Pump Shanty

On the sailing ship, there were two types of bilge pumps when the Pump Shanty was used:

First, the older one pump when the Pump Shanty was used …

Was a pump with two handles where pumping happens by crew placed on opposite sites; each site worked two to four sailors. When sailors from one site had a handle above the head; another site was on the level of the ankles on the opposite side. In this case, the pumping shanties pace was as follows: the first tact; pulling the handle to the waist; the second pushing it up, the third pushing down to the waist, the fourth lowering it down to the ankles.

pump-shanty braking levers
All Hands to the Pumps 1888-9 Henry Scott Tuke 1858-1929 Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1889 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N01618

Hugill is making reference to this when he says “old-fashioned levers” (1961, pf. 45).

The second type of pump when the Pump Shanty was used

it operated on the principle of two flywheels; where the sailors on the opposite side rotated their handles on the flywheels to make the work lighter. This pump calls the “Downton” pump:

Downton bilgr pump

Last Clarification, the “Downton” is the name of the inventor of the pump of that type. The important distinction is the method of operation, not whether or not the pump is exactly the same as Downton’s invention. The method is to turn a wheel.

Here is one of the not too many places where we can see it at work: Traditional bilge pump worked on James Craig tall ship

The Bell Ropes…

In Downton type of pump, sailors installed on ends of bars ropes (bell-rope), to make the job easier by taking more sailors involved in pumping. In this 0.25 min of this super unique movie you can watch real pumping with bell ropes:

Absolutely unique and authentic video of bell ropes in use…

Here is an example in Live example of the use of the bell ropes, probably only one existing in the world! It starts on the 24th second of this amazing movie.

Index Of The Pump Shanty

  1. A-Rovin’ (A)
  2. A-Rovin’ (A2)
  3. A-Rovin’ (B)
  4. A-Rovin’ (C)
  5. A-Rovin’ (D)
  6. Across The Rockies
  7. Alabama II
  8. A-Rolling Down The River
  9. Den Gamla Briggen (Swedish)
  10. Die Gute Alte Brigg (German)
  11. Go Roving (Norvegian)
  12. Heave Away Cheerily O!
  13. John come tell us as we haul away
  14. Leave Her Johnny Leave Her – Pumps
  15. Lowlands Away (A) (i)
  16. Lowlands Away (A) (ii)
  17. Lowlands Away (B)
  18. Lowlands or My Dollar An’ A Half A Day
  19. Mister Stormalong (A1)
  20. Mister Stormalong (A2)
  21. Roll The Woodpile Down
  22. Santiana (A)
  23. Shallow Brown A
  24. Shallow Brown A (Sentimental)
  25. Shallow Brown C
  26. Shallow Brown – Cecil Sharp
  27. So Early In The Morning (A)
  28. So Early In The Morning (B)
  29. So Early In The Morning (C)
  30. Stormy Along, John
  31. Svineper
  32. The Girl in Portland Street
  33. The Girl With The Blue Dress (Davis & Tozer)
  34. The Fire Ship
  35. The Lowlands Low (C)
  36. The Ox-eyed Man (Davis & Tozer)
  37. The Plains of Mexico (B)
  38. The Plains of Mexico (C)
  39. Way Stormalong, John
  40. Well Ranzo Way

My private collection of books

Shantyman library –  you will see descriptions and recommendations of positions worth diving into, true sources of knowledge about sea shanties. To gain knowledge about sea shanties is the main ultimate purpose of this library, every book in this library is somehow related to sea shanties and before mast songs.

More involvement in Traditional Sea Shanties

You can find this record here or directly listen below. If you want to discuss the record or share your opinion you can do it in my Facebook forum here.