Does anyone know what this is?

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Forum topic by Gibernak posted 407 days ago 1999 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Gibernak's profile


120 posts in 442 days

407 days ago

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


8476 posts in 2244 days

#1 posted 407 days ago

a pully

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

View MrFid's profile


506 posts in 500 days

#2 posted 407 days ago

Concur with Purplev

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1093 posts in 565 days

#3 posted 407 days ago

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


120 posts in 442 days

#4 posted 407 days ago

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

View redSLED's profile


687 posts in 488 days

#5 posted 407 days ago

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

49 posts in 954 days

#6 posted 406 days ago

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/18th Century Handrail

View BigYin's profile


228 posts in 1011 days

#7 posted 406 days ago

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

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

View rustythebailiff's profile


88 posts in 537 days

#8 posted 406 days ago

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


1001 posts in 881 days

#9 posted 406 days ago

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


120 posts in 442 days

#10 posted 406 days ago

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 458 days

#11 posted 406 days ago

Yours looks like bronze as well.

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

View Jim Baldwin's profile

Jim Baldwin

49 posts in 954 days

#12 posted 405 days ago

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/18th Century Handrail

View Jim Baldwin's profile

Jim Baldwin

49 posts in 954 days

#13 posted 405 days ago

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/18th Century Handrail

View Matt Rogers's profile

Matt Rogers

44 posts in 565 days

#14 posted 405 days ago

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,

View Jim Baldwin's profile

Jim Baldwin

49 posts in 954 days

#15 posted 373 days ago

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/18th Century Handrail

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