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Updated: Nov. 24th, 2010

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Copyright  2007, Titanic The Ship Magnificent.

Olympic’s center anchor on display in 1910 at the Engineering and Machinery Exhibition at Olympia, London. This anchor was the largest in the world at the time, and Hingley, the manufacturer, was quite proud of it. R. Terrell Wright collection

Three links intended for the bower anchors of either Olympic or Titanic. Ray Lepien collection.

Three links intended for the bower anchors of either Olympic or Titanic, photographed at Noah Hingley & Sons along with some of the men who made them. Ray Lepien collection

Napier Windlass Equipment on Oceanic. Engineering / Author’s collection.

   Center anchor - The center anchors were the largest in the world at the time, and Olympic’s was put on display at the Engineering and Machinery Exhibition at Olympia, London before being delivered to Harland & Wolff. Recently, a rare interview with one of the men who helped create the mammoth anchors for Olympic and Titanic was uncovered in the archives of the Black Country Bugle. The interview, conducted in 1976, was the personal account of Mr. W. G. Edwards, a former Hingley’s worker, and in this interview he described the process of testing and shipping Olympic’s center anchor:

“The parts were then transported to ‘Lloyds Proving House’ to be assembled under the supervision of Mr. Norman (the head fitter). I (the writer) took part in this operation. The anchor now had to be lifted onto the Test Bed and a stronger chain had to be fitted to the crane which had to be ballasted with pig iron to counterbalance the weight of the anchor. Steam was raised to a critical point for the operation
. . . (continued)


Image above, Napier Windlass Equipment on Oceanic - Details of Oceanic’s windlass equipment. A view of the brake mechanism complete with control wheel can be seen in the center of this illustration. Titanic’s control wheels were of the same design, but were located further aft so the crewmen releasing the windlass brakes would be well clear of the cable wheels when the anchors were let go.
Engineering / Author’s collection


   Windlasses - There is frequently confusion between the terms “windlass” and “capstan.” A windlass is a device powered and designed to handle a chain cable, but was generally mounted horizontally on iron and steel ships. A capstan, which is generally mounted vertically, is an appliance which winds a rope around a barrel. With this said, Titanic's windlasses were more properly termed “cable capstans,” although “windlass” is used here in deference to the original Harland & Wolff terminology. The windlasses were steam-driven, each powered by its own engine located on the Shelter Deck (C) below.

   The windlass equipment on Titanic was manufactured by Napier Brothers, Ltd., of Glasgow. The windlasses consisted of two cast-steel drums called “cable wheels” around which the cables passed; each cable wheel had a deep groove in which projecting “whelps” engaged with the links of the cable. The use of stud-link chain ensured that the cable would properly feed around the cable wheel and ensured that each whelp would properly engage its corresponding link
. . . (continued)


   Mooring bitts - A large number of mooring bits were provided on the ship for securing hawsers and warps. These were made of heavy cast steel and, in some cases, were designed to use their internal shafts for ventilation purposes to the deck space below. All bitts, whether or not they functioned as ventilating bitts, were hollow internally and molded on a rectangular base in order to raise the bitt castings above the level of the wood decking. This footing rested directly on the steel deck plates and was bolted rather then riveted in place. (The same type of footing was used for the capstan drums.) The diameters of the bitts were generally 18 or 21 inches at the tops of the posts below the stop cap. Two 21-inch bitts were placed between the capstans on the Forecastle Deck and were specifically intended for towing . . . (continued)


Other topics in this chapter:
Stockless anchors - Anchor cables - Anchor hawse pipes - deployment equipment - Capstans - Fairlead rollers - Warps and hawsers -Berthing - Mooring pipes - Mooring cleats

Copyright 2007 Beveridge, Hall, Andrews, Klistorner and Braunschweiger.

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