Deadeye


Object Detail

About This Object
A 9 inch deadeye, mid-brown and circular. Large object with three holes through the centre and a ridge running around the edge. There is an engraved number 9 in the centre (9-inch deadeye). On the opposite side there are two broad arrows engraved.

Deadeyes are flat sided wooden blocks with three or four holes cut right through them and a recess or groove cut around their circumference. Made from either elm or lignum vitae, deadeyes are fitted in pairs and joined together by a rope lanyard. Deadeyes were used as part of the ship’s standing rigging, most commonly in the shrouds and stays, where they were permanently tensioned to support the masts as they tried to flex and move with the pressure put on them by the wind filling the sails and the movements of the vessel. They were used for this purpose as they are much stronger than blocks with sheaves, as the strain in not lying on a single pin. The term ‘dead’ was used because they had no revolving sheaves. No doubt the original name of dead-man’s-eye arose from the remarkable resemblance of these blocks with their three holes to a human skull. This deadeye could have been used on, or be a spare for, one of the following. The fore-topmast or main-topmast shrouds, or the fore-topmast or main-topmast backstays.
Catalogue Number
INV.141
Collection
Invincible
Measurements
Diameter: 228mm (9")
Depth: 128mm (5 1/16")
Production Date
Pre 1758
Production Period
Eighteenth Century

Classification

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