The DICT Development Group
2 definitions found
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :
Capstan \Cap"stan\, n. [F. cabestan, fr. Sp. cabestrante,
cabrestante, fr. cabestrar to bind with a halter, fr.
cabestrohalter, fr. L. capistrum halter, fr. capere to hold
(see Capacious); or perh. the Spanish is fr. L. caper goat
+ stans, p. pr. of stare to stand; cf. F. ch[`e]vre she-goat,
also a machine for raising heavy weights.]
A vertical cleated drum or cylinder, revolving on an upright
spindle, and surmounted by a drumhead with sockets for bars
or levers. It is much used, especially on shipboard, for
moving or raising heavy weights or exerting great power by
traction upon a rope or cable, passing around the drum. It is
operated either by steam power or by a number of men walking
around the capstan, each pushing on the end of a lever fixed
in its socket. [Sometimes spelt Capstern, but improperly.]
Capstan bar, one of the long bars or levers by which the
capstan is worked; a handspike..
To pawl the capstan, to drop the pawls so that they will
catch in the notches of the pawl ring, and prevent the
capstan from turning back.
To rig the capstan, to prepare the for use, by putting the
bars in the sockets.
To surge the capstan, to slack the tension of the rope or
cable wound around it.
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :
n 1: a windlass rotated in a horizontal plane around a vertical
axis; used on ships for weighing anchor or raising heavy
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