Did you know that the R.M.S. Empress of Britain and her sister ship the R.M.S. Empress of Ireland had five anchors each?

 

The Empresses had three different types of anchors which are classified as, "Bower," "Stream," and "Kedge" anchors, according to their relative size and particular purpose. Vessels less than 300 ton did not have to carry these five anchors. Considering the Empresses weighed 14,191 tons each it was require if Canadian Pacific Railway wanted their vessel to have a A1 100 class they would have to follow Lloyd's Register Rules as their vessels were over 300 tons and carried (1) Kedge, (1) Stream, and (3) Bower anchors.

 

 

 The rubber stamp of Fairfield at the bottom of the page, names like A.W. Sampson or Alex Cleghorn who was then manager of Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company. In my NEW book called the Tale of Two Sisters/The History of the Atlantic Empresses, you will see many examples of these original Lloyd Register Surveyor Reports that give you a different insight on how the Empress of Britain and her sister ship the Empress of Ireland were built in these 108 year old documents.

 

From the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894 the marking of anchors was very serious business and there was rules on how anchors had to be identified. The Hingley and Sons was one of many manufacturing company of anchor who had created the anchors for the Empress of Ireland and the Empress of Britain. The company had to follow Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping requirements and the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894 it stated the following:

 

(1) Every manufacturer of anchors shall Marking of mark on every anchor manufactured by him in legible anchors, characters and both on the crown and also on the shank under the stock his name or initials, and shall in addition mark on the anchor a progressive number and the weight of the anchor.

 

(2) If a manufacturer of anchors fails without reasonable cause to comply with this section, he shall be liable for each offence to a fine not exceeding five pounds.

 

Here I have given you a little taste of information from these documents and the history behind these huge anchors that these two ships carried throughout their career. The following information was taken from the original report that I found, the manufacture was known as Hingley and Sons of Netherton, they were made of cast steel and stockless. The Stream and Kedge Anchors were Ordinary design. The Hingley and Sons company had to follow Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping requirements but could not be less than.

 

In my early years as a young man in Canada I first started out in the field of Destructive and Non Destructive Testing and I have seen many of these testing techniques used to test various materials. So I can imagine how it must have been when they were testing the anchors and cables for the Empresses. Once the five anchors had been roughly assembled, then each anchor would go to Lloyds Proving House which had been located near the company of Hingley and Sons. The Empresses anchors, chain and galvanized steel wire would then go through a series of different types of tests that had been set under the supervision of Lloyds Register Shipping to see if the anchors were capable of withstanding forces that might be eventually be put upon them once the Empress of Britain and Empress of Ireland had been launched and put into service.

 

TESTING OF COMPONENTS 

 

Percussive also known as Drop Test consists in lifting the anchor, or each of its parts, to a certain height 12 or 15 feet above an iron slab. If the anchored weighed less than 15 cwt then the anchor would have been dropped at a distance of 12 feet. If the anchor weighed more than 15 cwt ten the anchor would be dropped at a distance of 15 feet and letting it drop onto an iron slab. This would determine if the anchor could withstand the drop load of each and every anchor when used at sea aboard the Empresses.

 

Hammering Test is made after the drop test and consists in suspending the casting, and striking it all over with a hammer weighing not less than 7 Ibs., so that by the clearness of the "ringing sound" it may be judged whether or not it is free from flaws such as may have existed from the first or have developed as a result of the Drop Test before.

 

If the shank had failed the test then it would have been returned to the Drop Forge Shop.

 

Bending Test is made with a piece cut from the casting, a tongue of metal being sometimes cast on it for the purpose. When machined down to a diameter of 1 inch this must withstand, without sign of fracture, being bent cold by hammer blows through an angle of 90 degrees (i.e. at right angles with itself), the internal radius at the knuckle being not less than 1 1/2 inches. A maximum of four, test pieces may be tried, and the casting is deemed satisfactory, as regards ductility, so long as any one of them passes the test.

Further, it is required that all cast-steel anchors shall be annealed; the process to occupy at least three days for small anchors and six for large.

 

Once testing and approval had been confirmed by the Lloyds Register Surveyor at the Proving House, the anchor shank and head were then stamp-marked with proving house registration, date, proving house Superintendents initials, weight, drop test and materials used.

 

The testing was done at the Proving House by Lloyds Register Surveyor, Superintendent Mr. Green

 

Empress of Ireland

1st, Bower stockless cast steel anchor weight 116 cwts, certification number 55717, tested on 30/12/1905

2nd Bower stockless cast steel anchor weight 116 cwts, certification number 55720, tested on 30/12/1905

3rd, Bower stockless cast steel anchor weight 111 cwts, certification number 55719, tested on 30/12/1905

(1)  Stream ordinary anchor of 34 cwts, certification number 55741, tested on 8/1/1906

(1)  Kedge ordinary anchor of 18 cwts, certification number 55733, tested on 8/1/1906

 

Empress of Britain

1st, Bower stockless cast steel anchor weight 117 cwts, certification number 55467, tested on 30/11/1905

2nd Bower stockless cast steel anchor weight 116 cwts, certification number 55570, tested on 30/11/1905

3rd, Bower stockless cast steel anchor weight 110 cwts, certification number 55469, tested on 30/11/1905

(1)  Stream ordinary anchor of 34 cwts, certification number 55239, tested on 10/11/1905

(1)  Kedge ordinary anchor of 18 cwts, certification number 55257, tested on 10/11/1905.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During my time as an inspector, I had witnessed on several occasions the testing of materials for their tensile strength and often steel materials would fly in all directions if the tensile strengthof a material failed. This was true for the "Chain Gang" at Hingley and Sons when they tested anchor chain for various vessels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Empress of Ireland

Chain cable went to 165 fathoms (990 Feet) for the 1st Bower stockless cast steel anchor, size of the chain was 2 15/16", description of chain stud link, certification number 40122,  manufactured by Hingley and Sons , tested on January 6th, 1906 at Netherton, Superintendent Mr. Green. This chain was used for the 1st, Bower stockless cast steel anchor.

 

Chain cable went to 165 fathoms (990 Feet) for the 2nd Bower stockless cast steel anchor, size of the chain was 2 15/16", description of chain stud link, certification number 40134, manufactured by Hingley and Sons , tested on January 6th, 1906 at Netherton, Superintendent Mr. Green.

 

Stream Galvanized Steel Wire went to 150 fathoms (900 feet), size was 6 1/2", manufacture by R.S. Newall and Sons Ltd.

 

Empress of Britain

Chain cable went to 165 fathoms (990 Feet) for the 1st Bower stockless cast steel anchor, size of the chain was 2 15/16", description of chain stud link, certification number 40045,  manufactured by Hingley and Sons , tested on November 8th, 1905 at Netherton, Superintendent Mr. Green.

 

Chain cable went to 165 fathoms (990 Feet) for the 2nd Bower stockless cast steel anchor, size of the chain was 2 15/16", description of chain stud link, certification number 40055, manufactured by Hingley and Sons , tested on November 22nd, 1905 at Netherton, Superintendent Mr. Green.

 

Stream Galvanized Steel Wire went to 150 fathoms (900 feet), size was 6 1/2", manufacture by R.S. Newall and Sons Ltd.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

Kedge is the smallest anchor, it is used for "kedging," example: Warping or kedging is a method of moving a sailing vessel, typically against the wind or out from a dead calm, by hauling on a line attached to a kedge anchor, a sea anchor or a fixed object, such as a bollard and hauling the ship along in a channel.

 

Stream anchor is about twice the weight of the kedge, and it is used for a similar purpose.

 

Bower anchors are, roughly, three times the weight of the stream; they are the main anchors by which the ship rides; two of them are always in readiness for immediate use, one being shackled to the port and the other to the starboard cable. The third is a spare anchor; it is usually heavier than the others by about 15 per cent, and is sometimes termed the "best bower." But in the case of the Empress of Britain and Empress of Ireland the 3rd Bower Anchor was a little lighter that the other two.

In my research I came across an amazing find of original information that had been reported while the Empress of Britain and her sister ship the Empress of Ireland were being constructed at Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company. I have put several of these documents into my new book where you can actually see signatures of the men who built and inspected these great ships.

Source: www.cradleylinks.co.uk
Hingley and Sons
Source: Public Domain
The anchor that had been brought up from the wreck of the R.M.S. Empress of Ireland.

CHAIN CABLES

 

The anchor chain has also been produced at Hingley and Sons. Pig iron had been used to forge each link. The pig iron bars had been heat up to maintain a saturated heat then ran through a machine called a "mandrel" The mandrel would give the link its one of a kind shape but the ends of the link would not meet.  The link would be continuously heated up and a metal stud would be placed through the opening of the two links ends and hammered into place and then fuse the ends together. A shackle would then be placed through the link and then the shackle would be attached to the top of the shank on the anchor by a pin.

From there the long tedious task of joining the rest of the links together to form the anchor chain would continue. The next link would be hooped through the previous link, heated up and then hammer a center stud into place and fuse the ends together. This process would continue until the entire length of 990 feet of anchor chain had been completed for the Empress of Britain and the Empress of Ireland.

Source: Source: www.cradleylinks.co.uk
Manufactured link by link.

Testing of the anchor chain had to be approved by Lloyds Register Surveyor for Shipping and had to meet the standard before it would be accepted. To test the anchor chain, a special hydraulic pulling bed had been designed to pull the ends of the chain in opposite directions. The chain had been secured at one end not to move while at the other end the chain was fitted into large jagged jaws which would clamp down and bite into the anchor chain. Then the process would begin as one end of the machine would start to move in the opposite direction as the anchor chain was being pulled in both directions, until the chains were pulled to a set tonnage as per Lloyds Register Standard.

If  the pulling pressure exceeded the set limits as per Lloyds Register Rules, the chains would pass. The Hingley and Sons and Lloyds Register both had to give their approval before any anchors or chains left the plant, this would also include any galvanized steel wire which was manufactured by R.S. Newall and Sons Ltd.. Before being delivered to the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company where the Empresses were being built.

Five Anchors and Cables

The R.M.S. Empress of Ireland Community