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Geared capstan, c 1820.

Geared capstan, c 1820.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 29cm x 32cm


Model. Capstans were used for centuries to draw up ships' anchors. Turned by sailors pushing on the arms, a capstan acts as a wheel and axle, magnifying the turning force. The anchor is lifted by a rope or chain winding around the central axle. The arms on this example can be removed so that it takes up les room on deck when not in use. A ratchet in the base prevents it from turning back and allowing the anchor to fall.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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