beautiful old rigging equipment and more…

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2014/07/27

J. Cowhey & Sons hardware was a chandlery in Red Hook. Three containers of their old marine and rigging equipment will be on sale today, Sunday, at Atlantic Basin in Red Hook, Brooklyn.


The metal tools and equipment were in time capsules freshly opened. Foundries from towns I have never heard of made beautiful pieces. Some of the factories are gone, and some of the jobs these tools were used for are no more.

Steel Products Corporation, South Windham, ME:


The Caldwell Company, Rockford, IL: the Adjust-A-Leg Equalizing Sling


Boston & Lockport Block Company, Boston, NY  (I didn’t know there was a Boston, NY; did you?)



New England Butt Company, Providence, RI: a line counter that still works, clicking away as it measured 50 feet of beautiful old manila rope that a shopper, Ben P and I fed through it.


“What’s that called?”

“A Headache Ball.” ouch.  It reads: “Swiveler, SWL 3 TONS, WGT 35 LBS, Model SAS5”


Huge shackle, anyone?


130 ton–it can hold, or it weighs?


Huge oar not included:


A Skookum block:


I liked these: female and male container lifting gear lying over each other on a pallet.



These are made in Japan. From Marc: “Twist locks, used to stack and lock marine containers on top of one another.”


Rope through every link of a chain? “Elevator chain. Keeps the chain well-oiled,” said another shopper, Steve R, peering into the three barrels of the stuff.
Girlfriend With the Tanker says “The rope keeps it quiet! So it doesn’t klank as the elevator and chain go up and down.”


Voluptuous hooks, like Henry Moore sculptures, but sexier.






Beautiful, wonderful things. A gun rack from around the 1920’s. A perfect cast iron stove from Florim Foundry, Florim, PA. A Jacob’s Ladder. Hooks galore. Old wooden blocks. Go, admire, puzzle, wonder.
More information here.

PortSide NewYork Heavy Metal Sale:

Sun 7/27, 11am – 4pm
Atlantic Basin, Red Hook
Pier 11 loading dock, south end
Brooklyn, NY 11231 



8 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. tugster said, on 2014/07/27 at 16:36

    Reblogged this on tugster: a waterblog and commented:
    I’ve never reblogged, but this seems like a precedent breaker. Wish I could have been there.

  2. Reid Sprague said, on 2014/07/27 at 16:49

    Wish I could have been there. You’re right about the big shackle, 130T SWL – though it might feel that heavy to lift, too! I’ve dealt with 80T shackles, and they’re bad enough.

    I like the way you describe the hooks – the shapes, dictated by the mathematics of load-bearing, make them almost un-bearably lovely. But what the heck was the final item – an ironmonger’s Christmas tree?

    So, what romantic old iron memory did you buy?

  3. Fennarama (@fennarama) said, on 2014/07/27 at 22:03

    Oh, I want it all! How heavy it must be!

  4. David Hindin said, on 2014/07/28 at 02:30

    Thanks for Tugster for the link to you.


    The proper making of tackle-blocks, so that they shall be strong, durable, and adapted to their uses, is a department of work in which skilful Bay-State workmen have achieved unusual success. The chief establishment in this line in America is the Boston and Lockport Block Company, whose factories are at East Boston (Mass.) and Lockport (N. Y.). Here is made the vast majority of all the tackle-blocks used in this country

    “King’s Handbook of the United States”

    The Moses King Corporation was a publishing company that created a comprehensive series of books in the late 1800s. In addition to this hefty reference work, it made guide books for most of the major cities of the United States (for example, “King’s Handbook of Boston Harbor”). These books were published from 1890 to 1900, but few exist after that date. This section describes some of the major industries of Massachusetts. It is arranged by industry, rather than town and the industries chosen appear to have been the largest in the town. The guide provides an overview of the most prominent industries in Massachusetts in 1891.

  5. Michael said, on 2014/07/28 at 05:37

    Beautiful. I think of the stories the old gear can tell, what it’s seen, what it’s been through. And the people who made them of course, proudly going to work in their factories, turning out steel things that go to sea. Thanks!

  6. mageb said, on 2014/07/28 at 11:08

    These are wonderful works of art. Please post this on Facebook too. I know some ironworkers who would like to see these.

  7. Rembert said, on 2014/07/30 at 15:44

    Oh, too late! The iron treasure being offered to everyone and I missed the opportunity, to carry home the hybrid of Henry Moore and a surrealistic nightmare. Alas, there will be more space for a less threatening oil-pump.
    And how wonderful to know, that carefully hidden parallel-spheres can´t be found only in the safes of Switzerland.

  8. mageb said, on 2014/08/27 at 21:37

    Beautiful and marvelous. Still, I miss you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: