Monument to Trotman’s Anchor

by Christopher J. Cole 2016

Trotman Anchor Plaque

Plaque Identifying a Trotman’s Anchor recovered from a Deep Water Site. (Photo from the Christopher Cole collection. )

On a visit to Ucluelet BC I found this anchor on display near the site where the Canadian Princess is berthed. It was apparently recovered in 1996 by Phil Drysdale in the fishboat Ocean King from a deep water (540 metres) location off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Unfortunately the plaque offers no more clues as to how it was discovered, recovered or to its origin.


Here is the location where I calculate it was found and from which it was recovered. (Photo from the Christopher Cole collection. )

A search of the internet reveals that a Trotman pattern anchor "consists of a shank which is square in section through which is a single piece crescent-shaped arm which pivots on a large fidded bolt. The upward facing palms are flat and triangular in shape and include a flat flange mounted at a right angle at its widest end. Just above the arms is a pair of bow-shaped gravity shackles which swivel on a bolt. The stock is circular in section and tapers towards its ends and is complete with flattened spheres. It is fidded with a metal wedge on a small chain allowing it to be un-shipped and stowed flat aboard ship. At the top of the shank is a swivelling bow shackle held in place by a pin." (Reference)

Trotman Anchor

A Trotman’s Anchor on Display at Ucluelet BC (Photo from the Christopher Cole collection. )

The British Admiralty searched for anchor patterns with greater holding power than the traditional Admiralty Pattern (AP) Anchor. After the Great Exhibition of 1851 a Committee of 1852 on Anchors was created and a committee was appointed by the Admiralty in the succeeding year to consider and report upon the qualifications of the various kinds. The committee determined the qualities it was desirable for an anchor to possess, and assigned numerical values to each. The following tables give the result of their labours, showing the number of marks obtained by each anchor under trial: (after which followed charts of comparison).

The Trotmans anchor, which obtained the highest place in the committee’s estimation, was an improved Honiball’s (Porter’s). The stock is of iron, similar to the Admiralty anchor; the shank is of rectangular section, somewhat larger at the centre than the ends, and is made fork shaped at one end to receive the arms; the arms are in one piece, and are connected to the shank by a bolt passing through their centre. The peculiarity of the anchor is that the anchor arms pivot about this bolt, so that when it takes hold the upper fluke is brought in contact with the shank, thus reducing the height above ground, and rendering it almost impossible for the cable to get entangled round it, or, in other words, for the anchor to become fouled.

Of the anchors tested by the committee, Trotman’s, Rodger’s and the Admiralty patterns find the most favour at the present time. Trotman’s and the Admiralty have undergone no alteration, but Captain Rodgers has taken out two patents for improvments in his anchor since the committee reported. This particular design was patented in 1852 by John Trotman (hence the name), who had improved upon the designs of the other designers: Hornibal, Porter and Piper. This type of anchor was frequently used in the marine merchant service. The Titanic, among many other famous vessels, carried a Trotman pattern anchor.

To quote from this article please cite:

Cole, Christopher J. (2016) Monument to Trotman’s Anchor. 2016.

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