Jan 03-13

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2013: January: Jan 03-13
Mystery object    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Emma Stout
Another angle    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Emma Stout
On the tip    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Emma Stout
Wording on the impeller    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Emma Stout

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 07:52 am:

My curiosity sure was piqued when Emma Stout sent today's photos to me. Her accompanying note said that she had taken them in the woods near Betsy, while there with her Dad and brother. She wondered if any of our Pasty Cam visitors might know what it is, since they had no idea.

I did a search on the Internet, typing in the markings found in the bottom photo and came up with an answer, which is pretty interesting. It is a Maritime piece called a Boat Log, which was used to determine the speed traveled in knots for a ship, by dragging it along while underway. I wasn't able to find anything about when these were used, so I don't have a clue to how old it is, but what a neat find in the Keweenaw woods. It would be interesting to know if it had washed ashore from Lake Superior and then how it ended up in the woods where Emma and her family found it.

Please feel free to add anything you might know about this interesting piece.
You just never know what you'll find when you're out exploring in the Keweenaw.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 07:55 am:

What an interesting story. And how fun would it have been to find that while just wandering around like that.

Thanks for sharing and thanks for digging!

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 08:00 am:

Figured it has something to do with a boat/ship, and probably washed up by the powerful waves/winds of Lake Superior. Interesting!

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 08:07 am:

Interesting...my first thought was some kind of drill bit, especially with that point.

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 09:02 am:

Mike & Frank from American Pickers probably know what this is......

By dane l. christensen (Danech55) on Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 09:05 am:

Saw one of these on line dated 1870-1890.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 09:22 am:

Here is what information I found, courtesy of the Maritime Exchange Museum:



Research finds, from the Smithsonian Collection...

This mechanical log measures a vessel's speed moving though water. The four-bladed rotator is towed astern. As it spins, the rotations of the towing line are registered by a wheel works and dial mounted to the vessel's rail. Older mechanical logs had placed the counting mechanism next to the rotator, requiring the log to be hauled in for reading. In the 1860s American and then English makers began placing the dial in a separate housing on the ship's rail, which allowed readings while the log was in use. Thomas Walker's firm in Birmingham, England, was a leading maker of logs.

Speed is an important factor in accurate navigation, and, since the sixteenth century, sailors had determined a vessel’s speed using a log. This device was basically a rope with knots tied at intervals along its length. With a board attached to one end to create drag, the log-line would be heaved overboard and allowed to run out for a short period of time. The number of knots counted off indicated the speed. (The unit of speed at sea is therefore the knot, one knot being equal to one nautical mile per hour.) Logs were susceptible to a variety of errors, so instrument makers developed mechanical logs to improve the recording of speed and distance.

Thomas Walker (1805-73) was a nephew of Edward Massey, the London nautical instrument maker whose patent mechanical logs enjoyed wide use in the nineteenth century. Walker’s firm and Massey’s merged at the end of the century.

Additonal information about this particular photo:

The instrument head and spinner is in remarkably good condition considering their years if service at sea. The brass deck shoe, in which the instrument head mounts, is present as well. There are minor blemishes, consistent with age that include tiny scratches, few chips and the appearance of smudging and prints found on each of the items. The dial face is very clear and easy to read , with only hints of oil residue once present. Further detailed cleaning would certainly lend an even greater glow. Printed on the dial face, along with nautical calibrations you find: "Walker's "COMMODORE" Electric Log", "Nautical Miles" and Made in England by Thos. Walker & Son Ltd. Birmingham". The Rotator, bullet-shaped "spinner" with four fins all marked with anchor logo and T.W. Cherub, one marked T.Walker & Son LTD, Birmingham, England. On the lower back of the instrument case you find enscribed "AL 6620". Also enscribed into the deck shoe is a small "H".

Interesting find, Emma!!!
Donna (Donna) on Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 09:52 am:

WOW...is that cool!!

I thought it was an early ice auger of some type...cool info! Thanks Pasty!!

By JoAnne Stefanac (Davejostef) on Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 10:27 am:

So, is it assumed it came from a ship named T.W. Cherub? Or would that be the manufacturer of the thing? Sounds like a ship name! Would be interesting to find out if there's any history of a ship by that name. Most interesting mystery!

By Allen W. Philley (Allen) on Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 12:02 pm:

A very cool find.

By Dunerat (Dunerat) on Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 02:12 pm:

JoAnn --

"T.W." indicates the manufacturer, Thomas Walker & Son Ltd. They were probably the largest manufacturers of this kind of equipment. "Cherub" is the model. A later version, the "Cherub III" was the most successful of their line.

By Waveaction (Lakelover) on Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 04:24 pm:

Emma, love your pictures and your ambition to pursue your goal. Keep it up, you'll be famous.

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 08:28 pm:

Mystery solved...we should start an agency.

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 08:54 pm:

And name Capt. Paul the 'head honcho'!

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