'From IJ to IJmond' is the theme of the new exhibition of the Dutch National Towage Museum in Maassluis, The Netherlands. The exhibition will be opened on Saturday September 19th by Mr. Cor Oudendijk, former harbour master of the Port of Amsterdam and former salvage master of Wijsmuller. At the opening ceremony many prominent officers from the towage and the Amsterdam port community will be present. Afterwards it is possible to visit the exhibition.

The new exhibition gives a vivid overview of the history and the present-day towage industry in Amsterdam and about. The geographical position of the port of Amsterdam necessitates tug assistance for seagoing ships for centuries. In that period there has been a huge development in technique and organisation of tug assistance. Tugs provide towing services in the harbour basins, on the North Sea Channel and roads whereas in the old days, tugs ventured out as far as the English Channel. With the advent of steam propulsion, tugs were not only working locally but expanded their work area to the Zaan and made towage trips from Amsterdam to all parts of The Netherlands. The fishing industry in IJmuiden led to a towage activity with an own nature. The narrow canals in Amsterdam with their many low bridges created a unique type of tug: the "Amsterdammertje". Of this type many are still sailing commercially or as pleasure craft.

Competition has always been present. Tug companies emerged, ended, merged or were taken over. The most recent development in this respect is the cooperation of Svitzer and Iskes in "Amsterdam Port Towage".

Family businesses have been predominant for a long time. Familiar names from the past are Goedkoop, Wijsmuller and Zur Mühlen. Nowadays, these are Blom, Amstel en IJ, and Heida who are mainly operating on the city canals. In addition, the large Amsterdam deep sea shipping companies and shipyards owned their own tugs.

Economy of scale and high investments make towage assistance to seagoing ships nowadays the realm of the big shipping companies such as Svitzer and Iskes who operate tugs of over 7200 HP power. By comparison, in 1841, the first tug on the North Hollands Canal had an output of just 60HP.

Svitzer Marken02The history of the many companies, tugs and events from the larger Amsterdam port area are illustrated in the exhibition with beautiful ship models, unique photos, documents and attributes. The Museum has also a large permanent exposition. Furthermore, the museum has a new interactive multimedia system which can be used by the visitors for searches themselves. The museum archives contain thousands of photos, documents and objects that can be researched upon appointment.

Illustrative of this dynamic exhibition are the accompanying photographs of the first tug (above) and one of the newest in the IJmond area (next).

The exhibition 'From IJ to IJmond' can be visited from September 19th 2015 – May 8th 2016,
Tuesday – Sunday from 13.30 until 16.30 hrs.

For further information please contact:
Maarten Helwig, mbl 06 - 3300 8733, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or:
Stichting Nationaal Sleepvaart Museum,
Hoogstraat 1-3,3142 EA Maassluis,
+31 (0)10-5912474, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Morse Decoder -2Recently a new morse decoder has been installed in the reconstructed radio cabin of the Smit deep sea tug ZWARTE ZEE in the museum. This decoder has been connected with an original historic telegraph key, next to the already existing keys. It is now also possible to connect a so called keyer, often referred to as a Lambic keyer. The museum is not (yet) in the possession of such a device.
On the photo the display of the decoder is visible. When sent a text in morse code with the historic switching device, these tokens will be translated by the decoder in normal readable writing. De words appear on the screen. Attention! Mistakes or vague morse coding will also become visible, by a "#" sign per sent failure.
This morse decoder has a dual purpose: Experienced radio telegraphers and other people who are familiar with the morse code, are able to check their accurateness of their morse messages, according to the dot/dash length and its proportion. But also the interested amateur can learn the morse code by following the instructions and to try to send simple messages or their own name with the help of the morse code sheet. These instructions are given in 10 different languages! For we would also like to enable foreign visitors to get acquainted with the decoder and, notwithstanding their little knowledge of the morse code, are allowed to send morse code themselves via the readable display. The instructions are available in the following languages: English, Dutch, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portugese, Polish, Turkish and Chinese. We will also translate the instructions in the Japanese language. At the moment is says: "We are sorry, not yet available, under construction..!"Chinese tekst morse decoder

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The Telegraph key, a history

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(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

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J38 Telegraph KeyA straight key style of telegraph key – model J38, a key used by U.S. military during World War II, and frequently re-used by radio amateurs

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a Wright Brothers telegraph key (missing its knob)Wright Telegraph Key

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Telegraph key is a general term for any switching device used primarily to send Morse code. Similar keys are used for all forms of manual telegraphy, such as in 'wire' or electrical telegraph and 'wireless' or radio telegraphy.
Since its original inception, the telegraph key's design has developed such that there are now multiple types of keys.

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Straight keys
A straight key is the common telegraph key as seen in various movies. It is a simple bar with a knob on top and a contact underneath. When the bar is depressed against spring tension, it forms a circuit and allows electricity to flow. Traditionally, American telegraph keys had flat topped knobs and narrow bars (frequently curved). British telegraph keys had ball shaped knobs and thick bars. This appears to be purely a matter of culture and training, but the users of each are tremendously partisan. Straight keys have been made in numerous variations for over 150 years and in numerous countries. They are the subject of an avid community of key collectors. The straight keys used in wire telegraphy also had a shorting bar that closed the electrical circuit when the operator was not actively sending messages. This was to complete the electrical path to the next station so that its sounder would operate, as in the operator receiving a message from the next town. Although occasionally included in later keys for reasons of tradition, the shorting bar is unnecessary for radio telegraphy, except as a convenience when tuning the transmitter.
The straight key is simple and reliable, but the rapid pumping action needed to send a string of dots (or dits as most operators call them) poses some significant drawbacks.
Transmission speeds vary from 5 words (25 characters) per minute, by novice operators, up to about 30 words (150 characters) per minute by skilled operators. In the early days of telegraphy, a number of professional telegraphers developed a repetitive stress injury known as glass arm or telegrapher's paralysis. 'Glass arm' or 'Telegrapher's paralysis' may be reduced or eliminated by increasing the side play of the straight key by loosening the adjustable trunnion screws. Such problems can be avoided by using a good technique.
Many movies depicting the use of straight keys (e.g., World War II submarine movies, or near the end of the modern science fiction film Independence Day) expose the actors' lack of training: They invariably lightly tap the key with one or two fingers, when the proper method is to grasp the knob with the thumb and two or three fingers.

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VibroplexVibroplex bug

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Alternative key designs

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The first widely accepted alternative key was the sideswiper or sidewinder, sometimes called a cootie key. This key uses a side-to-side action with contacts in both directions and the arm spring-loaded to return to center. A series of dits could be sent by rocking the arm back and forth. The alternating action produces a distinctive rhythm or swing which noticeably affects the operator's transmission style (known as his 'fist'), hence the name iambic. Although the sideswiper is seldom seen or used today, nearly all advanced keys use some form of side-to-side action.
A popular side-to-side mechanical key is the semi-automatic key or bug, sometimes known as a Vibroplex key, after the company that first manufactured them. When the paddle is pressed to the left it makes a continuous contact suitable for sending dashes (or dahs, as most operators call them). When the paddle is pressed to the right, a horizontal pendulum is set into motion which rocks against the contact points, sending a series of short pulses (dits) at a speed which is controlled by the position of the pendulum weight. A skilled operator can achieve sending speeds in excess of 40 words per minute with a 'bug'.

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ElbugElectronic dual paddle keyer (homemade in 1972)

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Like the bug, the electronic keyer operates sideways. When pressed to one side the electronics generate a series of dahs and when pressed the other way, a series of dits. Most electronic keyers include a dit memory function which frees the operator from the need to perfectly time his transitions in the sequence dah-dit-dah. With dit memory, if the operator's keying action is about one dit ahead of the actual transmission, the keyer's output for each letter will be machine-perfect. An iambic keyer sports dual paddles, one for dit and one for dah; pressing both at the same time produces an alternating dit-dah-dit-dah sequence. Electronic keyers allow very high speed transmission of code.
An additional advantage of electronic keyers over semiautomatic keys is that code speed may be easily regulated and changed with electronic keyers, typically by turning a knob. With a semiautomatic key, the location of the pendulum weight must be readjusted to change the dit speed.[5]

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Iambic (dual-lever) Paddles

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lambic paddlesIambic Paddles

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Keys offering one contact for dits (left key) and another for dahs (right key) were dubbed 'iambic paddles', when both contacts may be closed simultaneously. The 'iambic' function (alternating dits and dahs) are created with an electronic keyer by squeezing the paddles together.
A single-paddle also utilizes separate contacts for dits and dahs, but there is no ability to make both contacts simultaneously by squeezing the paddles together (iambic). When a single-paddle key is used with an electronic keyer, continuous dits are created by holding the dit side. Likewise, continuous dahs are created by holding the dah contact.
Iambic keying or squeeze keying creates alternating dits and dahs. This makes sending some characters easier, like the letter C, by merely squeezing the two paddles together. In single-paddle, non-iambic keying, the hand motion would require alternating four times for C (dah-dit-dah-dit).

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Iambic keyers function in one of at least two major modes: Mode A and Mode B.

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Mode A is the original iambic mode, in which alternate dots and dashes are produced as long as both paddles are depressed. When the paddles are released, the keying stops with the last dot or dash that was sent while the paddles were depressed.
Mode B is the second mode, which devolved from a logic error in an early iambic keyer. In mode B, dots and dashes are produced as long as both paddles are depressed. When the paddles are released, the keying continues by sending one more element, i.e., a dot if the paddles were released during a dash, or a dash if the paddles were released during a dot. Users accustomed to one mode usually find it difficult to use the other, so all competently designed keyers allow for selection of the desired keyer mode. If forced to use a keyer with an unaccustomed mode, the user must revert to single paddle mode in which both paddles are never depressed simultaneously.
Typically, single and dual-paddle keys use horizontal movements, while a straight-key utilizes an up and down movement. The benefit of iambic keying has recently been discussed in terms of movements per character and timings for high speed CW.

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Non-telegraphy uses of keys

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Simple telegraph-like keys were long used to control the flow of electricity in laboratory tests of electrical circuits. Often, these were simple 'strap' keys in which a bend in the key lever provided the key's spring action. Telegraph keys were once used in the study of operant conditioning with pigeons. Starting in the 1940s, initiated by B. F. Skinner at Harvard University, the keys were mounted vertically behind a small circular hole about the height of a pigeon's beak in the front wall of an operant conditioning chamber. Electromechanical recording equipment detected the closing of the switch whenever the pigeon pecked the key. Depending on the psychological questions being investigated, keypecks might have resulted in the presentation of food or other stimuli. Modern pigeon response keys are specially made switches but are still called 'keys' due to their origins as telegraph keys.[citation needed]

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With straight keys, side-swipers, and, to an extent, bugs, each and every telegraphist has his or her own unique style and pattern when transmitting a message. An operator's style is known as his 'fist'. To other telegraphers, every fist is unique, and can be used to identify the telegrapher transmitting a particular message. This had a huge significance in the world wars, as it could be used to track the location of individual ships and submarines. See traffic analysis. However, electronic keyers (single paddle or iambic) will produce 'perfect' Morse at a set speed, thus only inter-character and inter-word spacing can produce a semblance of a fist.

Monday, 18 August 2014 13:07

Dordt in steam in May

"Dordt in Stoom" (Dordt in steam) in the town of Dordrecht in Holland is one of the most important steam events in Europa. Until 2016 this yearly happening has been organized 17 times. The attraction draws a vast public, some 250.000 visitors. During this event many steam ships, steam engines and steam tools are to be seen. Steam ships make tours on the river. For the children there are miniature steam trains. Many of the ships are open to visit. In Dordrecht, the eldest town of the Netherlands, often referred to as "Dordt", crowded streets and terraces with music create an atmosphere of sparkling cosiness. On Friday evening, between 20.00 and 21.30 uur, on the quay of the river Merwede (called Groothoofd) an enormous steam whistle concert takes place. At the Grevelingenweg, close by nature park The Dutch Biesbosch, you can visit a large model building show. Participating hobbyists from Holland and abroad show their model railways, miniature steam engines end model ships. The Foundation Tug Harbour Maassluis, in which the Nationaal Dutch Towage Museum is participating, is also present at "Dordt in Steam" with historical ships and a promotion and information stand.

Friday, 09 August 2019 12:17

Open Monuments Day (OMD) in September

In 2019 Open Monuments Day (OMD) will take place on September 14th saturday and 15th sunday.

On Open Monuments Day a number of monuments in Maassluis, one of which is the building of the National Dutch Towage Museum, open to the public. This small but very beautiful former old town hall of Maassluis built in 1676, pittoresque situated in the corner of the basin of the inner harbour, deserves without doubt the title "paramount town determining monument". Unfortunately, the designer is unknown. The building bears the characteristics of the classicism historic period and has been equipped with a hipped roof with brick-layed corner chimneys and a wooden ridge-turret. A herring-buss serves as a weather vane. The dormer-windows have been decorated with herrings, to keep the memory alive, that the wealth of the town was a result of the profitable fishery activities in those years.

During the years 1971-1973 the building was thoroughly renovated.

The opening hours on Open Monuments Day of the National Dutch Towage Museum: between 11.00 and 16.30 o'clock. On these days visitors have free admittance to the museum.

omd-logo

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