Roughneck
Overview
 
Roughneck is a slang
Slang
Slang is the use of informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's language or dialect but are considered more acceptable when used socially. Slang is often to be found in areas of the lexicon that refer to things considered taboo...

 term for a person whose occupation is hard-manual labour, typically in a dangerous working environment. The term applies across a number of industries, but is most commonly associated with oil rigs
Oil platform
An oil platform, also referred to as an offshore platform or, somewhat incorrectly, oil rig, is a lаrge structure with facilities to drill wells, to extract and process oil and natural gas, and to temporarily store product until it can be brought to shore for refining and marketing...

. The ideal of the hard-working, tough roughneck has been adopted by several sports teams who use the phrase as part of their name or logo.

Originally the term was used in the traveling carnival
Traveling carnival
A traveling carnival is an amusement show that may be made up of amusement rides, food vendors, merchandise vendors, games of chance and skill, thrill acts, animal acts or sideshow curiosities. A traveling carnival is not set up at a permanent location, like an amusement park, but is moved from...

s of 19th century America
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, almost interchangeably with roustabout
Roustabout
A roustabout is a labourer typically performing temporary, unskilled work. The term has traditionally been used to refer to traveling-circus workers, natural gas, or oil rig workers....

.
Encyclopedia
Roughneck is a slang
Slang
Slang is the use of informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's language or dialect but are considered more acceptable when used socially. Slang is often to be found in areas of the lexicon that refer to things considered taboo...

 term for a person whose occupation is hard-manual labour, typically in a dangerous working environment. The term applies across a number of industries, but is most commonly associated with oil rigs
Oil platform
An oil platform, also referred to as an offshore platform or, somewhat incorrectly, oil rig, is a lаrge structure with facilities to drill wells, to extract and process oil and natural gas, and to temporarily store product until it can be brought to shore for refining and marketing...

. The ideal of the hard-working, tough roughneck has been adopted by several sports teams who use the phrase as part of their name or logo.

Originally the term was used in the traveling carnival
Traveling carnival
A traveling carnival is an amusement show that may be made up of amusement rides, food vendors, merchandise vendors, games of chance and skill, thrill acts, animal acts or sideshow curiosities. A traveling carnival is not set up at a permanent location, like an amusement park, but is moved from...

s of 19th century America
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, almost interchangeably with roustabout
Roustabout
A roustabout is a labourer typically performing temporary, unskilled work. The term has traditionally been used to refer to traveling-circus workers, natural gas, or oil rig workers....

. By the 1930s the terms had transferred to the oil drilling industry. In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

's oil industry starting in the 1970s, roughneck specifically meant those who worked on the drill floor of a drilling rig
Drilling rig
A drilling rig is a machine which creates holes or shafts in the ground. Drilling rigs can be massive structures housing equipment used to drill water wells, oil wells, or natural gas extraction wells, or they can be small enough to be moved manually by one person...

 handling specialised drilling equipment for drilling and pressure
Well control
Well control is the technique used in oil and gas operations such as drilling, well workover, and well completions to maintaining the fluid column hydrostatic pressure and formation pressure to prevent influx of formation fluids into the wellbore.This technique involves the estimation of formation...

 controls. In practice, these workers ranged from unskilled to highly skilled, depending subjectively on the individual worker's aptitude and experience. By contrast, a roustabout
Roustabout
A roustabout is a labourer typically performing temporary, unskilled work. The term has traditionally been used to refer to traveling-circus workers, natural gas, or oil rig workers....

 would perform general labor, such as loading and unloading cargo
Cargo
Cargo is goods or produce transported, generally for commercial gain, by ship, aircraft, train, van or truck. In modern times, containers are used in most intermodal long-haul cargo transport.-Marine:...

 from crane baskets and assisting welders
Welding
Welding is a fabrication or sculptural process that joins materials, usually metals or thermoplastics, by causing coalescence. This is often done by melting the workpieces and adding a filler material to form a pool of molten material that cools to become a strong joint, with pressure sometimes...

, mechanics, electricians and other skilled workers. The word roughneck was in use in the U.S. oil drilling industry even earlier, and had a similar meaning.

Oil field roughnecks

In oil fields, a roughneck's duties can include anything involved with connecting pipe down the well bore, as well as general work around a rig. The crew of a land-based oil rig can be further divided into several positions:
  • Toolpusher: The highest position at the drilling location, responsible for every crew. He may stay on location for a few days at a time during crucial operations, whereas individual drilling crews work only eight or 12-hour shifts or "tours" .

  • Driller
    Driller (oil)
    The driller is a team leader in charge during the process of well drilling. The term is commonly used in the context of an oil well drilling rig....

    : The head of an individual crew, responsible for controlling a rig's machinery during drilling, as well as most other rig operations.

  • Derrickhand (derrick-man): Responsible for the drilling mud, the mud pits where drilling fluids are circulated around the system, and the mud pumps, as well as being the hand up in the derrick manipulating stands into and out of the fingers during tripping operations.

  • Motorman (motorhand): Responsible for maintenance of various engines, water pumps, water lines, steam lines, boilers and various other machinery incorporated into the rig. On a four-man drilling crew the motorman is also the chainhand.

  • Boilerman: Though this position is now obsolete, before the mid-20th century, when most rigs were steam-powered, the boilerman was responsible for the boilers. The boilerman also functioned as the laundryman, steam-cleaning the last crew's greasy work clothes in the "blow barrel" and then hanging them up to dry in the warm air near the boilers.

  • Leadhand/Floorhand ("worm"): Usually the lowest member of the drilling crew, those in this position are often nicknamed "worm", because this hand has the dirtiest and most physically demanding position. The floorhand works primarially on the rig floor where he is the one actually operating the tongs, iron roughneck, tugger, catwalk, and pretty much any other job which is asked of him.

  • Chainhand (Floorhand): This position is given to a floorhand that can also throw chain, but today in the oilfields is pretty much just another floorhand that watches out for the worm and doesn't get as filthy.

  • Roustabout (leasehand): On bigger rigs and offshore rigs, a roustabout is someone who does most of the painting and cleaning so roughnecks can take care of other work.

  • Ginsel: The worm's helper. This is also derogatory insult among roughnecks. Also called the fifth hand.

Cultural references

The Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Oilers
The Edmonton Oilers are a professional ice hockey team based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. They are members of the Northwest Division in the Western Conference of the National Hockey League ....

 of the National Hockey League
National Hockey League
The National Hockey League is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates a major professional ice hockey league of 30 franchised member clubs, of which 7 are currently located in Canada and 23 in the United States...

 used to use an oil rigging roughneck with a hockey stick
Hockey stick
A hockey stick is a piece of equipment used in field hockey, ice hockey or roller hockey to move the ball or puck.- Field hockey :Field hockey sticks have an end which varies in shape, often depending on the players position...

 as one of their secondary logos. The roughneck, as a symbol of hard work and fortitude, was the inspiration for the Calgary Roughnecks
Calgary Roughnecks
The Calgary Roughnecks are a professional box lacrosse team based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. They are members of the Western Division of the National Lacrosse League and play their home games at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The team name is derived from the roughnecks who work drilling rigs in...

 lacrosse
Lacrosse
Lacrosse is a team sport of Native American origin played using a small rubber ball and a long-handled stick called a crosse or lacrosse stick, mainly played in the United States and Canada. It is a contact sport which requires padding. The head of the lacrosse stick is strung with loose mesh...

 team, as well as the Tulsa Roughnecks
Tulsa Roughnecks
-NASL:The Tulsa Roughnecks were a North American Soccer League team from Tulsa, Oklahoma. They played at Skelly Stadium on the campus of the University of Tulsa. The Roughnecks were a regular in the NASL playoffs, and won the NASL Soccer Bowl in 1983, defeating the Toronto Blizzard at B.C. Place...

 North American Soccer League
North American Soccer League
North American Soccer League was a professional soccer league with teams in the United States and Canada that operated from 1968 to 1984.-History:...

 and United Soccer Leagues
United Soccer Leagues
The United Soccer Leagues is the organizer of several soccer leagues with teams in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. It includes men's and women's leagues, both professional and amateur. Leagues currently organized are the USL Pro, the USL Premier Development League, the W-League, and...

 teams. The West Texas Roughnecks of the Indoor Football League
Indoor Football League
The Indoor Football League began in 1999 as an offshoot of the troubled Professional Indoor Football League. Keary Ecklund, the owner of the Green Bay Bombers and Madison Mad Dogs, left the PIFL after its first, financially-troubled, season to start his own league. Unlike the PIFL, the IFL was an...

 also use this nickname.

Rubbermaid
Rubbermaid
Rubbermaid is an American manufacturer and distributor of many household items. It is a subsidiary of Newell Rubbermaid. It is most well known for producing food storage containers and trash cans...

 has used the name "Roughneck" for trash containers and storage totes since the mid 1970's.

In Chapter 3 of The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby is a novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. First published in1925, it is set on Long Island's North Shore and in New York City from spring to autumn of 1922....

, on first meeting Gatsby, Nick describes him as looking like "an elegant young roughneck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd."
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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