ITEM # GM-1
"GREAT SOUTH BAY'S COMPANY ICON"
A CAST IRON CAPSTAN
"THE AMERICAN SHIP WINDLASS COMPANY"
A capstan is a revolving wooden or steel
mounted on a drum that is rotated manually, or driven by steam or electric power.
Sailor's used capstans as pulleys to move very heavy equipment
on or about their vessels, with rope , chain, or cable.
Sailors would place long wood or steel poles in the top holes and
walk clock or counter clockwise, as rope , chain or cable coiled
around the center of the unit creating great leverage, for pulling or lifting.
The one shown above is a genuine
"MANUAL OR CRANK CAPSTAN"
Made by the famous
"AMERICAN SHIP WNDLASS COMPANY"
COL. JOE MANTON
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, U.S.A.
The cap of the capstan is made of cast iron and is very
detailed, depicting an anchor at the center, with a floral
design around it, with the word
Patented November 12th 1889
The base is marked:
THE MARINE CAPSTAN #B
which relates to the model as follows:
Barrel Diameter, 8 1/2" , Base Diameter 24 1/2", Height 31"
Weight 600 Pounds
A WELCOME PART OF THE GREAT SOUTH BAY COLLECTION!!!
"AMERICAN SHIP WINDLASS COMPANY"
was not a ship line, but a designer, and manufacturer, of
Capstans, Windlasses, and other heavy ship rigging equipment.
Established in 1857, in Providence, Rhode Island, the company became
very famous for their extremely well designed, and crafted,
Capstans & Windlasses.
They won many trade awards for there craft, some of which came from the following:
The Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association
in 1856 then again in 1878.
The Industrial & Cotton Centennial Exposition, in
New Orleans, LA in 1884-85.
The North, Central, and South American Exposition, 1885-86.
In addition to making an excellent product,
they detailed the caps of
their equipment with their company name, and patent dates, as well as other
ship markings as per the request of the ship owners.
One of the most famous ships they created a
special windlass for
was the yacht "METEOR" for the Emperor of Germany.
Great care was taken to create the unit, as well as adding a highly
polished finish to the unit with the markings:
"Built by Townsend & Downey Shipbuilding and Repair"
"Shooters Island, N.Y., U.S.A."
"American Ship Windlass Company, Makers
Providence , Rhode Island, U.S.A.
Patented October 31st, 1893, and February 25th, 1889.
There were many other famous ships on there
customer list, including
a special built capstan/windlass system for
"THE UNITED STATES NAVY"
during and after the Civil War.
In 1910 they moved to Philadelphia, PA to continue
their capstan and
In 1911 the company changed their name to
AMERICAN ENGINEERING CO.
The company supplied steering gears, windlasses, and many other marine products
until it was purchased and merged around 1959/60 into the marine division of C H WHEELER CO., who
was also based in Philadelphia. Eventually C H Wheeler was broken up and sold to various companies.
The marine group was purchased by BALDWIN-LIMA-HAMILTON around 1963 and was moved to their
plant at Eddystone, Pa.
Both the American Engineering, and C H Wheeler names were retained.
In 1964 the marine products of Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton were purchased by JERED INDUSTRIES,
and moved to Birmingham, MI, the names were retained and added to the Jered nameplate.
In 1980 Jered Industries was bought by VICKERS, LTD of the United Kingdom and was folded
into their marine division and renamed JERED BROWN BROS.
In 1992 the plant in Michigan became landlocked with the urban growth surrounding it.
Restrictions to the size of the equipment that could be shipped from the plant limited
its growth and the plant was shut down and moved to Brunswick, GA which afforded
barge, rail , and highway access.
In 1996 Jered Brown Bros was sold to a private venture capitalist and its name was returned
to the original Jered Industries.
They are still located in Brunswick, Ga, and still supply quality marine equipment which
they manufacture on site.
All through these years the intellectual rights and drawings of American Engineering
were used to supply repair parts to both commercial ships and the U.S. Navy.
Age has finally claimed the ships that had the original American Engineering Equipment, and it is
doubtful if there are many calls for their parts anymore.
Many thanks to the
Providence Public Library, Providence, R.I. for assisting us
with the historic information on this company.
The information was found in the following publications:
The Providence Board of Trade Journal, 1902 & 1910, and
The Illustrated Catalogue of The American Ship Windlass Co,
published October 15th, 1890
ALSO I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE FOLLOWING
FOR THEIR HISTORICAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO OUR SITE
MARK H. PEASE , NEWBURGH, IN
for the historic information of the companies after
their move to Philadelphia.
who advised us of the founders name, Mr Mitchell is
the great, great, grandson of Col Joe Manton.
The Great South Bay Collection TM
"THE WIRELESS STATION"