Sorry for the lack of a picture of the whole anchor. I ‘thought’ I had one… Anyhoo…

It looks a lot like this except BIGGER!!!


It’s a Kedge style anchor from the late 1800s’ probably weighs around a couple of tons (best guess).  It’s got a keyed stock, and the stock is about 6 inches in diameter.2015-09-14 14.27.04

While this may look like wood, it’s actually iron. And it has had a LOT of exposure to salt water over the years. The links appeared to be hand formed rather than cast.2015-09-14 14.27.25

A little better picture of an individual link, you can see the hand beaten nature of the link in this picture. At a guess, that link was about 50 lbs…2015-09-14 14.27.52

This was found in Honolulu, and the best ‘guess’ is that this was dropped by some four masted clipper ship, some time in the late 1800s. Quiet the piece of history!!!


TBT… — 13 Comments

  1. We so easily forget that our ancestors were capable of large-scale manufacturing with what we think of as primitive equipment. And it’s not hard to lose an anchor, depending on the severity of the storm.

  2. CHENG sent me up to the forecastle to find out why the delay in hauling up an anchor during an underway exercise while I was stationed aboard the Willy R. (DD-714).

    Note, when the chain starts making loud clanking noises and the Chief Boatswains Mate says “RUN” the last part of the word run should see you already moving fairly fast.

    When we all went back to the forecastle a couple of minutes later we found a couple of interesting things.

    One. If you are wearing slip on safety boots you can run out of them.
    Two. Proof of Newton’s law was a few pens, wheelbooks, and hats left behind.
    Three. At least in this case, no evidence that anybody had the poop scared out of them.

    A later civilian career at the Philly Shipyard had me involved in brake testing of aircraft carrier anchor windlasses. Short story is while pierside weight the anchor with weight equal to sixty fathoms of chain, then let the anchor drop free fall and bring it to a stop.

    Quite a complex evolution. But skilled people can do very dangerous actions relatively safely.

  3. Manufacturing such is surely a major achievement, but then there is the transport and loading aspect, too. Some marvel at the pyramids, as I do, but we don’t have to look back that far to be suitably impressed.

  4. “Kedging” an evolution on an old time sailing ship that has become ‘becalmed’ and the Captain wants to be moving. The anchor was lowered into a smallboat, longboat etc. and rowed out to the full length of a hawser and dropped. Then the boys on the capstan, or anchor windlass had the unenviable job of winding the ship up to it, picking it up, placing in the boat and repeating the evolution till the Captain was satisfied with the distance traveled, the wind came up, or his rowers and winders died of exhaustion!! Glad I was’nt a “tar” back then!!

  5. I was on board during the sea trials of a drilling rig. We had BIG anchors and 3-1/4″ chain. They lost control of the windlass and the chain starts flying out of the chain locker. There was a shear pin on the last link connecting it to the locker. It sheared and everything went into the water. It was an exciting few minutes.

  6. All- Thanks for the comments, and yes, wooden ships and iron men!!! Anchor handling is inherently dangerous…

    Posted from my iPhone.

  7. Would be interesting to see the kind of equipment that hammered out each link. I bet it weighs more than just #50 lbs.
    Kedging and Grounding – it’s believed Drake’s boat was grounded off Bolinas to do work on the hull.