Terminology from the Age of Sail

For a custom word search, make your selections below. For an alphabetical listing select Alphabetical Search. Search is NOT case-sensitive.

1. definition or term - term ONLY i.e. oar will find the definition for oar.
2. any reference to - finds any match i.e. tool will find all shipwright tools.
3. text containing - finds any partial match i.e. oar will ALSO find inboard.

Alphabetical Search | All Entries | Modern Terms
Advanced Keyword Search divider
Search result for definition: capstan
Capstan: A cylindrical barrel used for heavy lifting, also called Capstern. The capstan (sometimes two on larger ships) was located in the centre line of a ship, sometimes through several deck-levels. Wooden rods were inserted into receiving openings in the head of the capstan to rotate the barrel. A dog or pawl ratchet mechanism was located at or below the base to prevent the capstan from slipping back. External link to an excellent working model of a capstan from Texas A&M.

hover over
19th century capstan patent

hover over
18th century capstan on model

– Top –


Concept, content & Design: The Art of Age of Sail