Cataloguing Canal Hardware

Traditional Techniques: NarrowBoat, Autumn 2019

Christopher M Jones

Chris M. Jones looks at illustrations of boat and canal equipment from manufacturers’ and suppliers’ catalogues and advertisements

Illustrations of tools and other types of equipment mainly started to appear during the latter half of the 19th century. Before that, advertisements were just text with the only concession to any form of illustration being an engraving of the Royal Arms if the manufacturer had a royal warrant of appointment, or letters patent. Sometimes a distinctive or representational trademark was shown, with any blank areas filled with elaborate interwoven scrolls merely as a space filler. The increased use of engravings in the printing industry inevitably led to its use, not only on advertising but elaborate company letterheads and trade catalogues. The majority of catalogue and advertisement illustrations relating to canals and waterways are concerned with materials and equipment for boat, barge and ship construction, which also included lifting tackle used on vessels, such as rigging winches and anchor winches on sailing barges. To a lesser extent, there was dock, wharf and warehouse lifting eq…

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