Does anyone know what this is?

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Forum topic by Gibernak posted 06-10-2013 01:51 PM 3279 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Gibernak's profile


124 posts in 3177 days

06-10-2013 01:51 PM

I hope some of u know old tools, cause im wondering if you know what this is. I picked it up north of Copenhagen, while bying some old chisels.

Its a slap of very old wood and hard like stone with a cobber insert like it was ment for spinning.
and it has markings

24 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8653 posts in 4979 days

#1 posted 06-10-2013 01:59 PM

a pully

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View MrFid's profile


910 posts in 3235 days

#2 posted 06-10-2013 02:05 PM

Concur with Purplev

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1987 posts in 3300 days

#3 posted 06-10-2013 02:31 PM

My family are commercial fisherman and my grandfather has an old one that looks similar. It is the inside wheel to the block (pulley to the land person).

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View Gibernak's profile


124 posts in 3177 days

#4 posted 06-10-2013 03:39 PM

Ofc, that makes sens, (So it not an ancient yoyo :) as it initially thought) Thank you for the respons

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 3223 days

#5 posted 06-10-2013 04:44 PM

I’m calling BS on the pulley. That is indeed a Viking children’s yoyo.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View Jim Baldwin's profile

Jim Baldwin

56 posts in 3689 days

#6 posted 06-11-2013 06:35 AM

I believe Swede is right on. This appears to be an antique nautical sheave (pulley wheel) made from Lignum Vita that would have run inside a block. The bronze bushing was known as a “coak” (as in a “coak’d sheave”) and was clinched in place by rivets. A coak’d sheave (required by Naval specifications) was far superior to plain sheaves which rotated directly on the pin.

The thickness and diameter of this sheave indicates the size of line it was designed for. This could probably identify it’s probable locations aboard an 18th century sailing vessel. The sheave appears worn-out and the block I’m sure is long gone? The markings are a mystery but probably easily explained by any nautical historian .

Lines or sheets are”reeved” through the block and around the “sheaves” (Old English nautical terms borrowed from Vikings no doubt (as in stearboard/starboard etc)

-- Jim Baldwin/[email protected]

View BigYin's profile


421 posts in 3747 days

#7 posted 06-11-2013 07:46 AM

Markings – Britlish military broadhead ? So might be British Naval ?

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

View rustythebailiff's profile


100 posts in 3272 days

#8 posted 06-11-2013 10:57 AM

BigYin, I thought that too at first. But, usually they only bothered to mark it once, and there are three on this example. Plus, I noticed that they all seem to be pointing to something, two to holes and one to a depression. I am wondering if they were more for marking which mounting holes went where, a primitive “Insert slot A into Hole B”

-- "Necessity is the mother of invention"

View Charlie's profile


1101 posts in 3617 days

#9 posted 06-11-2013 02:22 PM

I’ve seen old bolts that were stamped on both the shaft and the head with the broad arrow. I agree that it’s usually only seen once, but it does happen occasionally that it appears more than once on a single item. In this case the coak and sheave are 2 pieces that may have been marked separately before being assembled, but 2 marks on the coak itself is a bit of a head scratcher. I wouldn’t discard the idea of the marks being a broad arrow just because they appear more than once. It’s not real common maybe, but also not unheard of.

Also… the 4-lobe coak is not usually for rigging. Those were mainly 2 or 3 lobe. The 4 lobe was more likely found in something seeing heavier duty like a block for loading/unloading or even used on heavy cannon.

Regardless, it’s a very interesting piece and even just speculating on what it MIGHT have been used for is fun. Definitely a coak’d sheave though and in relatively nice condition. I’ve seen some come up from wrecks that were nearly unrecognizable.

View Gibernak's profile


124 posts in 3177 days

#10 posted 06-11-2013 03:58 PM

I found this on the internet, its the inside wheel of a sheave and its been in water for a long time, but it looks similar with the markings and all and its bronze. (mine could be bronze to) So u guys are right on. the markings must in some help assembling the sheave?

View LokisTyro's profile


46 posts in 3193 days

#11 posted 06-11-2013 06:52 PM

Yours looks like bronze as well.

-- -Andy ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

View Jim Baldwin's profile

Jim Baldwin

56 posts in 3689 days

#12 posted 06-12-2013 02:33 PM

This is getting very interesting…

OK I’ve found the exact coak castings on sheaves from HMS Victory (1765, refit 1809) “” This would indicate that your sheave was probably made in the same factory or foundry in England.

The markings are still a mystery but perhaps not…A good guess would be the Bilbies foundry of Collumpton Co., Devon. The company maintained two factories from 1698 t0 1813. The “D” incised in the wood identifys it from the Devon foundry. The arrows are most likely the company stamp/logo or marks indicating it’s assignment to government /royal consignment. It is known as “The Broad Arrow” and is seen on cannon, bells and a lot of foundry items

A call to A. Dauphinee & Sons Ltd. Nova Scotia (re-manufacturers of historic blocks and hardware) suggests the marks are Royal Navy.

This is a very old relic, do not use as door stop!

-- Jim Baldwin/[email protected]

View Jim Baldwin's profile

Jim Baldwin

56 posts in 3689 days

#13 posted 06-12-2013 04:47 PM

Well the “broad arrow” or “crows feet” are definitely “Crown Government Property”. It’s found on everything from bolts and screws to colonial timber in American designated for Royal Navy use. Unauthorized possession of crown property on the high seas was grounds for confiscation of any or all personal property including the vessel. The culprits could be pressed into service on the spot. Hence everything was branded (and redundantly so)

-- Jim Baldwin/[email protected]

View Matt Rogers's profile

Matt Rogers

113 posts in 3300 days

#14 posted 06-12-2013 09:05 PM

You also probably have a piece of Lignum Vitae wood there as it was the most common and best wood to use for sheaves and blocks at that time. You mentioned that it was very hard and very heavy, plus the color fits. Very rare wood these days and expensive to get a hold of. It is sold by the pound, not even by the board foot and I think that it is the second heaviest wood out there.

-- Matt Rogers, and

View Jim Baldwin's profile

Jim Baldwin

56 posts in 3689 days

#15 posted 07-14-2013 01:16 AM

Another guess on the “D” marking may associate this particular sheave to the HMS Defiance which was shot to pieces and grounded during the Battle of Copenhagen 1801. The Defiance was a 74 gun, ship-of-the-line and “flagship of Rear Admiral Thomas Graves, with Captain Retallick commanding”. She utilized nearly 1000 blocks in her running rigging and gunnery.

Her assigned station during the action on April 2nd, placed her directly abreast of the Copenhagen shore battery and continuous cross-fire. After Defiance was knocked out-of-action, Vice-admiral Horatio Nelson continued the fight against orders and the battle was won. Nelson reportedly held the telescope up to his blind eye and never saw the flag, signaling him to withdraw. Perhaps this was a war souvenir pulled from the harbor or beach?

This sheave and thousands like it. were manufactured in the Portsmouth Naval yard and block mill. After 1805 custom steam-driven iron machinery turned out 130,000 per year in production-line fashion. This is an example of perhaps the first modern machine processes at the very dawn of the industrial revolution.

-- Jim Baldwin/[email protected]

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