Revolutionary War Sheave Block

Conservators at the MAC Lab are currently treating a wooden sheave block from an underwater excavation in the State of Maine. A sheave block is a pulley consisting of an outside shell (block) containing a grooved wheel (sheave) over which rope or rigging runs. In this case, both the sheave and the block are made of wood. This particular sheave block is from the Penobscot Expedition, an excursion generally regarded as the worst American Naval disaster ever, with the exception of Pearl Harbor. During the Revolutionary War, an armada was sent from Boston to stop the British from building a fort at the mouth of the Penobscot River. A combination of inexperienced troops, defective weapons, and faulty intelligence resulted in heavy American casualties and the loss of 35 of their ships. If sheave blocks could talk…

Wooden sheave block


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