The subject of my collections (rivers and steamboats, primarily) means that some of the ephemeral items in the collection simply cannot leave the building--you try to move a 20-foot-plus pilot wheel
! But digital visits mean I can now share these items with students easier than ever before.
My surprise and shock can then be imagined when I flung open the door and stumbled inside and grasped the pilot wheel and peered through the windows ahead or aft or fore or whatever, forever confused by those silly nautical terms and hating the hairy men who used them, smirking.
And in fact when I dared venture into the pilot-house that day I knew he would be gone, I knew my hands upon the pilot wheel would do whatever they had to, that all those carelessly listened to remarks about charts and stars and buoys and lighthouses, anchors, piers, waves, swells and so on, all would fall into place, and there I would be confidently sailing our barge towards the luminous brown clouds of some foul but splendid city, there to be forever free of those wanderings.
The railroad maintains a steam locomotive of wheel arrangement 2-8-0 (two pilot wheels
in front, eight drive wheels, no trailing wheels under the firebox), known in the trade as a consolidation type.