Thomas Calpin’s invention
Thomas S. Calpin, a blacksmith, lived in Bay Roberts in the 1880s. Today he is remembered as the inventor of the Calpin Anchor. He obtained a patent in Great Britain (No. 11,396) on Aug. 18, 1884; in Canada (No. 20,645) on Nov. 28, 1884; in Norway on April 24, 1885; and in the United States (No. 337,241) on March 2, 1886.
In the specification forming part of letters patent, he calls his invention “a certain new and useful Improved Anchor.”
He explains in the document, which is housed in the US Patent Office, “The object of my invention is to construct anchors in an improved manner, by which cheapness, efficiency, simplicity, and convenience are secured.
“Instead of the ordinary shank in one piece, I construct the shank in two parts, meeting together at the shackle and extending outward and apart from each other at a considerable angle where the flukes are joined thereto....
“Anchors constructed according to my invention possess the maximum of strength with the minimum of material and labour required in and for their production.”
The document was witnessed by two St. John’s individuals, yeoman John Baston and notary public Alex J.W. McNeily.
According to the Jan. 30, 1886 edition of “The Harbour Grace Standard and Conception Bay Advertiser,” Calpin “lately took passage in the S.S. ‘Portia’ for Canada and the United States, whither he goes for the purpose of introducing his invention to the trade there.”
The editor of the newspaper was pleased to note in its April 10, 1886 edition that Calpin was “meeting with much encouragement in his efforts to bring his new patent anchor before the notice of the public.”
According to the “Cape Ann Advertiser,” the Bay Roberts inventor had recently been in Gloucester, Massachusetts, “with models of his new anchor which found much acceptance among those who saw them.
“It is made of a continuous bar of iron and is self-adjusting. There are two movable flukes which have great holding power. In hauling up, there is no danger of the flukes coming in contact with the vessel as, being movable, they swing outward. They require no management before dropping, are readily stowed away, and it is impossible for a craft to sweep this anchor, as there is nothing that the moorings or cable can hitch to.
“They have been used by the fishermen with great success, and their merits over all other anchors can be seen upon looking at the model. It is probable that some parties in this city will manufacture and introduce them among our fishing fleet.
“We learn that there has not been one of this new description of anchors yet made in Newfoundland, beyond the few manufactured last spring by Mr. Calpin himself.
“It is much to be hoped that every encouragement will be extended to the inventor in this, his native land.
“The patent has attracted much attention outside of this country. Mr. Calpin has received numerous letters in respect to it, even from San Francisco, California. Through some neglect or other, the patent was not s e c u re d when Mr. Calpin went to the States last spring. Much vexatious delay has thereby been occasioned. We trust, however, that all difficulties will disappear – and that before very long.”
The Calpin House on Water Street, in Bay Roberts, is now a municipal heritage site.
Burton K. Janes lives in Bay Roberts. His column appears in The Compass every week.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
MAKING A PROCLAMATION — At a ceremony at the Marine Resources Opportunity Network Inc. building in Carbonear on June 6, members of MRON, the Department of Advanced Education and Skills as well as clients proclaimed June as Supported Employment Awareness Month for the Baccalieu Trail. In the photo are: front (l-r) — clients Sandra Smith and David Morgan; back — MRON supported employment services employment counsellors Holly Parsons and Michelle Smith, MRON executive director Lorraine Brown, Judy O’Dell and Johann Whelan, both of theDepartment of Advanced Education and Skills, MRON supported employment services employment counsellor Megan Forward, Debbie Reynolds and Gordon Stone. MONEY FOR A GOOD CAUSE — The Brigus Volunteer Fire Department will be donating some $1,740 to the Children’s Wish Foundation later this year. The money was raised through various Texas Hold’em poker games amongst members in the department. In the past, the department has used similar means to raise money for the Janeway Children’s Hospital Foundation and Ronald McDonald House. Shown in the photo are: front (l-r) — Fire chief Rodney Mercer, Ken Broughton, Junior Mercer, Jr. , Kevin Spracklin, assistant fire chief Graham Hiscock and David King; back — Bill King, Barry England, Gary Spooner, George Fry, Fred Williams, Kevin Wall, Tom Ryan, Jr. , Denzil Norman, Tom Ryan, Sr., Byron Rodway and Bill Tucker. Missing from photo are Blair Mercer, Peter MaherFry, David Barrett, Mark Jerrett, Tony Pritchard, Edward Roberts and Dominic Lane. The Harbour Grace Sparkes, Brownies, Guides and leaders were busy at their year-end banquet planting a Burning Bush in Memorial Park on Water Street in the town. It was a great way to finish a fantastic guiding year. — Submitted by Joan Short, Guiding leader DIAMOND RECOGNITION — The commanding officer for 249 Effie M. Morrissey sea cadets, Gerald Mercer (right), was the recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal June 1 during the corps’ annual ceremonial review. MP Scott Andrews was on hand to make the presentation. Andrews praised Mercer for his volunteer work and dedication with the corps for the past 34 years. It was the perfect time to receive the medal as Mercer will retire from his position with the corps this year. Members of the Carbonear Volunteer Fire Department stand behind a table of equipment purchased from the proceeds of the Turkey Raffle from the past year. Included are two water pumps and hoses, two traffic signs, a portable light and a cutting tool. The total cost of the equipment was $4,500. Pictured here displaying the equipment are, from left, 2nd Assistant Chief Cory Mahaney, firefighter Don Earle, Chief Ed Kavanagh, 1st Assistant Chief Brent Sweeney, and firefighter Jason Fahey. The Harbour Grace Sparkes, Brownies and Girl Guides collected money and purchased supplies — pillows, sheets, blankets and personal care items — and donated them to O’Shaughnessy House during Guide-Scout Week 2013. — Submitted by Joan Short, Guiding Leader