Tag Archives: technology

That’s a lot of rope!

4 Oct

Visiting the Maritime Museum was a highlight of a recent trip to San Diego.  Among the many interesting things to see there is the first European vessel to reach America’s west coast, the San Salvador, in 1542.

Sixteenth century technology is an intriguing sight.  While some may walk through a room like this and give it a few seconds to sink in, the amount of rope and what it took to make it, and all the different kinds and thicknesses of rope–that captivated me–and I invite others to pause and marvel.

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What materials were gathered, by whom?  Where were these materials found, and when were they first discovered as something that could be woven into a durable tool?  Whose hands created all this rope?  Imagine the magnitude of the labor, for this one ship.  Were these particular ropes crafted with the aid of man-powered machines, such as pulleys and levers?  How did they know how thick to make them–what was the minimum requirement for the load each type of rope was designed to bear?  What were each of these ropes here for?  The crew knew.  Do we still know all of this stuff?  Is this old technology lost?

It is really quite remarkable and worthy of contemplation.  I leave you with images that stimulate imagination…