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    Default Where did the name "tiller" come from?

    Someone asked me tonight where the term "tiller" came from in reference a tractor/trailer truck company.

    Anyone know? Thanks.
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 10-11-2009 at 02:17 AM.

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    I guess probably from the tiller on boats, that is, the handle used to operate the rudder to steer the boat. Steering the boat's rear end with the tiller is kind of like steering the rear end of the ladder, so the name went naturally with it. That'd be my guess, anyway....
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
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    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmleblanc View Post
    I guess probably from the tiller on boats, that is, the handle used to operate the rudder to steer the boat. Steering the boat's rear end with the tiller is kind of like steering the rear end of the ladder, so the name went naturally with it. That'd be my guess, anyway....
    That's the story that I have heard from more than one old-timer.
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    In days of old, the hook and ladder wagon was a hand-pulled construct. The presence of ladders made the thing long and tough to turn. Somebody got an idea to install a hinge on the rear wheels, like the front wheels. Drawings that I have seen of hand-pulled ladder trucks show a rear section steered with a long lever.

    I suspect similar designs were likely used for any wagons of the time, used to transport long items, such as building materials??

    mjl

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmleblanc View Post
    I guess probably from the tiller on boats, that is, the handle used to operate the rudder to steer the boat. Steering the boat's rear end with the tiller is kind of like steering the rear end of the ladder, so the name went naturally with it. That'd be my guess, anyway....
    Is "tiller" possibly used on smaller vessels? I know on ships, the term is wheel. Possibly tiller is a regional term?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BryanLoader View Post
    Is "tiller" possibly used on smaller vessels? I know on ships, the term is wheel. Possibly tiller is a regional term?
    According to Thesaurus, "tiller" can relate to wheel, rudder, controls. The dictionary defines "tiller" as "the means by which a small boat is steered, consisting of a handle attached to the rudder".

    So, based on the other posts, traditions and history, it could very well be true as to where the fire service got the term.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BryanLoader View Post
    Is "tiller" possibly used on smaller vessels? I know on ships, the term is wheel. Possibly tiller is a regional term?
    A tiller would be more like a long handle as opposed to a wheel. On a small vessel you might have a tiller handle instead of a wheel. Small outboard engines are considered "tiller" steered instead of being hooked up to a steering wheel.

    In the early days of the automobile, even cars had tiller steering before someone came up with the idea for a steering wheel.


    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    I'd imagine, like others have said, it probably came from the fact that a tiller style steering system was popular before the steering wheel came into wide usage. So it is probably just a hold over from when ladder trucks (wagons?) had an actual tiller.

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