A porthole, sometimes called bull's-eye window or bull's-eye,[1] is a generally circular window used on the hull of ships to admit light and air. Though the term is of maritime origin, it is also used to describe round windows on armored vehicles, aircraft, automobiles (the Ford Thunderbird a notable example) and even spacecraft.

On a ship, the function of a porthole, when open, is to permit light and fresh air to enter the dark and often damp below-deck quarters of the vessel. It also affords below-deck occupants a limited view to the outside world.[2] When closed, the porthole provides a strong water-tight, weather-tight and sometimes light-tight barrier.

A porthole on a ship may also be called a sidescuttle or side scuttle (side hole), as officially termed in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea. This term is used in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.[3] It is also used in related rules and regulations for the construction of ships.[4] The use of the word "sidescuttle" instead of "porthole" is meant to be broad, including any covered or uncovered hole in the side of the vessel.

Jewish immigrants look through a porthole on a ship in Haifa


According to the Navy Department Library, the word "porthole" has nothing to do with its location on the port side of a ship, but originated during the reign of Henry VII of England (1485). The king insisted on mounting guns too large for his ships and therefore the conventional methods of securing the weapons on the forecastle and aftcastle could not be used. A French shipbuilder named James Baker was commissioned to solve the problem, which he did by piercing the ship's sides so the cannon could be mounted inside the fore and after castles. For heavy weather and when the cannons were not in use, the openings were fitted with covers, that were called porte in French, meaning "door". "Porte" was Anglicized to "port" and later corrupted to porthole. Eventually, it came to mean any opening in a ship's side whether for cannon or not.[5]


Porthole of HMS Gannet
A brass porthole with hinged window and storm cover
HMS Cornwall (56)
Rows of portholes can be seen on the hull of HMS Cornwall, a British heavy cruiser from the 1920s

A porthole consists of at least two structural components and is, in its simplest form, similar to any other type of window in design and purpose. The porthole is primarily a circular glass disk, known as a 'portlight', encased in a metal frame that is bolted securely into the side of a ship's hull. Sometimes the glass disk of a porthole is encased in a separate frame which is hinged onto the base frame so that it can be opened and closed. In addition, many portholes also have metal storm covers that can be securely fastened against the window when necessary. The main purpose of the storm cover is, as its name implies, to protect the window from heavy seas. It is also used to block light from entering lower berths when darkness is preferred. The storm cover is referred to as a deadlight in maritime parlance. Storm covers are also used on Navy and merchant marine ships to prevent interior light from escaping the ship's lower berths, and to provide protection from hostile fire. Hinged porthole windows and storm covers are accessible from inside the ship's hull, and are typically fastened to their closed positions by hand tightening several pivoting, threaded devices, commonly referred to as "dogs." Older portholes can be identified by the protruding collar of their base plate which may be up to several inches deep, thus accommodating the thickness of a wooden hull.

Portholes range in diameter from several inches to more than two feet, and weigh from several pounds to over one hundred pounds. Much of the porthole's weight comes from its glass, which, on ships, can be as much as two inches thick. Metal components of a porthole are also typically very heavy; they are usually sand-cast and made of bronze, brass, steel, iron, or aluminium. Bronze and brass are most commonly used, favoured for their resistance to saltwater corrosion. The design of the porthole is such that it achieves its humble purposes without sacrificing the integrity of the ship's hull. The porthole's thick glass and rugged construction, tightly spaced fasteners, indeed even its round shape, all contribute to its purpose of maintaining hull strength and withstanding the pressure of storm waves crashing against it.

Recently there has been a decline in the number of portholes on larger ships. Cruise liners have higher superstructures with more upper deck cabins which can have large windows and balconies. Most warships no longer have portholes on their main hulls as they could weaken them and modern vessels have air conditioning and strong lighting below decks meaning that they are no longer necessary.[6]

Spacecraft portholes

Zvezda port hole
Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev in front of a porthole in the Zvezda component of the International Space Station

Portholes on spacecraft must be made from glass that can survive rapid temperature changes, without suffering the cracking that can result from thermal shock. Those on the International Space Station were made from quartz glass mounted on titanium frames, covered with enamel. Of course, these are not designed to be opened. The windows also have shrouds or doors to protect them from micro-meteorites.[7]

On the Apollo space capsules a porthole was located in the hatch that the astronauts used at the beginning and end of each flight.

Submarine portholes

Portholes on submarines are generally made of acrylic plastic. In the case of deep diving submarines, the portholes can be several inches thick. The edge of the acrylic is usually conically tapered such that the external pressure forces the acrylic window against the seat. Usually such windows are flat rather than spherically dished. This decreases the area that can be viewed, but eliminates distortion associated with curved glass.

See also


  1. ^ bull's-eye in the American Heritage dictionary
  2. ^ "10 things I wish I knew before going on my first cruise". The Daily Telegraph. 9 June 2017.
  3. ^ Title 46 U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Sec. 45.139 - Side scuttles.
  4. ^ ISO (1993) ISO 1751. Shipbuilding and marine structures - Ships' side scuttles. International Organization for Standardization.
  5. ^ With permission from http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/origin.htm#por
  6. ^ Where have all the portholes gone. Retrieved 24 April 2015
  7. ^ manchikoni.com
Cannulated cow

A cannulated cow or "fistulated cow" refers to a cow that has been surgically fitted with a cannula. A cannula acts as a porthole-like device that allows access to the rumen of a cow, to perform research and analysis of the digestive system. The practice can be traced back to as early as the 1920s.


The EMD F9 is a 1,750 horsepower (1,300 kW) Diesel-electric locomotive produced between February 1953 and May 1960 by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors (EMD) and General Motors Diesel (GMD). It succeeded the F7 model in GM-EMD's F-unit sequence. Final assembly was at GM-EMD's La Grange, Illinois plant. The F9 was also built in Canada by General Motors Diesel at their London, Ontario plant. A total of 101 cab-equipped lead A units and 156 cabless booster B units were built. The F9 was the fifth model in GM-EMD's highly successful "F" series of cab unit diesel locomotives.

A F9 can be distinguished reliably from a late F7 only by the addition of an extra filter grille ahead of the front porthole on the side panels on A units. Internally, the use of an 567C prime mover increased power to 1,750 hp (1.30 MW) from the F7's 1,500 hp (1.12 MW).

By the time cab units such as the F9 were built, railroads were turning to the road switcher-style of locomotive, and the F9 was succeeded in most part by the EMD GP9.

East Michigan Avenue Historic District

The East Michigan Avenue Historic District is a residential historic district located at 300-321 East Michigan Avenue, 99-103 Maple Street, and 217, 300 and 302 East Henry in Saline, Michigan. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.The East Michigan Avenue Historic District consists of eighteen houses with nine barns and carriage houses clustered around the distinctive William H. Davenport House, which is individually listed on the National Register. The houses were constructed during the period of 1870-1920, and include architectural styles ranging from Queen Anne and Second Empire to Colonial Revival and Bungalow. The William Davenport house occupies an entire city block along Michigan, with the bulk of the structures in the district facing it.The houses along Michigan, as well as on the adjacent properties on Maple, are on lots of fairly uniform size, with wide lawns and large setbacks. Several were constructed in a Queen Anne or Colonial Revival style by builder Elwood Rogers, and so there is a uniformity in scale and design. Although all houses in the district are of superior design and quality, the three properties on Henry, behind the Davenport house, are included because of their exceptional value.The most significant house in the district are:

Max Fosdick House (303 E. Michigan) Built in 1917-18, this bungalow is an outstanding example because of the integrity of its design. It was built for Max Fosdick, the grandson of local farmers and an employee of Detroit Edison. The house is a one-and-a-half story frame building, with a roof ridge sweeping toward the street to enclose a one-story full-width front porch. A dormer with a porthole window is positioned over the entrance. Brackets support both the dormer and roofline.

Willis M. Fowler House (315 E. Michigan) Built in 1911, this two-and-one-half story frame house was constructed by builder Elwood Rogers for William Fowler, a real estate businessman. It has a hipped roof, projecting gables with fan-shaped windows, and an off-center entrance.

George Seeger House (101 Maple) Built in the early 1900s, this two-and-one-half story Colonial Revival house was also constructed by builder Elwood Rogers for George Seeger, the son of prominent German American farmer Matthias Seeger. The house has a steeply pitched hipped roof with cross gables, a one-story rear extension, and a rounded wraparound porch in the front.

Beverly Davenport House (302 E. Henry) This house was built in 1873, when local businessman William Davenport hired Detroit architect J.J. Smith to design this house for his son, Beverly. Beverly Davenport joined his father's mercantile firm, and was eventually cashier and then president of the Citizens Bank. The house is a two-and-one-half story frame Second Empire structure with a central projecting bay containing a flared gabled roof, squared-off top, and bargeboard trim. It has a mansard roof with porthole dormers and brackets below the eaves.

William H. Davenport House (300 E. Michigan) This house was designed by Detroit architect William Scott and built in 1876 for prominent businessman William Davenport. It is a frame structure with a slate mansard roof and a corner tower. Exterior decoration includes ornate brackets, corbels, lintels, and dormers.

Eric's Trip

Eric's Trip was a Canadian indie rock band from Moncton, New Brunswick. Eric's Trip achieved prominence as the first Canadian band to be signed to Seattle's flagship grunge label Sub Pop in the early 1990s. The band had a minor hit in alternative circles with the single "Viewmaster", from 1994's Forever Again.

Framingham Earl

Framingham Earl is a small village situated south of Norwich, in the English county of Norfolk. It is next to Poringland and Framingham Pigot. It covers an area of 2.56 km2 (0.99 sq mi) and had a population of 834 in 354 households at the 2001 census, increasing to a population of 871 in 363 households at the 2011 Census.

Within Framingham Earl is Framingham Earl High School, which is a Specialist Sports College. Sharing the same site is the newly built Sports Centre, which opened in early 2006 and provides a range of exercise classes and sports opportunities to the people of the surrounding villages as well as giving the school extra space to use for PE and dance lessons.

The village has two churches, the Methodist Church and the Church of St. Andrew. St. Andrew's is one of 124 existing round-tower churches in Norfolk. The plan of the church is beguilingly irregular, with the chancel decreasing in width towards the east end. A pilaster strip in the south wall of the chancel curiously tapers with the narrow portion at the bottom: the whole building has a gnarled, irregular appearance which is a mark of Anglo-Saxon construction. Even the corners (quoins) are of flint, although these are somewhat larger on the whole than those built into the body of the walls. There is even, surprisingly, an attempt at herringbone-work, all in flint, and round splayed porthole windows dressed entirely in flints, not quite perfect circles.

The writer W. G. Sebald is buried in the churchyard of St. Andrew's.

Framingham Earl has a pub called The Railway Tavern and a shop called Indian Ocean, which sells fair trade craft and furniture items.


The GMD SD40-2F was a 3,000 horsepower (2,200 kW) C-C diesel locomotive built by General Motors Diesel. It was fundamentally an SD40-2 in a cowl unit full-width body. A total of 25 units were built solely for the Canadian Pacific Railway. They were delivered in 1988 and 1989, after the end of production for the regular SD40-2. The engines were CP's only cowl units, and have been nicknamed "Red Barns" by railfans.

The locomotives are numbered 9000-9024. These were the only new locomotives to be delivered to the CPR in the "Action Red" paint scheme, a variation upon the "Multimark" paint scheme lacking the black-and-white emblem. Two engines, numbers 9000 and 9022, have been repainted in the "Dual Flags" paint scheme. They were delivered without the porthole in the nose door; this was retrofitted to most units in the early 1990s.

On December 13, 2012, CP retired SD40-2F 9000, 9002, 9005, 9010, 9016, 9018, 9019, 9022, and 9024. The 9000 and 9018 (along with the 9001) had been involved in a June 9, 2009 derailment in Oshawa, Ontario, on CP's Belleville Sub.

In mid to late 2016, CP retired all of the remaining units.

In 2015, the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway acquired 10 of these engines from CP. The new start up railway purchased the 9004, 9010, 9011, 9014, 9017, 9020, 9021, 9022, 9023, and the 9024. All were repainted within two years into CMQ's silver and light blue livery except for 9017, which was repainted into the black, red, and gray paint scheme of the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad in recognition of the heritage of some of CMQ's trackage in Maine.

Unit 9015 slammed into a crude oil truck and was burnt. The unit was rebuilt shortly after.

Howe, Norfolk

Howe is a village and civil parish in South Norfolk, England. It is situated between Poringland, Brooke and Shotesham. It covers an area of 3.20 km2 (1.24 sq mi) and had a population of 54 in 21 households at the 2001 census.Howe, from the Old Norse word haugr, is a Middle English topographic name for someone who lived by a small hill or a man-made mound or barrow. St Mary's church is one of 124 existing round-tower churches in Norfolk, showing many signs of construction in the Anglo-Saxon period, such as tall proportions, splayed porthole windows, and flint quoins. The ample-sized tower dates from the pre-Conquest period, being one of a series of Saxon round towers in Norfolk that demonstrate that the round tower design is at least 1000 years old. Several other features are of interest to the student of local church architecture. The church can be reached from Poringland, approx. 2 km away, along a lane through an open arable field, where another, later, round tower can be seen. There is a regular bus service from Norwich.

Joe Zucker

Joe Zucker (born 1941) is an American artist who was born in Chicago, Illinois. He received a B.F.A. from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1964 and an M.F.A., from the same institution in 1966.His art is quirky and idiosyncratic, and most often relates to the materials, such as cotton and plastic. His Porthole #4 from 1981, in the collection of the Honolulu Museum of Art, demonstrates his innovative use of unusual materials. The Art Institute of Chicago, the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art (Northwestern University, Illinois), the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (Fort Worth, Texas), the Museum of Modern Art (New York City), the Parrish Art Museum (Water Mill, New York), the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington D.C.), and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, Minnesota) are among the public collections holding work by Joe Zucker.

Maritime Hotel

The Maritime Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel located at 363 West 16th Street at Ninth Avenue in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, close to the Meatpacking District. It has 121 rooms and 5 suites, all decorated in a nautical theme, in line with the building's maritime history, and the porthole-inspired facade.

McKeen railmotor

The McKeen Railmotor was a 6-cylinder self-propelled railcar or railmotor. When McKeen Company of Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A., first unveiled the car in 1905, the McKeen was among the first engines with a gasoline-powered motor. Revisions to the McKeen car led to the modern self-propelled gasoline rail-motor vehicle, and the "contours of the porthole windows, the front-mounted gasoline engines, and other features anticipated the streamline concept."

Murder of Gay Gibson

Eileen Isabella Ronnie Gibson (16 June 1926 – 18 October 1947), known professionally as Gay Gibson, was an actress who went missing during a sailing of a ship between Cape Town in South Africa and Southampton, England in October 1947. The criminal case that followed was known as The Porthole Murder, as the man who would be convicted of killing her admitted that he had pushed her body out of the porthole in her cabin into the Atlantic Ocean. He claimed that they had engaged in consensual sex and that she had died of an apparent sudden illness; he had then panicked and thrown her body out of the cabin porthole.

Whilst James Camb acknowledged that pushing Gibson's body through the ship's porthole was "a beastly thing to do", he always strenuously denied having killed her, insisting that she had either choked or suffocated whilst the two were in bed together.

Camb was convicted of Gibson's murder and sentenced to death by hanging, but a legal move to suspend the death penalty for all crimes in Britain meant he served 11 years in jail for the crime. He denied killing her for the rest of his life.

The case attracted widespread attention at the time, drawing parallels with film noir and Agatha Christie novels. Even Winston Churchill commented on the outcome of the case, stating his regret that the punishment of Camb had been commuted to a lesser sentence.

Opera window

Opera windows are small, discrete, and fixed side windows in the C-pillar of some cars. Originally porthole-sized and shaped to provide light and rear passenger visibility in luxury 4-door sedans and limousines in the 1930s, they made a brief appearance in two-door coupes in the 1950s before becoming a sweeping design fad in the 1970s.

That era’s proliferation of heavy, typically vinyl-covered C—pillars opened the door to frantic copycatting that ended up permanently blurring the distinction between traditional opera windows, which still are found, and rear quarter windows, rear door vent windows, sharply raked fastback and hatchback rear windows, wraparound windows, and other established rear window design trends and treatments.

Porthole Cruise Magazine

Porthole Cruise Magazine is a bi-monthly, internationally distributed periodical dedicated to cruise ship travel, holiday cruise destinations, and cruise ship experiences.

Porthole catfish

The porthole catfish or slender catfish, Dianema longibarbis, is a tropical freshwater fish belonging to the Callichthyinae sub-family of the Callichthyidae family. It originates in inland waters in South America, and is found in the Amazon River basin in Brazil and Peru.

The fish will grow in length up to 8.2 centimetres (3.2 in). It natively inhabits waters with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.5, a hardness of 2 - 20 DH, and a temperature of 22° - 26 °C (72° - 79 °F).

Porthole shovelnose catfish

The porthole shovelnose catfish or spotted shovelnose catfish, Hemisorubim platyrhynchos, is the only species in the genus Hemisorubim of the catfish (order Siluriformes) family Pimelodidae.

Porthole tree frog

The porthole tree frog (Charadrahyla taeniopus) is a species of frog in the family Hylidae endemic to Mexico. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist montane forests and rivers. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Sappy Records

Sappy Records is an independent record label based in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada, started by Julie Doiron in 1990 in order to release her own cassette.

The first 7" vinyl release was "Julie and the Porthole to Dimentia" in 1993, which featured a track each by the members of Eric's Trip.In 1994 Jon Claytor and Julie Doiron became business partners and ran the label together until 2000.

The label lay dormant for a number of years after Julie Doiron won a Juno Award for Julie Doiron and the Wooden Stars in 2000, and subsequently signed to Endearing Records in Canada and Jagjaguwar internationally. The label was restarted in 2006 by Julie Doiron, Jon Claytor and Paul Henderson.

Sappy Records also hosts the Sappy Records Music Festival (or SappyFest) in Sackville, New Brunswick, and has featured notable acts such as The Arcade Fire, Holy Fuck, The Acorn, Attack in Black, Chad VanGaalen, Old Man Luedecke, Ohbijou and Wintersleep. It takes place in the summer.


Scuttle may refer to:

Scuttling, the deliberate sinking of one's own ship

Scuttle or sidescuttle, a synonym for a porthole, a circular window in a ship.

Coal scuttle, a bucket-like container for coal

Shaving scuttle, a teapot-like container for hot water

Scuttle, a fictional character in Disney's The Little Mermaid

Scuttle (software), web-based collaborative bookmarking software

Scuttle, the bulkhead in a vehicle between the engine and the driver and passengers

Scuttle shake, a phenomenon experienced in some convertible cars

Scuttle (Disney), a character in Disney's Mickey Mouse comics

Scuttle (horse)

Zenith Electronics

Zenith Electronics, LLC is a research and development company that develops ATSC and digital rights management technologies. It is owned by the South Korean company LG Electronics. Zenith was previously an American brand of consumer electronics, a manufacturer of radio and television receivers and other consumer electronics, and was headquartered in Glenview, Illinois. After a series of layoffs, the consolidated headquarters moved to Lincolnshire, Illinois. For many years, their famous slogan was "The quality goes in before the name goes on" (this slogan was borrowed from the "CROWN" Piano made by Geo. P Bent of Chicago). LG Electronics acquired a controlling share of Zenith in 1995; Zenith became a wholly owned subsidiary in 1999. Zenith was the inventor of subscription television and the modern remote control, and the first to develop High-definition television (HDTV) in North America.Zenith-branded products were sold in North America, Germany, Thailand (to 1983), Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, India, and Myanmar.


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