Around this time in 1701, Thomas Bowrey was trading in old anchors, old iron guns and iron shot. Over a period of time, he purchased a large number of these items, storing then at the yard of William Charlton, the boat builder who had constructed Bowrey’s leisure yacht, the Duck.
Old anchors and guns formed part of the outbound cargo on the trading voyages of many of Bowrey’s ships but he also sold the anchors to customers in England.
Iron anchors have been known since Roman times. The design of iron anchors changed little between 1600 and 1800 except for becoming larger.. They were made from cast iron and often had flaws. A ship need to carry a number of anchors. They used up to eight at a time and anchors were frequently lost, especially in storms. Consequentially, the trade in old anchors was probably very good.