" For a quartermaster had entered the wheelhouse, and even while we had been speaking the pilot had taken possession of the bridge; as we descended, the tender left us with flying handkerchiefs and shrill good-bys; and as we bowed to Miss Werner on the promenade deck, there came a deep, slow throbbing underfoot, and our voyage had begun." Quoted:The Amateur Cracksman by Hornung, E. W.
Ship's wheel, along with the anchor, is the symbol of ships and sea. It was introduced sometime in the beginning of the 18th century. Before the wheel, ships were steered with the tiller. Larger ships of that age had the tiller linked with block and tackle systems to the rudder which made steering cumbersome. The wheelstand was most often placed close to the rudder on the aft deck and nearly always in the open air. Only later with the introduction of steam ships built from iron and steel, the wheel was moved to the "bridge", and the command center was from then called the "wheelhouse".