mounted within and completely flush to a deck or roof surface, and could be walked on if necessary. The prismatic skylights on Titanic were of Hayward’s Borough Patent design, with a brass frame containing rows of prismatic glass blocks tightly fitted to disperse the rays of light passing through it. Prismatic skylights were fitted in several locations on Titanic, including . . . (continued)


Other topics in this chapter: Windows - Skidlights

Copyright 2007 Beveridge, Hall, Andrews, Klistorner and Braunschweiger.

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