In my former life I'm pretty sure I was a longshoreman. I definitely have the body for it - and a very deep love for the fashion - but I definitely do not have the patience of mind a/k/a the discipline and I give these guys all the credit in the world for what they do; its an old, wonderful, amazingly thankless job that isn't easy. I sit in an office all day while these guys get blisters and callouses on their earlobes unloading giant crates of shit so you can buy more shit with the money u make in your office... with the corporate AC in July and the corporate boilers in February. I don't front on longshoremen, ever. I admit I can only fantasize.
The words stevedore, docker, and longshoreman can have various waterfront-related meanings concerning loading and unloading ships.
The word "stevedore" originated in Spain or was it Portugal ? It entered the English language through its use by sailors. It started as a phonetic spelling of Spanish estibador or Portuguese estivador = "a man who stuffs", here in the sense of "a man who loads ships", which was the original meaning of "stevedore"; compare with the Latin stipāre = "to stuff".
In the UK, men who load and unload ships are usually called dockers while here and in Canada the term longshoreman, derived from "Man-along-the-shore" is most common.
In usual present-day United States waterfront word usage, a stevedore is a man or a company who manages the operation of loading or unloading a ship. A stevedore typically owns equipment used in the loading or discharge operation and hires longshoremen who load and unload cargo under the direction of a stevedore superintendent.
"Loading and unloading ships requires knowledge of the operation of loading equipment, the proper techniques for lifting and stowing cargo, and correct handling of hazmats. In addition, workers must be physically strong and be able to follow orders."
In earlier days, men who load and unload ships had to tie down cargoes with rope. A type of stopper knot is called the stevedore knot. The methods of securely tying up parcels of goods is called stevedore lashing or stevedore knotting. While loading a general cargo vessel, they use dunnage which are pieces of wood or nowadays sometimes strong inflatable bags set down to keep the cargo out of any water that might be lying in the hold or are placed as shims between cargo crates to keep them from shifting during a voyage.
I wanna work with rope and shims and crates and knots in the cold and drink even more coffee than I do now and have that nice calloused, wind burnt, rough skin on my face. I really tried hard to get a job like that, man. I even wrote a letter to the ILA. I'm still waiting to hear back. I like the idea of making an "honest living"; trading in your hours and sweat and toil for a handful of dimes. I'm gonna go listen to YDL now.
"Today, the vast majority of non-bulk cargo is transported in shipping containers. The containers arrive at a port by truck, rail or another ship and are stacked in the port's storage area. When the ship that will be transporting them arrives, the containers that it is offloading are unloaded by a crane. The containers either leave the port by truck or rail or are put in the storage area until they are put on another ship. Once the ship is offloaded, the containers it is leaving with are brought to the dock by truck. A crane lifts the containers from the trucks into the ship. As the containers pile up in the ship, the workers connect them to the ship and to each other. The jobs involved include the crane operators, the workers who connect the containers to the ship and each other, the truck drivers that transport the containers from the dock and storage area, the workers who track the containers in the storage area and as they are loaded and unloaded, as well as various supervisors. Those workers at the port who handle and move the containers are likely to be considered stevedores or longshoremen."
Because they work outdoors in all types of weather, these workers adopted a type of cap that has a snug fit, is warm, and is easily put away in a pocket. These are a type of beanie or watch cap called variously stevedore's cap or stevedore's hat.
Before containerization, freight was often handled with a longshoreman’s hook, a tool which became emblematic of the profession in the United States.
Traditionally, stevedores would have no fixed job and turn up at the docks in the morning hoping to find someone willing to employ them for the day. London dockers and deal porters called this practice "standing on the stones", while here it was referred to as "Shaping".
now THAT'S a hard style
In 1949, reporter Malcolm Johnson was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for a 24-part investigative series titled Crime on the Waterfront published in the New York Sun.
This material was fictionalised and used as a basis for the vastly influential film, On the Waterfront starring Marlon Brando as a longshoremen, and their working conditions figure in the film's plot. Playwright Arthur Miller was involved in the early stages of the development of the film, as his play A View from the Bridge also deals with the troubled life of a longshoreman.
Maybe we could set up some sort of job-swap thing; I could go be a longshoremen for a few weeks or months or days and a longshoremen could come take my job and sit at a desk all day, lock documents and blog. Any takers?