Glossary of Steam Wars Terms

abandon rig v : to leave a steam rig due to circumstances beyond control of crew, of necessity, usually in emergency situation.

achilles class n : a small classification of steam rig, approximately 30–35 feet in height, carrying a crew of three or four. Brainchild of engineer Major Matthew Bedford Creed, the rig failed in practical use, too large to match the speed of the smaller runabout, but not large enough to deploy sufficient armament {see CREED, MATTHEW BEDFORD}.

agincourt class n : British class of larger 19th Century steam rig roughly the equivalent of the American goliath class {see BURGONET, GOLIATH CLASS}.

airsled n : steam-powered, propeller-driven airship noted for its lightness and speed, consisting of two long narrow balloons, three propellers, and a cab structure supported by two light metal runners {see TILLENCREST, LUCY}.

ajax class n : a smaller midlevel classification of steam rig, approximately 45–48 feet in height, deploying a crew of eight or nine.

ambulation n : the compartment dedicated to the operation of the legs of a steam rig, consisting of a bank of levers on the larger rigs. The operation of the legs of a steam rig {see AMBULATOR}.

ambulator n : formerly ambulation engineer. Steam crewman ranked equivalent to a corporal and assigned the task of operating the “legs” and overseeing the rig’s general stabilization and walking {see AMBULATION}.

ambulodeon n : small steam rig, controlled by notes of music played on a pipe organ keyboard {see TILLENCREST, LUCY}.

armet adj steam rig style after the medieval helmet, notable for its open visor.

armpit n : Informal rig slang for the usually cramped compartment in which the cranesman operates {see CRANESMAN}.

Armstrong Whitworth Recoil Carriage n : revolutionary development of the Sir W. G. Armstrong Whitworth & Co. Ltd. in 1900 enabling the absorption of heavy artillery recoil in a steam rig headcab {see CAPELINE}.

Austria-Germany n : monarchic union formed of Austria, Bavaria, Saxony, Hanover, Hesse-Cassel, Nassau, Frankfurt and Württemberg following the indecisive outcome of the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, that inadvertently led to the First and Second Steam Wars.

barrelback runabout n : one- or two-man runabout developed for the United States Steam Force, so called for its mounted barrel of additional fuel and water, allowing greater longevity of deployment {see RUNABOUT; TILLENCREST, JOHN CHANDLER}.

barbute adj : simple headcab style on smaller steam rigs approximating the look of an open medieval barbute helmet. Any basic headcab.

basket n : canvas webbing into which a cranesman is strapped for operation of a boom. Any of various metal or canvas webbings for the purpose of securing a headgunner on a steam rig {see CRANE, CRANESMAN,}.

Batavia Disagreement {see PRUSSO-JAPANESE WAR}

battlerig n : any larger class gunrig, chiefly samson and juggernaut class, usually carrying heavy artillery. A land battleship.

behemoth class n : later steam rig topping the jupiter class at 262 feet in height, deploying a crew of ninety to one hundred plus a boarding party capacity of two hundred.

Bell-Hadlin n : informal term for the Bell-Hadlin service rig, an early US maintenance steam rig used for refueling and repair.

boom n : crane or “arm” of a steam rig.

boomer n : informal term for a cranesman {see CRANESMAN}.

boot n : foot and lower portion of the leg of a steam rig, by necessity the heaviest part of the rig.

burgonet adj : British style of steam rig after the headcab’s resemblance to the Renaissance helmet of the same name, characterized by a peak above the cab and rounded dome with comb {see AGINCOURT CLASS}.

capeline adj : a style of steam rig with a headcab design after the capeline or lobster-tail helmet of the 17th Century characterized by a long peak, extended tail shield, and most notably a sliding nasal bar gun elevator developed specifically to accommodate the first headcab artillery. Also noteworthy for having smokestack directly through the cab {see ARMSTRONG WHITWORTH RECOIL CARRIAGE}.

captain n highest ranking officer on a steam rig. Term referring to commanding officer of rig even if that officer is a major, colonel or general.

Charlemagne n : The first French juggernaut class steam rig {see JUGGERNAUT}.

chest gunport n : opening above midrig in a fighting steam rig where the armaments are deployed, usually the heaviest artillery on the rig, overseen by the gunnery sergeant and gun crew {see GUNPORT}.

chief fireman n : {informally Chief} an enlisted man in the steam force of a rank corresponding to a chief petty officer in the navy or a noncommissioned officer in the army, whose job it is to oversee the stokers and the stokehold, as well as maintain the engine. Also called chief stoker.

claw n : working steel grip on the end of steam rig crane. Grappel.

close helm adj : style of steam rig approximating the look of a classic medieval close helm. Popular among headcab crews for its removable visor.

condensed coal n a type of refined coal resulting in a process developed by John Tillencrest to create a lighter, more condensed fuel, thus allowing practicality of the steam rig {see TILLENCREST, JOHN CHANDLER}.

cooking v : informal term for steam rig engine drivers at their lowest setting. Idling.

corinthian adj : a hellenic style of steam rig developed by the Prussians, particularly for larger rigs, notable for its innovation of the crestwalk {see CRESTWALK, HELLENIC, SPARTAN STYLE}.

counteralternator n : device operated by an ambulator that acts as shifting counterweight in a steam rig’s ambulation by regularly switching the weight to the grounded leg. Informal ALTERWEIGHTER {see AMBULATOR}.

crane n : an “arm” on a steam rig. BOOM.

cranesman n : steam crewman ranked equivalent to a PFC and assigned the task of operating one of a rig’s cranes or booms, divided on larger rigs between the port and starboard cranesmen. Informal: boomer {see BASKET, BOOMER, CRANE}

Creed, Matthew Bedford – Engineer and major in the United States Steam Force, most known for inventing the achilles class steam rig {see ACHILLES CLASS}.

crestwalk n : curved wrought iron catwalk following the crest of hellenic style headcabs, developed by the Prussians for larger rigs. Reserved for officers and observers, with communication provided by speaking tube to the headcab below {see CORINTHIAN, HELLENIC, SPARTAN}.

crewman n : enlisted man and the second lowest rank on a steam rig, detailed to maintenance or gun crew but not cranesman or ambulator.

cutlass n : a short curved sword with a solid cupped guard that is standard issue for steam rig officers and non-commissioned officers.

dampfbataillon n : Infantry branch of the Kaiserliche Preussische Dampftruppen carried as ground troops and boarding party. Steam marines.

dead n : informal term for the state below COOKING on a steam rig, with all engines stopped and no steam production. Shutdown.

de-rig v : to disembark from a steam rig.

engine telegraph n : device to communicate commands from the headcab of a steam rig to the engine room, activated by a bell and designated with various speeds similar to a seagoing vessel: full ahead: half ahead, slow ahead, dead slow ahead, stop, dead slow astern, slow astern, half astern, full astern.

epaulette gun n : armament mounted on epaulette platform of larger rig, normally artillery cannon but sometimes machinegun.

epaulette gunner n : enlisted man assigned to an epaulette gun.

epaulette platform n : on larger rigs one of two platforms above the cranes beside the headcab usually for the purposes of mounted armament.

eyeport n : one of two large portholes in the shape of an eye acting as window for the captain or pilot, most notably on larger hellenic style steam rigs {see CORINTHIAN, HELLENIC, SPARTAN}.

flagrig n : the steam rig in a fleet that carries the commanding officer.

gehendfestung n : common Prussian term for steam rig. Literally “walking fortress.”

goliath class n : a larger midlevel classification of steam rig, approximately 90 feet in height, carrying a crew of anywhere from eighteen to twenty-four. Enjoyed long popularity and success on the battlefield, considered at its peak the most feared and respected fighting rig of its day.

grapnel and cable n : standard boarding gear for a steam rigger consisting of a light steel grappling hook with four flukes attached to a slender steel cable.

grappel n : working steel grip on the end of a steam rig crane. Claw.

great helm quartermaster n : predominant late 19th Century noncombatant goliath class supply rig.

great helm adj : style of steam rig approximating the look of the medieval great helm style of helmet.

gunnery sergeant n : a noncommissioned officer in the marine corps or steam force ranking above staff sergeant and in the former below first sergeant. In the latter, usually responsible for the maintenance of a rig’s artillery. Informal: gunny {see GUNNY}.

gunny n : informal term for gunnery sergeant {see GUNNERY SERGEANT}

gunport n : any large opening on a steam rig designated for purposes of firing an armament, particularly the chest gunport {see CHEST GUNPORT}

gunrig n : early 20th Century term for any of various armed steampowered walking machines, having the general appearance of a large armored warrior, operated by a crew.

headcab n : base of operations on a steam rig, generally the “head”, where the steersman and captain operate, except on smaller rigs where they are one and the same. On later battlerigs, the headcab crew can number up to a dozen.

headgunner n : machinegunner on some hercules and goliath class rigs, stationed on the outside top of the headcab with a rotating or fixed Maxim or Vickers machinegun {see SLING-GUNNER, WINGSHIELD}.

hector class n : a classification of steam rig, approximately 112 feet in height, deploying a crew of twenty-two to twenty-six. Failed mechanically in early attempts due to the fact they were largely constructed of a surplus of spare goliath rig parts once that class was out of favor, resulting in the contracting company Concklin and Simmons going out of business.

hellenic adj : a style of steam rig marked by the headcab’s distinctive resemblence to an ancient Greek helmet, first introduced by the Prussians. One of various corinthian or spartan style headcabs {see CORINTHIAN, CRESTWALK, SPARTAN}.

hercules class n : a midlevel classification of steam rig, approximately 60 feet in height, deploying a crew of anywhere from twelve to sixteen. high hat lifter n a civilian all purpose construction steam rig occasionally employed by the military during the Second and Third Steam Wars. Informally “Peeping Tom.” Invented by Lucy Tillencrest {see TILLENCREST, LUCY}

intra-rig adj : referring to activity between compartments on a steam rig. Within the confines of a single steam rig.

juggernaut class n : a large classification of steam rig, initially developed by Prussia, incorporating technology advanced by John Tillencrest, approximately 180 feet in height, carrying a crew of anywhere from thirty-five to fifty, with boarding party capacity of eighty {see KOLOSS AUS EISEN; TILLENCREST, JOHN CHANDLER; VOSS, FRIEDRICH CONRAD}.

jupiter class n : a later class of steam rig, topping the juggernaut at 220 feet in height but with a lesser crew of thirty to forty.

Kaiserliche Preussische Dampftruppen n : the land steam warfare branch of the late 19th Century Prussian military specifically designated for the deployment of steam rigs.

Koloss Aus Eisen n : first steam rig of the juggernaut class developed by the Prussian Empire in 1897, launching a new era of steam warfare {see VOSS, FRIEDRICH CONRAD}

königskohletender n : Prussian coal tender steam rig and the largest ever built at approximately ten stories high.

knothead n : slang term for a novice crewman on a steam rig. Origin believed to be from the number of lumps on the head received on the first few runs before crewman found his “land legs”. This was often exacerbated by the prank of the initiate being given a heavy iron helmet by his helpful rigmates allegedly for his protection. land legs n : Informal acquired balance achieved with experience by a crewman on a walking steam rig, as in, “The crewman finally found his land legs.” RIG LEGS.

lieutenant-pilot n : commissioned officer in the United States Steam Force second only to captain on a steam rig assigned task of driving the rig, not to be confused with non-commissioned pilot.

low adj : Informal steam force term for “on shore leave.”

luftramm n : Aerial steam ram developed by the Prussians after the Japanese model. Most notably the highly successful Luftramm 19 {see PRUSSO-JAPANESE WAR, THIRD STEAM WAR}.

melodematon n : small steam rig piloted by an organ keyboard {see TILLENCREST, LUCY}.

menpo n : predominant style of Japanese fighting steam rig based on medieval Japanese armor.

midrig n : rigger term for anywhere at the center of a steam rig, usually above the legs and below the chest gunport, on larger rigs more often than not including the engine room, hold, ambulation, magazine, and midrig catwalk.

midrig catwalk n : the walkway around the midsection of a larger steam rig, skirted by wrought iron railing and often used as a sniper’s walk or for loading purposes.

nordic n : a style of fighting rig fashioned after the romanticized image of a Norse warrior, popular with U.S.S.F., Canadian and British rigs. Comes with or without “noseguard”.

Odin’s Beard {see LUFTRAMM}

peeping tom {see HIGH HAT LIFTER}

pilot n : non-com on a steam crew assigned task of driving a steam rig, equivalent in rank to a sergeant. port and starboard n : nautical terms for left and right adapted for use by the United States Steam Force and most other countries’ equivalents for the sake of clarity of command.

porthole n : small circular exterior window in a steam rig, similar to that found in a ship.

Prusso-Japanese War n : later known as the First Steam War and informally as the Batavia Disagreement, a three-month long conflict in 1895 between Japan and Prussia that ended in stalemate. Chiefly notable for allying Japan with the US and Canada {see BATAVIA DISAGREEMENT}.

rig {see STEAM RIG}

rig class n : steam force classification system, defining various sizes and characteristics of fighting rigs {see ACHILLES, AJAX, BEHEMOTH, GOLIATH, HECTOR, HERCULES, JUGGERNAUT, RUNABOUT, SAMSON, TITAN}.

rigger n : steam rig crewman. STEAM RIGGER.

rigmate n : fellow crewman on a steam rig. Rigger.

rigshape adj [short for earlier rigshapen, fr. rig + shapen, archaic pp. of shape] : TRIM, TIDY.

Roosevelt, Theodore (1858-1919) – 26th President of the United States; First commanding general of the United States Steam Force; Panama Canal was built during his administration; “Theodore Roosevelt said `Speak softly but carry a big stick'”.


runabout n : small two-man steam rig used primarily for short runs and noted for its speed. In military use, usually mounted with a Maxim or Vickers machinegun unless designated for reconnaissance {see BARRELBACK RUNABOUT}.

runabout class n : smallest classification of steam rig {see BARRELBACK RUNABOUT, RUNABOUT}.

sallet adj : style of steam rig taken from popular later medieval sallet helmet, adapted by the French for the majority of their rigs. Believed to be answer to the Prussians adapting ancient Greek styles, since the sallet was originally associated with Germany.

samson class n : a larger, somewhat later, classification of steam rig, approximately 120 feet in height, carrying a crew of anywhere from twenty-eight to thirty-two with capacity for boarding party of fifty marines. Developed by the US as a faster version of the Prussian juggernaut.

Second Steam War n : (1897–1899) war fought mainly in North America and Europe between the Prussian Empire, Turkey and Yugoslavia and the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Austro-Germany.

service structure n : tower of various levels of scaffolding with access platforms adjoining two or three sides of a steam rig for launch or maintenance. RIG BAY, SERVICE TOWER.

sling-gunner n : Chiefly British gunner, usually machinegunner, stationed on the crown of some larger rigs secured to a swiveling gun by a series of heavy straps attached to headcab’s shield {see HEADGUNNER}.

spartan adj : hellenic style of steam rig similar to corinthian, developed for later U.S.S.F. rigs, particularly the samson class {see HELLENIC}.

speaking tube n : simple speaking device connecting the compartments of a steam rig, based on two cones connected by an air pipe through which a voice can be transmitted, initiated by the blowing of a whistle. Chief method of intra-rig communication.

steam ranger n : early rudimentary steam rig invented by Eli Whitney in 1819 and driven by a single person, eventually deemed impractical as a work rig and too bulky and slow for combat {see WHITNEY, ELI}.

steam rig n : initially informal term for any of various late 19th and early 20th Century steam-powered walking machines, usually military, generally anthropomorphic in shape, operated by a crew of varying number.

steersman n : the pilot of a steam rig {see PILOT}.

stoker n : lowest rank on a steam rig responsible for maintaining boiler and furnace, especially the shoveling of coal. Considered only noncombatant on a steam crew.

stroller n : successful Canadian steam rig developed in 1874 by noted inventor John C. Tillencrest, used chiefly as a work rig {see TILLENCREST, JOHN CHANDLER}.

T63 coal tender n : standard late 19th Century American coal tender steam rig operated by a single engineer and used primarily to deliver condensed coal to fighting rigs on the front.

Third Steam War (1901–1905) War following the Second Steam War that introduced air power to combat and challenged the dominance of the fighting steam rig.

Tillencrest cloud jumper n : Lightweight winged propeller-driven airship of the late 19th Century, designed and developed by Lucy Tillencrest {see TILLENCREST, LUCY}.

Tillencrest, John Chandler – Canadian inventor, physicist, engineer and naturalist noted for discovery of the process for condensed coal instrumental in the late 19th Century development of the steam rig, as well as pioneering early steam rig designs. Later triumphs include the barrelback runabout and the highly successful goliath class. Father of Lucy Tillencrest {see BARRELBACK RUNABOUT; CONDENSED COAL; JUGGERNAUT CLASS; KOLOSS AUS EISEN; STROLLER; TILLENCREST, LUCY}.

Tillencrest, Lucy – Inventor, engineer, artist, designer and composer noted for her eccentric flair, responsible for numerous inventions including the popular high hat lifter as well various pioneering airships including the airsled and the Tillencrest Cloud Jumper. Noted for exploring the correlation between music and machine, most notably in the zeppelodeon, melodematon and ambulodeon {see AIRSLED; AMBULODEON; HIGH HAT LIFTER; MELODEMATON; TILLENCREST CLOUD JUMPER; TILLENCREST, JOHN CHANDLER}.

titan class n : larger class of steam rig, falling between the hector and samson classes at 130 feet in height, deploying a crew of twenty five to thirty plus a boarding party of forty.

topple v : common term for steam rig going down, a steam crewman’s worst fear, resulting from any number of causes including enemy fire, sudden engine seizure, or unstable surface. U.S.S.F. or USSF n pl but sin or pl in constr : abbreviation for United States Steam Force {see UNITED STATES STEAM FORCE}.

United States Steam Force n : branch of the United States military designated for land steam warfare, specifically the deployment of steam rigs.

United States Steam Force roundel n : circular insignia of the United States Steam Force worn on headcab and sometimes body of steam rig showing white star on red, established in 1895 but not put into effect until the following year. Later embellished with blue and white bars flanking the sides of the circle.

Voss, Friedrich Conrad – General of the Kaiserliche Preussische Dampftruppen and very influential member of the Prussian High Command, instrumental in the development of the juggernaut class and the attack on Canada that triggered the Second Steam War {see JUGGERNAUT CLASS, KAISERLICHE PREUSSISCHE DAMPFTRUPPEN, KOLOSS AUS EISEN}.

Walk tall, full steam ahead! – popular late 19th Century slogan of the United States Steam Force particularly on recruiting posters.

walk swing cycle n : or simply WALK-SWING. Term for the studied timing of the alternating movement of the booms or cranes during a steam rig’s mobility to insure proper balance.

Whitney, Eli -(1765–1825) – United States inventor of the mechanical cotton gin and pioneer of the steam rig {see STEAM RANGER}.

wingshield n : one of two protective metal sheets in the shape of wings on nordic style gunrig headcabs, usually hercules or goliath class.