The use of screw shackles in the rigging of ships.

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  • #21400
    Tom C
    Participant

    Dear all, I am trying to track down the approximate time that screw shackles begin to be used in the rigging of ships. I see no reference in any of my rigging manuals pre 1890s. Could anyone shed some light on the subject please?

    #21403
    Frank Scott
    Participant

    The Turnbuckle/ Bottle-screw/ Rigging screw was developed in line with the introduction of steel wire rope for standing rigging. In the UK the first patents for both come from the mid 1830s, and it is likely that other maritime nations had their equivalents. However, the deadeye & lanyard system clung on with conservatives well into the 1880s.
    As an aside, there is a well-known myth that in the event of needing to cut away masts in the event of a knockdown the swiftest way to do it was to shatter the bottle screws by hitting the β€˜bottle’ with a sledgehammer. Suffice it to say that it does not work!
    Frank

    #21461
    Tom C
    Participant

    Thank you for that mr Scott, fascinating. Bottle screws were to be my next enquiry. As I believe you have stated previously, There is reference to forelock and lugless shackles in the ‘high Victorian’ seamanship manuals; Nares, Burney, Alston’s etc. But I have found no reference to the common modern screw shackle in any of my books up until the 1937 admiralty manual of seamanship vol1 which mentions a type of screw shackle, but doesn’t mention the common screw shackle.The first reference I have found in my books is the 1943 seaman’s pocket-book BR 827. No mention that I could find in the 1901 manual of seamanship either, which leads me to guess at around the second world war or after. My personal Library is by no means exhaustive, I hope some of the forum’s members can see how early a reference to screw type shackles in rigging (not anchoring) they can find in their collections.

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