An anchor is an expression that subconsciously evokes a feeling of certainty and security. Why? We don't know. Similarly, it is not known how and who invented the first anchor or rather an anchor stone tied to a leather belt. In any case, the impulse for the anchor was to keep the vessel in required place. And also for parking at the shore, where there was no vegetation to tie the vessel. With the development of shipbuilding and the increase in their weight, there was also a need to have anchors of adequate size and weight.
And a few interesting things.
The Vikings were the first who have anchor rope dowel on their ships.
Initially, one anchor was enough on board. At the time of the overseas discoveries, the ships used to have two anchors and occasionally there was the third backup one. In the 18th century, several Admiralites established rules on the number of anchors on the ship: mostly two main ones, one backup, one auxiliary and still in reserve there were four main and two backup ones. With minor variations this regulation has been adhered to this day.
Description of historical and modern anchors:
1) head; 2) anchor ring or anchor shackle; 3) pin with keep pin; 4) stock (fixed or movable with keep pin); 5) shank; 6) fluke; 7) bill or pea; 8) palm; 9) throat; 10) arm or shoulder (fixed or movable); 11) pull-out, balancing band or auxiliary ring; 12) crown.
This stone with a leather belt from the Middle Stone Age (Mesolithic 8th-5th millennium BC) is considered as one of the first anchors.
This anchor has the stone worked so that the belt or rope does not slip. It is dated back to the Late Stone Age (Neolithic of the 6th-half of the 4th millennium BC).
Precisely made Chinese stone anchor with wooden stock from the 3rd millennium BC. It was found in 1977 during excavations in southern China. Thanks to the stock, it stucked very well in the seabed. This anchor is considered to be the first prototype of the Admiral anchor. This type of anchor was invented in Europe and used by the Greeks, Etruscans and Romans in the 9th-7th centuries BC.
The Egyptian stone anchor from the 3rd millennium BC. It was found near Abu Sulfur. Similarly modified anchor stones were also used by the Mesopotamians, the Sumerians, the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Romans and others.
An anchor basket made of wicker, bast, ropes or a leather bag filled with stones. It was used especially on rivers. The weight of anchor could be changed. The finding comes from the 2nd millennium BC. from Mesopotamia.
This functional anchor from the 2nd millennium BC. was found in the Thames. The same or similar anchors were used by prehistoric hunters throughout northern Europe. Similar one was also found in 1740 in Quebec. This shows the presence of Europeans in America about three thousand years before Leif Eriksson arrived here in 992.
Such functional anchors from the 1st millennium BC. were found by archaeologists in the Baltic Sea.
This functional anchor from the 1st millennium BC. was found in the Arctic Ocean.
With the development of shipping, the ships grew larger and there was a need of larger and heavier anchors. This anchor comes from Egypt from about 700 BC. The anchor was equipped with auxiliary ropes for easier laying and pulling.
Anchor hooks made of hardwood and bronze fittings.
A) A hook from the 2nd millennium BC from the Indian Ocean. B) A Phoenician hook from the 7th century BC, which was found in the eastern part of the Mediterranean, C) An Arabian hook from the 4th century, which was found in the Persian Gulf.
Anchors of hook type were not always stucked in the seabottom. This was solved by a stock placed at the bottom part. Anchor of hard and heavy wood from 9th century BC was found in the Mediterranean Sea near Greece. It was about 80 cm long and 5-10 kg heavy.
Anchor of Japanese sailors from 8th century BC. It was made of hardwood with laterally tied stones. It was about 70-100 cm long and 5-20 kg heavy.
An anchor of Greek and Roman sailors from the 9th-7th century BC. The stock was positioned higher to ensure that it was hacked into the bottom. Similar anchors were found throughout the Mediterranean. It was about 100 cm long and 10-20 kg heavy.
An anchor from 8th and 7th century BC. It was made of hardwood, ironed, and the stock was made from lead. It was used by the Etruscans and later by the Romans. The type is the Admiral anchor, which was invented by the Chinese more than sixteen centuries earlier. This anchor was found in the Lake of Nemija, Italy. It was about 110 cm long and 10-25 kg heavy.
This anchor was made in the 2nd century BC in China during the reign of the First Emperor Qin Shihangxi, Chinese: Qin Shi Huangdhi, 秦始皇帝, (real name Zheng, dy) of the Qin Dynasty. Sea. With minimal changes it is still in use. This anchor was found in the southern part of the Chinese Sea.
The growing power and influence of the Roman Empire was also reflected in the quality and processing of the anchors. An anchor from 1.st. century was cast from bronze, later forged from iron. The lead stock was detachable for better storage on the ship. The second rope was for easier picking up. It was about 110 cm long and 30-100 kg heavy.
Anchor from Indonesia and Oceania has been used since the end of the 1st millennium BC. to this day, when it is extruded by modern metal anchors. The shaft was made of hardwood, with stones and hooks made of hallulas attached to it. All of this was tied with fibers of lianas or coconuts. It was about 50 cm long and 2-5 kg heavy.
An iron anchor of the Vikings from blacksmith masters. It was used for anchoring and hooking of the enemy ship. A four-arms anchor from 4.-12th cent. They were 50-100 cm long and 3-50 kgs heavy. It is still used on smaller tourists boats.
A Viking anchor called grapnel (grapple or cat), with six arms from 10-16th centt. It was also used on the Hansa ships. They were forged 50-150 cm long and 5-100 kg heavy.
This anchor from 1405-1433 is from the Chinese Dragon Fleet of the Admiral Zheng Che (Chinese: Zhèng Hé, 郑和, 鄭和), under the reign of Emperors Jung-le (Chinese: Yˇonglè, 永乐, 永樂) and Suan-te (Chinese: Xuāndé , 宣德, proper name: Zhu Zhanji (Zhū Zhānjī, 朱瞻基), of the Ming Dynasty.
A norman anchor from the 8th-15th century, used by Northern European fleets including the Hansa. It was found near Flensburg, Sweden in 1863. In 1904, other archaeologists found in Tonsberg, Norway, in a crumbling twenty-five-meter drakkar a well-preserved anchor. It was about 80-150 cm long and 20-150 kg heavy.
At the end of the 17th century. an Admiral Anchor appeared. It was used in all European and later also other ships. A shank was as long as the stock and three times longer than one shoulder. The dimensions were 1-2 meters long and 40-300 kg heavy.
During the 18th century there were great changes known as the Industrial Revolution, which culminated at the turn of the 20th century. Cast iron was invented and it was cheaper, more flexible and it replaced forged steel. In 1821, the Hawkins' anchor was made with tilting arms without a stock.
The Rogers' cast anchor with movable stock for better storage from 1830. The anchors were 110-262 cm long and 75-1000 kg heavy, depending on the size and displacement of the ship.
In 1840 W. Parker invented this Admiral anchor. The sliding stock was secured by a split pin before lowering. During storage it was folded along the shank. The anchor length was 110-262 cm and weight 75-1000 kg, depending on the size and displacement of the ship. It is still in use. These eighty kilograms anchors were used by the Czechoslovak Army troops to anchor pontoon bridges of the SMS type until the 1970s.
In 1846 the Trotmann anchor was successfully tested and introduced. It was used until the beginning of the 20th century. The shoulders were roteted on a pin and the stock was movable for better storage. The anchor was 102-378 cm long and 75-3000 kg heavy (actually three tons), depending on the size and displacement of the ship.
In 1875, designer Martin was inspired by the Hawkins anchor of 1821 and he constructed his own anchor. The arms are hinged and flat, the stock is massive. They were used until the end of the World War I, until they were completely replaced by the Hall's anchor. The anchor length was 80-323 cm and weight 75-6000 kg, depending on the size and displacement of the ship.
At the turn of the 20th century, this Marell anchor was designed. The flukes were too large and the anchor cracked.
Admiral of the United Kingdom Sir Edward Augustus Inglefield (* March 27, 1820 - September 4, 1894) designed this Inglefield anchor at the end of the 19th century. Often the incorrect name the Ingelfield is given !! They were used until the end of the World War I, until they were completely replaced by the Hall's anchor. The anchor length was 80-323 cm and weight 75-6000 kg, depending on the size and displacement of the ship.
The Matros' anchor is the most widespread anchor in the Russian Navy. It was designed and used before the World War II and it is still in use. The anchor is 80-430 cm long and 75 kg-20 tons, depending on the size and displacement of the ship.
The Hall´s anchor is a modern and technically most advanced anchor used since the thirties of the 20th century. The anchor is 80-860 cm long and 75 kg-80 tons heavy (that is approximately 75 Skoda Fabia cars), depending on the size and displacement of the ship.
The RMS TITANIC had a 15 tonne anchor with a length of 548 cm.
In 1993, the world's largest transport ship, The HOEI MARU, has these three eighty-ton anchors and propellers of twelve meters in diameter.
The Flipperdelta is currently the most modern anchor. Anchor length is 80-790 cm and weight 75 kg-75 tons, depending on the size and displacement of the ship.
Small and atypical anchors
The plow anchor for smaller holiday sailboats and motor yachts. This is an anchor of hook variant. The anchor length is 30-100 cm and weighs 2-10 kg, depending on the size and displacement of the ship.
A mushroom look like anchor for small holiday sailboats and motor yachts. Anchor diameter is 30-50 cm and weight 5-10 kg, depending on the size and displacement of the ship. The shank can be unscrewed for better storage.
Another mushroom look like anchor variant for small holiday sailboats and motor yachts. Anchor diameter is 30-50 cm and weight 5-10 kg, depending on the size and displacement of the ship.
The Danforth's anchor for small holiday sailboats and motor yachts. It is the most widespread and used anchor not only on ships. This anchor has also been used by the the Czech Army troops since the 1970s on pontoon bridges of the PMS type (an accordion). It can also be found in most amphibious vehicles, such as the GAZ 46. The anchor length is 30-160 cm and weighs 6-50 kg, depending on the size and displacement of the ship.
A version of the Bruce plow anchor for small holiday sailboats and motor yachts. This is an anchor of hook variant. The anchor length is 30-110 cm and weight 6-15 kg, depending on the size and displacement of the ship.
A more modern Viking multi-arm anchor, or grapnel for small holiday sailboats and motor yachts. The anchor length is 30-110 cm and weight 6-15 kg, depending on the size and displacement of the ship. For better storage, the arms can be folded or unscrewed.
A „tie-up“ anchor also a sea anchor, tow anchor etc. It is an invention of Australian sailors and fishermen. It has been and it is mainly used in severe storms. Below there is a description of how it works.
The variant of a „tie-up“ anchor is a shank with boards. The biggest board was always at the end. In an emergency, a parachute, a bag of potatoes, etc. can be used successfully as an anchor.
How a tie-up anchor works (sea anchor):
1) the ship turns safely in a storm after the anchor; 2) wind; 3) towed mooring rope; 4) the buoy keeps the anchor at the required depth; 5) sea current; 6) lock cable; 7) anchor is towed by sea current.
In a storm this anchor slows the speed of the ship driven by the wind. It keeps its bow against the wind and waves. The ships that used this anchor in the storms never sank. It is suitable for ships up to 50 meters.
Texts and pictures: P. Patočka, H. Prien
Translation: S. Harasimová
Graphic design: M. Gorejová
Updated: March 21, 2020
Sources: see ZDROJE