Curiouser and curiouser

Is it an ancient mariner’s hoist, or a miller’s block and tackle, or a coffee warehouse pulley from a bygone age? Now I open the question to you, what could this interesting wooden device be used for then…and now?

How it came to be in my possession is a story of high adventure, curiosity-awakening mulling and generosity by donor. Time had clearly worn grooves in its memory while removing the sheen of a once pure wood. Perhaps it was a piece of rescued flotsam, after the sea water had stripped it down.

After some cleaning off, and then rubbing in several layers of shellac, it started to show some fine luster. It’s a smart piece of curiosity, even if it’s from planet Earth.

I look forward to your ideas, guesses and general musings to help restore this treasure to its rightful name. The most original comment can look forward to a unique hand-made gift as a token of thanks.


  1. Looks like an old(ish) open crab block. It lets you pull the marker buoy up and slip the rope over the pulley in the block and haul up the crab pot.

    I think my granddad might have had one of these.

    Normally they have an eye in one end to (the rh end in this case) to hang it from (above head height). (Now I can see the big photo it appears it does have an eye on the right side. So I’m sticking with crab/lobster pot block pulley.)

    Am I close? Huh? Am I??

  2. That’s definitely a part of drop stage curtain pulley system used during a fabulous peek-a-boo show.

    I say fabulous, because one can clearly see that the piece is broken – leading me to believe that the crowd got mighty excited as they tore down the curtains along with the pulley system to get a better look at the boo 😉

    Seriously, though, that does look like a pulley remain of a 15th century merchant ship, which is now known as the Newport Medieval Ship… see:

  3. It’s a pulley, designed to hoist up from the deeps those mermaids and mermen. I just hope they had a catch and release program in place. 🙂

  4. Hey Maarten,
    Het zal wel aan mijn geheugen voor nutteloze dingen liggen, maar ik zag zojuist een filmpje waarin wordt gezegt ‘Dit is een katrol dat werdt gebruikt aan een boeren wagen om hooi vast te binden’. Ik weet niet wat daarmee bedoelt wordt en of die meneer er verstand van heeft, maar zijn ding is wel het zelfde als die van jou!
    Zie de video hier

    1. Hah, finally someone showing a similar item. Halfway down the youtube, he states that it is something used on farmer’s carts to load hay.

      1. Ik had een link met tijdstip gekopieerd, maar aangezien hij hier meteen ge-embed word is die informatie verloren… Ik hoop dat het filmpje niet te saai was 😉
        2:48 dus

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