Dolphins explained

Sunday, February 27, 2011

by Diane Hettrick, Editor

In the recent historical Seattle Times newspaper article about Point Wells, (Oil Companies Build for Needs of the Future) the term "dolphin" was used. I Googled it and other than references to marine mammals, the only reference that seemed to fit was to oil rigs built by a family-owned Scottish business called Dolphin Drilling, which had been in business for 150 years.

Google failed me.

But reader Owen "Andy" Anderson came to the rescue. Andy spent his career as a Radio Officer on ocean-going vessels, so he knows about dolphins of both kinds. And instead of Google, he used the dictionary.

Here's what I posted with his explanation below:

From the story: "The contract has been let for a dock 250 feet long and for dolphins to accommodate steamships which will moor there and pump gasoline into the tanks on shore. The dock will be completed in May. (Editor - not sure but I think they are talking about drilling rigs made by the Scottish firm Dolphin Drilling Rigs.)"

From Andy: A "dolphin" is a device used to moor a ship. The dictionary describes it as a "pile or buoy for mooring". A 250 ft dock is not very long. A ship normally will have at least 1 bow line and 1 stern line plus 1 or 2 spring lines. The bow and stern lines are moored away from the bow and stern by a fair distance so a 500 ft. vessel would require moorings of perhaps 700 to 800 ft apart. With a dock of only 250 ft. they would probably have 2 dolphins, each somewhere around 100 to 200 ft. (possibly more) from each end of the dock.

Makes sense. Interesting that the 1912 Seattle Times writer, who meticulously explained everything else, assumed that his readers would understand the term dolphin.

Another addition to the story: Evan Smith says that Standard Oil of California became Chevron.

Now does anyone know what happened to the "natural spring"; where the "20 acres" were filled in; when the "Dutch oil company" sold its property; and whether the property still includes the "17 acres of land rising 300 feet" which I thought now belonged to Woodway?

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