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Shelburne County Museum


Accession number: SCM
Object type: Sail Riggers
Date: circa 1925
Materials: metal
Measurements: 47 cm L x 3.5 cm WApproximate msmts
Marks/Label: Initials C.W. engraved near the top of the tool.
Narrative: A marlinspike was a tool used by men known as Ships Riggers, to unlay rope for splicing ( the method of joining ends of rope by interweaving the strands) and to untie knots that had tightened under tension. A Marlinspike is also know as a marlin spike, marlinespike and the old term marlingspike. The two ground faces of the point, on this marlinspike, indicate that this marlinspike was used for parting the strands of wire rope. The hole pierced through the tool may have been used to attach a wrist strop. The sailmaker and ships rigger worked very closely together, often sharing the same loft and tools. They would help each other with rigging and fitting the yards of a vessel, bending the sails and equipping them with the proper sheets ( the ropes attached to the sail so it can be let out and hauled in). This iron Marlinspike was made by Arthur Leslie Jacklin, a Black Loyalist Descendant. Mr. Jacklin was a blacksmith employed by W.C. MacKay and Sons Shipyard in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. Mr. Jacklin was employed for 40 to 50 years at the shipyard. This marlinspike was made for Reuben Goodick of Lower Sandy Point, Nova Scotia. As a seaman Mr. Goodick had extensive experience as a deckhand on fishing and trading vessels sailing from ports in Nova Scotia and New England. Mr. Goodick married local girl,Jennie Hagens in 1930. Mr. Goodick retired from sealife and joined several others and formed the rigging crew of Shelburne's Captain Robert McCarthy. The crew travelled the province rigging vessels in the dying days of the age of sail. Mr. Goodick was known as a first class Ships Rigger.
Description: A conical, heavy iron marlinspike. There is a small pointed end and a larger flat head. This long, heavy, pointed iron spike has two faces of the point ground flat. Towards the head of the spike there is a hole pierced right through the spike. The initials C.W. are found near the top of the tool and are believed to be the sources initials.
Manufacturer: Jacklin, Arthur