ANCHORING:  A vessel's anchor is widely regarded as the most important piece of safety equipment on board and with good reason.



No other device has the ability to save both vessel and crew more frequently, yet more often than not boat builders fit inadequate anchors.  Like everything else, anchoring technology has moved on considerably over the last twenty years, yet many yachtsmen still rely on dated anchors.  Whilst anchors like the CQR, Danforth and Bruce have certainly played a key role in anchor development, more efficient and versatile anchors are now on the market.  The idea of carrying a variety of anchors for different conditions is becoming less valid.





It is a matter of conjecture as to who first had need of and utilized some ready instrument for mooring his vessel, but much of the early evolution has been traced by learned men through ancient sculpture, coins, paintings, etc.

Earliest records of moorings come from Egyptian tomb furniture 2000 BC where ship models were equipped with conical stakes and papyrus ropes for mooring the vessels to the shore. Later tombs 1600 BC yielded ship models with grooved or perforated anchor stones. When the 1400 BC tomb of King Tout was opened anchor stones shaped in a T were found. Four hundred years later, about 1000 BC, Homeric poems still specify "anchors of stone."

Crooked sticks or wooden frames weighted with stone (Killicks] are known to have been in use in ancient times; and are still used in remote regions. Some of these crude anchors show the equivalent of rudimentary stocks. In 800 BC, two-armed hooks, without stocks, were cast in bronze on the island of Malta. A Sardinian scarab, 650 BC, shows a stockless two-armed anchor, which was probably the first anchor made of iron. Greek writers, 500 BC, mention "stone anchors with iron hooks". Herodotus relates that stone anchors were towed astern to steady ships coming down the Nile. A coin of 400 BC shows a two-armed stocked anchor apparently filled with lead.

Its form begins to approximate the "Admiralty" pattern of recent times. An anchor shown on a Greek coin of about 375 BC, includes the essentials of an Admiralty anchor, except palms. The anchor shown on a Syrian coin of about 312 BC, is even more modern in appearance.

By 300 BC vessels of the Athenian navy were equipped with iron anchors weighing up to 440 pounds.

Greek coins of 280 BC show anchors with rudimentary palms. An English anchor shaped from the fork of a yew-tree is ascribed to 100 BC. A Cyrene iron anchor without palms, and inscribed with the ship's name, is attributed to about 50 BC. Depictions of iron anchors of the time of King Herod, about 35 BC, show curious enlargements on the shanks believed to be carryovers from the times when cylindrical perforated stones were strung on wooden anchor-shanks, and also show palms on the arms. Sculptures on the Arch of Tiberius, about 20 AD, show similar enlargements on the shank, but no palms.

About 40 AD the ship of Emperor Caligua was equipped with a 16 foot iron tipped oaken anchor with a heavy leaden stock. This was discovered intact when Lake Nemi, near Rome was drained in 1929. At the same time there was discovered, after 1800 years submersion, a wood-sheathed iron anchor weighing about 1000 pounds. Distinguished by the fact that it had a portable stock, which was an invaluable convenience lost to the world until "invented" again some 1700 years later and finally adopted by the Admiralty in 1854. In 88-97 AD St. Clement the fourth Pope, is said to have been thrown into the sea, tied to an anchor a method of execution not uncommon in those days. From ancient times St. Clement has been the Patron Saint of Anchorsmiths, who formerly observed his Feast Day on the 23rd of November.

Iron anchors are said to have been first forged in England (East Anglia] in 573 AD The Danish "Oseburg Anchor," about 800 A.D., had very small palms, and was constructed for use with a wooden stock.
The medieval anchor of 1066 AD as depicted in a Bayeau tapestry looks almost modern.

The Statutes of Genoa of 1441 AD required a 1500-ton ship to carry 12 iron anchors of from 1600 to 1800 pounds each. A Florentine engraving of 1450 AD shows a two-piece wooden stock of the style popular for the following 400 years.

The "Sovereign of the Seas," 1600 tons, in 1637 carried 12 anchors of 4000 pounds each. In 1690 Sir Wm. Phipps in his attack on Quebec lost a thirteen-foot anchor, (recovered in modern times]. Anchors of about 1700 had long shanks, straight arms at 50 degrees, sharp points at the crown, large diameter rings, and wooden stocks the length of the shank or longer. An anchor of this style marked "1703" was reclaimed from the wreck of a 100gun ship sunk at Sheerness, England.

In 1723 Reaumur issued in France the first public exposition of the science and art of anchor construction. In 1780 iron stocks began to emerge from the experimental stage, but the popular anchors of the period still had wooden stocks and relatively long shanks and straight arms. In 1801 and succeeding years Richard Pering of England greatly improved the quality of welds in anchors, shortened the shanks and put more curvature into the arms.

In 1804 Captain Hawke of the Royal Navy applied for an iron stocked anchor for his ship and was derided, but 1807 permitted the use of iron stocks in anchors of not over 1500 pounds. In 1818 Lieutenant Belcher of the Royal Navy introduced the tumbling fluke, later improved by Honibal and Porter. With cantpalms added by Trotman, the anchor became quite popular. From 1820 onward some hundred different types of "improved" anchors were patented in rapid succession practically all regarded today as "freaks."

In 1822 and 1823 Lowen and Lawkins experimented with tripping anchor-palms and stockless shanks, some 40 years before these features won general acceptance. In 1830 Pering adapted steam power to the operation of the heavy falling weights used in the welding of anchors. Rodgers introduced his "Patent Small-Palm Anchor and won considerable public favor. The Royal Navy now began to concede the superiority of iron stocks. By 1840 the Hawkins patent tumbling fluke stockless anchor and developed to a form approximating that of most stockless anchors of today.

By 1846 the Royal Navy completely surrendered to the iron stock and gave full sanction to the type of anchors now known as the "Admiralty" anchor. This type of anchor, also known as "Old Style" or "Kedge" is no longer used for large ships but continues in use for small boats and for moorings. Although it has great holding power in a penetrable bottom it is extremely awkward and the long stock is vulnerable to mechanical damage. When in position the upstanding arm may foul a chain or pierce the hull of a vessel. The "one" arm version is popular for moorings and is equipped with a second shackle for easier placement.

In 1852 a British Commission declared the Trotman anchor "Best". By 1859 the Mushroom type of anchor appeared as an instrument especially suited for permanent moorings. With the removal of the stock, from Mertom's anchor of 1861 and the advent of Lathem's anchor 1886 the use of stockless tumbling-fluke anchors increased rapidly. In 1866 the ball-and-socket type of stockless anchor first appeared in England.

In 1870 A. F. White stowed the stocks of "old style" anchors by sliding them down a shank designed with a quarter-twist. In 1873 C. F. Herreshoff constructed a four-piece de mountable old-style anchor for a time widely acclaimed by yachtsmen. "Freak" anchors continuously appeared; for example the Tyzack singlefluke anchor of 1877.

By 1885 Baxter was stowing his Stockless Anchors in a hawse pipe. This innovation proved of utmost importance, for from that day forward, the Stockless Anchor increased in popularity until today it is practically the only type of anchor used on ships of real size.

American styles incline to be chunky, with comparatively broad and blunt flukes. The U.S. Navy's version has flukes somewhat longer and of greater area. European anchors, in general, tend to more curvature and to smaller and sharper flukes. The stockless anchor used today, on ships of size that are likely to encounter any and all types of sea bottom, reflect the experience of mariners for the past twenty five hundred years in compromising between pure dead weight for very hard bottoms and on the other hand ability to bite and to hold well in soft bottoms. The stockless anchor is ruggedly built, will handle and stow easily and readily disengage from sea-bottoms and submerged wreckage.



Modern Ocean Anchor



With its concave wedge shape and single penetrating tip, the Spade anchor is simplicity itself, yet its proven effectiveness is far from coincidence...  ...The angle of attack has been carefully calculated for the optimum penetration, the high visibility concave blade has been shaped for maximum holding power and the anchor has been designed so that 50% of its total weight is positioned directly over the chisel-like tip to maximized the penetrating force.  It is available in galvanized steel, marine grade aluminium or stainless steel and by simply removing one non-load bearing bolt the shaft removes for easy stowage.


In the attempt to successfully stow stocked anchors in hawsepipe, in 1885 Tyzack revived and ancient practice of placing a stock through or near the head of the anchor, instead of at the shackle end, as in Western custom. Examples of this type are the Tyzack anchor, the Hartness anchor 1886, the Brown anchor 1894, the Hein anchor 1916, the Croseck anchor 1935 and the Danforth anchor 1943. This particular type of anchor is somewhat modified by Mr. H. P. Shipley of the U.S. Navy.

These "head stocked" anchors have the advantage of high holding power, in proportion to weight, in soft bottoms of suitable penetrability; but are difficult to "break out" if fouled in rocks or wreckage. Like the "old style" anchor, the protruding stocks are exceedingly vulnerable. About the time of the first World War, the Eels Stockless Anchor was developed and has been used extensively for salvage and mooring purposes.

Recognizing the fundamental superiority of the stockless tumbling fluke anchor, that first appeared in England in 1866, Frederick Baldt developed and improved it in 1897. This wrought iron anchor had the head and shank connected with a ball and socket joint, the shank being round and resolvable to act as a built-in swivel. Baldt strengthened the shank by making it rectangular in lieu of round and produced it in cast steel. He took out patents for further modifications and his patent of 1901 was of such superior design and quality that the words "Baldt" and "Stockless Anchor" have become practically synonymous.

In 1949 Baldt Anchor, Chain & Forge announced the development of the "Baldt Lightweight Stockless Anchor" A modification of the stockless principle. This anchor develops the greatest holding power known today and is the choice of experienced offshore drilling companies to moor oil drilling rigs in oceans throughout the world.

The "Snug Stowing Stockless Anchor" was patented August 24, 1954 by Messrs. Linnenbank, Money, and Noel. This anchor was developed to house freely on shipboard with minimum protrusion and maximum bearing on shell of ship. It facilitates fabrication of simplified hawse pipes and its design helps prevent the rush of water inboard through the hawse pipe during high seas.

Persons interested in Maritime History will find one of the most extensive collections of maritime artifacts in the world at the Mariners Museum in Newport News, Virginia. Baldt has donated many exhibits. Also, The Navy Museum, located at the Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. has many fine exhibits.




1831-1860: Chain Cables & The Admirality Anchor


In the year 1831 chain cable began to supersede the hempen ones, with the result that the long-shanked anchors hitherto in vogue were no longer necessary, and anchor with shorter shanks and with heavier and stronger crowns gradually came into use. In consequence of these changes, a commission was appointed in the year 1838 to inquire into the holding power of anchors, and a principal result of their labors was the adoption of the so-called admiralty pattern anchor, which continued to be used in the navy up to 1860. The invention of the steam hammer in 1842 made the welding of heavy masses of iron a comparatively easy and reliable process, so that from this time onward the strength of anchors fully kept pace with that of the chain cables which had come into general use.


Baldt Stockless Anchor

The Baldt Stockless Anchor was patented by Frederick Baldt in 1896...

BALDT, Inc.  
tel: 610.447.5200   
fax: 610.874.8599  
801 W. 6th Street   
Chester, PA 19013  



CQR ANCHOR is the original, genuine drop-forged high tensile patented anchor. Made in Scotland. Has immense holding power in sand, pebble, rock, grass, kelp and coral. Proven hinged action design means no break out or fouling with wind shifts. Hot drop forged high tensile steel gives it superior strength. Approved by Lloyds Register of Shipping (London). Weight: 45 lbs. Holding power 4000 lbs.  






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History And Development Of The Marine Anchor

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1902 Scientific American Article

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