Naval Marine Archive - The Canadian Collection
Library Catalogue Ships database Research Collections Bibliography About us Donate


Alt: squillgee, squillagee, squeegee

Click to enlarge

The origin of "squeegee" appears to be from "squeeze", although C.T. Onions, Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, 1966, suggests that the C19th (second usage below as toggle) is perhaps a blend of "squelch" and "squeegee."

More often than not a mop for deck cleaning, etc. W. H. Smyth, The Sailor's Word-Book, 1867, gives both words:- "Squeegee: An effective swabbing implement, having a plate of gutta-percha fitted at the end of a broom handle" and "Squillgee or Squillagee: A small swab of untwisted yarn. Figuratively, a lazy mean fellow."

De Kerchove, International Maritime Dictionary, 2nd ed., 1948, gives "Squillagee: an instrument somewhat resembling a wooden hoe, with an edge of india rubber or thick leather used for scraping water from wet decks. Also called squilgee, squeegee" and "Squeegee: a strap with toggles in the end, used to confine a studding sail while being set."

Commodore Stephen Bleecker Luce, Text-Book of Seamanship, 1891, has a "squilgee strap" used for setting a stuns'l. At page 404:

The Topgallant Studding-sail. At sea, this sail is kept in the top, stowed up and down in the topmast rigging. To set it, order
Stand by to set the topgallant stun'-sail!
Haul taut the topgallant lift.* One of the quarter-watch repairs to the topsail yard, where he converts the boom tricing-line into an "in-and-out jigger," and toggles the heel of the boom to a bull's-eye, which traverses on the jack-stay fitted for the purpose, or there may be a quarter-strap. (See Rigging Ship, p. 138.)
* It is observed that the support thus obtained is trifling. If, through neglect, the lift is not overhauled again after the studding-sail has been taken in, the yard itself will be endangered if the topgallant sail has to come in quickly.
[p405] The sail is cast loose in the top, having only a squilgee strap around it. Fig. 474. The halliards manned on deck, and the tack in the top, a hand by the sheet, and one also on the yard to assist to rig out the boom.



Naval Marine ArchiveThe Canadian Collection
205 Main Street, Picton, Ontario, K0K2T0, Canada
Telephone: 1 613 476 1177
E-mail: for comments, queries and suggestions.

Copyright © 2024
Naval Marine Archive
The Canadian Collection

Revised: 16 November 2010