Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Cable, a substantial rope or chain to which the anchor is fastened, and which is used to retain a ship at anchor in a road, bay, or haven. Rope cables, which are now generally disused in favour of chain ones, were, among European nations, manufactured of hemp, and formed of three separate ropes, called strands, twisted together. Each of these was made up of three smaller strands, each composed of a given number of rope-yarns. A few Italian cables were made of four strands. The proper length of all rope cables was 120 fathoms, or 720 feet. These cables were classified according to their circumference in inches; and the particulars of the chief of them were as follows: -

Circumference (Inches)Number of Rope YarnsWeight of Cable (lbs.)

Rope cables, of hemp, are now used only for deep water work. For ordinary work chain cables, 100 fathoms, or 600 feet, in length, are now universally employed. They are classified according to the diameter of the iron forming the links; and, as supplied to the navy, are of the following sizes: -

7/16 in., 1/2 in., 9/16 in., 5/8 in., 11/16 in., 3/4 in., 7/8 in., 1 in., 1-1/8 in., 1-1/4 in., 1-3/8 in., 1-1/2 in., 1-5/8 in., 1-3/4 in., 1-7/8 in., 2 in., 2-1/8 in., 2-1/4 in., 2-3/8 in., 2-1/2 in., 2-3/4 in. The weight of the last mentioned "cable, per 100 fathoms, should be 363 cwt.; that of the first mentioned 9 cwt. 0 qr. 21 lbs. Each is divided into eight "shackles," and, before issue, must pass through a very severe test, the imposition of which is regulated by law.

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