We've been cleaning up around our club's storage area, and dragged out what I had always assumed to be an old steam winch from under a tangle of blackberries and other junk.
It is a winch, but we're baffled as to the purpose... Here's a description (pictures to follow shortly): The unit has 2 8x12 cylinders with piston valves and NO
reverse; it's connected via double-reduction (I'm guess-timating that the total reduction is about 100:1) to the single winding drum, which only has room for about 150' of 1 3/8 cable. There's no apparent corrosion to indicate marine service, it has no clutch or friction as you'd find on a donkey-engine, and no maker's marks of any sort. The lubrication is via zerk (however these may have been added later in life).
The throttle, cylinder drain-cocks and brake are all controlled from right in front of the main drum, with no apparent provision for remote control.
The real stumpers are the short cable and lack of reverse...