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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
San Francisco in San Francisco City and County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

The Cathead...

 
 
The Cathead... Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 4, 2017
1. The Cathead... Marker
Inscription. This timber to support the anchor ready for "letting go" has been a fixture on shipboard for hundreds of years. As the ship approached port, the anchor was hung from the cathead by a chain called a ring stopper. One end of this chain (distinct from the main cable chain which was also attached to the anchor) was held by the iron trip on the top of the cathead, At the command "Let go!" a smart blow with a heavy hammer released the chain from this trip and the anchor went plunging to the bottom.

The hammer for this purpose was known on shipboard as a top maul. In 1907 the Ardencraig, a ship similar to the Balclutha, when coming to anchor at Adelaide collided with and sank the four-masted bark Norma because at the critical moment the top maul could not be found. The wind had died and there was nothing except dropping the anchor to stop the moving ship. A frantic search failed to turn up the missing top maul, and although the mate kicked the heel of his boot trying to release the trip the collision by then was inevitable. The Ardencraig's bow cut deeply into the anchored Norma, and the four-masted bark sank in a matter of minutes.

A cardinal rule of the sea, often found carved or painted on the boatskids or elsewhere around the sailing ship's deck was "A Place for Everything and Everything
The Cathead and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 4, 2017
2. The Cathead and Marker
in its Place." The misplaced maul on the Ardencraig explains why.
 
Location. 37° 48.577′ N, 122° 25.336′ W. Marker is in San Francisco, California, in San Francisco City and County. Marker is on Hyde Street near Jefferson Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2950 Hyde Street, San Francisco CA 94109, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Forecastle... (here, next to this marker); The Half-Deck (a few steps from this marker); Steam Tug Hercules (a few steps from this marker); Ship Balclutha (a few steps from this marker); The Deckhouse (a few steps from this marker); Towing in the Open Ocean (a few steps from this marker); Workin' on the Railroad (a few steps from this marker); Balclutha (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Francisco.
 
More about this marker. The Cathead marker is located on the foredeck of the Balclutha.
 
Categories. Waterways & Vessels
 
The Foredeck image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 4, 2017
3. The Foredeck
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 12, 2017. This page originally submitted on March 11, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 156 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on March 11, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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