Frank Stead Manton (1838-1909) conceived the idea of a working windlass and capstan by steam. A civil engineer, Manton developed and improved numerous seafaring machinery while an agent of Hope Iron Works of Providence, Rhode Island. In 1857, the company reorganized and changed their name to the American Windlass Company. They manufactured capstans, windlasses, winches, and related anchor and chain management equipment. Shipbuilders installed its products on hundreds of vessels throughout the United States in the second half of the nineteenth century.
An excerpt from James Emerson's The Treatise Relative to the Testing of Water-Wheels and Machinery. published 1878
Researched & Compiled by Susan Donnelly
"A little more than 12 years ago travelers across " Red Bridge," in the eastern suburbs of Providence, noticed a small wooden building erected not far from the bank of the Seekonk river. A modest sign over the door told that this was the new plant of the AmericanShip WindlassCo. The building soon became too small. In six months a second fully as large as the first went up by its side. The next year there was another enlargement and the next year still another. Thus, year by year the plant has grown, until, at the present time the value of the land and buildings oft he American Ship Windlass Co. is fully nine times that of the original plant.
... The only award given for windlasses and capstans at the U.S. Centennial Exposition was granted to the American Ship Windlass Co. The best proofs of the complete success of this windlass is found in the fact that the finest steam and sailing vessels are fitted with these machines. The U.S. Government has repeatedly recognized their merit. The new speed U.S. cruisers, the Chicago, Boston and Atlanta are furnished with them."