Possible WWII steering wheel found in Bath City Hall | News

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Possible WWII steering wheel found in Bath City Hall

BATH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Maine Maritime Museum has a new artifact, which curators believe is from a World War II destroyer ship.

City staff found the wheel while cleaning out the basement of City Hall. They called Nathan Lipfert, the senior curator at the Maine Maritime Museum.

"I thought we should look into it, and so that's what we're trying to do," said Lipfert. "Nobody at the City Hall remembers how this came into the building there."

Lipfert said it looks like a steering wheel from a World War II destroyer. He said it is identical in every detail to the ones installed on Allen M. Sumner class destroyers, like the ones built at Bath Iron Works.

The wheel sits on its original pedestal, with its gyro-compass repeater and the rudder indicator.

"The rudder indicator shows the helmsman the actual position of the rudder," said Lipfert. "As the ship moves, the gyroscope maintains the bearing on true north."

Lipfert said this is an important piece of history.

"This is something that helps put you in an environment. It helps you time travel, if you will," said Lipfert. "You can stand in front of this wheel and think about the people who stood at that wheel using it to steer this ship into battle."

Lipfert does not know who owns the wheel, and said he has reached out to the public for leads.

"Maybe you know when they were created, but then there's some black holes of information, dark ages when no one knows where this thing was and who took care of it and why it's in the condition it's in today. We're intrigued by the possibilities of this object," said Lipfert.

Lipfert said if it is unclaimed, he would like it to be part of the collection at the Maine Maritime Museum, as long as they can identify where it came from. 



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